Lesley's Blogs

  • Ophiopogon: A Common Garden Ornamental with Superpowers
    This spring, plant an herb that is not only an ornamental but also a powerful medicinal: ophiopogon. Known as Japanese turf lily or mondo grass, it is usually planted as a decorative border for its long, narrow, downward pointing and curling leaves. Few know that the tuber, a small white…
  • Book Review: The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution by Dr. Aviva Romm
    Do you experience weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, hormonal imbalances, sleep problems, gut imbalances, high cholesterol and/or blood pressure, digestive problems, chronic headaches, regular illness, depression, anxiety, pain, or autoimmune conditions? Have you sought help for these issues and nothing helped, or perhaps even told you were a difficult patient…
  • Guest Blog: How to Study Herbal Medicine by Kristi Shapla
    Introduction from Lesley: If anyone should know how to study efficiently it is Kristi Shapla, who as a mother, teacher, product formulator and producer, and wife is also a doctoral student. She has figured out techniques to help acquire effective study skills so you not only retain information better but…
  • Sweet Herbal Holiday Treats
    I always love to make gifts when I can and especially love to receive handmade ones, too, as do many people I know. If you do as well, or are wondering what to give someone, here are a couple of holiday herbal treats you can easily make that are not…
  • Cardamom: Your Best Friend
    There is one kitchen spice most of us could use more of in our lives: cardamom. While there are different types of cardamom (see end for details), just the plain old spice you have in your kitchen cabinet will do. It is a powerful digestive aid that comes in quite…
  • What is "Gao Jelly"?
    Gui ling Gao jelly by Takoradee via Wikimedia Commons Gao Jelly is a black, jelly-like substance made from Chinese herbs. Sometimes called Gui Ling Gao Herbal Jelly, it was traditionally comprised of 30-50 herbs. Today it is a popular chilled dessert, obtained from Chinatown shops in cans, plastic containers, or…
  • Turmeric: Pros, Cons, and Contraindications
    Turmeric has become increasingly popular over the last decade, first for blood purification and then for joint pain. As it's hit the mainstream, its uses have narrowed at the same time. While turmeric is a fabulous herb with many beneficial applications, it's also quite powerful and can strongly imbalance the…
  • The Wonders of Moxa, Part 2
    How to use moxa: If using purchased moxa, remove its commercial paper wrapper first (but not the white inner paper) and light one end. Hold about ½” above the skin over your chosen area, the distance varying with the person’s tolerance and the amount of heat stimulation desired. There are…
  • The Wonders of Moxa, Part 1
    Thunder moxa On our recent trip to China we went to Mr. Wei’s clinic in Hong Kong. There we learned of a new type of moxibustion – thunder moxa. It has many valuable uses and although it’s only available in China that I know of, you can still do it…
  • How Is Herbal Medicine Practiced in Modern-Day China?
    A group of 24 East West students, graduates, teachers, and a few of their companions traveled to study herbs in China for 10 days in May. What we found there was most surprising and encouraging. Michael has written much about this in his blog on this topic, so I’ll mention…
  • East West Goes to China!
    This year after one of our best seminars ever (per many students and teachers), a large group of East West students and graduates traveled to China together! The bulk of our time was spent training with the TCM branch of Shanghai University, both at Longhua Hospital and in a local…
  • American Botanical Council Honors Michael Tierra with Community Builder Award
    Mark Blumenthal and Michael Tierra Thursday evening, March 10, 2016, Michael was given the Mark Blumenthal Community Builder Award by the American Botanical Council (ABC). Mark (Founder and Executive Director of ABC and Editor of HerbalGram) announced the award during a lively evening for the 11th annual ABC Botanical Celebration…
  • Merry Mistletoe
    It’s that season when many pin a bouquet of mistletoe in their doorway for that magical ritual of kissing underneath its bounty. While there’s wonderful lore behind this annual tradition, mistletoe is also a very useful medicinal herb. Lore Dating back to 16th century England, kissing under the mistletoe was…
  • Clove: The Old "New" Spice?
