The human body is a complex and interconnected system, where various organs and systems communicate with each other to maintain homeostasis. An area of research that has gained attention in recent years is the exploration of the GI-Skin-Brain axis. This axis refers to the bidirectional communication between the gastrointestinal (GI) system, the skin, and the brain.
Increasing evidence shows that an imbalanced gut microbiome can induce inflammatory skin diseases.35 This offers a likely approach for improving skin conditions, by the modulation of the gut microbiome. Understanding the intricate connections within this axis provides valuable insights into addressing the root cause of any dysfunction that may occur here. Continue reading
January’s Featured Recording: Panel: Clinical Approaches to Immune-Centered Illness with Mary Bove, ND; Chanchal Cabrera, FNIMH, RH (AHG); and Katie Stage, ND, RH (AHG), FABNG
This dynamic panel begins with Mary Bove outlining the evolution of the understanding of the immune system in the last 3-4 decades. She describes current tools for evaluating the relationship between the gut/microbiome and the immune system and the importance of establishing a connection with the patient. Kitchen recipes for immune tonics close this segment.
Next, Katie Stage covers autoimmune conditions in an informational PowerPoint which covers patient assessment, useful labs and an outline of treatment approaches. These include decreasing triggers, improving vitality, decreasing inflammation, facilitating a healthy microbiome and decreasing toxic medication effects.
Finally, Chanchal Cabrera outlines the layers of the immune system and useful botanicals at each stage of mobilization. This begins with barrier immunity, which provides an instant response to an assault. The innate immune system then comes into play with a non-specific response involving the mobilization of white blood cells. And finally, a specific adaptive response addresses the particular pathogen. A lively Q&A session follows. (Catalog Number 20ME31)
December’s Featured Recording: Healing Sleep with Christopher Hobbs, PhD, LAc
In this presentation, herbalist and acupuncturist, Christopher Hobbs, describes the contemporary research on the function and importance of sleep for health and longevity, and natural remedies and lifestyle choices for optimizing sleep. We discover what factors can reduce sleep quality (such as drugs and alcohol, which can sedate but also interfere with delta and REM phases of sleep).
Then we explore specific conditions that impact the quality or quantity of healing sleep hours such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome and other sleep disorders. Christopher presents treatment principles and botanicals from Western herbalism and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for a variety of sleep conditions in this comprehensive lecture. (Catalog Number 15SW20)
November’s Featured Recording: Panel: Naturopathic Approaches to Weight Management and Obesity Prevention with Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, Marianne Marchese, ND and Katie Stage, ND, RH (AHG), FABNG
One of the challenges of this century is the prevalence of obesity and weight gain in our patients. They want to lose weight, but where do they start? These experienced practitioners describe their approaches using herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, dietary and lifestyle modifications and awareness of the effect environmental chemicals can have on our endocrine system. We also mention the most common weight-loss medications and their drawbacks and side effects. (Catalog Number 21SW20)
October’s Featured Recording: Longevity Elixirs, Foods & Recipes with Teresa Boardwine, RH (AHG)
Foods rich in phytochemicals can slow down aging, support collagen, reduce oxidative stress, nourish skin and build resiliency and vitality in the body. Learn to work the longevity herbs into something delicious and nutritious in this hands- on session with Teresa Boardwine, RH (AHG).
Quite a bit of mixing and blending punctuate Teresa’s joyful presentation of her favorite recipes. These include Blueberry Kudzu pudding, Emperor’s Reishi Elixir, Detox Tonic Turmeric Shot and more! Support longevity by incorporating these foods and beverages into daily menus for their anti-aging, collagen building, nootropic, restorative and antioxidant effects. (Catalog Number 19ME27)
September’s Featured Recording: Prostate Cancer: A Comprehensive and Collaborative Approach with Jason Miller, DACM, LAc
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and, as men live longer, they are more likely to develop the disease. In general, prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer, and many men diagnosed with low-grade disease are recommended to follow an approach called “‘watchful waiting.” Watchful waiting entails allowing time to pass while monitoring the PSA at regular intervals, and most men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer will die with the disease, rather than from it.
In this presentation, Jason Miller explores prostate cancer risk factors, assessment protocols, treatments and their related side effects, and holistic therapeutics including botanicals. A botanical medicine approach can play a powerful role in managing symptoms, regulating androgen metabolism, and slowing disease progression. (Catalog Number 20ME21)
August’s Featured Recording: Herbal Allies for Nourishing the Emotional Heart with Deborah Frances, ND
Keeping our hearts open but protected can be a challenge, especially in these chaotic, often heartrending times. Yet it is only from the heart that we have any hope of healing our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with all creation. Plants are invaluable allies in aiding us in this endeavor.
They can heal us, teach us and guide us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. In this presentation, naturopathic physician Deborah Frances explores herbs that nourish and support the emotional heart. Herbal allies include hawthorn, cactus (night-blooming cereus), Aralia spp (spikenard), passionflower, pine, Leonurus (motherwort), Alchemilla (lady’s mantle), and frankincense. (Catalog Number 21SW06)
Herbalist, naturopath, and much revered teacher and elder, Dr. Bill Mitchell once said, that through the process of photosynthesis, plants just naturally bring light into physical form, making them invaluable allies for those who proceed along a spiritual path. Indeed, I know of no tradition in which plants do not play a part.
April’s Featured Recording: Mushroom Medicine: Challenges and Potential with Christopher Hobbs, PhD, LAc
Chris Hobbs begins this lecture with a detailed description of making medicinal mushroom water extracts and growing some varieties at home. He then reviews the different species of fungi and their medicinal uses, enriched with interesting personal anecdotes.
Mushrooms have consistently shown immunomodulatory and anti-tumor effects when tested on humans. This lecture explores the compounds responsible for these findings, and how best to utilize them in medicine, with a focus on the types and uses of beta-glucans found in fungi. He also discusses the pros and cons of using fruiting bodies vs mycelium for medicine. (Catalog Number 16ME09)
For those who want to pursue more information on this topic, Chris has recently published an updated book in March of 2021: Christopher Hobbs’s Medicinal Mushrooms: The Essential Guide, available on Amazon.
March’s Featured Recording: Topical Applications for Pain with Jillian Stansbury, ND
With the opiate epidemic being a glaring example of how NOT to manage chronic and acute pain, this session explores what tools herbalists possess to help comfort and soothe acutely painful conditions. Drawing from both folklore and modern research, Jillian Stansbury, ND offers a variety of liniments, soaks, poultices and pastes for a wide range of conditions.
She describes compresses for headache, capsaicin cream for arthritic and other pain, fennel oil for smooth muscle spasm, castor oil packs, lobelia vinegar compress for vascular, bronchial and uterine smooth muscle pain, to mention just a few. The PowerPoint accompanying this lecture offers a great resource by giving details for many more preparations than she was able to cover in her live presentation.
Jillian Stansbury will be presenting the pre-conference intensive in person atMedicines from the Earthin June in Asheville, NC. Registration is still open for that event.
And if you are interested in more information on botanicals and other natural medicine for pain, take a look at ourseries on management of pain and inflammation. Continuing education credits available for naturopathic physicians.
November’s Featured Recording: Laying on Leaves: The Science and Art of Herbal Poulticing with Richo Cech
An original homesteader, herbalist, seed saver and world traveler, Richo draws on his many years of experience to describe the art of the poultice. It’s a form of botanical medicine anyone can use anywhere, utilizing common plants that grow in most places in the world. Includes how to make a poultice, how it works for healing, and recommendations for common ailments that benefit from an external herbal application, all infused with Richo’s special brand of humor and wide experience.
The last part of the presentation is a demonstration of how to make and apply a comfrey root poultice. Even though this is an audio recording, he gives a lot of detail while preparing and applying the root mixture to a willing volunteer who injured a foot while rock climbing. We thought we’d offer it this month for a little distraction from the world at large! (Catalog Number 17ME22)
Richo describes the art of the poultice and many other medicine-making techniques in his book Making Plant Medicine.
Note: If you’d like to see the video of the demonstration part of this lecture,this link takes you to Part 3 on YouTube. The blending and applying of the poultice starts at minute 7:30 andgoes through Part 4. Enjoy!
The information on this site is provided as a research resource for health professionals and is not intended to replace diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care practitioner. Consult your medical care provider before using any herbal medicine.
In an ever-changing world it can become a challenge to find our center. Each of us engages with our innate stress response differently, therefore creating many versions of what we term collectively as ‘anxiety’. Anxiety disorders are classified by DSM-V criteria, and categorized by experiencing excessive worry more days than not, restlessness, easy fatigue, difficulty with concentration, irritability, muscle tension and sleep disturbance all with difficulty in controlling any of these symptoms9. Anxiety disorders are often experienced uniquely by the individual with some symptoms remaining constant, others transient and some not present at all. Collectively containing the experience of anxiety into a single set of symptoms is limiting and does not offer a true reflection of the individual process. Ultimately, this may lead to ineffective treatment or improper use of SSRI’s, benzodiazepines and other conventional medications used to treat anxiety disorders simply from a viewpoint of central nervous system sedation. Continue reading
July’s Featured Recording: Botanical Strategies for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis with Katie Stage, ND, RH (AHG)
Chronic pelvic pain affects up to 39% of reproductive-aged women. This lecture explores common and less common causes of pelvic pain, including endometriosis. This is an area of great opportunity for practitioners, and of great need for women affected, as conventional treatments are limited and often ineffective. We discuss botanical treatments for pelvic pain and endometriosis, including cramp bark, kava kava root and lousewort, as well as supportive lifestyle approaches. (Catalog Code 20ME01)
October’s Featured Recording: Medicinal Uses of Salvia Miltiorrhiza (Dan Shen)
This panel featuring Walter Crinnion, ND, Jillian Stansbury, ND, and Jason Miller, DACM, LAc explores Salvia Miltiorrhiza (Dan Shen or red sage). Dan Shen is considered one of the most important traditional Chinese medicines and has widespread use in Asian countries. Traditionally, it has been used to improve bodily functioning, as well as to treat bleeding, abnormal menstruation, miscarriage, swelling, insomnia, and hepatitis. More recent uses include treatment of blood vessel pathologies in the heart and brain. There was lots to discuss in this closing panel from Medicines from the Earth 2017.