Symposium Class Descriptions

Alcohol-Free Herbalist

I have been in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction 30+ years and work with people who do not want to use alcohol as medicine. We will discuss specific alcohol-free herbal delivery systems, including cane syrup, sorghum, miso, molasses, canning, vinegar making, creative oxymels, glycerin, pan frying, fats/oils, and more. We will taste a wide variety of herbal products.

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American Ginseng: A Return to Practice

Who is using wild American ginseng in practice? Certainly not most American herbalists who believe that using our native plant is taboo. It’s not even on most health food store shelves or in herbal apothecaries. We’ll look at using the herb as a simple and in formulas and will delve deeply into the many uses of a bioregional plant that was once considered the King of Herbs.

Analgesia: Botanical and Nutritional Protocols for Effective Pain Relief

Studies show many people, especially the elderly, poor, people of color, and women, are under-treated for chronic pain. While herbs are not as powerful as opiates and other pharmaceutical medications, they can offer safer and highly effective pain management. We will discuss how specific herbs can relieve specific pains, how to combine herbs to create a synergistic effect and reduce inflammation, pain perception, and spasm, and how botanicals can enhance the effects of pharmaceuticals.

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Anxiety and Depression in Ayurveda

This class reviews the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression in Ayurveda, drawing upon three essential therapeutic elements including yuktivyapashraya (i.e. rational therapy), sattvavajaya chikitsa (i.e. behavioural therapy), and daivavyapashraya (spiritual medicine). Informed by both theory and practical experience, this class reviews these elements and their different applications in Ayurveda, including diet, herbal medication, lifestyle, and psycho-spiritual techniques.

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Bioregional Herbalism: Promise and Pitfalls

Bioregional herbalism is a rewarding practice that promises both connection to place and a more sustainable relationship to medicine making. Unfortunately, as interest in plant medicine grows, we must take a closer look at the impact of this practice. We will discuss how we might continue to enjoy the deep connection that stems from working with the medicine around us while working towards more sustainable models.

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Botanical Analogues as Substitutes for Native Flora Unsustainable To Harvest

Due to the increased popularity of herbal medicine and the fetishization of foraging culture, many are rethinking wildcrafting sustainability. We’ll examine practical choices wildcrafting herbalists can make to refocus their materia medica and retain the clinical impact based on intersections of botanical relationships, constituents, and the energetics of plants. We’ll examine sourcing choices, methods for ascertaining what may be easier to cultivate in one’s bioregion, and how to stay connected to the medicinal virtues of the wild spaces that inspire us.

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Building Botanical Repertoire with Black Haw

Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium), or the other Viburnum, is a currently underappreciated medicinal that is native throughout the east. It’s a bit more common than crampbark, Viburnum opulus, thoug it is used in similar ways, as an antispasmodic, cardiotonic, and mild hypotensive, by relaxing smooth muscle in the blood vessels, famously to mitigate menstrual pain, and in other various ways by midwives. Black haw’s historical use as a blood purifier will also be discussed.

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Ceanothus, A Surprising Shrub

Ceanothus, a lymphatic herb, reasonable tasting tea, liver supporter, digestive aid, and health tonic, is overlooked in modern herbalism. A small shrub, it can be grown in many places, but especially makes a home in the south. This herb was not always in Heather’s repertoire until she gasped at all the potential benefits complementary to common health imbalances and started introducing many of her clients to it.

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Celtic Herbal Medicine

We will examine the historical Celtic tribes and Druids with a modern reading of the Celtic approach to plant medicine through a contemplative elemental approach. Who were the Celts? Keith and Danny will shed light on this question through historical records and their work over the years. This includes a tacit energetic approach to the five elements which offers a practical system for creating complex individualized remedies in a modern clinical setting.

Clearing Phlegm with Herbs of the Southeast

Chinese medicine recognizes phlegm as congealed fluids that may result in symptoms such as coughing, asthma, nausea, dizziness, pain, and even mental disturbances. Herbs to clear phlegm may provide relief. This lecture provides a Georgia and southeast-based materia medica of phlegm-clearing herbs. Susan will differentiate among the different types of phlegm and the herbs that best address each.

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Clinical Applications for Rectally Administered Medicine

Herbs, foods, and supplements are great, but sometimes we get stuck thinking life/medicine revolves around our faces. Some medicine tastes pretty bad. Sometimes the geography of the organ we're addressing (colon) is 20-30 ft from where we're delivering medicine (the mouth). We'll discuss basic rectal anatomy and the benefits associated with administering medicine to address many health concerns via retention enemas and rectal suppositories.

