Category Archives: Herb Conference

Reflections on the NorthWest Herb Symposium: Botanicals at the Beach

With the goal of contributing in a small way to building a growing community, I am writing about my recent herbal medicine infused experience at Botanicals at the Beach: The Northwest Herb Symposium.

   

Being fond of travel (both local and afar) and having a sweet spot for local herbal gatherings (conferences leave me feeling inspired), I must say that the NW herb Symposium is one of my favorites. Situated in the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island offers a scenic drive and picturesque site for herbal medicine infusion and education. I have so many amazing photos of this event- that I am excited to share my visuals and experiences. This herbal medicine conference is August 23-26, 2018 and is only a 3 hour drive from Vancouver.

 

      

Previously known as Fort Casey, the site of the conference was a previous army barracks; however recently turned children’s camp, with dormitories and tent camping available; situated on the edge of the ocean with stunning sunsets, cliffs and rugged skylines. The land still has the original army barracks and original majestic character of colonial houses complete with original moldings and claw foot tubs.

   

Some historical commentary apparently the US army opened Fort Casey (as it was called back then) back in the early 20 century to guard the entrance to Puget Sound. In its time Fort Casey was the fourth largest military posts in Washington. Today, Camp Casey and its grounds provide an opportunity to relax, reflect, appreciate nature and learn in a serene retreat environment.

   

The historic lighthouse is a short walk away and the local herb walks found us meandering into the forest to learn some traditional application for these valuable Pacific Northwest trees and native medicinal plants.

   
Numerous varieties of seaweeds are in the sound for viewing in Ryan Drums famous seaweed walks create a peace filled learning opportunity. The talks are held in line with the pull of the moon- so when the tide is out- either an early morning – or if we are lucky a mid day event. Morning yoga, organic herbal teas, exhibitors and vendor tables, sublime teas from B. Fullers Mortar & Pestle tea company in Seattle, local sponsors and evening movies round out this weekend event.

   

Perhaps one of the best things about this weekend is the intimate learning environment so close to nature, where the ratio of students to teachers is perfect for facilitating good conversation and mingling with everyone, instilling a “like family” environment. Having been here 2 years in a row, there are now familiar faces of those who have attended previous years events. The care and detail focused organisers of Botanicals on the Beach (Jay and Bridget, Rose and Nancy and likely others) offer a well organised event intended to give back to the herbal medicine community and in their 5 years of existence (3 years of conferences) have sponsored many of the best herbal medicine educators for their presentations.

   

The first year I attended the gathering there was Leslie and Michael Tierra, Jillian Stansbury, Amanda McQuade Crawford. Local San Juan Island herbal experts like Ryan Drum, PhD in Botany, Denise Joy (fourth generation herbalist), Leslie Lekos and Natasha Clarke brought their knowledge of local plants and Netta Deberoff, a fifth generation Doukhobor herbalist, shared her knowledge of creating an herbal hot pot and Eaglesong Gardener brought to life her personal stories of Hawthorn and I will forever more hear the words to the song “Row Your Boat” with new meaning! This year Susan Weed brought her wise woman wisdom to the conference and David Hoffman, BSc, FNIMH, RH (AHG) shared his thoughts on the future of holistic herbal medicine. Kevin Spelman, PhD, RH (AHG) another notable speaker bringing his expertise and research on mitochondria and cellular function to the discussions –ALL of the talks have been super informative, well researched, fun and packed full of learning.

      

Botanicals on the Beach also addresses environmental issues relevant to our health; last year’s key note speaker, Joseph Pizzorno shared research from his newly published book “THE TOXIN SOLUTION”: (How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health). As if the title is not explanatory enough, he spoke about environmental toxicity and the impact of xenoestrogens on our endocrine health and organ function and how to improve this issue. Kevin Spelman brought in additional research about environmental toxicity, metabolic syndrome and the role of mitochondria functioning for healthy DNA replication and function. This year I had the pleasure of offering a talk of Phase 1 and 2 liver function, why a healthy liver is essential for the health of our whole body and our immune system and offered suggestions and research on various foods, herbs and mushrooms being studies to support liver detox. I also had the pleasure of sharing some of my clinical experience with herbal medicine and dermatitis; offering some recipes from my recently released book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Medicine” and some insights and historical antidotes from the past about skin health.