    CLOVE (Eugenia caryophyllata, E. aromaticum, Syzygium aromaticum) Family: Myrtaceae Also called: caryophylli or ding xian (Chinese) Parts used: flower bud Energy and flavors: warm, acrid, aromoatic Organs and channels affected: Stomach, Spleen, Kidney Chemical constituents: essential oils, especially eugenol, tannins, phenolic acids, methyl salicylate (painkiller), the flavonoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin,…
  • Spark Your Digestion with Bitters!
    The famous Angostura bitters, first made in Venezuela in the early 19th century. "Photo by Clément Bucco-Lechat - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 At this time of year – deep into summer heat and humidity – plus during the Spleen time ruling digestion, there’s a wonderful beverage you…
  • Feverfew and Chrysanthemum
    "Tanacetum parthenium-Stueber0". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons When most people hear of the herb feverfew, they think migraines. While feverfew became popular in Great Britain in the ‘80s for treating this, it has been used far longer and for many more purposes than this. In fact, this…
  • Black Cohosh, East and West: Part 2
    See Part 1 here. "Actaea racemosa 002" by H. Zell - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Black cohosh has long been used throughout the world, but today its many uses have been mostly forgotten in the face of its powerful effects on menopause. Here are many more of…
  • Black Cohosh: East and West Part 1
    When you hear of the herb black cohosh, what do you think it treats? Today most people say, "Menopause," as it has been shown to stop hot flashes. However, this herb does far more than that and is a prime example of a plant that’s been limited by commercialization. Chinese…
  • Acorus calamus (Sweet flag)
    Sweet flag (Acorus calamus; A. americanus) has been one of those on-again/off-again herbs where it’s safe to use it, then it’s not, and then it is again. Well good news for North Americans – its native calamus is safe and very effective for many conditions. While known by many names…
  • Calendula, the Western Safflower
    There’s another great Western substitute for a Chinese herb: Calendula officinalis can stand in for safflower (hong hua, Carthamus tinctorius). The two are flowers, one being deep gold to orange in color and the other red respectively, but both are light in weight so they quickly spread throughout the body.…
  • What About Quince? Medicinal Uses
    After writing about the various types of citrus and their uses I thought about using other fruits as medicine. My mind turned to quince, since our wild lemon tree looks very similar to it. However, quince is not in the same family as citrus, Rutaceae (the rue family), but in…
  • Citrus: Fruit or Peel?
    Most of us love some form of citrus – oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes and more – yet did you know that some parts of these delicious fruits are actually quite medicinal? Interestingly, they share similar properties and yet each has a specific use as well. While the Chinese use…
  • Making the Most of One Herb: Elecampane
    Too often we find Western herbs pigeon-holed into convenient commercialized boxes. While this expands people’s interest in natural healing, it also limits herbs to one particular application such as echinacea for colds, hawthorn for the heart, St. John’s wort for depression, and black cohosh for menopause. Each of these herbs…
  • Some of My Favorite Herbs and Therapies
    It’s that season of the year again and so time to share some of my favorite herbs and therapies. The following I’ve found extremely useful over the last year. Some are herbs, others formulas, while still more are important therapies. All of these I have found to be healing clinically…
  • Berberine Buddies, Part 2
    12/1/14 Continuing the discussion of berberine-containing plants as Chinese-Western substitutes for each other, we first looked at using goldenseal in place of the Chinese herb, coptis (or vice versa if you can’t find cultivated goldenseal). Here we consider another substitution – barberry/Oregon grape for the Chinese herb phellodendron. Barberry/Oregon Grape…
  • Berberine Buddies, Part 1
    Berberine In my investigation of finding western substitutes for Chinese herbs, I now turn to herbs that contain the alkaloid berberine, a chemical constituent found in many plants including goldenseal, goldthread (coptis), barberry (tree turmeric), Oregon grape, and phellodendron. Berberine accounts for the yellow color of these herbs and their…
  • Finding Western Substitutes for Chinese Herbs: Accept the Challenge!
    For quite a while, I’ve been curious about Western alternatives to Chinese herbs. I’m particularly interested in creating effective alternative formulas to traditional Chinese ones (to know why, read my prior blog, Are Herbs from the West Really the Best?). As I investigate possible substitutions, I’m running into several problems.…
  • Hawthorn: Teaching an Old Herb New Tricks
    In my search for western substitutions for Chinese herbs, it’s hard to ignore the easy ones. Since we’re at the end of the Spleen time of the Spleen time of year – deficient Spleen symptoms being poor digestion, difficulty losing weight, diarrhea, low appetite, fatigue, and slow metabolism – choosing…
  • Are Herbs from the West Really the Best?
