Symposium Classes

Keynote Address: Our Path is History -- Balancing Tradition and Embracing Diverse Knowledge to Awaken the Present.

From the beginning of time, the vast breadth and diversity of herbal traditions and plant-people relationships meld into our present understanding of who we are, where we have come from and what lay in the forward path ahead. That, of course, is a linear perspective which assumes that time exists. We can live in the comfort of what we have learned and believe.

Natures moves as one in expanding circular spirals. If we view herbal experience stripped of fragmented beliefs and expectations, be it the certainty of analytical chemistry or predictive patterns of the doctrine of signatures, we are still one at the point where humans and plants intersect. Here, all that is certain is endless variation and change. Here, we can evolve.

The beauty of herbalism—past, present or future—science-driven or fantasy-inspired—is that each moment presents the opportunity for awe. What can we learn from one other and our collective experience to keep herbalism evolving?

-Steven Foster, Keynote Speaker

A clinical approach to herb drug interactions in the treatment of mental health conditions

The first half of this class will survey the existing literature and evidence base for herb and drug interactions as they pertain to the treatment of mental and emotional conditions. The class will be devoted to examining both the risks and potentially advantageous combinations available to practitioners working alone or in teams to support patients. The second half of the class will emphasize cases that illustrate the principles of combination emphasizing favorable results the herbal clinician may strive for. This half of the class will also examine how to effectively communicate with patients, psychiatrists and other mental health care practitioners about treatment possibilities.

A Physiology Relevant to Herbal Medicine

Traditional herbal medicine is based on a whole-person and relational perspective. If contemporary Western herbal medicine is to maintain its roots, introductory science courses that provide the foundations of health education must reflect a similar view. A major challenge to this approach in physiology and related sciences is that they came of age hand-in-hand with the paradigms of Hospital and Laboratory Medicine (as per William Bynum). An emphasis on cellular (Laboratory) and “organ system” (Hospital) perspectives, and the downplaying of a whole-person, relational perspective (Bedside Medicine paradigm), is so universal in physiology education that the bias goes almost unnoticed. The current orientation of physiology may be well suited to medical specialization and pharmacotherapy but it is poorly suited to the training of contemporary herbalists. The learning of physiology for herbalists needs to more fully incorporate bio-psycho-social and broader environmental interactions. A reorientation to a physiology based in the Bedside perspective is an essential tool to the bridging of ancient healing wisdom with contemporary herbal medicine.

Acute narrow angle glaucoma – a botanical case study

This illustrated case report describes a successful treatment strategy using botanicals after two failed emergency eye surgeries in a 50 year old woman. Disease definitions, patho-physiology, signs, symptoms and allopathic treatment strategies are discussed;  detailed materia medica review and discussion of therapeutic choices. 

Speaker: Chanchal Cabrera
Althaea, Angelica and Arctium: Using Powders in Clinical Practice

Using powders in clinical practice can be affordable, accessible, and easy for your clients. Learn about strategies for their use including best herbs as powders, their dosages, clinical strategies for “getting them down” and some of the science behind bioavailability of powdered herbs in comparison to other formats. Best of all, we will get to taste a few preparations made with herb powders.

Speaker: Bevin Clare
Botanical Support for Cognitive Impairment in the Aging Adult

As we age, our short memory can get sketchy and mental alertness and acuity can dull.  Learn which plants are allies for the central nervous system.
* solid understanding of botanicals for mental clarity
* role of bitters in brain/gut connection

Bridging the Gap: Treatment of Hepatitis C using Ayurveda in Combination with Interferon and Ribavirin

It is estimated that over 3.9 million people in the US and over 200 million people worldwide have the Hepititis C Virus (HCV). Current allopathic treatment uses pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin treatments that have significant side effects. For more than 20 years, the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic in Bellevue, WA monitored patients with Hepatitis C who received Ayurvedic therapies. Almost all the patients noticed considerable reductions in hepatitis C RNA PCR. Most of the patients on Ayurvedic nutritional therapies and Ayurvedic herbal supplements were able to keep the Hepatitis C RNA PCR below 300,000 as long as they followed the treatment protocols. Ten of the patients also opted to get pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin along with Ayurvedic therapies and herbal supplements. All these patients became negative from the virus and experienced very few common side effects of the pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin treatment. These findings led to a clinical study on the treatment of Hepatitis C using Ayurveda. The study was funded through the Rishi Sodhi Research Foundation*. The study was conducted on 21 patients in India. Before treatment, all had elevated liver enzymes, one was also positive for Hepatitis B. After treatments, 70% of patients were free of viral load, 30% dropped viral load significantly up to one year. Liver function normalized after three months and remained normal throughout the study.

