The Holistic Herbalism Podcast-logo

The Holistic Herbalism Podcast

Holistic

Practical herbalism from practicing herbalists. Conversations, botanical deep-dives, Q&A with clinical herbalists Katja Swift & Ryn Midura of CommonWealth Holistic Herbalism.

Location:

United States

Description:

Practical herbalism from practicing herbalists. Conversations, botanical deep-dives, Q&A with clinical herbalists Katja Swift & Ryn Midura of CommonWealth Holistic Herbalism.

Language:

English


Episodes

Acknowledging Complexity Is Not Gatekeeping

2/24/2024
When you’re an herbalist, it’s normal to get questions from people about herbs. Usually they’re thinking that it’s a simple question, and expecting a simple response: “What’s good for IBS?” “Chamomile.” But the truth is a lot more complex than that! When you learn about herbalism, you come to understand that there are no herbs “for” any disease state. Instead, there are herbs who can exert influences on the body, and those may match well (or poorly) with the specific state of an individual person. So you become less enthusiastic about simply giving someone the name of an herb when they ask “what’ll work for…?” This dynamic is even more pronounced on social media. Whether in an herbalism discussion group or in direct messages from your followers, an herbalist on social media will see lots of these types of questions – and lots of those one-word responses, too! But people don’t take the names of herbs – they take herbs! Which means they prepare tea (using this much plant matter for that much water), or they take tincture (made at this or that herb:menstruum ratio), or they get a supplement (made by this or that brand)… And so even if you give someone the name of a plant, have you really helped them figure out how to take it? How much to take? How often, for how long? All those details can make or break the success of an intervention. When you get that kind of question, you want to give a helpful answer – and that can mean an answer that’s quite different from what the asker expects. Instead of simply listing names of herbs, try giving an insight into your own herbal thought process! For example, if they’re asking about “herbs for headaches”, you can briefly describe various patterns that can cause headache – heat, dryness, tension, stagnation, etc – and help them identify what kind of headache they have. From there, you can suggest herbs to experiment with – and that’s an important phrase, “to experiment with”! Helping people understand that working with herbs involves multiple rounds of self-experimentation is a great service you can provide. It takes a little more time to construct a response like this, but it’s significantly more helpful to the asker. They might expect you to simply know the right herb for them, and if you just say “it depends and it’s complicated”, that can feel like you’re gatekeeping. But if you share your own decision-making process, you both teach them how to think like an herbalist (even just a little bit), and you help them understand you’re not holding out on them! Looking to improve your skills as an herbalist and clinician? Our Clinical Skills for Herbalists course has practical guidance for setting you up from scratch, or building on your existing foundation. If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:51:40

Starting An Herb Shop

2/19/2024
We continue this week with Katja’s series: Starting Your Herbal Business! Today the focus is on an herb shop or herbal apothecary, with or without a tea bar for tastings and treats. Running an herb shop involves a fair amount of administrative work: ordering, stocking, inventory, payment processing, taxes, etc. Sharpen up your spreadsheets, folks! That’s not all there is to it, of course – there’s a huge aspect of community-building involved. Talking to people, planning events, and serving as a hub for your herbal community are also part of the gig. In fact, if we can give only one piece of advice, it’s this: think of your herb shop as a community center, first and foremost. The stronger you can make that community connection, the stronger your business will be. Listen to the episode for more insights and tips as you build your business! Would you like to know more? We’ve got just the thing! The Herbal Business Program has all the nitty-gritty details about setting up your herbal business – whether that’s products, clinical herbalism, or another variety of herbal pursuit. From GMPs and labeling laws, to marketing, to taxes & insurance, to the technology you’ll need to make it all happen, this course has everything. You can do this! Like all our offerings, this is a self-paced online video course, which comes with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:37:11

Starting An Herbal Products Business

2/8/2024
This week Katja brings you the first in a new series we’ve been wanting to produce for you: Starting Your Herbal Business! Today the focus is on herbal products – tinctures, salves, elixirs, tea blends, all that good stuff! Listen in for a simple explanation of what you’ll need to know if you want to build an herbal products business of your own. It’s not just about knowing your herbs – although of course that comes first! It’s also about medicine-making at scale, creating effective & regulation-compliant labeling, marketing effectively and sincerely, and finding what makes your remedies uniquely yours. That’s what people want! Would you like to know more? We’ve got just the thing! The Herbal Business Program has all the nitty-gritty details about setting up your herbal business – whether that’s products, clinical herbalism, or another variety of herbal pursuit. From GMPs and labeling laws, to marketing, to taxes & insurance, to the technology you’ll need to make it all happen, this course has everything. You can do this! Like all our offerings, this is a self-paced online video course, which comes with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:34:38

