Category Archives: Philosophy of Health

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

 

The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies

I am very excited to announce the release of my new book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies.” Inspired by the urgent need to recognize the value of mother earth and the gifts which she provides, especially plants – both serving as our foods and also our medicines and the importance of taking steps to maintain and preserve the health of the earth for our own wellbeing, the continued accessibility of our healing plants and the health of generations in the future.front cover small

This back-to-nature home remedy and herbal medicine making guide provides details on effective herbal medicines (kitchen vegetables, spices, well known herbal medicines and wild plants) for common family health issues. Inside the 310 pages of this hardcover book you will find recipes for various common health concerns: from an upset stomach, indigestion to arthritis and sore muscles, wound healing to acne, eczema, hives as well as body care recipes (body washes, insect repellents, cleansers and hair masks).

Regardless of if you are a beginner or advanced in your herbal training – this book is for you!  Providing guidance for preparing infusions, decoctions, medicinal honeys, general tincture preparation, herbal vinegars and topical applications as well as general first aid guidance using herbal medicine. There are also tasty food recipes which incorporate edible plants into ones diet.

Color photographs offer assistance with plant identification, this is a reference manual; offering tips for both beginners as well as recipes and traditional and modern applications for advanced herbal practitioners.

Kat book 2Featuring a long list of medicinal plants including detailed descriptions on the use of Turmeric, Lavender, Nettles, Heartsease, Sweet Violet, Self Heal, Juniper and Sage; common kitchen herbs and even vegetables and also some lesser known medicinal plants such as Watercress, Daisy and Sunflowers!

We all know that what we put on our skin is absorbed into out body. There is more and more research conducted on groups of commercial synthetic chemicals (largely found in cosmetic use and cleaning supplies) known as Xenoestrogens – also known as Endocrine disruptors (known to increase our bodies estrogen levels, and contribute to health conditions including infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, lowered sperm counts and have the ability to disrupt thyroid function, and linked to obesity, and a large list of health issues).

The cosmetic and body care recipes inside this book are environmentally friendly and Xenoestrogen free – they can play a small role in reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals typically found in common packaged cosmetics and also reduce the impact of environmentally toxic chemicals in the environment, our water and food chain and on marine life.

Packed full of herbal wisdom, traditional use and just the right amount of science, readers will gain confidence in plant identification as they dive into the art of creating ones own elixirs at home. In short, “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies” is a simple, straightforward, and beautiful guide to herbal remedies that will help you take charge of your health using nature’s own medicine.

kat book 3There is some urgency in remembering and recognizing the value of mother nature and the plants which she grows.  We reach for what is familiar! That which we use daily -those very habits which we see our family repeating daily, is what we will likely repeat as adults. Our habits today create the habits of the next generation- we need our future generations to remember the importance of clean soil, clean air and accessible plants, both as our foods and as our medicines. This book is a small tool for the remembering of the value of our plants and how to apply them as medicines for common first aid.

Some reviews of the book can be viewed here.

More about me:  You can view a more in depth bio here on my website www.katolenyardley.com: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – I have been in private practice for almost 2 decades (not to date myself) specializing in women’s health, digestive and skin issues. I have taught herbal medicine making classes for over 25 years, and offer my wisdom and experience to a variety of students in workshops and classrooms.

Autographed copies can be purchased online from my website: www.alchemyelixir.com or books are also available for purchase online: at Amazon, Indigo Chapters, Barnes and Nobel, Banyen Books, and hopefully at a bookstore near you.

A Holistic Approach to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and associated mental health issues including Depression and Anxiety)

Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH in this one-day workshop exploring the impact that long term stress has on the body. We will cover the HPA Axis, and some theories behind PTSD and related mental health issues (including anxiety and depression). Participants will investigate the connection between systemic inflammation and optimal digestive function and dis-ease, including the role a healthy microbiome plays in mental health. Additionally, participants will learn about holistic treatment protocols including nutrition and plant medicine in the route back to optimal health.

Therapeutic options covered include the following:

  • Herbal Medicine options
  • Tips for Nutrition and supplements
  • Lifestyle considerations
  • The role which ‘Connection’ has on our state of mind
  • This course is ideal for a health care professional or any person wanting holistic guidance for supporting their body through extended stress.

Course Instructor: Katolen Yardley is a Medical Herbalist and owner of Alchemy & Elixir Health Group – currently in private practice in Vancouver and Port Moody, BC. Katolen teaches herbal medicine courses at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, Langara College, Dominion Herbal College and local and international conferences. She is vice president of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations (CCHA) and second term president of the Canadian Herbalist’s Association of BC (CHA of BC).

