- Alrighty, blogging again
Alright, I tell you what. Time to start blogging again. I’m thinking this time around I’ll do it as a very casual, everyday (or thereabouts) log of my online life. I’ll give updates on changes to my website and my social media posts, as well as links to cool things I notice, and tips about using the internet. It’s weird, it’s become a serious skill. At times I just feel like AHHHHHH TOO MUCH INTERNET but then at the same time it is such a privilege to live in this moment and be able to use this wondrous technology. Learning how to use it well is such a challenge! It’s constant work, all the time. It can feel lonely, so to keep myself company I’ll blog about it. Two things I search for all the time: recipes and how to fix some computer issue. So, I may as well offer back what I’ve gleaned!
Handy app of the day:
My partner Jason and I use this app to keep our grocery list, household items shopping list, and upcoming meal plans. It’s one of the few apps I’ve actually paid for, and we find it to be eminently useful.
- Classes I’ve Taught
This is a list of all of the classes I have taught. I’d gladly teach any of the below classes again, or create a custom class just for you!
Getting to Know the Culinary Herbs
How can you incorporate herbs into your cooking in order to support wellness? Meet the plant families that have fed us for thousands of years! We’ll do a tea tasting and make our own spice blends.
How Herbs Work
When people ask me to “say something about herbs” to a group I usually call my session “How Herbs Work”. We do a tea tasting meditation and go through a list of herbal action words and learn how to be critical of what we read about herbs.
How to Use Herbs
AKA Apothecary tools. This is a really fun class, my basic introduction to the apothecary. We start with a list of tools herbalists use and discuss how each one is used. I do demonstrations of basic herbal preparation methods and we learn when to use which.
How to Learn Herbalism
Students work on developing a personal study plan. I provide information about the resources available for you to achieve your educational goals – schools, conferences, distance programs, books, online resources, practices, and more. My answer to the question “How did you learn all this stuff?”
How Plants Work
An introduction to botany, aimed at understanding how and why plants do the things they do. This class evolved from questions about when to harvest which parts.
Central Texas Native Medicinal Plants for Gardens and Landscapes
Finally, a materia medica class! A list of plants, with pictures and information.
Chemistry for Herbalists
My translation and condensation of chemistry class, in which I make Neutralizing Cordial and everyone goes home with samples! Covering concepts like pH, osmosis and concentration gradients as well as laboratory techniques (better pouring!).
Exercise for Herbalists
I’m a personal fitness trainer and completed a one year exercise science program at Austin Community College, after I had already been to herb school. This class is my collected highlights of what I learned in that program, designed to be useful and relevant for practicing herbalists.
Teaching Sideways: Interpretation for Herbalists
My most requested class. It will help you give better presentations, while feeling more comfortable, confident and relaxed.
I’d taught many classes on a variety of topics, and the students kept saying they wanted more magic. “Can you just do a whole class about magic? Please?” Sure, no problem. Poof! A class about magic.
Getting outside with the plants is one of the great joys of herbalism. I like to incorporate activities into plant walks, and often include sensory awareness exercises, a healing ritual or a handout with the walk. (For example: owl eyes, plant talking, smudges, limpias, flower essence making)
These are designed to be very focused, yet stand-alone classes. They are accessible to first-time herb students while also enriching and engaging for experienced herbalists.
- Herbs for the Lymphatic System
- Herbs for the Urinary System
- Herbs for the Musculoskeletal System
- Herbs for the Nervous System
- Herbs for the Circulatory System
- Herbs for the Endocrine System
- Herbs for Inflammation
- Herbs for Mouth Care
- Herbs for Surgery Support
- Herbs for Colds and Flus
- Herbs for Energy Metabolism
- Invaders!!! Parasites, Germs and Bugs
Such fun. I’ll usually start with 15 minutes of talk and a hand out. We’ll go over some basic recipes and concepts, then get to the mess making. Theory, practice, fun AND products made. Kitchen classes feel so productive!
- Oils, Body Butters and Lotions
- Baths and Balms: AKA Spa Night
- Spice Blends and Salad Dressings
- Fragrances and Sugar Scrubs
- Tinctures and other Extracts
- Dried Herbs and their many Uses
- Teas and Tea Blends
- Fire Cider and other Vinegars
- Cordials and Elixirs
Sacred Journey Series
When Ginger Webb was starting her Sacred Journey School of Herbalism, she asked me to co-teach and help develop curriculum. She taught Materia Medica and I did the rest. I created this 13 class series as a foundations course in herbalism.
