Sunday, October 23, 2011

Upcoming Herbal and Mycology workshops

Two exciting opportunities for learning more about natural health:

Medicinal Mushrooms of Western Canada
with Robert Rogers @ Pacific Rim College

October 29-30, 2011, 9am-5pm
Includes a day of classroom learning about edible and medicinal mushrooms and a day in the woods to identify mushrooms!

This photo is from the workshop held last spring. Robert is an expert and shared so much about mushrooms, lichen, and herbs over the weekend! 

Reading the Body: Traditional Western Herbal Diagnosis
with Margi Flint @ Pacific Rim College in Victoria

The workshop includes facial and tissue signs, pulse, tongue, urine, stool and nail diagnosis. Margi is an experienced herbalist with a practice in Massachusetts. To learn more about her visit her website: 

For more info about these workshops visit:

Friday, September 23, 2011

UK herbalist visits Victoria

Peter Conway, a herbalist from the UK, is coming to Victoria this weekend. He is teaching a workshop, held at Pacific Rim College, on the Hidden Dimensions of Healing in Natural Medicine.

For more about Peter:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wildflower photos & info from British Columbia

Photos of useful & beautiful wildflowers taken near 
Monashee Provincial Park in British Columbia:

 Arnica cordifolia (Heart leaved Arnica)
This plant has many relatives that are each used similarly to the European relative, Arnica montana. Arnica is used externally only as internal use is dangerous and toxic. External preparations are used to treat inflammation and muscle pain. 

Claytonia lanceolata (Western Spring Beauty)
This has been used as a food source - the leaves are rich in vitamins and the corms are rich in carbohydrates, thus the plant, has been called "Indian potato".

Pulsatilla occidentalis (Western Pasque flower)
This is called by many names including: Prarie Crocus, Wind flower, or Western Anenome. Like many other members of the Buttercup family this plant is poisonous when fresh. It is related to   Pulsatilla vulgaris (Common Pasque flower), which is used in herbal and homeopathic medicine. 
The photo above shows it in flower (right) and seeding (left). 

Photos taken by Lindsay Hounslow (Yoga teacher, Wilderness guide, and Herbalist) near Sol Mountain Lodge, host to Yoga retreats as well as back country hiking and skiing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Tea is medicine!

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is one of the most widely studied plants for medicinal use. Phytotherapy students at PRC recently reviewed available research on peer reviewed medical databases (such at PubMed and others). We discussed our findings and have summarized them here. Please contact us or comment if you are interested in viewing the references for related studies.
NOTE: This review includes human and in vitro studies of Camellia sinensis and in some cases studeies are limited to small sample extracted constituents. It is not intended to conclude curative actions for the disorders listed. We are providing information for research interest only, and will provide further info on resources if requested.

Potential Actions: 
antioxidant, chemoprotective, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-rheumatic, chrondoprotective, UV protective, radioprotective, anti-inflammatory, osteoprotective, hypoglycemic.

Medicinal uses supported by preliminary studies:
  • reduce cancer risk and progression (including ovarian, prostate  lung, gastrointestinal, breast, skin, leukemia, bladder.
  •  protect from UV radiation (internal and external use), and from radiation therapy side effects.
  • prevention of cardiovascular disease,  including coronary artery disease, and prevention of hypertension.
  • improve vascular function and reduce low-density-lipoprotein oxidation.
  • decreasing cartilage destruction in Rheumatoid Arthrtis, Osteoarthritis, periodontal disease.
  • decrease risk of osteoporosis and related fractures by regulating bone metabolism, particularly when associated with exercise.
Metabolic / Diabetes:
  • increasing satiety.
  • obesity and over eating.
  • decreases / management of blood sugar.
  • decrease sebum production to treat acne.
  • eye damage and ocular inflammation.
  • decrease risk of death from pneumonia.
  • hemochromatosis.
  • modulation of immune response in autoimmunity.
  • prevent or slow cognitive dysfunction/degradation.
  • chelating heavy metals.

    -may be inappropriate for patients with insomnia who are sensitive to caffeine; caution should be for patients with heart conditions due to risk of tachycardia; limit of 1-2 cups per cay during pregnancy and lactation.

    -over consumption may cause problems due to caffeine content, sensitive people may experience nervousness, sleep disorders, vomiting, headache, epigastric pain, tachycardia; aluminium content may cause accumulation especially problematic for patients with renal disorders; disruption of iron bioavailablity is a concern for anaemic patients; diuretic effect should be monitor and dosage limited accordingly.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Wildharvesting: Rose family

Hawthorn (Crataegus species) offer us a wonderful heart tonic to heal and prevent complications of circulatory system disorders such as hypertension and heart attacks. Hawthorn is a member of the Rose family and both the North American native and European introduced species can be used.  
Hawthorn flowers can be collected along with some leaves in the spring. Collect flowers when the anthers are still pink and harvest at the stem rather than picking individual flowers. Can be prepared as a tincture or tea. Berries are also useful and can be collected in the autumn.

Wild Rose species (such as Rosa nutkana) will also soon be ready to harvest. Petals should be selected when in full colour. They contain volatile oils so they should be dried at a low temperature (max 25 degrees C) and dried without light to maintain colour. They can be used for teas or made into a syrup. Rose is astringent for the digestive system and is traditionally used as a cordial to cheer the heart.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Medicinal Mushrooms

Last weekend Robert Rogers offered a Medicinal Mushroom workshop at Pacific Rim College in Victoria. We were amazed by his knowledge of mushrooms (some edible, medicinal and some toxic) and herbs too! After an in-class review of some fungi we headed out to identify some local species. 
Here are a few we saw.......

Fomitopsis pinicola (Red Belted Conk) -medicinal

Trametes versicolor (Turkey tail)-edible