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Cotton Root Bark from Africa to the Americas: A Tradition of Reproductive Justice, Sovereignty, and Resistance

The story of cotton root bark is a unique intersection of the brilliant memory and wisdom of our African ancestors and the resilient spirits and wombs of enslaved women in the United States. The very plant that was readily accessible afforded enslaved women an opportunity to have a sense of control over their bodies and reproductive choices and gave them access to possibility, sovereignty, and reproductive liberation.

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Dosage, Constitutions, and Routes of Administration - a Cultural Perspective

An herbalist's choice of routes of herb administration, dosages, etc., reflect their worldview, cultural biases, and who they think is really in control - the herbs or the herbalist. Keith draws on more than 25 years practice and teaching experience in Scotland and the European tradition.

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From Supply Chains to Supply Webs: A Bioregional Solution

This panel will explore the opportunities and obstacles to creating bioregional supply webs in medicinal plant commerce. Each panelist will discuss the challenges of the current system, their vision for developing a more regional market for their produce or products, and the challenges and opportunities of that vision. We will facilitate a discussion with participants to come up with concrete steps to begin making this vision a reality.

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From Symptom to Formula

Learn a step-by-step body systems based method that takes you through the process of assessing symptoms, both acute and chronic, to determining appropriate herbal actions and then generating a list of herbs that become the foundation for effective formulas. This is a method that empowers student practitioners as they begin to apply what they know about individual herbs to actual cases. It also provides a template that may be modified and applied when working in other herbal healing traditions. 

Healing the Womb: Clinical Use of Plants for the Female Reproductive System

Womb complications and the attached emotional scarring that affects the reproductive health of women can be challenging to treat. This lecture offers a framework for creating a protocol for profound healing drawn from Zaire’s years of clinical experience. We will survey locally grown/cultivated herbs and their clinical applications for the treatment of conditions such as dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, infertility, fibroids, endometriosis, and PCOS.

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Herbal Assistance in Opioid and Kratom Withdrawal

Explore herbal protocols to help with acute and chronic opioid addiction/withdrawal as well as approaches to kratom withdrawal. We will explore physical, spiritual, and emotional approaches to addiction and withdrawal and also cover traditions such as Chinese medicine and other systems to understand the best herbal pathways.

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Herbs for Traumatic Stress

Trauma can have profound effects on the psychobiological and socioemotional systems of a person’s body-mind, affecting relationships, health, and self-actualization, confounding conventional health practitioners with its complexity of symptoms. Herbal medicine, with its multi-system involvement, offers elegant, gentle, supportive benefits alongside psychotherapy. Learn the psychophysiology of trauma and how to safely match herbs to people’s symptoms.

Presenter:
Little-Known Medicinal Plants of the Southeastern US

Many common medicinal plants found in the Southeastern US are virtually unknown outside of this region. There are highly effective herbal medicines that are still used in southern folk medicine or that have been introduced from other parts of the world that are rarely used and are often abundant. Yellow root, kudzu, cross vine and mimosa are just a few of these medicines we will learn about.

Presenter:
Making Strong Medicines

Using concentrated herbal preparations allows for smaller doses with the same results as standard dosing, while conserving plant material, increasing client compliance, and decreasing cost. In this hands (and tongue) on lecture, Thomas will demonstrate the processes involved in making percolations, Soxhlet extractions, and evaporative concentrates, and discuss herbal allies that shine in these preparations. Participants will sample some of each of the above.

Presenter:
Medicinal Mushrooms of Southern Appalachia

Explore five endemic medicinal mushroom species that flourish in the biologically diverse ecosystems of the southern Appalachian mountains. We will discuss proper identification, preserving and extracting these gifts from the forest, clinical applications as indicated from both scientific and ethnomycological perspectives, and sustainable foraging methods. We’ll cover ways to incorporate these mushrooms in formulas with other bioregional herbs.

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Meet the JAHG Editor

Have you ever thought about sharing your experience and knowledge in the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild? Even if you think you’re not a writer, Susan Marynowski, JAHG Editor, can provide guidance and help you through the process of publishing a case study, a cultural article, or a research study in the JAHG. Take advantage of this informal ‘Meet the Editor’ session to discuss the possibilities!

