Kootenay Herb Conference, Creston BC

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 503The theme of the first Kootenay Herb Conference was “Herbs: The Medicine of the People.”  A weekend of celebrating the centuries-old tradition of using ‘herbs in food and herbs as medicine’; connecting to our past and the healing power of plants.

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 450 The Kootenay Herb Conference was held just outside of Creston, BC in early July -situated close  to the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area a nature reserve with many trails. This world-Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 434renowned bird sanctuary is located on 17,000 acres of protected wetlands and boasts more than 265 species of nesting and migrating birds.- the location in a valley between mountains and beside a river and we were infused with warm summer weather.

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 461The was a HUGE success – bringing attendees from all around BC, Alberta and the United States- It was an amazing Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 548opportunity to both infuse oneself in nature and learn about plant medicine – with insight from amazing herbalists residing throughout North America. Presenters ranged from numerous clinical herbalists, wildcrafters, doctors and naturopaths travelling from Seattle, McCall, Idaho, the Kootenays, Vancouver and Vancouver Island and Grande Prairie, Alberta who presented an assortment of health topics through the weekend- from phytochemicals used in salve making and favonoids in foods, to medicinal mushrooms, bach flower therapy, ayurvedic constitutions,  herbal discussions Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 529for various ailments (menopause, respiratory health, herbals for babies and children) and edible herbals- there were topics for every area of interest and level of learning (from advanced practitioners to those attending their very first herb lecture)- everyone took home gems from the weekend.

Medicinal plants are growing in abundance around the area making it an idelic space for herb walks and visual identification of plants growing in their natural habitat.Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 516

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 549The conference offered delicious food, greens and berries grown specially for the  weekend and generously donated by local markets and farms, the meals were amazing.  A thank you to all the volunteers and organizers to make this event a success- Rachel Beck and others who worked tirelessly throughout the weekend- looking at ways to enhance the experience throughout the Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 551entire weekend.

Look for this conference to be held again in 2016 and spread the wordKootenay  Herb Gatherine 425 – what a great opportunity to expand ones knowledge of plant medicine while being submersed in nature. An idellic setting for learning more about nature’s healers.

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The Oldest Herb Shop in Barcelona


Barcelona 435The Herbal del Rei or Herbolari del Rei in Spanish, is a stunning gemBarcelona 446
 of a herb shop found hidden in the stone side streets of the ancient Gothic district of Barcelona – walking distance from La Rambla.  It is located thru a side passage near to the Royal Square / Plaza Real in the Street of Glass # 1. or Carrer del Vidre, 1, 08002 or through the street Carrer de Ferran. It was apparently created in 1818 and moved to its present location in 1823, and is dedicated to the sale of medicinal plants and natural products. As one of the oldest shops in Barcelona, thankfully it has been declared a  site of Culture and Local Interest and hopefully it will remain open for more people to visit and enjoy. 

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Barcelona 442Inside the herb shop is beautiful and needs to be experienced in person for the full impression ( but you can also click on the pictures for a larger view). Decoration is Elizabethan style, dating back to 1857 – with a glass roof, old spanish wooden hand painted drawers housing ancient secrets, arched wood panels, statues, oil paintings and lovely old watercolors; in the center of the shop is a marble fountain (apparently once used for preserving leeches)  and beautiful hand painted tiles of medicinal plants can be found tucked away throughout the shop and then of course there are the Barcelona 461Barcelona 441herbal medicines stored inside glass shelves. An assortment of Catalan herbal products, spices, dried herbs, beeswax candles, teas, licorice and other natural products are found filling every inch of the shop.

Trinidad Sabatés is the shop owner, who Barcelona 457
was honored as a master on Medicinal plants by the Generalitat de Catalunya. When visiting we were fortunateBarcelona 459 to meet both Trinidad and her husband, who spoke more english and offered a lengthy commentary in both english and catalan (thankfully I had a translator) on the history of the shop and herbal medicine and the unfortunate tight regulations of herbal medicines in Spain.