Creating Effective Herbal Formulas

Herbal Formulas can be a very effective way of helping amateur herbalists get better results. While experienced herbalists can often precisely target specific needs with single herbs, combining several herbs that work synergistically on a single problem gives the formula a more broad-acting effect.  The synergy of the ingredients often enhances the basic action, and because the multiple ingredients tend to counteract some of the other effects of the single herbs, a formula also lessens the chance of the remedy throwing the body out of balance in other ways.
To paraphrase Michael Moore, a famous southwestern herbalist, single herbs have subtle and deep actions. Combinations tone down those subtleties to a gray background noise and leave the predominate effects of the herb intact.
The Eclectics, a group of medical doctors who used herbs in the 19th century, emphasized utilizing the subtle effects of the herbs and matching all of a person’s problems to one herb in their literature. However, most of the time, in actual practice, they resorted to tried and true formulas. They, like many practitioners throughout recorded history, recognized that often times disease isn’t subtle, it’s in your face, and responds best to an herbal formula that addresses several aspects of the disease at the same time.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also relies heavily on formulas. Basic formulas are used for certain situations, with the ingredients being modified to fit individual needs.
Unfortunately, most Western herb books do not contain much information on how to construct a good herbal formula.  Having formulated herbal products for five different herb companies and spent the past five years compiling thousands of herbal formulas for our book Modern Herbal Medicine, I have a lot of experience in creating effective herbal formulas and evaluating herbal formulas.  In this workshop, I’ll discuss the system I use for designing herbal formulas and give numerous examples of how to put ingredients together to maximize synergy and minimize undesirable effects (including bitter and disagreeable flavors). 
Track: Intermediate
Learning Outcomes:
Students who attend this lecture will be able to construct successful herbal formulas based on body system affinity, energetics and properties of herbs. They will be able to understand how to select ingredients so that they work synergistically together and how to create appropriate proportions for each ingredient in a formula. They will also understand a basic architecture of an herbal formula using key herbs, supporting herbs, balancing herbs and catalysts.
Students who attend this lecture will also have models for creating at least 10 effective herbal formulas for various purposes.

 

Creative Compliance - Delivery Strategies for Treating Children

This class will illustrate the variety of ways compliance can be increased when treating children with herbs. We will use cases and illustrate with tried and true formulas that kids did actually like. We will develop a list of the many creative options out there to make formulas more palatable or hidden when necessary and ways to help kids develop a love for the herbs.

Death, Bereavement and Grief: What Herbalists Can Do

Death, whether or not accompanied by disease, is a natural part of the cycle of life. We are all faced with death sooner or later. Everyone here is going to pass into that mystery, whatever our beliefs. Today’s session is not intended to replace extensive training but to create a primer for the interested herbal practitioner to contribute, where welcome, to a professional team. Goals include: 1) Increasing awareness of our own emotional triggers and pitfalls to avoid. 2) Attending to rapport with our Materia Medica even before establishing rapport with people: listen to our plants. 3) Gaining increased comfort with counseling the grief-stricken, providing compatible, manageable tools for processing loss and grief.

Differential Treatment of Depression and Anxiety with Botanical and Nutritional Medicines

It seems almost everyone in our country is either depressed, anxious or both.  We live in a very stress filled society and the mainstream solution is to take a pill.  What if you don't want to take an SSRI or anxiolytic medication, what if you understand that mental health is more than a deficiency or excess of neuro-chemicals.  In this class we will discuss the causes of depression and anxiety, and how many cases can be effectively treated using the appropriate herbs.  The common misconception that St. Johns wort or any one herb is the "depression" herb is misleading and we will look at the specific indications of emotional dysfunction and the specific remedies to treat them.

