Monday, February 25, 2008

HerbTV on YouTube

For those of you interested there are some excerpts of videos on YouTube HerbTV
Southern herbalist Phyllis Light and northern herbalist Matthew Wood discuss the advantages and differences of herbal teas and tinctures, Southern Herbal Traditions, Thin Blood Thick Blood et.
Herbalist David Hoffmann discusses to herbal action of anti-cattarhal herbs such as goldenseal, goldenrod and elderflower
Herbalist Jackie Nikolaus has a strawberry love story to share with you from herbalist David Winston & More!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

First signs of spring in my yard

Simple Pleasures! I am one of the few people I know that gets excited when the "weeds" start to pop up in the yard. Yarrow and Catnip (left). Dandelion is also starting to produce fresh leaves, there was just a few for my salad. I noticed my lemon balm plant is begining to show it's new leaves as well, I can't wait to try the Lemon Balm (herb of the year 2007) elixir Kiva suggested!
When I went out to check the mail I noticed this Oregon Wild Iris is growing right by my mail box. Signs of spring are here!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Business Name Change !!!

I changed my business name. For 5 years I had the name Makia Massage for my massage practice. In the past I would use my personal name for my holistic herbal consulting, teaching et and Makia Massage for my massage business. Since I focus on holistic health (not just massage) with every client, I wanted the business name to better reflect this. Since I do not have a permanent space for massage at this time (practicing out-call to have more time with my daughter at home, and enjoying my current pregnancy), I thought this would be the perfect time to make the transition.

Drum roll please.......

The new name is Sacred Forest Holistic Wellness

I am in the process of creating a new website that will hopefully be up in the next month or so.
In the meantime look for any updates, new classes et here on the blog.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spring on the way!

Tony Ella and I went on an outing today to Oxbow old growth forest & up the mountain to zig zag trail head. It was a very nice and sunny, at least 60 degrees. This is a heat wave compared to the 20-30 degree weather we were experiencing just a few weeks ago. Oxbow is at the lower elevations at about 300-500 ft. Up the mountain at zig zag, around 1800-2500 feet there is still about a foot of snow on the ground, the plants are still hidden . The Sandy river looked pretty good both at Oxbow and zig zag, although high, it was not flooding as feared and the fisherman seemed to be out as usual. Tony had his line in the water for a while this morning, no luck today. I saw some beautiful new lime green moss, chickweed, & other sprouts of forest ground cover starting to grow, and the new growth of needles on the trees. A deer had walked across the trail not long before we arrived, the tracks were still fresh. A sword fern waved at us as we walked by, scared Tony half to death! Actually he was more excited than scared because he thought it may be a wild animal we could observe. I told him the fern was just giving us a wave, he just gave me a ummmm hmmm with a blank look lol. Seeing the new signs of life in the woods today made me really excited for spring and summer!

Monday, February 11, 2008

DHA/ARA oils in infant formula reactions/ sensitivities

Many parents may see DHA and ARA on labels for infant formula and immediately think this is the best choice for their child.
The National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) contributed to a report written by The Cornucopia Institute on the novel oils DHA and ARA in infant formula. These oils appear to be marketing tools to tell mothers that formula is now "as close as ever to breast milk." These lab-produced, hexane-extracted algal and fungal oils have been linked to diarrhea, vomiting and other adverse reactions in some infants, but the formula companies are not sharing the possibility of side effects with parents. Some infants have suffered through months of diarrhea because their parents did not know that a simple switch to non-DHA/ARA formula would, in many cases, relieve symptoms within a day.

Below is a link to the full report.

A quick scan of the highlighted quotes and photo captions will give you a sense of the report's contents although I do encourage you to take the time to read it in its entirety. The report is available for free download at

Reference: This is an excerpt from a message from
Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC
she would like your help in finding infants and their parents, and inviting them to share their stories. If you know anyone who has been impacted, please ask them to email their story, in confidence, to The Cornucopia Institute, at

Friday, February 8, 2008

There Is NO OFFICIAL CERTIFICATION for "herbalist" in the US

OK, I guess this is somewhat of a rant. I still get this question so often off and on from friends, list members, students, I felt the need to write about it.

There is no official certification or license for you to become an herbalist in the USA!
There are many educational programs that may give you a "certificate of completion" all this means is that you completed a program from whatever school you attended. They may claim to be "accredited", what does that mean? Well it means if you have a another license, such as LMT, or Naturopath, you may be able to qualify for Continuing Ed credits (CEU's), and that the school has met certain standards by whatever accrediting agency it belongs to, this does not mean the credits transfer to any college for credit hours!! If you think that going to a school that is accredited equals a better education, this is not necessarily true.