   

For those interested wanting to expedite learning on health, healing and herbal medicine in a nature rich setting – check out this event. Save the date and website and be informed via email when the registration opens for 2018. Bring your friends; there is more than enough room for everyone.

   

The gathering is relatively new in its inception – which means that it requires the growth and continual support of the herbal community and sharing via social media in order to thrive and continue to offer such great speakers in an intimate setting- please share this post with other herbal enthusiasts who would be interested in a stimulating weekend. There are topics and experiences here for all levels of herbal medicine experience: from general interest and medicine making to practitioner track level presentations and embrace the opportunity to sit and chat with teachers over dinner after a talk. Save the dates for next year’s North West Herb Symposium conference (August 23-26, 2018) and circulate this valuable opportunity with your herbal community.

   

And if you thought this Whidbey Island NW Herb Conference post was just about an herb symposium, it was actually herbally infused with many adventures…prior to my arrival at Camp Casey, I visited some of the local herbal sites found around the island. Click here to view my other adventures: The Lavender Wind Farm and the Earth Sanctuary nature reserve.

Herbal Medicine Making for Athletes & Arthritis First Aid


Join Medical Herbalist, Katolen Yardley, MNIMH for a morning of herbal medicine making. Create your own first aid products for sprains, strains and bruises, athletic recovery and arthritis.
We will make:

  • A Topical Anti inflammatory Cooling Liniment
  • A Turmeric, Cayenne Pain Relief Salve and an
  • Arnica Comfrey Healing Lotion.
  • Learn how to prepare a poultice and fomentation while you
  • Sample an anti inflammatory herbal tea in class.

Date: Saturday, March 11, 2017
Time: 9am – 12pm
Cost: $ 70 plus GST
Pre registration and prepayment required to reserve your space
Location: South Granville, Vancouver BC
More information provided upon registration.
To register email: info@alchemyelixir.com  or ph: 604 683 2298

 

2nd Annual Gambier Island Medicine Making Retreat

If you are curious about herbal medicine, passionate about learning ways of incorporating herbal medicine into your daily lifestyle and thirst for some tranquil time in peace filled nature; consider joining myself, Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ Medical Herbalist and Sharon Brown Horton for a fun, inspirational, information packed weekend – at our second annual Gambier Island Herbal Medicine Making retreat.

  • Partake in a 2 day Medicine Making weekend while camping on an off the grid property.
  • Learn what it means to be on an off-grid-property and understand the details of island life.
  •  Meet local medicinal plants through a herb walk in
    majestic rainforest and meadow land.
  • Take a water taxi to a stunning quiet Island to learn about herbal medicine making.
  • Enjoy the local animals on property and the gorgeous view overlooking Howe Sound. Perhaps we will encounter some ocean life and sea lions on route!
  • Collect medicinal and garden edibles for salad and enjoy a delicious lemon balm desert, sip on herbal tea throughout the day.
  • Prepare herbal medicine recipes and learn how to incorporate various local plants herbs as foods and medicine.

Join Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist & host Sharon Brown Horton for this informative workshop!

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Details for this 2 Day Intensive Herbal Medicine Making Workshop
Price Includes: 2 days of teaching from 10 am until after 5 pm.
Vegan friendly dinner on Sat, Breakfast Sunday, Herb Salads on both days.
Overnight Saturday camping (limited tents provided).
Additional information shared at time of registration.

sharon gambier

Herb Walk and Ocean Time
Day 1 Dive into Medicine Making and learn how to prepare lavender whipped body butter, lemonbalm ginger syrup, herbal infused oil, herbal snacks (fruit leather or power balls) and wild flower herbal infusions
Day 2: hydrosols and aromatic floral waters, a medicinal lip balm, mint and rosemary cordial, luscious wild flower coconut massage oil, immune vinegar, black forest chai, therapeutic herbal honey
An introduction to Herb identification, Plant family recognition and Wildcrafting considerations will also be covered.
Cost includes instruction booklet containing all recipes
There will be an option to purchase Katolen’s recent book The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies for $ 25.

