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Herbalism A tradition of Healing. Linda Diane Feldt Holistic health Practitioner. Outline of this presentation. Overview of CAM and alternative healing What is herbalism? Training and certification My practice and training Herbal preparations Parts of plants used Timing of harvest

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herbalism a tradition of healing

HerbalismA tradition of Healing

Linda Diane Feldt

Holistic health Practitioner

outline of this presentation
Outline of this presentation
  • Overview of CAM and alternative healing
  • What is herbalism?
  • Training and certification
  • My practice and training
  • Herbal preparations
  • Parts of plants used
  • Timing of harvest
  • Potency/effectiveness
  • Nourishing/medicinal
  • What consumers get
major categories of alternative healing
Major Categories of Alternative Healing
  • Integrated healing systems
  • Hands on techniques
  • Biological substances
  • Energy based healing
  • Mind/body spirit awareness

Adapted from NIH categories

my practice
My Practice
  • Student of the healing arts since 1973
  • Full time private practice since 1981 (10-20 per week)
  • Primarily use Herbs, Cranialsacral therapy, Polarity therapy, and massage.
  • Sliding scale
  • Diverse population
  • Pain, injury, lifestyle, prevention, with or without conventional medicine
  • Age range prenatal to 104
  • Also teach, write, volunteer
what makes a professional practice
What makes a professional practice
  • Standards for practice
  • Scope of practice
  • Continuing education
  • Code of ethics
  • Association membership
  • Able to refer, available for referrals
my training
My training
  • Example of difficulty in determining qualified practitioners
  • Apprenticeship model
  • Is self study also legitimate?
  • Inherited knowledge
  • Formal recognition
  • Traditional Healers
    • Native American, Ayurvedic, Tibb, Unani, Tibetan, etc
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Western Folkloric
  • Western Scientific
  • Earth-centered
  • Ethno-botanical

example categories from the American Herbalist Guild

herbalism training and education
Herbalism Training and Education
  • College and University courses
  • Electives within schools that teach wellness, holistic health, bodywork or somatic practices
  • Apprenticeship programs both formal and informal
  • Correspondence courses
herbalism training and education cont
Herbalism Training and Education (cont.)
  • Traditional initiation and training often combined with religious/spiritual practices
  • Self taught
  • Promotional material and workshops provided by manufacturers
  • Multi level marketing materials
  • Certification provided by herb manufacturers
western folkloric tradition
Western Folkloric Tradition
  • promotes ethical harvesting of plants
  • uses the whole parts of the plant, in season
  • encourages consumer involvement
  • emphasis is on nutritive aspects of herbs
  • primarily uses plants that grow locally, and encourages direct involvement with the plants by growing and wildcrafting
western folkloric tradition cont
Western Folkloric Tradition (cont.)
  • uses a holistic approach to support body systems & the individual
  • encourages sharing of information, stories and experience with others
  • can work in a supportive role with conventional Western Medicine
concerns and challenges
Concerns and Challenges
  • Herbalism is a very broad term that describes a profession many thousands of years old.
  • Herbalists and the scientific community have only recently begun to forge mutual respect, goals, and to determine ways of working together.
  • Herbalists must proactively respond to unprecedented consumer interest.
concerns and challenges1
Concerns and Challenges
  • Protecting consumers, supporting scientific research, and preserving herbal traditions are intriguing challenges for this profession.
  • Consumers and health care providers may have difficulty determining who is qualified as an herbalist.
  • Herbal use is now being driven primarily by advertising and manufacturers, not by health care providers and traditional sources of information.
nourishing herbs
Nourishing herbs
  • Nutrient rich
  • Bio-available
  • Generally considered safe, side effects uncommon
  • Dosage and strength less important
  • Tend to be local, whole, and common
  • Large amounts used, in contrast to medicinal plants
  • Includes tonics
  • Supportive to body systems
  • Long term use is usually beneficial
nourishing herbs con t
Nourishing Herbs con’t.
  • Internal use
    • Infusions
      • Water based
      • Vinegar based
    • Whole plant
      • Cooked
      • Raw (salad)
  • External use
    • Compress
    • Poultice
    • Salve
medicinal herbs
Medicinal Herbs
  • Dosage and strength important or critical
  • Tend to utilize more toxic parts of plant
  • Stimulate or sedate
  • More likely to have side effects
  • Are often plants that are less common, or rare
  • Long term use is generally discouraged
  • More extensive knowledge is needed to use safely and effectively
issues around herbal preparations
Issues around herbal preparations
  • Common Preparations
    • Capsules and pills
    • Tinctures and extracts
    • Infusions (AKA teas)
    • Poultices and compresses
    • Salves
    • other
  • Effectiveness
  • Herbs in combination and formulas
  • Locally grown and wild crafted