Someone said "But I want to have an accredited education so I will be respected in the allopathic world"
Hate to tell you, but most Doctors either are warmed up to the idea of herbal medicine or they are not. Saying you have a certificate from so and so school that you paid a pretty penny for really will not sway them, because for the most part they have no idea about these schools and have little time to listen to what you have to say. Some Doctors think that Chiropractors are quacks, and they have a DO degree, spend tons of $$$ and time on their education. The "licensed" practitioners clash in the medical world all the time.

I have said this before and I will say it again, some of the best herbalists I know are self taught. They do not hold a certificate from one of the major "accredited" schools. Most of the pioneers in herbalism, Juliette Levy, Rosemary Gladstar ,Susun Weed, for example paved their own road- learned from the people & the plants, they did not need a certificate to start learning. A few in my generation (and 2 of my favorite) are jim mcdonald (read his bio here) & kiva rose (she explains what she does well here) ......and many others.

There are tons of resources and it can be very overwhelming. Starting with one of the many programs will give you a good foundation, but you will find this is a lifetime passion, and you will learn new things daily, you may later decide to expand your education, or focus on your own niche. I still have classes I want to take, books I want to read, plants I want to meet. I think if you have the opportunity to learn from the herbalists themselves this is a great start. Research the herbalist you are going to work with, do you like their teaching style & the type of herbalism they practice? this can make a big difference in what you retain and learn. Join some of the online forums like herbwifery, Susun Weed ,take hands on classes in your local area, read books ( I think The Herbalist's Way by Nancy and Michael Phillips gives an excellent overview of what an herbalist does, profiles different herbalists and their teaching styles, talks about different events and programs, even teaches you a few things to get started as a community herbalist yourself!- if you can buy it directly from them, they are such nice people!) join herbal email lists like medicinal herb list, the herbstudent yahoo group, medicine woman mom's, tribe, go to Henriette's site, she has tons of free information that will keep you busy for days, visit jim mcdonald's article index for other great resources, and of course visit all of the wonderful blogs (check out my links on the side bar). A great new website Herb Mentor launching March 20 2008.

Before you jump into a major program and spend tons of your hard earned cash, I would really do some soul searching and research the both the instructor and the style of herbalism they practice, start with immersing yourself with recourses, books, websites, et ask around how did others like the class? Make some teas, get out in nature, practice at your level of experience, then the right instructor and class will become apparent to you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Must have herbs for Postpartum

Sometimes holistic practitioners are so busy taking care of others they forget to take care of themselves. I am often guilty of this. My first pregnancy I really was not prepared for postpartum. It was all about the baby, I remember the first few nights I could not even sleep because I was busy watching her, occasionally putting my head on her chest to make sure she was still breathing. Nursing was every few hours, I was lucky if I had time to eat the right foods. Of course I was not prepared with any help, we were short on cash so Tony was working a few 24 hour shifts along with his normal 40 hour a week work schedule the first few weeks Ella was home. It was blissful just being with Ella, all I could think about was this little miracle that was my new companion. To be honest, I don't know what kind of fuel I was running on, maybe pure happiness, but it did eventually catch up with me. I ended up playing catch up and contacting some of my trusted herbal friends for advise when I was on the verge of burnout. jim mcdonald saved me with his milky oats tincture when I could not find any to order to make my own tincture (as if I could wait the 2 weeks!)- I was not prepared. I was even out of my trusted pregnancy bulk tea blend. Immediately, once I realized what was happening I started nourishing my depleted body. Hopefully this little list will help others have a few things on hand ahead of time. Besides the advise to take care of yourself spiritually, mentally, and physically, eat right, get enough rest, make sure you have adequate minerals, take time out for you, get family support, here are some herbs that you should think about having on had for your postpartum journey.

