Category Archives: Herbs

Natural Cosmetic Making using Herbal Medicine

Interested in creating natural and clean body care products for you and your family? Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) – Medical Herbalist for this informative workshop! Learn about herbs for skin care and create chemical free recipes the whole family will enjoy. During this workshop you will create and take home:

An herbal facial steam
A rich natural calendula cream 50 gr
A facial scrub 50 gr
A luscious massage oil 50 ml
Alchemy & Elixir Health Group Office: 604-683-2298
Cost: $65 plus GST
Date: Saturday October 28, 2017
Time: 9am – 12 pm
Email: info@ alchemyelixir.com
RSVP and prepayment to assure your spot as space is limited!
FB: Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist
www.katolenyardley.com
Location: Downtown Vancouver, BC
Details provided upon registration

Registrants can purchase a copy of Katolen’s book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies”

Herbal Bitters & Digestives: Herbal Medicine Making for Digestion

Herbal Bitters and Digestives: Herbal Medicine Making for Digestion

Date: Thursday, November 9, 2017   Time: 7 pm – 9 pm

Cost: $ 50 plus GST

Join Medical Herbalist, Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) for a morning of herbal medicine making.
Discuss the importance of carminative herbs for optimal digestion.
Sample a digestive tea.
We will cover how bitters work and why they are important for whole body and digestive health.
Learn how to create your own Herbal Bitter Blendand take home 50 grams of Digestive Tea for future use.

Registrants can purchase a copy of Katolen’s book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies”
Pre registration and prepayment to reserve your space
Location: Downtown Vancouver BC
More information provided upon registration.
To register contact: info@alchemyelixir.com ph: 604 683 2298

 

Natural Cosmetic Making using Herbal Medicine

Interested in creating natural and clean body care products for you and your family?  Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) – Medical Herbalist for this informative workshop! Learn about herbs for skin care and create chemical free recipes the whole family will enjoy. During this workshop you will create and take home:   

  • An herbal facial steam
  • A rich natural calendula cream 50 gr
  • A facial scrub 50 gr
  • A luscious massage oil 50 ml

Alchemy & Elixir Health Group Office: 604-683-2298
Cost: $65 plus GST
Date: Saturday Sept 23, 2017
Time: 9am – 12 pm
Email: info@ alchemyelixir.com
RSVP and prepayment to assure your spot as space is limited!
FB: Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist
www.katolenyardley.com
Location: Downtown Vancouver, BC
Details  provided upon registration

Registrants can purchase a copy of Katolen’s book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies”

 

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.

Hydrosols Prepared using an Alembic

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)

In previous posts I have provided some guidance for creating floral waters at home in your kitchen using common kitchen utensils, cooking pots and ice. Here are some photos of my own alembic, created by a potter who specialises in creating  replicas of ancient pottery pieces used back in the middle ages.

So far I have explored creating floral waters from pine, chamomile, rose, orange, lavender and cucumber; all of which have been unique and wonderful in their own way.

       

Reach for cucumber hydrosol as a facial spray for those puffy eyes first thing in the morning. Lavender is my favorite spritzer for everything – I love the scent!  It provides soothing properties for a sun burn, is an excellent toner to use after washing the face before bed. Orange floral water can brighten the scent of any home cleaning solution or use organic orange floral water added into a fruit salad or desert.

   

 

Hydrosols & Aromatic Waters

Written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)

Stove Top Distillation Method for Floral Waters

Hydrosols aka, aromatic waters and floral waters are an enchanting way of making rose water, orange water and other aromatic waters prepared from fresh or dried plant material, vegetables, barks or roots.
For the easy kitchen preparation all you need is some simple kitchen ingredients.