Herbs A-Z: Zingiber 🫚

2/2/2024
Today we reach the end of our apothecary shelves! This series started way back with episode 170 on Achillea & Acorus, and today in episode 227 we’ve finally come to Zingiber. Today’s entire episode is all about ginger. (Yes, it deserves its own entire episode. If you don’t already believe it, we will convince you!) We discuss Katja’s evolving preference for fresh vs dried ginger in our tea blends at home, and some of the variations in activity between fresh vs dried ginger. We talk about quick topical applications of this wildly accessible herb, to relieve muscle aches, joint pains, and other musculoskeletal discomforts. Ryn takes time for an ode to candied ginger – yes, it’s sugar, but there are plenty of reasons why it’s excellent to have! You can easily make your own, too. Maybe you could put some chopped candied ginger into some ginger-chamomile cookies, eh? You can even grow your own ginger, if you’re up for it! Finally, we mention some relatives of ginger, members of the Zingiberaceae: turmeric (Curcuma longa), galangal (Alpinia galanga), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta), korarima (Aframomum corrorima), “shampoo ginger lily / bitter ginger” (Zingiber zerumbet). These are all worth experimenting with and comparing to ginger – they have a lot in common, with some individual nuances. Watch out for “wild gingers” of the Asarum genus, though – those have risks of liver toxicity. Ginger’s an herb we love so much, we probably mention it in every course we teach… but especially in the Digestive Health course! Learning to care for digestion is a critical skill for herbalists, and a place herbs can do so much good. Like all our offerings, this is a self-paced online video course, which comes with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:41:46

Herbs A-Z: Withania & Zanthoxylum

1/27/2024
We’ve reached our penultimate Herbs A-Z episode this week, and we’re highlighting ashwagandha & prickly ash – it’s prickly ashwagandha! Withania somnifera, ashwagandha, is an herb Katja takes every single day. Usually, she gets it in the form of “notCoffee”, a formula of various roots and herbs blended to offer sustained energy and endocrine suppport. Ashwagandha is popular as an adaptogen or a “stress herb”, but its real power is in helping entrain healty cycles of activity and rest. Balance is not about stillness, but dynamic equilibrium, and ashwagandha’s one of our favorites to build that capacity. Zanthoxylum americanum, prickly ash, tells you all about its diffusive activity with the message of its tingly taste. This makes it not only an excellent herb for toothache relief, but also a truly fantastic circulatory stimulant. Stagnant blood and lymph are dispersed, and healing can proceed effectively, when we recruit prickly ash for this purpose. These two herbs make recurrent apperances in both our Neurological & Emotional Health course and our Immune Health course. Improving innner communications, establishing consistent cycles, and enhancing fluid movement are just a few of the actions herbs can bring to these critical systems to support their work. Like all our offerings, these are self-paced online video courses, which come with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:52:58

Herbs A-Z: Verbascum & Verbena

1/8/2024
We have just three episodes remaining in our Herbs A-Z series! Today’s show features mullein and blue vervain. Verbascum thapsus, mullein, deserves its reputation as an effective remedy for dry respiratory conditions. Its leaf is a great ally when your home heating system dries out the air inside, or when your area is hit by wildfire smoke. But mullein leaf isn’t a systemically moistening herb – its effects outside the respiratory system are drying, through better distribution of fluids. Also, mullein root and flower are each different from the leaf – root is even more astringent & tonifying, while the leaf is a more mucilaginous demulcent. Categories like “moistening” and “drying” bear close investigation and nuanced exploration – mullein teaches us this lesson. Verbena hastata, blue vervain, is an excellent nervine when you want to release tension without losing all structure. It helps us to receive & transform, whether that’s food or information or experiences. As one of our bitter nervines – a very important affinity group of medicinal plants – vervain is an excellent companion to motherwort, mugwort, st john’s wort, yarrow, angelica, feverfew, betony, skullcap, and the like. These herbs call forward the strong interconnection of our digestive & nervous systems, and remind us that mental discomforts are as much in need of relief as physical ones. That includes during acute illness, and that’s why vervain always gets included in our homemade Winter Elixir. Try it in yours this year! If you live in the northern hemisphere, cold & flu season is in full swing! And no matter where you live, it’s good to have the knowledge and skills you need to take care of these common problems at home. Herbal Remedies for Cold & Flu teaches you everything you need to know to conquer a cold or fight off the flu. We teach you how to work with herbs that are safe and effective for all aspects of the illness. These strategies can also be very effective when coping with COVID, RSV, and other respiratory infections, too! Our focus is on finding ways to support what your body is already trying to do as it works to restore balance. Like all our offerings, these are self-paced online video courses, which come with lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:01:03:00