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If you are planning to visit- confirm their business hours first – (Currently they are only open from Tuesday to Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm and on Saturday from 10 am  to 8 pm) and double check the address (google maps) – as it took 3 separate trips to the area to discover the actual address and then find the shop open (the store hours, shop name and address seem only to be located on the inside of the doors and shutters, only visible Barcelona 453when the shop is actually open)… but that is the fun of discovering new places in a new country. Herbolari del Rei is also on facebook and offers periodic classes and tours through the historical enchanting shop – unfortunately the tours are only in Catalan or Spanish- so bring a spanish friend like I did!

Traditional Herb Shops of Paris

One of the things I love most about travelling is the opportunity to check out herbal medicine shops and products in other countries – especially the old herbal apothecaries of europe. During a trip to Paris, I  had the pleasure of visiting two traditional herb shops: Herboristerie de la Place Clichy and Herboristerie d’Hippocrate.

My search for Herboristerie d’Hippocrate at 42, rue Saint Andre des Arts -75006 ParisP1030077

- occurred during an unexpected torrential spring down pour – as I wandered through the narrow winding cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter in search of the correct address. As luck would have it, I arrived during their lunch time and the shop was closed – but found a small cafe and warmed up/ dried out while I waited for their 2 pm opening.
P1030089The wait was worth it and the shop was delightful. Numerous species of dry herbs, dozens of liquid extracts of herbal medicines and traditional recipes for various ailments. Antique hand painted herb containers, dried flowers and a high ceiling decorated in a traditional french style.

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P1030086  Herboristerie de la Place Clichy was another delight – the oldest and largest herb shop in Paris- established in 1880 (that makes it older than the Eiffel Tower). The boutique is located at 87 Rue D’Amsterdam 75008 in North Paris.

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I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, Nicole, a pharmacist P1030065who had  purchased the shop  in 1993 and we shared stories of herbs and compared experiences from our differing countries. She kindly gifted me a french herbal medicine reference book “La Phytotherapie” by Dr Jean Valnet – a valuable reference text full of traditional french herbal recipes, actions and indications. I am grateful that the Latin names of herbal medicines are consistent regardless of what language and what country one is visiting- thus the book has been a fantastic reference and comparative tool.P1030074

P1030087Exploring the shop I felt right at home looking at the various remedies and herbal blends for numerous ailments such as: Combat les troubles de la Prostate, Combat la Colite, Digestion Difficile, Combat l’Acne. The shop stocks over 900 species of plant medicine in various forms, dried, extracts, aromatherapy, massage oils and hydrosols.

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Kootenay Herb Conference 2014

For herbal medicine students, herbal enthusiasts and all people passionate about learning more on healing and herbal medicine- Check out the first annual Kootenay Herb Conference! The theme of the inaugural Kootenay Herb Conference is “Herbs: The Medicine of the People.” This year’s conference celebrates the centuries-old tradition of herbs in food and medicine, connecting to our past and their healing power. Whether we use them to feed our families, or to maintain our health and wellness, herbs can be appreciated by everyone. Date: July 11- 14, 2014

Location: Creston, British Columbia

For more information  on workshops view the website at: Kootenay Herb Conference Workshops.

 

Lavender Lemonade Recipe

LAVENDER LEMONADE

A refreshing summer drink – serve with garnished of fresh lavender.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or experiment with adding xylitol or + /- 10 grams of dried stevia leaves for a natural sweet taste)
  • 6 lemons ​- juiced
  • half a lime​ – juiced
  • 6 long sprigs of fresh lavender​ or 1/4 cup of dried lavender flowers

Boil water in a pot on the stove – reduce heat to a low temperature. Add the sugar/ stevia and simmer for 5 minutes. (Taste to adjust flavor as needed). Stirring often to prevent burning and to ensure all sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice, lime juice, and lavender flowers. Place the lemonade in the fridge to cool down all the way. Serve with lemon wedges and ice cubes. Enjoy!