Emotionally-Focused Herbal Therapy: An herbalist’s role in supporting people experiencing mood disorders, anxiety and trauma disorders

As herbalists we practice within a paradigm acknowledging that the mind and body are interconnected. Through a whole-body perspective, herbalists have much to offer in the realm of mental and emotional support. There are also potential pitfalls. This course will focus on supporting mental health within an herbalist’s scope of practice, given by a practicing herbalist and psychotherapist. 

Finding, understanding, and applying primary research literature for the herbalist

Primary research can provide additional layers of information to inform the decision making of medicine maker or clinician. Overlapping data from primary research can often support traditional knowledge. However, what do you do when such confluence is lacking or contradicts your own understanding? Let’s redefine some strategies together for creatively exploring that space-in-between.

Heart-ache and Spirit-pain: Differentiating Herbs for Psycho-Spiritual-Emotional Distress

Most of us intuitively understand the central role that psychological health can play in both encouraging and hindering healing and this potent time in history offers diverse challenges to our emotional and spiritual health, resulting in depression and anxiety disorders, panic, insomnia, dread and grief. Learn to differentiate among the crowd of nervous system remedies, along with plants we might not consider for these conditions. Considering the bio-psycho-social model of health, along with the power of personal narrative, we’ll discuss the nuanced patterns of action or “personalities” of key plants, weaving energetic qualities, pharmacology, direct experiences, clinical literature, growth habits, and even mythology. Uniting these many threads, we’ll hear the resonance of human stories with plant stories and, hopefully, recognize in them a path to healing.

Speaker: Larken Bunce
Herb Quality

Chinese herbs, western herbs; the present state of quality in the herbal marketplace, dietary supplement industry; evaluation, effective testing methods, practical considerations
-QC guidelines for clinical and professional scope (vouchers, botanical ID, organoleptic testing for whole fresh or dried herbs); track = beginner to advanced, something for everyone

Herbal Support in the Postpartum Period

The postpartum period marks a powerful and life-altering transition, whether it’s a mother’s first baby or her fourth. In this class we’ll explore herbal considerations for working with postpartum mothers (up through 2 years after birth), including what physiological and psychospiritual/emotional changes you may encounter, herbal protocols to support mother and child, and important contraindications and considerations unique to this life stage.  

Herbalism in Context: Interpreting a Client Interview and Shaping an Outcome with Leslie Williams and Leslie Alexander

In practice, we observe, listen, interact and assess a client. We ask questions and measure replies. We aim to collect a rounded profile of an individual which extends beyond their symptom profile and addresses not only their physical well-being but also their emotional and spiritual well-being. After an initial assessment, whether at home, at a county fair or in a clinic, , and we have the task of prioritizing information; grouping like with like, identifying places where we may well need additional information so that we can offer a holistic protocol. How do we effectively use the pieces of information that we collected? The scalloped tongue; the health history; the list of daily pharmaceuticals; the social isolation? And how do these pieces fit with why a client asked for a consult in the first place? The process of sorting this information and shaping it into a realistic and holistic protocol for a client is the challenge. We will discuss this and work through big and small questions while using case study examples. Whether we work with a huge apothecary from several traditions or we work with a dozen herbs from our kitchen, or kitchen garden – the same principles and skills apply. How do we decide where to begin? What is more important and what sort of timeline do we use? Where do we focus our attention? Should herbs be a primary resource? And if not, why not? Join us as we address these questions and build a holistic protocol together.

Herbalism in Context: Interpreting a Client Interview and Shaping an Outcome with Leslie Williams and Leslie Alexander

In practice, we observe, listen, interact and assess a client. We ask questions and measure replies. We aim to collect a rounded profile of an individual which extends beyond their symptom profile and addresses not only their physical well-being but also their emotional and spiritual well-being. After an initial assessment, whether at home, at a county fair or in a clinic, , and we have the task of prioritizing information; grouping like with like, identifying places where we may well need additional information so that we can offer a holistic protocol. How do we effectively use the pieces of information that we collected? The scalloped tongue; the health history; the list of daily pharmaceuticals; the social isolation? And how do these pieces fit with why a client asked for a consult in the first place? The process of sorting this information and shaping it into a realistic and holistic protocol for a client is the challenge. We will discuss this and work through big and small questions while using case study examples. Whether we work with a huge apothecary from several traditions or we work with a dozen herbs from our kitchen, or kitchen garden – the same principles and skills apply. How do we decide where to begin? What is more important and what sort of timeline do we use? Where do we focus our attention? Should herbs be a primary resource? And if not, why not? Join us as we address these questions and build a holistic protocol together.

