Pre-Symposium Intensives

Pre-Symposium Intensive Descriptions and Information

We are proud to offer an array of intensives prior to the Symposium for those who would like to more deeply immerse themselves. Detailed descriptions for the six half-day intensives that you may choose from can be found below. To learn more about the post-symposium intensive, click here.

The pre-Symposium intensives REQUIRE registration and can be purchased for a fee of $50 per class along with your general registration. The intensives will be held on Thursday, October 10, at the following times: 

  • Morning intensives will take place from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM  (please choose 1 of the 3 options)
  • Afternoon intensives will take place from 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM (please choose 1 of the 3 options)

Morning (8:00am-12:00pm)

An Afro-Diasporic View of Holistic Herbalism
Morning (8:00am-12:00pm)

Africans have the oldest plant medicine and healing art practices recorded in the written word and predominantly passed down through oral traditions generation to generation. Today, many descendants from Africa living in the diaspora have preserved knowledge and healing wisdom that has contributed to Western Herbalism and mainstream medicine alike. Similar to the mainlands of Africa, these herbal traditions have been transferred through oral traditions and reserved within family lineages. It is of great importance and sternly stressed that plant medicines are delivered with art and science in mind. These components of life within plant medicine cannot be divided. Moreover, plant medicine and healing arts are hardly separated. They are a married dynamic optimizing greater outcomes of spiritual and physical health. This discussion seeks to impart multiple plant medicines commonly used in the Caribbean via West and East African traditions and to fully discuss, define and emphasize some of the important aspects of art and science from an African perspective. We touch on the importance of storytelling, mindset around preparations, spirituality and how quantum science can create dialogue and forum to explain spiritual experiences.

Herbal Support for Transgender, Genderqueer and Non-Binary Folks
Morning (8:00am-12:00pm)

Many of us work with plant medicines to carry on the anti-oppressive, community-based, anti-authoritarian traditions of centuries of herbalists -- a kind of medicine we need all the more today.  Herbal care is especially sought in many trans and non-binary communities to get away from the hostile and disempowering treatment often experienced in the medical world, and to feel a greater sense of autonomy in a society that tries to shame, dominate and do violence to trans and non-binary people. Maybe you want to know what you can do to make your herbal practice a welcoming place for trans clients. Maybe you’ve gotten feedback that your classes or articles are harming your trans students and want to make changes to make your program more accessible. Or maybe you’re trans or non-binary and looking for solid information about using herbal medicines in gender-affirming ways, including in combination with hormone therapies. In this intensive we address how to responsibly navigate drug-herb interactions, pre- and post-operative surgical care, and herbal supports for medical and non-medical gender-affirming practices. This intensive is a step to address all these needs in our herbal community!

This intensive will help spread information that will support us in offering high quality and empowering care and connection to the trans clients and communities in our lives. The material shared comes out of the collective knowledge, expression and experimentation of many trans folks over many years, as well as the plants, institutional medical research, the always helpful guiding star of sass, and just a touch of arcane herbal lore! The workshop will be practical, accessible, and, largely, fun.

Topics to be covered:

• Hormone replacement therapies (HRT), the ways they work, risks and side effects, and how herbs can be supportive.
• Responsibly navigating drug-herb interactions: understanding the ways drugs and herbs interact, and the particulars of supporting clients doing HRT without affecting their pharmaceutical regimen.
• Pre- and post-operative surgical care for a variety of top and bottom surgeries.
• Herbal supports for medical and non-medical gender-affirming practices.
• The state of the clinical research relevant to trans health, including herbal research
• Playing with gender and herbs: reflecting on the stories we have connecting gender, plants, bodies and medicines, and how these can be retold, used or subverted for survival, radical change and pleasure.
• Gender-aware and gender-expansive logistics: practical approaches to welcome and serve trans and non-binary community for people who run herbal practices, teach, write, make products and build worlds.
• Some political real talk about trans panic and vilification and the messages that support and weaponize the gender binary.
• Time for your questions!

Herbal Medicines for Chronic and Acute Infections
Morning (8:00am-12:00pm)

This class will include a range of common long-term and acute infections, focusing on bacterial and viral pathogens. These include Lyme, urinary tract, respiratory and skin infections such as staph. The goal is to offer practical, clinically focused herbal remedies and treatment strategies. Participants will learn which herbal medicines to have on hand, plants that can be gathered and prepared, useful preparations, and learning to differences which plants to use for different types of infections.

Afternoon (1:30pm-5:30pm)

Formulating and Prescribing Herbal Medicines
Afternoon (1:30pm-5:30pm)

We all know the feeling – you have studied plenty of materia medica and phyto-pharmacology, and you can say hydrolysable tannins and pyrrolizidine alkaloids like you  actually know what they mean, but how do you apply all those memorized monographs to a real client? What is your strategic thinking? Does your formula have internal logic and reasoning?  What form are you prescribing the herbs in?  What dose is safe? Is that going to be effective? What about synergies, energetics, constitutions? Have you considered compliance and cost?
There are many questions and little solid information available on the nuts and bolts of thinking through a formula or a protocol. This intensive introduces a practical framework for creating effective individualized formulas and customized herbal treatment plans where all the elements support each other to give therapeutic potency.

Using a case history as an example we explore:
     • philosophies of prescribing (bio-medical vs. energetic, drop dose vs. heroic dose)
     • normalizer vs. effector (physiological enhancement vs. pathological correction)
     • the causal chain of disease
     • layering the herbal actions - incremental building of the architecture or structure of a formula
     • directing the herbs and tissue specificities
     • the therapeutic index and effective posology
     • synergies and clashes with herbs
     • how the constituents and solvents determine the finished product
     • taste, convenience and compliance

Herbal Energetics
Afternoon (1:30pm-5:30pm)

Herbal energetics are the sum total of the tangible and intangible healing properties of plants. By exploring the subtle energy or spirit of an herb we move into a deeper understanding that goes beyond chemical constituents, taste and physiological actions. In this session we'll examine energetic concepts from various traditions and then delve into the energetic properties of many common herbs You'll learn how to use herbal energetics to create effective therapies for your practice. Case histories, some traditional Chinese medicine concepts, pulse and tongue diagnosis, and plant energetics with constituent categories and actions will also be discussed. Together we'll create new ideas and practical solutions we can all use.

Aromatherapy in Clinical Practice
Afternoon (1:30pm-5:30pm)

This intensive focuses on intertwining the disciples of clinical aromatherapy and clinical herbalism to enhance healing and wellbeing in our clients.  Case studies from 40 years of experience are presented to emphasize the success of mixing disciplines according to client need. Clinical aromatherapy in Traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Western Medicine approaches are touched on from a modern and historic perspective, including a rational of aromatherapy use for each discipline. We also dig into the safe and effective use of 12 essential oils, contrasting how they work on the brain and through dermal penetration compared to herbs and various herbal products.