Makes about 1 quart or 1 liter

Numen: The Healing Power of Plants Documentary

An inspiring documentary on the Healing Power of Herbal Medicine - featuring some of my favorite herbalists of all time: Rosemary Gladstar, Tieraona Lowdog, MD, David Hoffman and others. Official selection of the Santa Fe film festival, Green Mountain film festival, Maine International film festival, and the Sonoma Environmental film festival and third place documentary feature and best visual effects winner of the Los Angeles Reel film festival, Mark down these dates on your calender to view the award winning film Numen: The Healing Power of Plants. – free to view online October 20-30. Check out the trailer here.

Alchemy & Elixir Awards

all starWe are excited to announce that in March our Alchemy & Elixir Website and Blog was selected as one of the top sites for herbal medicine in Canada by HerbGeek.com. The full list of finalists can be viewed here.

AND in 2013 the Taking Charge of Your Health Newsletter was selected as a Constant Contact All Stars Finalist  for offering engaging newsletter content and social media to the public. Thank you for your votes, support and for noticing our work on promoting herbal medicine!! Be well!

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Vancouver Holistic Doula Certificate Program

Vancouver Holistic Doula Certificate Program – Offered through Pacific Rim College

The Holistic Doula Certificate is a 13.5 week, 270-hour program that prepares students to work as both Doulas and Post-partum Doulas. It is the most comprehensive Doula program offered in North America.

The education and training provided within the Holistic Doula Certificate Program is based on complementary and integrative approaches, bridging Western Medicine with holistic therapies. The program provides strong education and practical foundation in many therapeutic approaches, thereby creating competent and confident Doulas when working with labouring mothers and building their practices. No single therapeutic approach or discipline taught is meant to be comprehensive and to lead to students becoming practitioners in that particular area. Instead, each component adds to the Doula’s competency and thus value to the labouring mother and her family. By gaining comprehensive education in a variety of disciplines, program graduates will be poised to change the current standards of what it means to be a Doula in North America. All students are eligible to partake in the Doula Mentorship once they have completed all classroom requirements of the certificate program.

Graduates of this program can use knowledge and experience gained to establish a private all-inclusive Doula services business or join or create an integrative health clinic or birthing centre

Intro to Herbal Medicine for Doulas – DLA105

Vancouver Course Instructor: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist 

Herbs have been used for millennia to assist in childbirth. This course covers the fundamentals of herbal medicine in the context of pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and baby and child care.

For more information visit: Holistic Doula Certification Program

Digestive Aids: Back to the Basics with Herbal Medicine

By Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist
      Herbal medicine offers invaluable aid for chronic digestive disorders as well as common symptoms of  overeating including heart burn, indigestion, cramping and bloating. As most herbal medicines are taken orally, they come into direct contact with the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, offering quick relief. Herbal medicines offer gentle, non-habit forming alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription medications and are suitable for long term aid. The medical actions of herbs are often categorized into groups according to their therapeutic action.
      Digestive stimulants help to increase or improve digestive activities. Two categories of stimulant herbs include bitters and hepatics (herbs which support the liver). Bitters have been used traditionally, sipped before meals. Herbal bitters act to stimulate the release of gastric juice and digestive enzymes for optimal digestion. They also help to increase appetite. Bitters have a general tonic action on digestion, stimulating the body’s self repair mechanisms. Some bitter herbs include wormwood, centaury, yarrow and gentian. Bitter herbs are consumed in small amounts and should not be ingested in conditions of excess stomach acid or ulcers. Hepatics are herbs that strengthen tone and support the liver. The liver is our primary organ for cleansing and detoxification, facilitating the deactivation of hormones, drugs, food additives and pollutants. The liver is involved in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism and helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It is also involved in both the synthesis of cholesterol and its breakdown into bile salts. In addition, the liver provided storage for fat soluble vitamins. Examples of Hepatic herbs include: dandelion root, wild yam root, yellow dock root.
      Digestive Relaxants, in contrast, help to reduce over-activity and relax tissues. These herbs are used in a clinic environment to reduce bloating and stomach distension. Carminative herbs are plants that contain volatile oils, the component of the plant that imparts the familiar fragrant/aromatic scent associated with many dried herbs. Their main action in digestion is to soothe and settle the gut wall, ease cramping and expel wind from the stomach and intestines, while providing gentle anti spasmodic properties. Some common carminative herbs containing a characteristic scent include caraway seedfennel seed, peppermint leaf, ginger root and anise seed.
      Herbal medicines are gentle and ideal for incorporating into one’s daily routine. Digestive herbs can be used in either tea or tincture form. An adult general dosage for herbal teas is 1 tsp. of the herb for every cup of boiled water, steeped for 15 minutes; 3-4 cups daily will provide a medicinal dose. When using tinctures, the dosage varies depending upon the herbs used. A standard adult dose is generally 2-3 ml taken 2-3 times daily.
Katolen Yardley, MNIMH is a Medical Herbalist in private practice at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group in Vancouver, BC. www.alchemyelixir.com or www.katolenyardley.com 