~ Materials ~
• Large pot with a lid, a pot for canning works great
• Large lid for pot – clear and curved is ideal (so you can see the accumulation of aromatic water in your inside container)
• Small bowl or pyrex glass container to sit inside your pot to collect the hydrosol.
• Something heat-proof to stand the smaller container on inside the large pot, a jar rack works     perfectly for this. A heat-proof ramekin, flat rock or steamer, with legs, with the center removed will also work.
• Water: high quality distilled or filtered
• Zip lock bag to store the melting ice
• Lots of ice cubes (consider even freezing ice in a 250 ml or 500 ml yoghurt container or another large vessel)
• Plant material (fresh or dried) chopped finely
• A heat source: fire, hot plate, electric stove, gas or butane camping stove
• Bottles or a mister spray bottle for storing your hydrosol
• Labels
• Have a dedicated notebook close by for recording your experience and findings

~ Method ~
Place the rack or ramekin in the bottom of the large pot and put the small collecting bowl or container on top of the ramekin. Next fill the bottom of the large pot with plant material. You want the plants to reach up to the smaller bowl. If you would like to record your amount- take the herbs out and weigh them – before returning them to the pot. Then fill with water until the plant material is submersed. Finally put your lid upside down on top of the large pot. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. After it starts to simmer, put the bag of ice on the inverted lid. Replace ice as needed. A clear lid will allow for you to watch the hydrosol condense! Heat up enough for the water surrounding the plant material to steam but not boil, or bring up to a boiling point and reduce to a low simmer. Let the distillation work its magic for about 30 minutes or so.
~ How It Works ~
The water will steam the plant material carrying the aromatic essence from the plant into the air. The steam collects on the lid of the pan and condenses due to the ice cubes. Because the pot lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid the liquid is directed to drip down into the smaller bowl. This liquid is your hydrosol (aka floral water)! Note that the plant material inside the alembic will be dry, brittle and noticeably void of any color or life force remaining. It has been said that the life force of the plant or vital chi energy, is carried over into the new creation. Store you hydrosol in a dark glass bottle in the refrigerator. Hydrosols are intended for immediate use and have a shelf life of a  one to couple months to a little longer depending upon storage. Use your hydrosols often and enjoy!
Creative Hydrosol Application
Some of my favorite hydrosol preparations are ones prepared from common flowers and fruits. Fresh or dried chamomile, rose petals, lavender, fireweed, cucumber, orange and lemon and some of my fond favorites.

Applications are as varied as your creativity. Aromatic waters have a relatively short shelf life so they are best used daily. Consider using hydrosols for:

  • Skin Care: for skin conditions from acne to diaper rash to oily or dry, mature
    skin. Place  into a spritzer container and use on the skin.
  • Add into creams, use as a skin toner or for wound care, sunburn, rashes or
    poison ivy.
  • Prepare a compress for sore muscles, rashes, bites even hot flushes.
    Add into a bath, foot soak, hair rinse, mouthwash or a neti pot.
  • Use as a humidifier or room atomizer to elevate the energy in a room and uplift emotions.
  • Consider adding into culinary recipes or medicine making; replace the water in your recipe with hydrosol!
  • Home cleaning: car cleaning, yoga mats, massage tables cleaning, ironing, laundry in the dryer.
  • Pet care: hot spots, for washing infected ears, for rinsing fur or dirty faces
  • Digestion support or finger bowls.

The Alchemy of Hydrosols

How to Prepare Floral Waters, or in ancient terms: Preparing Hydrosols using Alembics
Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)
Copyright 2017
www.katolenyardley.com

The art of distillation dates back past 5000 BC. Herbal waters or hydrosols even predate
the preparation of essential oils by hundreds of years. If you are interested in creating
floral waters, aka, hydrosols, then learn the basics of plant distillation. Becoming familiar with the words used in the process and the rituals associated with historical use immediately aligns us with historic practices and the magic of transformation itself. When creating hydrosols, know that you are tapping into ancient wisdom and transformative alchemical processes.

Deciphering Terms:

  • Floral water creates a useful visual but is not the most accurate representation, as hydrosols can be steam distilled from other plant parts, barks, seeds, fruits, roots as well as flowers, vegetables, even beeswax.
  • Aromatic water or plant water are descriptive terms – painting the picture of an ‘aroma filled’ water; however water from plants do not always bringing forth the familiar characteristic scent of the plant, but take on there is a fingerprint of the plants’ essence.
  • Hydrosol The term hydrosol was first recorded around 1860, the term comes from the Latin hydro, meaning ‘water’ and sol, which means ‘solution.’ ‘Hydrosol’ indicates any water-based solution or distillate waters.
  • Hydrolate or hydrolat may be the most accurate words to use. Sourced from the Greek word ‘hydor’, and Latin word ‘hydro’, means ‘water,’ and lait, meaning ‘milk’ referring to how the liquid appears when it comes off the still.

Distillation The process of purifying a liquid by volatilization or evaporation and subsequent condensation of a liquid, as when water is boiled in a retort and the steam is condensed in a cool receiver. (Dictionary.com) The process of heating a liquid until it gives off a gas and then cooling the gas until it again becomes liquid (Mirriam Webster Dictionary Online). The word ‘distillation’ comes from the Latin word ‘destillare’ meaning ‘to trickle down drop by drop.’

An alembic is an apparatus or piece of equipment used in distillation, an agent something that refines or transmutes as if by distillation.  There are many types of Alembics, also known as distillation units or stills which can vary in design, purpose and materials used. There are clay pottery alembics, stills made from  brass, iron, copper and stainless steel. If you are using equipment for medicine making ensure you choose food grade equipment.

How Hydrosols are Created
Hydrosols are created from the steam distillation of plant matter which produces both essential oils and a water component (hydrosol). Steam distillation can occur in a large, tall pot (alembic), containing plant matter and water. As the pot is heated the water will break through the plant material and loosen the volatile constituents. Steam, intermingled with the aromatic essence of the plant material, will rise to the top of the alembic. A tightly fitting lid, with a secure seal ensures that no steam will leak out of the vessel and instead allows for the steam to rise to the top of the alembic. As the steam cools it transforms into liquid which is collected at the top of the lid and as the steam cools it transforms back into aromatic water, seeping down the sides, into the spout and  and into the collecting bowl container.

For kitchen preparations- the steam collects on the lid of the pan and condenses due to the ice cubes (the ice cools down the steam), turning the steam back into water (hydrolat), with small amounts of oil (essential oil). Because the pot lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid, the liquid drips down into the smaller collecting bowl. Small amount of essential oil also transfer into the hydrosol. Aromatic waters and essential oil do not mix, so any the essential oil, may be seen on the top of the water where it can be siphoned off or mixed into the final product. As hydrosols are a water-based product; pay close attention in both the distillation and preservation processes to preventing bacterial contamination. First and foremost is the cleanliness of the still, tubing, high quality water, collecting vessels, and work surfaces used in the distilling process. For more information on kitchen preparations of hydrosols, continue reading.

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!

turkey tail kat view small view small

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

Natural Cosmetic Making Class

Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – Medical Herbalist  for a fun and informative morning creating natural cosmetics and body care products using Herbal Medicine.
Learn how to make natural and clean body care products for you and your family

We will discuss herbs for skin care and create chemical free recipes the whole family will enjoy. During this workshop you will create and take home:

    • An herbal facial steamCosmetic Making
    • A rich natural calendula cream 50 gr
    • A facial scrub 50 gr
    • A luscious massage oil 50 ml

For more information call Alchemy & Elixir Health Group
Office: 604-683-2298
Email: info@alchemyelixir.com

Date: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Time: 9am – 12 pm
Cost: $65 plus GST
RSVP and prepayment to reserve your spot, as space is limited!

Location: South Granville  Vancouver
Additional details  and location will be provided upon registration

To stay informed about upcoming Herbal Medicine Making Classes, join our Facebook page: Katolen Yardley, Medical HerbalistCosmetic Making