The following slides describe general tendencies. There will always be exceptions. It is a good model to begin with, and then each herb must be evaluated individually. The knowledge of plant part, type of plant, and season is fundamental to the herbalist. It is also a basic understanding of plants that is rare, and becoming more so as plants are picked, powdered, processed and packaged for us.

parts of the plant and their different qualities
Parts of the plant and their different qualities
  • Roots - storage, alkaloid rich, often toxic, often medicinal
  • Leaves - nutrient rich
  • Flowers - some nutrients, energetically powerful
  • Seeds - nutrient dense, often toxic, toxins often medicinal
type of plant and impact on herbal use
Type of plant and impact on herbal use
  • Annuals
    • Root less likely to be used
    • Leaves and flowers more valued
    • Seeds are abundant, less likely to be toxic
    • Harvested typically just before flowering, or just after
type of plant and impact on herbal use1
Type of plant and impact on herbal use
  • Biennials
    • Roots often of value, rarely toxic
    • Root used only in fall of first year, spring of second year
    • Flowers appear second year, often used
    • Seeds appear second year, likely of value
    • End of second year only the seeds are left
type of plant and impact on herbal use2
Type of plant and impact on herbal use
  • Perennials
    • Roots used after a couple of years
    • Seeds often of value
    • Roots more likely to be toxic or contain helpful alkaloids
    • Not as much emphasis on leaves
the importance of the season
The importance of the season
  • Energy moves through the plant with the season
  • The root stores important constituents
  • The herbalist determines the part of the plant desired, and harvests at the peak time
    • Flowers and seeds are obvious (harvest when present)
    • Leaves before the plant makes flowers and seeds
    • Roots in spring and fall when plant is storing constituents
accessing what the plant has to offer
Accessing what the plant has to offer
  • What is within and outside of the plant cell
  • Breaking the cell wall
  • Preserving unstable nutrients
    • affects of light, air, time, processing damage
  • Ingestion and topical application
  • Absorption
  • Elimination
  • Calendula - flowers
  • Burdock - root or leaves
  • Echinacea - root
  • Garlic - root
  • St. John’s Wort - flowering tops
  • Poke - root or leaves
  • Milk Thistle - seeds
preparations to look for
Preparations to look for
  • Capsules containing herb extracts
    • Ground herbs often less effective
  • Labels provide lot number, experation dates
  • Herbal extracts
    • Tinctures in alcohol
    • Glycerine esp. from alcohol based extracts
  • Bulk herbs of good color, dated
  • Don’t overlook harvesting by the consumer
reputable companies
Reputable companies
  • Harvest ethically
  • Employ herbalists and support professional associations
  • Access to information on
    • where plants are harvested - avoid non US unless using TCM
    • company philosophy - focus on herbs or marketing?
    • control of product - don’t just repackage or rebottle from suppliers
  • Multi-level marketing deserves special scrutiny
examples of companies


Pacific Botanicals

Trout Lake Botanicals

Scientific Botanicals


Naturopathic Formulary

Thorne Research

Eclectic Institute



Women\'s Transition

Wise Women Herbals

And ??

Examples of companies
herbal certification
The bad

Prone to consumer confusion

Does not ensure potency

Does not address processing or preparation

Does not address safety of the herb

Expense may prohibit good companies from using certification

The good

Helpful to ensure WYSIWYG

Raising awareness of importance of herbal quality

Important to ensure Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)are used

Can address the real problem of contaminate

Herbal certification
next week
Next week

A four hour lab devoted to the hands-on experience of making herbal preparations including tinctures, salves, poultices, infusions, and more.

Come prepared to be a bit messy and work with materials new to you as well as familiar. It may recall the early practice of pharmacy, and we’ll have fun in the process.

The results will include products you can take home and use.


Contact Information

Linda Diane Feldt

P.O. Box 3218

Ann Arbor MI 48106-3218


[email protected]


Free Herb Class usually 4th Thursday of each month, sponsored by the People’s Food Co-op,

at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, Ann Arbor