Herbs A-Z: Urtica & Vaccinium

12/26/2023
DECEMBER SALE: 20% off every course & program we offer, all month long! Use code KINDNESS at checkout! As we draw near the end of our tour of the home apothecary herbs, today we come to nettle and bilberry. Urtica dioica, nettle, is an herb who can help with a really vast array of health issues. Sometimes we half-jokingly refer to “nettle deficiency syndrome”: a constellation of imbalances due to poor mineral nutrition, fluid stagnation, systemic inflammation, and associated symptoms. In truth, many green nutritive herbs and food plants help resolve this – but nettle is a particular standout, and is often a great choice for a month or two of work to establish a new baseline. Do compensate for its drying qualities in people of dry constitution, though! This can be done by formulating with marshmallow or other demulcent herbs, or by cooking the nettle into a soup or other food. Vaccinium myrtillus, bilberry – also known as European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry, and a variety of other common names – is indeed closely related to blueberry and also cranberry. All these edible berries – and others besides – share a lot of attributes as remedies. Their sour flavor and blue-purple-red colorations indicate capacity to drain excess fluid, protect blood vessels, and improve blood sugar regulation. The leaves of these plants exert these actions, too! So whichever edible berries grow where you live, making them a part of your life as much as you can is a pleasant way to protect yourself. Everything’s on sale in December! All our offerings, are self-paced online video courses. They all come with free twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! Use code KINDNESS at checkout to get 20% off! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:01:05:53

Herbs A-Z: Ulmus & Uncaria

12/18/2023
DECEMBER SALE: 20% off every course & program we offer, all month long! Use code KINDNESS at checkout! This week we return to our home herbal apothecary shelves and discuss two medicinal barks: slippery elm and cat’s claw. Ulmus rubra, slippery elm, is an at-risk plant. We don’t work with it frequently, for this reason – other demulcents will usually do the job, just fine. It is a standout mucilaginous plant, though, that’s for sure! It can be difficult to strain cut & sifted herb for tea, in fact, because of the thickness of mucilage creates when infused in water. For this reason it’s often easier to work with it as a powder. Never forget that other elms – especially the abundant / “invasive” species Ulmus pumila, the Siberian elm – can do all the same work as slippery elm! Uncaria tomentosa, cat’s claw, is an herb with a lot of reputations. It’s reputed as an “anti-cancer” herb, as an “immune stimulant”, as an “herb for joint pain”… It’s easy to put herbs into conceptual boxes when we talk about them this way. To break out of those boxes, try two paths. One is a return to fundamentals: here is a cooling, drying, tonifying herb, which acts correctively on hot/damp/lax areas in the body. Another is a dive into research: here’s an herb with extensive research demonstrating its activity on chemical messengers of the immune system involved in the regulation of inflammation. Weaving these threads together is a good way to broaden your application of this plant and evade the trap of selecting herbs “for” diagnoses. Everything’s on sale in December! All our offerings, are self-paced online video courses. They all come with free twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! Use code KINDNESS at checkout to get 20% off! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:51:37