Reserve the Date: Saturday June 24 & Sunday June 25, 2017 Rain or shine!

salal small workshop room small deer small

Prepayment required. Space is very limited –reserve now.
2 Day Medicine Making, Supplies and Handouts: $ 270 + GST
Food & Accommodation: $ 85
Plus $ 45 Water Taxi to island
Total: $ 413.50
Contact: 604-683-2298
Email: info@ alchemyelixir.com for more information

Honouring Our Elders – Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations

At the Vancouver Island Herb Gathering back in June, it was an absolute pleasure for the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations to formally honour our Elder Herbalists in a ceremony gathering over 300 participants. With smudging, drumming, dancing and stories shared by elders present so many attendees were moved with laughter and tears hearing reflections and advice offered by our Elders to everyone present. This was an event which will be remembered!

The 36 nominated Elders include practitioner herbalists from across Canada who have spent at least 25 years offering outstanding contributions to the field of herbalism.  Their bios and background can be viewed on the CCHA website Honouring Our Elders page. Many of our nation’s herbal elders have offered years of service to community healing and to defend and establish the right to access herbs in Canada. We honoured their contributions with the announcement at Canada’s first nation wide herbal gathering in 2015. Our herbal elders have gathered vast amounts of knowledge and as they move towards retirement we hope to help them stay connected to the younger herbalists who will look to them for teachings and support.

The CCHA welcomes nomination of additional elders to be honoured at future gatherings,Herb Gathering, Joshua Tree 2015 099 visit the website for more information.

Kootenay Herb Conference, Creston BC

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 503The theme of the first Kootenay Herb Conference was “Herbs: The Medicine of the People.”  A weekend of celebrating the centuries-old tradition of using ‘herbs in food and herbs as medicine’; connecting to our past and the healing power of plants.

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 450 The Kootenay Herb Conference was held just outside of Creston, BC in early July -situated close  to the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area a nature reserve with many trails. This world-Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 434renowned bird sanctuary is located on 17,000 acres of protected wetlands and boasts more than 265 species of nesting and migrating birds.- the location in a valley between mountains and beside a river and we were infused with warm summer weather.

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 461The was a HUGE success – bringing attendees from all around BC, Alberta and the United States- It was an amazing Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 548opportunity to both infuse oneself in nature and learn about plant medicine – with insight from amazing herbalists residing throughout North America. Presenters ranged from numerous clinical herbalists, wildcrafters, doctors and naturopaths travelling from Seattle, McCall, Idaho, the Kootenays, Vancouver and Vancouver Island and Grande Prairie, Alberta who presented an assortment of health topics through the weekend- from phytochemicals used in salve making and favonoids in foods, to medicinal mushrooms, bach flower therapy, ayurvedic constitutions,  herbal discussions Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 529for various ailments (menopause, respiratory health, herbals for babies and children) and edible herbals- there were topics for every area of interest and level of learning (from advanced practitioners to those attending their very first herb lecture)- everyone took home gems from the weekend.

Medicinal plants are growing in abundance around the area making it an idelic space for herb walks and visual identification of plants growing in their natural habitat.Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 516

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 549The conference offered delicious food, greens and berries grown specially for the  weekend and generously donated by local markets and farms, the meals were amazing.  A thank you to all the volunteers and organizers to make this event a success- Rachel Beck and others who worked tirelessly throughout the weekend- looking at ways to enhance the experience throughout the Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 551entire weekend.

Look for this conference to be held again in 2016 and spread the wordKootenay  Herb Gatherine 425 – what a great opportunity to expand ones knowledge of plant medicine while being submersed in nature. An idellic setting for learning more about nature’s healers.

Kootenay  Herb Gatherine 422