Herbs for wound healing and infection control

Whether in a remote environment or in a situation where there may not be the choice of higher definitive care, it is very important to understand the stages of wound healing and specific herbs that can greatly speed both the rate of tissue repair as well as avoid infection or overcome infection if it is present.  Sam Coffman will cover a specific material medica that follows the most effective trajectory of dealing with inflammation and infection while stimulating tissue proliferation, circulation and angiogenesis.  This material medica will include several anti-bacterial approaches and “adjuvant” herbs that help increase the efficacy of anti-bacterial phytotherapy in the case of infection.  From injury to recovery, Sam will focus on open wounds, but will also teach methods and material medica that can apply to closed tissue injuries as well (sprains, strains, etc.)

Speaker: Sam Coffman
Hypertension: Not a Disease but a Symptom

Unfortunately there are no simple one-size-fits-all treatment for hypertension. Nor is it so easy as to diagnose it from a single sphygnometer reading. Yet, hypertension is considered one of the surer symptoms point to serious cardio-vascular incidents.

It has different causes and consequently requires different diagnostic and treatment strategies.

In this course we will present the symptoms of hypertension from the perspective of Western medical herbalism, TCM and Ayurveda and effective herbs, formulas and treatment strategies.

Integrative Approach to Cancer Management with Ayurvedic Medicine

Cancer is a major public health problem in the United States and many other parts of the world. Currently, 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is due to cancer. In the past 40 years, there has been minimal success in extending survival in most cancer patients diagnosed with solid tumors. Occasionally, there are new reports about spectacular results from new drugs in a cell line study or in research animal models, but most of these results are only valid in the laboratory. Five-year survival rates in adults with chemotherapy treated malignancies were only 2.1% in the USA and 2.3% in Australia.
Integrative oncology promotes better patient outcomes by combining the best of modern science with time-tested natural methods of Ayurvedic medicine. This presentation describes novel and natural methods that complement and supplement conventional cancer treatments. This multi-faceted approach can help patients avoid metastasis and subsequent chemotherapy and radiation.  The role of traditional therapies like Ayurvedic herbal medicine and detoxification, nutrition, exercise, yoga and meditation will be discussed in addition to modern therapies like hyperbaric oxygen treatment, IV therapy, and hyperthermia. Clinical cases of different types of cancers will be presented. The integrative approach using Ayurvedic medicine resulted in cancer remission and increased life span with improved quality of life.

Integrative Medicine Clinics: Models of collaborative care

As a provider in an integrative practice in the South, it’s clear to see that patient demand for collaborative care is here. Holli Richey will discuss the multi-disciplinary, collaborative care, or “shared care” model in which she practices herbal medicine and psychotherapy, offering case studies of patients who’ve benefited from the collaborative model and explaining how it has made her a better practitioner.

Living Medicine: 5 Phases for Western Herbalists

Through the rhythmic system of the Five Phases (or Elements), the Chinese recorded how the landscape is reflected in the bodies, hearts and minds of humans. We can easily translate the essence of this system into our own bioregional and cultural contexts in order to craft a living, breathing medicine, rooted firmly to place. We can weave the wisdom of the Phases into our intake process and assessment of psychological and physiological tendencies and imbalances, even as Western herbalists. As practitioners we can also use our capacity to embody each Phase, using our own presence as a healing tool, so we’ll discuss how to use attitude and words to align ourselves with client needs and the spirit and actions of the plants we choose. In short, we’ll think together about how we bring the Phases to life in our practices, crafting an approach that equally engages the plants, the client, and the practitioner.

Speaker: Larken Bunce
Managing Surgery with Botanicals and Nutrition

This detailed lecture describes the systemic effects of surgery and the healing process. Risks and consequences are reviewed and the question of surgery in cancer in considered in detail. Botanicals and nutrition for immune support, connective tissue healing, liver clearance of drugs and managing infections are explored.