Herbs A-Z: Trifolium & Turnera

10/28/2023
Today our featured herbs are red clover & damiana – two complementary fluid-moving remedies. Red clover (Trifolium pratense) has a reputation as an herb that “cures breast cancer”. That’s not the way we talk or think about it, but it’s worth digging in to why people say that! What underlies the claim is an observable effect: the plant can diminish or reduce swellings (and not only in breast tissue). This is due to its capacity to improve the circulation of lymphatic fluid, and that’s a good thing – helpful for stagnation patterns and for immune efficiency. But it’s still not a “cure”, and it’s important for herbalists to be clear about that difference. Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is more of a blood-moving than lymph-moving herb. It’s one of our favorite dispersive remedies, for increasing blood flow to the periphery and to the skin. Its affinity for the pelvis and it’s capacity to restore or enhance sensitivity in nerve endings contribute to its reputation as an aphrodisiac. It’s not about raging lust – it’s about relaxation, sensation, and communication! Red clover and damiana both make an appearance in our Integumentary Health course, along with an array of other herbs who help the skin. Whatever the problem is – whether we call it eczema, psoriasis, or just “that troublesome patch of skin”, herbs can help! Topical applications for common herbs play a big role in this work, and we also dig into the effective herbs – like these two – which you can take orally to get results on the skin. Like all our offerings, this self-paced online video course comes with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:53:55

Herbs A-Z: Thymus & Tilia

9/9/2023
We’re on the final shelf of our home apothecary, and today we’re talking about thyme & linden! Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is our absolute favorite herb for a steam. Herbal steams are an amazing way to bring the plant’s medicinal actions into the lungs and sinuses – and the ear canal and eyes, too! Thyme’s a great steam herb because it’s so rich in volatile, aromatic chemistry. This also means it’s easy to prepare as a tea, tincture, infused vinegar, infused oil, or salve – it’s a very flexible herb. Ryn’s favorite formula recently has been “Sweet Heat” – a combination of hot aromatic mints (thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, monarda) with sweet demulcents (licorice, fennel, fenugreek, goji berry). Make it strong and drink it hot, and you’ll feel the diaphoretic movement of heat upwards & outwards in your body! Linden (Tilia spp.) is a very friendly demulcent herb. Infusing it in water makes the liquid silkily viscous, but not slimy or snotty. This makes it a good choice for folks with dry constitutions who have a taste/texture aversion to the mucilage of a marshmallow or elm infusion. Linden’s a common street tree in cities, so you might have some growing near you! (If you’re in Boston, check out this Public Street Tree Map and you can identify every tree on your block!) Katja’s excited to share some new information about linden today – it has activity as a quorum sensing inhibitor! That means it can break up a biofilm, which is a collaboration of microbes that resists the attack of your immune system. More and more herbs are being identified as having such activity. Although linden isn’t generally considered a first choice herb for wound care, this kind of info tells us it can indeed be of help in that situation. Whether you’re a brand-new beginner or an herbalist with experience, it’s always helpful to study the herbs in depth! Our comprehensive presentation of herbal allies is in our Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. It includes detailed profiles of 100 medicinal herbs! Like all our offerings, this self-paced online video course comes with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:01:03:11

Herbs A-Z: Taraxacum & Thuja

8/21/2023
Our herbs for this week are dandelion & cedar! Both are diuretic, but their similarities pretty much end there. We are big fans of gardening your weeds, and we took another opportunity here to advocate for it. It’s easy to do, and you don’t have to stress about upkeep. Plus, you get nutritious or medicinal plants ready to hand! Dandelion is a great one for this, and the leaf makes an excellent base for a Salad of Health (listen in for an example recipe). Whether you grow it or not, it’s easy to find growing wild – but don’t be fooled by any of the many not-a-dandelions out there in the field! The cedar we’re talking about today is “western redcedar” or arborvitae, Thuja plicata. (Other plants called ‘cedar’ include “true cedar” Cedrus species, as well as some species of Juniperus.) Katja has an argument to make that this cedar should be counted as a nervine – but it’s not a sedative one; rather the opposite. We also talk quite a bit about its particular aromatic profile, and how perhaps cedar is to tulsi as pine is to rosemary… You can learn herbalism online – with us! All our offerings are self-paced online video courses which come with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:48:32