Lifestyle Tips for Boosting Whole Body Health

With the New Year right around the corner- jump start your health goals by incorporating new lifestyle tips and routines into your new year!! OR

New Year? Improved Health!! Tips for optimal health in 2014.

1. Incorporate tonic herbs into your daily routine (including Maca, Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha), to build the bodies endurance and stamina, offering resistance from stressful conditions and support for immune system function.

2. Consider Medicinal Mushrooms: rebuild and restore immunity with mushrooms such as Shitake, Maitake, Oyster, Reishi, Enokitake mushrooms; add into cooking recipes and take in supplement form for stronger immune modulating, anti inflammatory actions, to enhance liver function and raise energy levels. Chaga is another unique mushroom which offers specific support to the digestive system, including ulcers, and symptoms of irritable bowel disease.

3. Boost your bodies’ detoxification ability by drinking herbal infusions (teas) such as Nettles, Burdock, Dandelion root or Cleavers. These herbs are traditionally referred to as alteratives which support the function of the organs of cleansing and elimination.

4. Xenoestrogens: Read labels -identify potential endocrine disruptors –and reduce exposure— familiar yourself with the names of low level hormone disruptors or estrogen mimickers -hidden ingredients in our cosmetics, plastics, pharmaceuticals, food, and personal care products. Xenoestrogens, are a group of chemicals present in the environment and in products we use every day, which mimic the effects of estrogen and disrupt normal hormone function. Combined with the estrogen naturally produced by the body, these foreign chemicals can create an excess of estrogen (and contribute to issues with fertility and reproductive health) and chemical sensitivity — many are also known carcinogens. Items to avoid include: phthalates, parabens, plastics (BPA, PETA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and butylates hydroxyanisole (BHA). To assist in ridding these agents from the body consider Crucera SGS, Indole 3 Carbinol and Calcium d glucarate.

5. Remove chemical toxins from your home by choosing biodegradable cleaning products or better yet, create your own home cleaning products by using vinegar, baking soda and pure essential oils.

6. Daily ‘skin brushing’ using a dry vegetable bristle brush, will improve circulation and stimulate drainage from the lymphatic system.

7. Choose Organic – to remove chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers (which are also xenoestrogens!), focus on foods in whole form not from a package (boxed or canned) and read labels -if there a list of long chemicals in the ingredients then avoid these foods.

8. Cultivate gratitude: give thanks for what is good in your life – focus and appreciate on that which contributes to ones peace of mind and happiness including community (family and friends), sunshine, an abundance of accessible healthy food, and our right to a variety of educated health care choices.

Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ a Medical Herbalist in private practice in British Columbia – is now accepting new clients. www.katolenyardley.com