Since 1998, she has appeared on Global Television Morning News, where she offers herbal information to the public. Katolen has been a guest on the Discovery Channel’s Healthy Home Show and has been published in numerous magazines and health journals. Her personal interest in health lies with the emotional connection to wellness and dis-ease.

Her book The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies is available July 2016 and book signings will occur at the end of the course.

For more information visit: www.katolenyardley.com or                                                       Facebook: Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016, 9:00am-5:00pm                                                                             Location: Pacific Rim College, Victoria, BC
To register visit: Pacific Rim College Event
https://www.pacificrimcollege.com/workshops/workshop-registration-form/

Course Tuition
Regular – $150 (Early Bird – $142.50, until August 1)
Students* – $137.50 (Early Bird – $125, until August 1)
PRC Alumni – $142.50 (Early Bird – $132.50, until August 1)
*PRC diploma students will receive 0.5 NU/WHS academic credit for this workshop.

A Holistic Approach to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and associated mental health issues)      

 

Presented by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH

During the  2 hours we will:

  • Explore the impact that long term stress has on the body, including the HPA Axis, and some theories behind PTSD and related mental health issues (anxiety and depression)
  • Investigate the connection between systemic inflammation and optimal digestive function and dis-ease and the role which healthy microbiome plays in  mental  health
  • Cover tools for re establishing health including:
  • Herbal Medicine options
  • Tips for Nutrition and supplements
  • Lifestyle considerations and
  • the role which ‘Connection’ has on our state of mind

Date: Thursday April 28, 2016    

Time: 2 hours from  7-9 pm  

Location: Kings College, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Trauma, Rest and the Role of Nature in Resetting the Nervous System

Having recent opportunity to teach in the certificate program “The Holistic Approach to Trauma,” at Langara College in Vancouver BC. The impact of extreme stress and the chain reaction that stress has on the body is fresh in my mind.

PSTD can be triggered from a traumatic event which creates emotional upheaval, flashbacks and anxiety which is re-lived again and again in both the mind and the body.  Rather than integrating the experience and moving forward – which is our bodies normal way of adapting, the trauma of a stress filled event can overwhelm the body, impacting resiliency and ones ability to cope; creating a looping state where the body re-lives an event which occurred in the past. PSTD and chronic stress can create a domino effect, impacting all endocrine  hormones throughout the body, altering immune system, hormones, thyroid function (the bodies motor for functioning) and adrenal health and can trigger inflammatory conditions leading to chronic dis-ease.

Finding my own self in urgent need of rest after a unique year, I sought out the most possible peace filled environment I could imagine. A small cabana hut, complete with a book and a hammock right on the ocean. Time to reconnect with nature and simply exhale.

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My temporary home, a one room hut with a thatched palm roof and outside my door was nothing but a wide stretch of  pristine white sand beach (noted to be some of the most beautiful in the world) and awe inspiring, magnificent views of  turquoise waters.

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Perhaps the very best therapy for trauma (or simply overload from stress) is the quiet calm, the lush green, serene stillness of NATURE. The simplicity of nature assists in our remembering that we are all connected and mother earth is our playground and a healer on this journey called life.

Tulum 198 Tulum 135

Studies have been conducted on immersion in nature and its benefits for individuals suffering from stress and extended trauma. Nature can play a fundamental role in the photo 3restoration of a healthy nervous system, providing an opportunity to re-set a hyper functioning overly sensitive state. Immersion in nature is hugely beneficial for those suffering from PSTD. It matters not where ones makes contact with nature to experience the healing offered through contact with her trees, plants and the earth – gifts of mother natures and her green allies. Contact with nature can occur in ones garden, a local community park, or in the countryside, a meadow or at ocean level; remote wilderness, a jungle or high up in the mountains.  It is the benefit that fresh clean air, stunning beauty, walking barefoot in the soil, hugging a tree and experiencing the soothing sounds of mother nature. There is growing evidence that our green friends – trees, plants, flowers can improve our health and well being and reminds us of the connection we have to inhabitants  on this planet -plants, animals as well as each other. We are a part of a larger community.