Herbs A-Z: Solidago & Stachys

8/13/2023
Today we proceed futher along our shelves, looking at the herbs we keep in our home apothecary. In this episode we discuss goldenrod and wood betony. When using the botanical Latin name for goldenrod, we write Solidago spp. – that “spp.” means “species plural”; there are many varieties in the genus. It can hard to tell them apart! Fortunately, your senses can tell you about the particular actions of your particular goldenrod. Is it more bitter? That’ll have more digestive action. Is it more aromatic? That’ll really get you kidneys moving. It’s also worth trying goldenrod leaf-only vs flower-only tea or tincture. Betony, also called wood betony, is Stachys officinalis. It’s related to lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina), but nowhere near as fuzzy, and with smaller, scallop-edged leaves. An herb with a panoply of benefits, in modern people we find its most important attributes are its grounding and centering effects. These can help us oppose the habits of multitasking and dissociation from the body which are so prevalent today. It’s also a very easy herb to grow in a pot on your portch! Mentioned in this episode: episode 077: Urban Wildcrafting Ethics & Guidelinesepisode 195: How To See Stress In Wild Plantsepisode 113: Grow Your Own Herbs Taking a fallow period to focus on the hands-on aspects of herbalism is one of our favorite tips for people who are learning. There are lots of ways to study, and lots of ways to enhance your learning. We’ve collected our best suggestions into a FREE COURSE for you: Herbal Study Tips! This fun course is designed to make all your learning – whether that’s with us, from other teachers, from books, or from the plants themselves – more exciting and effective. Like all our offerings, these are self-paced online video courses, which come with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:51:43

Herbs A-Z: Schisandra & Scutellaria

7/31/2023
Today we’re continuing our “herbs on our shelf” from A to Z series! This week, our herbs are schisandra and skullcap. Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) is SOUR. That flavor stands out most strongly when you taste the herb. But it’s also bitter, pungent, acrid, and a little bit sweet – that’s why it’s sometimes called five-flavor berry. Schisandra’s a great herb for modern people, not least because it helps a lot with anger and with sugar. It does have some drug interactions to be aware of, though! Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is one of the ‘bitter mints’. It’s not powerfully bitter, like motherwort, but more like betony, ground ivy, or self-heal. This group includes mostly relaxants, lymphatics, alteratives, & anti-inflammatories, and skullcap is primarily a relaxant. Its specific affinities are tension in the neck & shoulders, or else tension that’s intermittent. It makes a great base compound with betony and passionflower, whether that’s for a nervine tea blend or a before-bed tincture. Schisandra & skullcap are featured herbs in our Neurological & Emotional Health course. This is a user’s guide to your nerves & your emotions – including the difficult and dark ones. We discuss holistic herbalism strategies for addressing both neurological & psychological health issues. It includes a lengthy discussion of herbal pain management strategies, too! Like all our offerings, these are self-paced online video courses, which come with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:01:03:08

Reality vs Reality in Herbalism

7/13/2023
20% OFF EVERYTHING for the month of July! Use code ALLTOGETHER at checkout! There’s one reality, that of the human need for fundamentals like nourishing food, restorative sleep, consistent movement, ways to mitigate stress, and community support. Then there’s the other reality: that so much of this is not accessible for so many people in our society. What can we do about it, as herbalists? A lot! We can start by keeping our recommendations as accessible and affordable as possible. We can center our practice on grocery store herbs, abundant weeds, and widely available plants instead of those that are rare or expensive. We can teach people to minimize waste, and get the most goodness out of their herbs. We can keep a mental store of “cheapbest” formulae – things that serve common needs and keep expenses low, but don’t compromise on quality. We can recognize that people don’t only have to budget money, but also time and energy. Especially in the context of chronic illness and fatigue syndromes, being able to work effectively with simple protocols – to hone in on the manageable essentials – is critical to success. And perhaps most importantly, we can improve access to herbalism and cultivate community connections. One individual against the world is in a really tough spot, but a community together is healthier. If this topic is speaking to you today, check out our Herbal Community Care Toolkit. It’s chock full of low-cost, abundantly accessible herbal remedies for addressing common health issues. Students in this program learn our most inexpensive strategies for improving health and well-being. This course is available by donation, but if you can’t afford it, email us and we’ll send you a coupon code so you can get it for free! And, don’t forget! Our semi-annual 20% off sale is running for the whole month of July! Use code ALLTOGETHER at checkout to get 20% off any of our courses or programs! (This code can be used several times, if there’s more than one course you’d like to take.) If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:01:11:15

Herbs A-Z: Sambucus & Sassafras

6/27/2023
We’re continuing our “herbs on our shelf” series from A to Z today! This time our herbs are elder and sassafras. The most famous part of elder (Sambucus nigra) is the berry, which is indeed an effective remedy for viral infections including colds, flu, and COVID. It’s a rather safe one, despite occasional herban legends do the contrary. (No, the berries will not kill you with cyanide. No, elderberry does not cause cytokine storms. No, it is not a risk for people with autoimmunity.) But it’s so much more than that! We can break elder berry out of the ‘cold & flu’ box, and appreciate it as an anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular tonic, and traditional alterative. Plus, we can also work with the flowers! They make an excellent relaxant diaphoretic, for releasing both physical and emotional heat. As for sassafras (Sassafras albidum), its root bark is its most famous part, and it’s a key component of ‘root beer’ flavors. We like it that way, with sarsaparilla (whether that’s Smilax, Hemidesmus, or Aralia), ginger, & birch – and why not add some adaptogens too? That’s how you get Rooted & Ready. But wait! Sassafras leaf is also quite nice. It’s one of those interesting herbs which combines demulcent and astringent qualities all in the same herb, like purple loosestrife, and it’s one of Katja’s preferred herbs to correct for too much dryness in a formula. Elder and Sassafras both turn up in our course Elements of Detoxification. This course takes a fresh look at the concepts of “toxicity” and “detoxification”, a holistic perspective that goes beyond “cleanses” and products. Learn a memorable, practical model for understanding how the body’s detox functions work, along with the roles herbs can play in supporting them. And, take a look at some key formulas like Rooted & Ready, that bring together taste, action, and energetics for maximum effect. Check it out! Like all our offerings, these are self-paced online video courses, which come with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:55:17

Don't Let the Feds Get You Down

6/18/2023
There’s a basic rule when it comes to herbal businesses in the US: “Don’t tell and sell.” Due to rules and regulations set forth by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are many limits on what one can say about herbal products. You may already know that it is not allowed to make “disease claims” on product packaging or promotional materials, only “structure & function” claims – that’s why a garlic supplement will says it “supports heart health” rather than “lowers cholesterol”. But you may not be aware that this prohibition extends also to any website, social media presence, or other materials you produce – including as a clinical herbalist or a teacher. The long and short of it is, you can’t realistically maintain an herbal products line and a teaching or clinical herbal practice. A lot of herbalists get frustrated with the tell & sell rules, but in reality they’re not as constraining as it seems. They’re part of doing business, and there are actually good reasons things are set up this way. So in this episode, we’ll go through some examples to make this clearer – and find some silver linings along the way! Referenced in this episode: FDA – Small Entity Compliance Guide: Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary SupplementsFDA – Warning Letters databaseFTC – Health Products Compliance Guidance Would you like to know more? We’ve got just the thing! The Herbal Business Program has all the nitty-gritty details about setting up your herbal business – whether that’s products, clinical herbalism, or another variety of herbal pursuit. From GMPs and labeling laws, to marketing, to taxes & insurance, to the technology you’ll need to make it all happen, this course has everything. You can do this! We can help. If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:58:33

The Herbal Sisters Project in Kurdistan, with Anna Rósa

5/19/2023
We almost never do interviews, but our friend Anna Rósa is collaborating with The Lotus Flower to empower refugee women in Kurdistan to care for their own health, their families and communities, and to start herbal businesses to support themselves as they rebuild their lives. We are so excited to support her efforts, and we wanted to tell y’all all about it too! You can learn more about the collaboration here: Herbal Sisters Workshops for Women And you can find her fundraiser course here – all proceeds go to support the Herbal Sisters project! The Healing Power of Icelandic Herbs DISCOUNT CODE: Use code commonwealth to get 30% off the price! Valid until June 30th, 2023. If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:43:39

Herbs A-Z: Salvia

5/7/2023
Today’s herbs are sage & rosemary – two herbs whose botanical name Salvia indicates they can keep us “safe, healthy, and secure”, if we go with a literal translation. Sounds pretty good to us! And tastes good, too… Sage, Salvia officinalis, is the subject of a great many old sayings & adages, like “if a man would live for aye [forever], then should he eat sage in Maye” – or, “why should a man die while sage grows in his garden?” (We’d like to point out that sage is good for women and enbies too, just for the record!) Ryn’s personal favorite is this one: “Sage, make green the winter rain / charm the demons from my brain!” As a mental awakener and mind-sharpener, sage is hard to beat. It’s amazing for digestive sluggishness too, especially when that involves difficulty digesting fats. But don’t relegate it to food applications only – sage can be beautiful in formulae for cocktails or mocktails, bitters blends, and nervine elixirs. Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus, was categorized in its own genus as Rosmarinus officinalis until 2017. Well, we’ve had six years to get used to it, and we’re aaaalmost there – but you should still know both names, because in a lot of good herbal books you’ll only find it under the older name. It’s an excellent cerebral circulatory stimulant, aromatic carminative, and hepatic stimulant herb. Rosemary is an herb for remembrance, also, as Shakespeare’s Ophelia tells us in Hamlet. See how much this herb has in common with sage? They go great together, or with lavender and other aromatic mints. Try them in concert with sweet herbs, too – a “sweet heat” blend of sage, rosemary, monarda, fennel, goji, and a pinch of licorice is one of Ryn’s favorites recently. Sage & rosemary are featured herbs in our Neurological & Emotional Health course. Although often when herbalists refer to “nervine” herbs, they mean relaxants and gentle sedatives, the term can also be applied to stimulants, like these two herbs. They can awaken and enliven nerve activity, and mental activity too. This course is a user’s guide to your nerves & your emotions – including the difficult and dark ones. We discuss holistic herbalism strategies for addressing both neurological & psychological health issues. It includes a lengthy discussion of herbal pain management strategies, too! Like all our offerings, these are self-paced online video courses, which come with free access to twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, and more! If you enjoyed the episode, it helps us a lot if you subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:51:05

[REPLAY] An Herbalist's Guide to Successful Self-Experimentation

4/29/2023
In this period of Fallow Month (see previous episode), we're re-airing a couple of our favorite episodes from the archives. This one was originally episode #145, originally aired December 20th 2020. In this episode we explore the skills and disciplines necessary to conduct a successful self-experiment. Self-experimentation in this context might mean making changes to dietary, lifestyle, & movement habits; developing stress management skills; or trying out herbal medicines. First we address why and how self-experimentation can fall into self-justification, and how to avoid this. Then we highlight the skills of perception, reflection, and connection which are the bones of a good n=1 experiment, and share some key methods for developing them. Finally we talk about the practicalities that make this work go more smoothly, and share a few thoughts on how this all applies to clinical practice work as distinct from individual efforts. This is at the root of our work as herbalists, so we hope you’ll listen in! We teach herbalism online! When you sign up for any of our courses – including our FREE Herbal Study Tips course – you get access to twice-a-week live Q&A sessions, integrated discussion threads on every lesson, and a vibrant student community. Our courses are centered on video lessons you can watch at your own pace, and once you’ve bought a course you retain access to it (and any future updates!), forever. If you have a moment, it would help us a lot if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen, so others can find it more easily. Thank you!! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:01:14:38

[REPLAY] How To Practice Herbalism Every Day

4/22/2023
In this period of Fallow Month (see previous episode), we're re-airing a couple of our favorite episodes from the archives. This one was originally episode #120, originally aired April 4th 2020. Previously, we've urged you to look at learning herbalism like learning a language or instrument – something that requires daily practice. This week, we’re sharing some specific practices you can do to build your herbal skills on a daily basis! You can take lessons in herbalism, and study to learn – but the key here is, a little bit each day is better than “a lot” which happens only rarely. Building a habit of reading a few pages of an herb book, watching a half hour video lesson, or listening to an audio lesson on your commute every day will serve you well. Another way is to make space to experience your herbs daily. Drink tea, take tincture, taste them, smell them. Even better, do this while you’re studying to enhance your learning, to root it in your body and give your mind a touchpoint to return to. This strengthens memory! A helpful motto (especially for those who are allergic to regimentation) is “Don’t miss an opportunity.” Whenever something new-to-you comes up, take the chance to come up with an herbal plan of resolution. First, learn all you can about what’s happening. Then, try to identify energetic patterns; that helps you select applicable herbal actions. Then you can come up with a set of herbs to do the job, and finally you can decide how those herbs will go to work – what preparations and formulations will best match the situation. (Then you start that cycle over again, to expand or refine!) It’s all about building habits – whether habits of daily activity, or habits of response to new events. Put those habits into place now, and your confidence and capability will grow every single day. Did we mention that studying individual herbs every day is a great habit to get into? With our Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course, you can do just that! Each of the 90 herbs we cover in this course has a video lesson, plant profile document, and a quiz to test your knowledge. It teaches you much more than “just” the individual plants, too – key concepts in herbal energetics, medicine-making, and pathophysiology are woven into every lesson. Check it out, and watch the first video (all about ginger) for free! As always, please subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen, so others can find it more easily. Thank you!! Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas. Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

Duration:00:49:28