Presenter:
Natural Treatment Strategies for Opioid Dependency - Herbs and TCM for Long-term Recovery

Those who abuse opioids often develop physical imbalances and illnesses, partially due to malnutrition and poor lifestyle choices. Additionally, opioids are responsible for brain changes causing brain damage leading to mental disharmonies over time. Learn how herbs and TCM are used to nourish the body, balance the emotions of opioid users, modulate neuroplasticity, and potentiate brain healing.

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Plant Walk on the Wild Side! Local Plant Exploration

Immerse yourself in nature as Will shares his intimate insights into the local flora. With a range of personal stories that elucidate a deeper cultural context for herbalism in Appalachia, Will offers an engaging hands-on experience for those interested in practical identification, sustainable harvest, and traditional uses of common regional herbs.

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Plant Walk with a Local Georgia Herbalist

Enjoy a walk in the forest with a local Georgia herbalist, identifying some of our favorite herbal friends. We will see, touch, smell, and taste a variety of our herbal allies. Expect some herbal storytelling!

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Plant Walk: Appalachian Apothecary

Explore the incredible abundance and diversity of one of the most ecologically rich bioregions on the continent. Learn the geologic history that led to this unique convergence of plant communities. As we stroll through this lush environment, we will discuss energetics, indications, preparation, cultivation strategies, and lore of the many remedies we encounter.

Presenter:
Plant Walk: Finding a Sense of Place in Southeast Appalachia

Delve into the art and science of horticulture therapy while exploring local and invasive botanicals. This plant walk goes beyond identification of botanicals in the landscape and shares practical steps you can use for yourself or your clients to address seasonal affective disorder, culture shock, and feeling ungrounded by connecting with the landscape wherever you are. Participants will enjoy a wild food snack and herbal tea refreshment.

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Plant Walk: Forest Bathing - A Mindful Walk in Nature

Experience nature through the participatory sensual practice of forest bathing. Forest bathing is a Shinto-Buddhist approach of engaging with nature mindfully, immersing all the senses in the elements of nature, becoming present to the moment, and noticing the subtle responses to how the body and mind are intimately connected with nature. The popularity of forest bathing has grown as international research continues to show its benefits: a reduction in biomarkers for stress and a subjective sense of wellbeing.

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Plant Walk: Orienting to the Medicines of Place

What do our observations of a place tell us about the herbal medicines that might be found there? And how do the plants we see help form our knowledge of place? We'll put the pieces together into a dynamic portrait as we explore and discuss plenty of medicinal applications of the herbs and trees along the way.

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Plant Walk: Traditional and Eclectic Uses of Mountain Plants

There are many plants of this area that are well-known as medicines and some that have a long history but have been forgotten. On this walk, we’ll look at both types and talk about their tradition of usage and what that can teach us about how to use these plants for our clients.

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Plant Walk: Tree Medicine

This walk around the state park introduces you to the local medicinal trees, many of which can be found throughout the eastern US. We’ll discuss botany, ecology, identification, ethical and sustainable harvest (barks, needles, resins, buds), parts used, clinical applications, in-depth medicinal use, and medicinal preparations. Attention will also be given to medicinal mushrooms commonly found on the trees we'll find on our walk.

Plant Walk: What The Land Tells Us

Engage in a collective healing experience based on, and inspired by, the Chattahoochee National Forest. Together in ritual, we will acknowledge complex histories recorded on the land, learn about regional herbs and their uses among enslaved people, and become familiar, through dialogue, meditation, and time on the land, with the ways in which these pasts become healing histories from which to learn in the present.

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Preventing Adverse Events, Energetics of Rx Medications

Explore the energetics of common Rx medication and predict possible side effects based on client constitutions. We will create an understanding of the energetic effects of each medication through the basic ideas of hot/cold, wet/dry, nourishing/reducing. This will allow practitioners to safely recommend herbs to prevent these side effects.

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Reishi: Ethnomycology, Current World Research, and Clinical Applications

This visually stimulating presentation will explore the 3000 year clinical history of Ganoderma species. Reishi mythology, clinical trials, published scientific studies, and herbal protocols will be discussed. Participants will become well-versed with the subtle energies of the Mushroom of Immortality, identify herbal allies that complement reishi in formulation, and be comfortable in incorporating reishi’s adaptive influence into herbal formulas.

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Rosa Multiflora in Practice

Rosa multiflora is an introduced species ranging from Maine to Texas and west to the midwest and Great Lakes. It is highly medicinal, having been used traditionally in its native China and Japan, and offers a wonderful opportunity to work with a bioregionally abundant herb. This class will cover the complete materia medica of Rosa multiflora, including in-depth medicinal use, clinical applications, and harvesting.