photo 1 (2)In my soon to be released book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies” I speak of the urgent importance of recognizing mother nature and all she provides as necessary for the health of all life on this planet.  Mother nature provides plants which are our nourishment, our foods and our medicines – plants are our healing allies – we co exist together on this planet. We could not exist on this planet without plants. It is essential that we recognise her essential value in our life and seek to protect her gifts which are disappearing at a rapid rate. 

photo 5 (2)   photo 3 (8)  photo 3 (7)

IMG_0270The beach road outside of Tulum, Mexico is known for its bohemian new age feel, live music, plenty of yoga, juice bars, plenty of ecologically conscious retreats and small boutique hotels – a far removed sanctuary from sprawling busy resort hotels miles away; this lush beach front is still largely surrounded by palm trees, green jungle plants, mangroves and animals. No pressure to do anything except to enjoy the sparkling Caribbean Sea and stunning shoreline. The first night I took in some late night music therapy – feeling the reverberations of vibration soothe my tired soul.

photo 1 (8)  photo 4 (6)  Tulum 232

Further south of the Riviera Maya,  past the Tulum Playa coastline, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a world renowned Ecological Reserve and designated World Heritage Site (UNESCO); extending roughly 120 kilometers of coastline, and over 400,000 hectares of land. Sian Ka’an currently is the largest protected area in the Mexican Carribean. This biosphere reserve contains tropical jungle forests, marshes and wetlands, freshwater lagoons and mangrove forests, palm savannah and intersects  the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second largest barrier reef in the world) with its white beaches and sand dunes.  It is the home for an thousands of plant and animal species, a habitat for more than 300 species of birds, (including the great blue heron, jabiru, ocelot, margay and wood stork, American flamingo, toucan, vultures, ) spider black howler monkey, crocodile, black iguana, puma,  jaguar, brown pelican, puma, ocelot, tamandua and tapir, It also is home to a great diversity of marine life: nesting marine turtles, rays, coral fish and numerous fish species.

Tulum 134

Studies confirm that peace filled green environments such as those found in nature have an impact on mental well being, reducing fears, anxiety, anger, tension and depression.  Recognizing the challenges and stressors of daily living in our western industrialized society, nature can provide the needed reset button and perhaps may just influence our own future choices and the direction – if we recognize mother nature as valuable we might be more likely to fight to preserve her own health.

Continued and frequent contact with mother nature may be a necessary contact to sustain IMG_0297balance – sustainable and ecological friendly practices for tourism are desperately needed. New levels of ecological tourism are needed to prevent the destruction of the beauty which tourists flock to enjoy; currently at the cost of the plant life and animal species that call this backdrop home.  Perhaps it is a timely call for mutual healing – for both ourselves – humans suffering the consequences of our industrialized lifestyle – insomnia, hypertension, plagued by anxiety and worry.  And our own active involvement the natural world, ensuring she is flourishing, healthy and well for our mutual growth/ nourishment on this planet.

Yet during my stay I was aware of the urgent need for more environmental conservation practices in the Yucatan Peninsula to sustain this exquisite environment.  This very land which provides such great beauty and deep healing is in desperate need of saving, as large resorts and fast moving developments destroy miles of mangroves creating irreversible destruction to the fragile ecosystem of this land.

What we do to the planet we do to ourselves. It is time that we take responsibility for the state of the environment and make personal and conscious choices for its improvement.

Tulum 186

When I awoke in the morning, and took my first morning ocean swim, I could SEE the truth of the situation! Before the local beach groomers had swept the beach to remove the proof -at night the ocean would deposit ALL that was being held in her waters – plastic, plastic, and more plastic! Bottles, containers, plastic chips, hundreds of colored plastic bits littered the beach. Resembling little colored fish, I could imagine larger fish ingesting these plastic parts thinking they were nourishment. An example of xenoestrogens and a visual example of the impact that tiny bits of plastic can have on marine life and aquatic species.

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Ecotourism and the issues surrounding growing coastal urbanization is a focus as locals seek to preserve the beauty of the environment and retain the biodiversity of plant and animal species in the Yucatan. Environmental groups are committed to protecting the local areas and fragile ecosystem and attempt to slow down or prevent the ecological problems that have already taken hold in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.