Nutritive Herbs
Milky Oats- Milky oats helped me tremendously postpartum. It gave me instant relief right when I was on the verge of burn out & exhaustion, not thinking clearly, moody, and just plain DONE. Milky oats are nourishing for the nervous system and can be taken over a long period of time. I noticed the effects immediately, feeling revived and rejuvenated, I wondered how I was functioning without it for so long!
Alfalfa- Alfalfa is packed with nutrients, it is one of the ingredients I use for my "pregnancy tea" which can continue to be consumed after the birth of your baby.
Gotu Kola- Commonly used in Ayruvedic medicine, combined in a formula with other nervines, it reduces nervous exhaustion while at the same time promoting mental clarity. Another benefit of Gotu Kola is that it is a connective tissue tonic, it is excellent to include in formulas to restore uterine and ligament tone.
Nettle- One of the best nutritive herbs, it is also included in the pregnancy tea blend. This herb can be used daily. This is a great herb to use to revive if you are feeling overall drained. Kiva talks about using the seeds for as well for adrenal exhaustion, something a lot of mom's may experience postpartum when they have too many things on their plate and don't take the time to take care of themselves. Packed with trace minerals and vitamins, it is one of the most useful herbs.
Red Raspberry- Another herb in the pregnancy tea blend, this herb is useful to use all through your pregnancy and postpartum. This is generally nutritive, helps to tonify the uterus, and blends great with other herbs in teas and infusions.
Rose Hips- Another great herb to add to your pregnancy tea and continue with postpartum. They are a great source of vitamin C and tastes great too!

Milky oats (see above)
Catnip- This herb will come in handy for both momma and baby. Not only does it have a gentle relaxing effect, it will reduce colic in your baby both through the breast milk, used alone as a tea, or used in a "gripe water" formula. Catnip in a tea along with slippery elm, chamomile, fennel, and infant massage helped Ella with her colic symptoms tremendously.
Chamomile- Another great herb for both momma and baby, it is not only relaxing it is a natural antiinflammatory, and good for nervous tummies. So when your baby begins teething (before you know it!) chamomile is and excellent herb to have on hand to both relax you & your baby, and help with local inflammation of the gums of your baby. I like chamomile combined with lavender as a tea for relaxation for me (more than a few cups of lavender can be drying to some people however)
Lavender- Gentle and relaxing to the nervous system, it is good for insomnia, as well as milk production & the let down reflex, combined with other herbs such as chamomile, fennel, catnip.
Passionflower- I like this combined with other nervines in a night time tea, excellent for relaxation.
Lemon Balm- I like lemon balm combined with other herbs in a tea, gives a general over all good feeling:) I love the flavor. Calming effects will pass to your infant through the breast milk.
Motherwort- This herb is bitter, great for anxiety. I like this herb in tincture form. A uterine tonic, it will help with postpartum cramping & after pains as well.
Skullcap/ Blisswort- Here is another great herb that I wished I had had immediately postpartum, a few months ago I traded with Kiva Rose and was lucky enough to get some that she made and it is wonderful! I tend to over think things and loose sleep because I am on edge or excited, this herb really helps with this. For the mom's with so much on their mind, new changes, over stimulation, a touch of the blues, exhaustion from lack of rest, I think this herb is one of the most valuable. It will nourish & restore your nervous system Kiva has a great post that describes the wonderful attributes of this herb.
Vervain- This herb will help when you are irritable and on the verge of the angry "I've had it and I just might loose it" cry. Great to combine with the skullcap and or milky oats in tincture form. Good for the emotional mood swings of PMS when your moon starts again too. Safe to take over long periods of time.

Blessed Thistle- Great to take in the first few weeks, it will help with uterine bleeding and mild irritability. It also will help with milk production. It's bitter, it is good to take in tincture form. Good bitter for sluggish digestion as well.
Dandelion- Another herb to be included in the pregnancy tea- great to take all through the pregnancy and postpartum. The leaf can be eaten in salads, stir fry, the root roasted can be used as a coffee substitute and the dried root can be added to your tea blends. Very nutritive. If you are constipated you can use as a tincture.
Fennel- Fennel tastes great, is good for digestion, and is good for milk production.
Fenugreek- Can be taken as a tincture or tea, a classic herb used for milk production.
Nettle (see above)
Vervain (see above)

Shakes, chills, sweats after birth
Aviva Romm recommends Ginger tea (fresh grated root) steep 15 minutes -with
2t-1 teaspoon each of Panax Ginseng and dried licorice root added (steep 15 minutes before adding to the ginger tea). Sip warm 2 cups daily.This is a tonifying blend good for chills and sweats.

Cinnamon tea 1/2 teaspoon powder to 1 cup water, sweeten with honey and add milk if desired.
1/2 to 1 cup per day.

You may have vaginal irritation, tears or discomfort from hemorrhoids right after birth.
Have some sea salt and herbs such as witch hazel, calendula, myrrh, lavender, yarrow, sage and rosemary to blend an infusion for a sitz bath- You can use a peri- rinse with the strained tea of your choice (plastic squeeze bottle) or an herbal tea compress (a warm wash rag with the tea) for any discomfort as well.

Have a good massage oil, have your partner give you a rub down( the Kava Kava massage oil would be great! )

Resource: Natural Health after Birth Aviva Jill Romm 2002