Rudbeckia laciniata: A Widespread and Easy-to-Grow Alternative to Echinacea

Rudbeckia laciniata, sometimes known as cut-leaf coneflower, is abundant in the southern Appalachians, found throughout the continental US, and is easy to grow. I will share its clinical uses, which rival and in some ways surpass its threatened relative Echinacea angustifolia, as well as demonstrate sustainable harvesting methods, share cultivation tips, and touch on the ethnobotany of this medicinally-undervalued plant.

Presenter:
Scientific Validation of Botanical Medicine (feat. The Consciousness of Plants)

The indigenous traditional use of plants is supported by scientific inquiry. Why does berberine kill bacteria without causing the development of resistant strains? Does silymarin upregulate the P 450 liver enzymes to enhance detoxification?  Participants will understand mechanisms of action of how herbs heal, as well as current and past research that investigates the consciousness of plants.

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Southern Folk Medicine

Traditional Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine is the most widely acknowledged regional folk medicine in the United States and the only system to develop here other than Native American medicine. Join Phyllis for a discussion of its history and development and continued application today.

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Spikenard, Calamus, and Angelica: Mountain Roots to Cut Through The Fog

Although these three herbs are very different plants with different indications, they are all strongly aromatic roots that can be found in the southern Appalachian mountains. Each of these herbs has its own way of clearing the mind and improving the digestive and respiratory system.

Presenter:
Structural Pain Management with a (Mostly) Southern Materia Medica

In order to create an effective herbal pain-relieving formula, it’s important to understand how to classify pain herbs, and to understand their unique roles in structural system pain management. Thomas will cover systemic and topical anti-inflammatories, as well as topical and central acting analgesics, with a focus on herbs from the southern US (gelsemium, amanita, datura, etc). We will also dive into the complexities of creating an herbal pain formula.

Presenter:
The Mighty Calamus

Will shares his first-hand experience with the heroic herb, calamus (Acorus calamus), which includes a broad knowledge of its medicinal uses and local traditions, as well as its worldwide ethno-botanical history and appearance in literature. While weaving a tale of his intimate relationship with this unique herb, Will will discuss identification, sustainable harvesting, and methods of cultivation.

Presenter:
The Sustainable Herbs Project: Following Our Medicine from Seed to Bottle

The Sustainable Herbs Project is a multi-year research and multi-media project following herbs though the global supply chain. Ann will present photos, short videos, and commentary to make visible some of the people and places behind the products we consume. Her goal is to provide participants with a more nuanced understanding of the supply chain overall and to tease out the social, economic, and environmental impacts of our choices.

Presenter:
The Ten Most Useful Lab Tests You Need to Understand (Besides Vit. D)

Functional medicine testing: everyone's doing it, should you? You should at least understand some basics so you can communicate and collaborate well with other practitioners. A basic understanding can allow you to recommend an herb/food that fits a condition from an energetic, traditionally logical, AND a well-documented scientific perspective. We’ll touch on the basics of common and not-so-common - but all very useful - blood, urine, and fecal tests.

Presenter:
Tree Medicine

Learn how to work with trees, from the importance of plant families, actions, energetics, and seasons to the specifics of peeling bark, trimming twigs, and sustainably harvesting leaves. We will discuss keys to year-round identification and seasonal ethical harvesting and sample tinctures, salves, liniments, syrups, and tea. I will provide online resource lists and offer practical ideas for tracking your local seasonal work with trees.

Presenter:
Underused Medicinal Plants of Eastern North America

We will discuss medicinal plants growing wild in eastern North America yet are underused, or used in a simplistic or reductionist (‘pigeon holed’) fashion. We’ll discuss some native as well as non-native, naturalized plants, covering ecology and sustainability, therapeutic indications, contraindications and safety, preparation, and dosage, including: Prunella vulgaris, Eclipta prostrata, Lonicera japonica, Morus alba, Pueraria lobata, Berberis thunbergii, Lycopus spp., Polygonum cuspidatum, and Albizia julibrissin.

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What's Yours, Mine, and Ours: Addressing Cultural Appropriation in Herbalism

This session will create space to address the pervasiveness and harm of cultural appropriation in herbalism and what needs to be done. All are welcome, though we will center the experiences of those who are People of Color and Black or Indigenous.

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