Speaker: Chanchal Cabrera
Medicinal Mushroom: An Updated Presentation of the science and tradition behind the growing interest

Author of Medicinal Mushrooms; their place in modern integrative health and medicinal practices. A thorough and succinct review of the science and traditional use of the most widely-researched medicinal mushrooms (especially turkey tails, shiitake, cordyceps, maitake, and chaga), based on many years of on-going clinical practice will be presented. A short presentation on the health-giving and nutritional value of musrhooms will be included. Current experience in integrative oncology will be shared, with case reports, effective use, and expected outcomes. Track = intermediate to advanced (or interested student).

Medicinal Tree Walk

Tree medicine is often overlooked and in the southeastern USA we have an abundance of medicinal trees that can stock an apothecary. Focus on what is present now, natives as well as non-natives and invasives; believe it is important to discuss ethical harvesting, preservation as well as the historical uses and current research. The traditional spirit energies of trees are important to consider as well.

Motivational Counseling Strategies for the Herbalist

The benefits of herbal therapy can either be optimized by or diminished by behaviors and lifestyle. Achievement of health-related goals gets a lot harder if clients are engaging in health-negative behaviors that impede progress. Motivational counseling is an effective technique for helping clients make meaningful changes in their lives. Learn key strategies to explore client ambivalence, identify resistance, and catalyze changes in both health-positive and health-negative behaviors.

Natural Remedies for Mental and Emotional Health

Learn to use food, herbs, essential oils and flower essences to improve depression, anxiety, fear, anger, worry, grief, intelligence, sleep and stress. Recognize physical imbalances that contribute to mental health according to Five Element Theory. Select herbal and other natural remedies that benefit the emotional body. Suggest lifestyle techniques that contribute to mental health from the realm of diet, essential oils, color, light, and sound.

Neurological Implications of Gluten/wheat Associated Disorders

This lecture will cover new research into the damage, primarily neurological, that occurs with gluten/wheat sensitive individuals and the herbal management of these outcomes. The effect of leaky gut on neurotransmitter function, bowel health and microflora will be addressed with some consideration of suitable diets that may be needed. The level of malnutrition on long-term health will be addressed and a number of case histories presented. There will be some inclusion of the effects of transglutaminases, gluteomorphins and lectin cross reactivity on neurological health. Testing methods that are available will be enumerated briefly. Major drugs that contain gluten will be noted.

Speaker: Susan J. Fidler
Pediatric Respiratory Case Management

We will use some case histories to illustrate typical pediatric respiratory cases that cover everything from complications of the common cold viruses to the more complex cases of pneumonia and asthma.  We will discuss management herbally in all cases but include other adjunctive care elements from nutrition to when to refer.  We will also review constitutional assessment with each case. 

Preventing and Treating Flu and other Upper Respiratory Tract Infections-A Multi-cultural and integrative approach

A review of respiratory tract hygiene, and ways to maintain respiratory health will be presented, including a short explanation of how the respiratory tract is thought of as a functional organ in traditional Chinese medicine, and a physical system based on a modern understanding of physiology and anatomy. The class will focus on practical treatments to help heal upper respiratory tract infections, chronic inflammatory conditions of the respiratory tract (like asthma), as well as maintain a high level of respiratory track wellness. Herbal practice will be emphasized throughout. Intermediate level, appropriate for both herb students and practitioners.

Protecting Our Shell: Recognizing Benign and Malignant Skin Conditions

This pictorial presentation seeks to educate the herbal practitioner on appearances of both benign and malignant skin lesions and possible herbal treatment. The presentation will include pathophysiology, methods of clinical diagnosis, associated risk factors and identifying features of a variety of common skin lesions. This in turn, will aid the practitioner in knowing when to refer the client on. Herbal protocols for support and prevention of recurrence as well as case studies will be covered in detail.

Rapport to Rumex: Detailing the Clinical Process from Start to Finish

Explore the clinical process from the first smile until the dispensing of herbs. Applying experiences from more than a decade of practice and training clinicians, Bevin will look at the strategies for success at each step along the way to make your own clinical practice more fluid, streamlined, and effective. Appropriate for experienced clinicians and students alike.

Speaker: Bevin Clare
Research based principles every herbal educator should know

Research based principles every herbal educator should know! This workshop will discuss research based learning principles to enhance teaching style. 