 

Many smaller hotels are conscious of the need for sustainable tourism and take steps to  minimize the environmental impact on this fragile ecosystem, supporting existing conservation projects to help preservation for future generations. Some of the challenges of this area:

  • there are well-documented garbage and sewage problems: septic tanks from larger (and even smaller) hotels may be dumping soap water from their laundries into the mangroves or nearby cenotes polluting the underground river system.
  • chlorophenoxy herbicides from pesticides and chemical fertilisers used in green lawn areas and golf courses are now major threats to the fragile barrier reef
  • due to a lack of proper man made drainage, the hydrological cycle is short, and over time the vegetation in existing mangroves ends up dying
  • contamination of drinking water and ocean life from both untreated sewage and containing byproducts found in human urine (containing traces of pharmaceutical medication (such as xenoestrogen chemicals found in birth control pills, premarin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen and residue from beauty care products containing plastic beads, antiseptics (aka antibiotics such as triclosan) are a major problem
  • traces of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) have also been found in ocean water and has an impact on coral and marine life
  • documented climate change, raising temperatures and water levels, pollution and contamination has damaged local mangroves and reefs

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Taking small steps to be  eco-friendly, many smaller boutique hotels have no electricity past midnight. Toilet paper is not flushed  and it is requested that water and other resources be used sparingly. Many showers are refreshing one tap cold ocean water rinses. Solar panels provide electricity and many hotels take steps to reuse and recycle offering filtered water (refills) rather than selling bottled water containers.  Many environmental agencies make recommendations such as the use of impermeable liners beneath golf courses, improved wastewater treatment infrastructure, prohibition of dumping treated sewage into saltwater and protection of remaining mangrove habitat, which buffer coastal areas from pollution.

Centro Ecológico Akumal is a non-governmental organization that focuses on sustainability-related issues and improving ecosystem management in and around Akumal.

Statistics from the Mexican government state the the mayan riviera is the fastest gowing resort area in the world. Mangroves that once covered all of the coastal area, have now been bulldozed and paved over. A jarring example of how NOT to create a sustainable tourist area. Scientists now believe that mangrove forests can help slow climate change, by purifying the water from human wastes and pollutants, and in doing so, coral reefs are less effected. The roots of mangroves act to trap sediments that would otherwise be washed back out by the waves. Moreover, mangroves provide a habitat for many different species of animals and suck a large amount of industrial carbon out of the atmosphere and bury it deep within the underground network of roots.

Mother natures offers us her gifts – nature is a stunning reprieve from hectic city life. It is essential that we recognize and preserve her qualities and  value her continued existence and seek to protect her gifts which are disappearing at a rapid rate. 

For more information and information reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/dec/09/cancun-mangrove-paradise-megasprawl

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-mangroves-idUSTRE6AN0YH20101125http://voicesmotherearth.blogspot.ca/2016/02/cancun-quintana-roo-commercial-property.html

S.A.V.E (Society of Akumal Vital Ecology) a non profit organisation involved in preventing construction over mangrove swamps in Puerto Morelos, creation of natural reservex in Xcacel-Xcelito and protection of hundreds of marine turtle nests. http://www.cenotes.com/save/

Health Action Network Society (HANS): Mind-Alive Conference: Exploring Natural Medicine for Mental Health

mind alive HANSHANS and Orthomolecular Health are hosting this extraordinary full day event dedicated to the awareness of natural treatments for mental health issues. Our expert speakers will be discussing the siagnosis and treatment options for, eg. anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders.

Katolen Yardley, MNIMH Medical Herbalist will be speaking on the Holistic Approach to Mental Health: discussing nutrition and herbal medicine support.

Date: Saturday October 25, 2014

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre Meeting Rooms 10-12, Vancouver BC

For more information visit:  www.hans.org

 

Kootenay Herb Conference 2014

For herbal medicine students, herbal enthusiasts and all people passionate about learning more on healing and herbal medicine- Check out the first annual Kootenay Herb Conference! The theme of the inaugural Kootenay Herb Conference is “Herbs: The Medicine of the People.” This year’s conference celebrates the centuries-old tradition of herbs in food and medicine, connecting to our past and their healing power. Whether we use them to feed our families, or to maintain our health and wellness, herbs can be appreciated by everyone. Date: July 11- 14, 2014

Location: Creston, British Columbia

For more information  on workshops view the website at: Kootenay Herb Conference Workshops.

 

Numen: The Healing Power of Plants Documentary

An inspiring documentary on the Healing Power of Herbal Medicine – featuring some of my favorite herbalists of all time: Rosemary Gladstar, Tieraona Lowdog, MD, David Hoffman and others. Official selection of the Santa Fe film festival, Green Mountain film festival, Maine International film festival, and the Sonoma Environmental film festival and third place documentary feature and best visual effects winner of the Los Angeles Reel film festival, Mark down these dates on your calender to view the award winning film Numen: The Healing Power of Plants. – free to view online October 20-30. Check out the trailer here.

