Ceremonial Use of Herbs by Deborah Frances

ceremonial smudging with sage


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.

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Constitutional Herbal Approach to Anxiety

St. John's Wort

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

Retraining the Mighty Mast Cells: Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance Revisited

rose hips

This article is a part 2 to expand on additional interventions in mast cell regulation. If you didn’t read the original article, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome & Histamine Intolerance: An Herbal Approach discusses different types of mast cell activation syndromes and histamine-related issues. Furthermore, this discussion relates to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and histamine-related symptoms and not mastocytosis. For ease of use, the term “mast cell issues” is used to relate to these conditions throughout the article.

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Types of Pain and Herbal Management Tools

dried peppers capsaicin

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Environmental Illness Audio Series

Mediterranean salad

An audio series for health care providers – with continuing education for naturopathic physicians – bundled together in one discounted package:

  • Six (6) audio recordings (1.5 – 2.0 hours each)
  • Digital book of notes (110-page PDF)
  • Continuing education credits: 10 hours for naturopathic physicians
  • Order with one-click for $55 ($85 value)

Note: The information in this series is provided as a research resource for health professionals and is not intended to replace diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care practitioner. Continue reading

Botanical Approaches to Manage Chronic Stress


Stress can be rewarding and even pleasant in response to positive stimuli, encouraging intellectual and emotional growth and development. Most often, when we discuss being “stressed out” in a modern context, it is in reference to negative physical or psychological stimuli and an unpleasant reaction. Stress is generally defined as a state of disharmony (allostasis) and is counteracted by physiological and behavioral responses which aim to reestablish homeostasis via the adaptive stress response.1

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Naturopathic Approaches to Weight Management and Obesity Prevention

naturopathic approaches to weight management

Working with patients to manage their weight includes prevention of weight gain, control of age-related gains and treatment of obesity. This requires a broad understanding of many factors, including insulin resistance, environmental toxicants, the gut microbiome and the effect of pharmaceuticals on weight gain. Panelists at the 2021 Southwest Conference on Botanical Medicine, naturopathic physicians Marianne Marchese, Katie Stage, and Lise Alschuler, discussed new research, practical naturopathic interventions and specific recommendations for clinical practice. A synopsis of each presentation follows.

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