Tackling ‘difficult’ Sleep disorders and other conditions using the Constitutional Review Approach

Suitable for ‘difficult’ cases where after an initial response the condition recurs or stops responding and you have run out of ideas for where to go next. Ideal for when you seem to have identified and recognised the pattern of illness but only a partial response achieved or one that repeatedly relapses leaving you ‘stuck’ as to how to progress. The technique will be demonstrated using three case histories with a focus especially on sleep disorders. It involves showing how you can ‘go a layer deeper’ beyond the obvious presenting patterns to access deeper more constitutionally based patterns that are the reason for the condition. The case histories will demonstrate the ‘Journey’ to take to reach a new herbal treatment protocol and how to apply and manage it. The emphasis is on sleep patterns and uses TCM formulas and herbs but could be applied to other conditions that fit the pattern.

The Circulation in Traditional Western Herbalism

“First equalize the circulation” was the motto of both the physiomedicalists and the eclectics; it was also practiced within the “wise woman” tradition (remember the mother treating Beth for brain fever in Little Women: “we’ve got to get the blood to move down to the feet!”)  The overall distribution of the blood is a direct expression of the disease and one of the best symptoms to aide in understanding the disease in an overall, constitutional fashion (modern research: Dr. Irwin Korr).  The pulse is an excellent method for tracking the circulation or simply for learning how it changes in balance and imbalance.  Discussion of the concept, pulse, and remedies for circulatory issues.

The Herban Medic

Working in an urban area affords the herbalist a chance to help underserved and bring herbalism to people who are in need.  There are many ways in which an herbalist can bring this kind of botanical and natural approach to people, and not all of those ways have to include opening a clinic or an office as the only means of reaching out.  From working as an herbal educator to offering community plant walks, visiting the homeless on the street and in greenbelts, to offering first aid assistance during protests, starting community gardens and more, there are many ways to be more than just an office and a website.  In this class, Sam Coffman will share his own experiences in offering herbal health care, community gardening and sustainable food and medicine education to the general public wherever he goes, both by himself as well as with students.  Sam will cover some of the fundamental herbs and formulas he thinks are important for an “Herban Medic” to have available in an herbal first aid kit, as well as some of the most common first aid situations usually encountered in a variety of urban settings.  This will include some of the basic legal issues to watch for and how to protect oneself legally in this environment as an herbalist.

Speaker: Sam Coffman
Tongue Diagnosis and Herbs

Learn how to assess the tongue’s many appearances along with what that means for health problems and learn which appropriate herbs to use to bring renewed health or prevent illness. Learn to assess the tongue: learn which herbs to use for particular tongue signs; learn the energetic application of herbs to bring balance to physical health issues as indicated by the tongue. Students who attend this workshop will be able to: assess the tongue and know which herbs to give or herbal categories to use to bring the person back into health or prevent health problems.

Understanding Methylation

Methylation is a biological process that affects many critical functions in the body. It helps repair DNA, control homeocysteine levels, fight infections, maintain mood and mental health, and plays a role in keeping inflammation in check. Methylation is also required to inactivate histamine, is critical to the metabolism of adrenaline, noradrenalin, and dopamine and is used to prepare toxins for release into bile. Herbal and nutritional support for the methylation cycle is critical for mental and physical health. This class will discuss the process of methylation and herbs and nutrients to help maximize the process.

Unique Traditions of Western Herbalism

In this class we will discuss eight distinctive traits that characterized the traditional practice of Western herbalism and demonstrate that it is a unique tradition with a complete energetics and principles and practices of its own.  These include: 1.  Energetics (The Six Tissue States, physiomedicalism); 2. Treatment of Processes and Functions (rather than specific molecular lesions); 3. Actions (basic categories); 4. Circulation (treatment of the distribution of the blood, as in hydrotherapy and osteopathy); 5. Detoxifcation (use of alteratives to open channels of elimination and improve metabolism); 6. Thermoregulation (treatment of acute fever and chronic disease); 7. Treatment of the Extracellular Matrix (i.e., local treatment, found in all traditional herbal systems); 8. Unique Materia Medica of Female Reproductive Remedies from American Indian sources (much more extensive than European, Chinese, and other systems).

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