- Introduction to Herbs and Herbalism
- Foundations of Holistic Health
- Digestive System
- Circulatory Systems
- Musculoskeletal System
- Nervous System
- Endocrine System
- Respiratory and Renal Systems
- Reproductive Systems
- Exercise and Diet
- Sleep and Stress
- Client Intake and Formulation
A group of students felt confident with herbs, but unsure about how to move forward into the herb world. This 6 part series is designed to get herbalists comfortable with using their knowledge.
- The Practice of Herbalism as a Way of Life
- Business, Law, Community and Making Your Own Way
- Stocking Your Apothecary
- Health Psychology and Client/Practitioner Relations
- Therapeutic Strategies
- Teaching Herb
- Herbalism Foundation Series
These six herbalism classes will empower you with the knowledge to use herbs for wellness more effectively and with confidence. They can be taken as a series or you can attend individual classes.
What does the taste of an herb tell us about how it will act in the body? We’ll do a tea tasting meditation to explore this question. We’ll also learn herbal terminology and what herbalists call herbal “actions”. You’ll leave this class able to read herbal texts with greater comprehension and able to learn about herbs by interacting with them directly.
A wellness oriented approach doesn’t fight disease, it supports healthy function. Each of the following systems-based classes is divided into two parts. In the first half, we learn about the parts of the system, how it functions when it is healthy and some of the common things that happen when things go wrong. In the second half, we explore herbs and other low-tech, accessible modalities that you can use to support each system.
* Herbs for the Nervous System – Air
* Herbs for the Digestive System – Fire
* Herbs for the Circulatory System – Water
* Herbs for the Musculoskeletal System – Earth
This is the class where we put it all together. Even after many years of study, people often find combining herbs intimidating. In this class we’ll learn principles of formulation so that you can take your knowledge of individual herbs to the next level and blend them with confidence. We’ll practice by blending essential oils to make our own aroma spritzers.
- Listen: Austin Materia Medica
This is a talk I made for the Moonflower Festival in Austin, Texas.
- Infused Oils, Alcohol Intermediary Method
This comes up over and over again – the weird way that I make my infused oils. I learned the method from Michael Moore. He made Arnica Salve for us in class one day, starting with recently dried arnica.
- Grind the freshly-dried herb in a coffee grinder. It doesn’t need to be finely ground, just broken up. In fact, if you grind it too finely, it will very difficult to strain later.
- Weigh the herb and write down the weight.
- Put the ground herb in a glass jar or bowl that has a tightly fitting lid. Add a dab of alcohol (maybe a teaspoon or tablespoon full), mix it up a little and close the container.
- Wait a half hour or so, until you can see that the alcohol has permeated the ground herb.
- Add seven times as much olive (or other) oil as the weight of the herb. Stir it up, making sure all of the herb is under the oil.
- Let sit a couple weeks or more.
- Strain. Use.
Why do I like this method so much?
– Oils made by this method never go bad in the process of being infused, and go rancid more slowly after they are finished.
-The oils produced by this method have more fragrance and color than oils made by other methods, at least that I’ve seen.
Now, using this method is certainly going to produce a much stronger oil than a method that uses seven times the weight of FRESH herb. Dried herb can be three or even ten times as much plant material per weight as fresh. An oil made by this method is like a concentrate compared to usual infused oils.
If I want a thicker, more solid texture, I use the oil as the oil portion of a body butter. I’m not a fan of salves, personal preference. I don’t like using beeswax on my skin.
My favorite herbs to infuse in oil are calendula, chickweed, chamomile and sweet woodruff.An exception: I have been told many times that St John’s Wort HAS to be infused fresh and that a red color in the finished oil is a sign of high quality and cannot be obtained unless the herb is fresh when the oil is made. I only recently moved to a place where St John’s Wort grows, so this was my first year making St John’s Wort infused oil. Just to be certain, I tried making a small batch using the alcohol intermediary method. Sure enough, it’s not red. I’m not sure yet whether it’s effective as a remedy, as I haven’t had much chance to use it. I suspect, though, that next year I’ll make it with fresh herb. I’ve never made lemon balm infused oil, but I imagine that would be an exception, too. It’s this way with herbalism – there are always exceptions!