Lifestyle Tips for Boosting Whole Body Health

With the New Year right around the corner- jump start your health goals by incorporating new lifestyle tips and routines into your new year!!

1. Incorporate tonic herbs into your daily routine (including Maca, Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha), to build the bodies endurance and stamina, offering resistance from stressful conditions and support for immune system function.

2. Consider Medicinal Mushrooms: rebuild and restore immunity with mushrooms such as Shitake, Maitake, Oyster, Reishi, Enokitake mushrooms; add into cooking recipes and take in supplement form for stronger immune modulating, anti inflammatory actions, to enhance liver function and raise energy levels. Chaga is another unique mushroom which offers specific support to the digestive system, including ulcers, and symptoms of irritable bowel disease.

3. Boost your bodies’ detoxification ability by drinking herbal infusions (teas) such as Nettles, Burdock, Dandelion root or Cleavers. These herbs are traditionally referred to as alteratives which support the function of the organs of cleansing and elimination.

4. Xenoestrogens: Read labels -identify potential endocrine disruptors –and reduce exposure— familiar yourself with the names of low level hormone disruptors or estrogen mimickers -hidden ingredients in our cosmetics, plastics, pharmaceuticals, food, and personal care products. Xenoestrogens, are a group of chemicals present in the environment and in products we use every day, which mimic the effects of estrogen and disrupt normal hormone function. Combined with the estrogen naturally produced by the body, these foreign chemicals can create an excess of estrogen (and contribute to issues with fertility and reproductive health) and chemical sensitivity — many are also known carcinogens. Items to avoid include: phthalates, parabens, plastics (BPA, PETA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and butylates hydroxyanisole (BHA). To assist in ridding these agents from the body consider Crucera SGS, Indole 3 Carbinol and Calcium d glucarate.

5. Remove chemical toxins from your home by choosing biodegradable cleaning products or better yet, create your own home cleaning products by using vinegar, baking soda and pure essential oils.

6. Daily ‘skin brushing’ using a dry vegetable bristle brush, will improve circulation and stimulate drainage from the lymphatic system.

7. Choose Organic – to remove chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers (which are also xenoestrogens!), focus on foods in whole form not from a package (boxed or canned) and read labels -if there a list of long chemicals in the ingredients then avoid these foods.

8. Cultivate gratitude: give thanks for what is good in your life – focus and appreciate on that which contributes to ones peace of mind and happiness including community (family and friends), sunshine, an abundance of accessible healthy food, and our right to a variety of educated health care choices.

Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ a Medical Herbalist in private practice in British Columbia – is now accepting new clients. www.katolenyardley.com

 

Sage Wands

Organic Sage Wands

Sage bundles, Smudge fans, or prayer fans, have been used by first nations people for centuries.  The art of smudging involves burning herbs such as sage and sweet grass, or used together, first beginning with sage.  The smoke is directed or “washed” over people and things that need blessings and healings.  The smoke is believed to dispel negative influences. Smudging can be used to cleanse a room of tension and bad spirits after a verbal dispute or if someone with depression or anger had pervaded the place with gloominess.  Another common use is to cleanse a dwelling before you move in to a new space. Take the smudge fan and disperse the smoke in all corners to purify your new home, office, garage or yard, furniture, special objects and pets.

 Smudge bundles are dried and burned; used in the beginning of prayers, rituals, smudging and other ceremonies to remove perceived negative energies, to promote spiritual and emotional purification, to purify a space, and align in harmony with the earth and with ones higher self. Often used in combination with sweetgrass; sage smudge sticks can help turn a negative atmosphere in to a positive environment.

Directions: Sage bundles are usually burned by lighting the end of the bundle, let it burn for about 10 seconds, then blow the flame out. Hold a large clamshell, or bowl under the grass to catch the embers.  The bundle should smolder and give off smoke. It is this smoke which is used for purification and spiritual and emotional cleansing and the removal of negativity from a sacred space, a person, home, or new environment.

Once the sage is lit, you do not stop it from burning. If the smudging has been completed, then set the bowl down and let it burn itself out until it is done. Do not put it under water to douse the smoke or stop it from burning its flame out naturally.For obvious reasons, do not leave the flame unattended.

Repeat as needed, cleanse ones home or environment monthly, or after any negative or traumatic emotional experiences.

White Sage Bundles – are sold individually as one bundle. Order here: