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The Holistic Herbalism Podcast

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049: A Few Herbs On Our Shelf

This week we do a lightning round of “minigraphs” on some of our favorite herbs. We started by taking a look at what we’ve got on our herb shelf (okay . . . *shelves*) in the kitchen right now, and selecting a few semi-randomly until our 45 minute timer went off. We covered reishi, catnip, mugwort, heather, st john’s wort, and za’atar (which is a spice blend, but totally still counts – right?). So give it a listen and meet some of our best friends! Mentioned in this podcast: Our Wedding...


048: Pumpkin Spice - That's Herbalism Too!

It's not just for lattes anymore: the ubiquitous pumpkin spice blend is in fact an herbal formula! The standard pumpkin [pie] spice mix is cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice, nutmeg. From an herbalists point of view, this is a mix of aromatic, pungent, carminative spices, very antioxidant-rich, and most of which are also antimicrobial. In this podcast we'll break it down and give you the details on each individual herb, as well as the formula as a whole. Spice it up! Mentioned in this...


047: Tinnitus & Headaches

Ryn leads off this week with a variety of herbs to try reducing the ringing in the ears called tinnitus. Herbs to drain stuck fluids, quell nervous irritation, and increase cerebral circulation can all help out with this distracting problem. Katja has some great ideas for you headache sufferers out there - starting with some practical considerations about food and water, sleep, and stress - and then moving on to some herbs you can match to your particular triggers and symptoms. Mentioned...


046: Caring for Eldercaregivers & Botulism

Caregiving is exhausting, thankless, necessary work, and becoming increasingly more common. In the first half of this episode, Katja shares some insights into the difficulties facing those who are caring for elders, and herbal allies who can help them as they help others. In the second half, Ryn shares what he found after investigating everything to do with botulism: where it comes from, how to prevent it, and how [un]common it really is. The short version is: if you follow good...


045: How To Start A Free Herbal Clinic

This week we bring you a podcast we originally aired on the HerbRally podcast as its inaugural episode, last July, all about the model we use for running free clinics - both in our own space here in Boston, as well as out in communities in need. We wanted to share it in case you missed it, and also because we're preparing for another trip to work in a free clinic in West Virginia mountaintop-removal coal mining country, which also uses this model and has been very successful in bringing...


044: Empty Nests & Challenges

If back-to-school means the nest is empty, you may want some herbal support! Katja shares her favorite allies for this difficult transition. Ryn reflects on a forest movement immersion event he experienced recently, and shares some lessons he [re]learned there about challenge, adaptability, and seeing the complex context. Herbs discussed include hawthorn, motherwort, sage, linden, catnip, chamomile, & goldenrod. Mentioned in this podcast: HerbRallyHow To Not Be A Guru ~ If you like...


043: Salad Isn't Salad & Back-To-School Herbs

This week, Ryn leads off with some thoughts on salad: why it's often boring and nutritionally deficient, and how to boost it up with some wild greens, herbal pesto, spice blends, and feral berries - and how to get these from the grocery store when it's not spring or summer. Katja goes over some herbs that can help with the stress, fears, and excitement swirling around this transitional season - for both kids and parents - along with strengthening strategies to improve immune resilience so...


042: Sleep - Of Cravings, Comedians, & Caffeine

In this episode both Ryn & Katja have things to share related to sleep. Katja leads off with a listener question about alcohol cravings at bedtime, then discusses some of her own strategies for coping with restless thoughts that interfere with rest. Ryn lays out the effects of caffeine in the body to help you understand how it can in fact interfere with sleep, even many hours after consumption. Herbs discussed include tulsi, ginger & chamomile, coffee, & tea. Mentioned in this...


041: Pets' Paws & Topical EO Safety

This week, a case of histiocytoma on a dog's paw leads Katja to talk about wound care for animal companions. What to do when a furry friend has a wound? Help it out with herbs! It's not as hard as you might be thinking. Ryn received a helpful email this week that made him want to dig deeper into essential oil safety, and will lead to some revisions of his liniment and muscle rub recipes. Special thanks this week to Jennifer Lombard of Earth and Aether Aromatherapy for the heads-up, and for...


040: Wildfires, Trainwrecks, and Cold Digestion in Hot Weather

The world's on fire, no one wants to admit they're occasionally catastrophic, and sometimes all you want to eat is ice cream. In this episode we'll talk about herbs to support respiratory health in times of dryness and smoke inhalation. We've also got a dramatic* reading of Katja's favorite blog post ever, You're A Trainwreck. We'll wrap it up with a listener question about cold digestive systems in hot weather. * Not in a bad way. Herbs discussed include tulsi, calamus, mullein, linden,...


039: Herbs for Introverts & Extraverts

Introverts & extraverts, as patterns of personality, each have their strengths and weaknesses. In this episode we'll discuss herbal allies to accommodate common discomforts experienced by those who identify with one or another pole of this spectrum. Introversion & extraversion don't need to be "fixed", but their extremes can be balanced and their weak points strengthened through the work of herbal medicines. Listen & learn how! Herbs discussed include cayenne, tulsi, mate, yarrow,...


038: Our Top Ten Tinctures

A listener asked us what would be our five favorite tinctures to have on hand, so this week we're each going to share with you a list of herbs we just can't live without! We talk a bit about each one's virtues and the way we ourselves work with these herbs. Katja's list: ghost pipe, tulsi, calamus, ginger-chamomile, lobelia. Ryn's list: solomon's seal, catnip, yarrow-sage, kava, cayenne. Mentioned in this podcast: The Hidden Life of TreesHerbal Medicine for BeginnersKatja's...


037: Herbs for Summer Camp & Extra Senses of Perception

Katja's daughter Amber is off to camp this week, so she shares with you the list of things they packed into Amber's herbal first aid kit. If you have kids headed off to camp - or are going to one yourself - you'll want to listen in! Ryn muses on the capacity for receiving information from some parts of the body that don't make the Top Five Sensory Organs list (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, hands), but which are very perceptive indeed . . . if they're thoughtfully trained. He even has some...


036: First Aid for Burns & Sprains

This week we share some practical first aid herbalism for burns and sprains. Whether you're hiking far out in the woods or simply have an accident at home, these tips will help you take care of yourself effectively & naturally with herbs. A few resources for you: Dressing A BurnGo-To Joint Liniment ~ If you like our podcast, you might like learning from us in a more intentional way - like with our Herbalism 101 program! It's a great way to start incorporating herbs into your daily life,...


035: Cinnamon, Vanilla, & Cacao

Katja & Ryn discuss how these "exotic spices" came to be ubiquitous among Americans, and how we can learn from the history of plant trade, cultivation - including some bitter history and present affairs of colonization and slavery. We try to recognize and explore the chain of relationships between the farmers and ourselves, and give thanks and respect to the hands that touch these precious herbs. A few resources on ethical cacao: Ethical Consumer's shopping guideSlave Free Chocolate13...


034: Herbal Affinities & Softening In Service

Ryn leads off this week with a discussion of herbal affinities - the ways in which herbs may be centered in their effects on a particular organ or type of tissue in the body - and how these can help you make good herbal choices or make more effective formulas. Katja shares some thoughts about how to cope with the political crisis machine by finding ways to enter into service for the good of others - it turns out, it helps you too! If you find it difficult to get there, don't worry: she also...


033: Back Pain & Sparkling Summertime Herbal Drinks

This week Katja had a bit of back pain, and has some thoughts to share with you about how this can happen an what to do about it. From mindset management to gentle movements for the release of tension and improving alignment, of course with the support of herbs, here are a few quick tips to get you bending and flexing again. Ryn shares a couple ideas for herbal liquid extracts to combine with sparkling water in a bit of delightful herbal indulgence - that's herbalism too! Herbs discussed...


032: Vacation Is Mandatory & Jiaogulan

Katja this week reflects on a bit of wisdom surrounding downtime, and on the ways in which stress management can sometimes be the most difficult of our fundamental pillars of health, or the one that gets sacrificed first. Ryn shares his love of jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), a particularly excellent adaptogen for the dry and tense people in your life. Herbs discussed this week include our Wedding Tea blend - wood betony, tulsi, rose, spearmint, & violet - along with jiaogulan, goji, &...


031: Resilience Not Dogma

Katja shares a hard-fought lesson: that health is not equivalent to merit, and that as herbalists it's important for us to stay away from idea that there is A Right Way and We Know It. Instead our role should be to offer a wide variety of tools to try that can help build greater resilience, and provide guidance on those the client is most interested in. Herbs help out in a variety of ways to compensate for the impacts of a suboptimal situation. Mentioned in this podcast: The Twenty-Four...


030: Tulsi & Formulating Absent Friends

Since it's Herbstalk's 2018 Herb of the Year, Katja wants to finally give Tulsi its due with a quick monograph for you today! As promised last time, Ryn shares an exercise in herbal formulation: attempting to re-create the actions and qualities of an herb you don't have, by mixing together several other herbs. We each sketch out a couple of formulae to be "chamomile" and "tulsi". Herbs discussed include tulsi, chamomile, jiaogulan, tarragon, & dandelion. Mentioned in this...