    Many people in the West eschew herbs from other countries because they only want to use western herbs. While local herbs are the easiest and most convenient choice, they’re not necessarily the best and even more so, not always possible. Even if you’re an avid gardener who cultivates a large…
  • The Oldest Herb Shop in Barcelona
    Recently, Michael and I taught in England, and as we generally do when teaching there we also traveled to other countries. And of course we just had to investigate the herbal scene wherever we went, too. This month we are both blogging about different aspects of what we found about…
  • Book Review: Dandelion Hunter by Rebecca Lerner
    With an overly stuffed plateful of responsibilities sandwiched between a week-long seminar of East West students and a month-long trip for which to prepare, I had no business reading a book. But when Becky Lerner, one of our East West students at the seminar, mailed me a copy of her…
  • Formulas Using Dandelion to Clear Heat and Toxins
    Along with its typical purposes in Western herbalism, the Chinese use dandelion as a cold, anti-toxic herb to drain downward and disperse energy (Qi) stagnation and clumping. They’ve traditionally employed it to treat breast abscesses, boils and other toxic swellings as well as burning urination (cystitis), diarrhea, hepatitis and jaundice…
  • Dandelion: My Favorite Spring Herb
    I first learned about dandelion by reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury many decades ago, a book not really about dandelions but so fully infused with the spirit of summer that it may as well have been. After finishing it, I proceeded to actually make dandelion wine with a friend…
  • Back to Basics: Making Herbal Teas with Brigitte Mars
    So many of us are removed from our herbs these days since we generally choose faster methods of consumption such as pills, capsules, tablets, powdered extracts, and tinctures since they fit our busy lifestyles. Because of this, many have lost connection with the art of tea making and the relaxing,…
  • Clinician-Client Connection (or, The Ritual of Medicine)
    In the late 1980s, I attended the first International Congress of Healing in India and met Sai Baba. He spoke to a group of us about helping people heal and of all the things he said a practitioner could do, the most important one was to give people hope. This…
  • Shilajit (Moomiyo), the Monarch of Tonics
    There’s a fabulous kidney tonic that I want to tell you about if you don’t already know it – shilajit. Sometimes spelled silajit, shilajeeta, or shilajeet, it is also called ashmaja, black bitumen E, "seat of the rock," mineral pitch, mineral wax, mineral resin, herbo-mineral compound, vegetable asphalt, moomiyo, mumijo,…
  • Got Shen? Part 2
    There are many herbal approaches to supporting Shen depending on the imbalance affecting it: Nourish the Shen through Heart Qi, Blood, or Yin tonics: fu shen, zizyphus, biota, asparagus root, reishi, rhodiola, hawthorn Astringe the Shen: schisandra, cornus Clear Heart Heat or Fire: scute, coptis Sedate the Heart and settle…
  • Got Shen? Part 1
    Do you love life? Do you enjoy people? Are you enthusiastic about what you do? Do you wake up excited for your new day? Do your eyes sparkle? Are you playful? Then you've got Shen. If you currently don’t feel eager, excited, or joyful but you normally do, then this…
  • These Are a Few of My Favorite Things Part 2
    HERBS – FOUR FAVORITES! While I’ve had many favorite herbs over the years with which I’ve experienced many wonderful healings, these four are my current favorites. Teasel (Dipsacus) I’ve long used the Japanese variety of teasel (Dipsacus asperoides; xu duan), however one of my new favorite herbs is the Western…
  • These Are a Few of My Favorite Things Part 1
    I decided it was high time again to introduce you to a few of my favorite things (I can’t believe it’s been five years since the last time I did this!). As I tend to focus on healing and not just herbs, you’ll find all sorts of items here, however…
  • Cooking with Herbs for the Holidays
    The holidays are fast approaching and before you know it, you might need to start cooking up a storm. But what if you’re tired of the same old recipes or you want to try something new? Look no further. I’ve got several ideas here to spice up your holiday eating…
  • What Is the Best Herbal Preparation for Your Condition?
    When I first learned about herbs in the late '70s, they were usually taken as capsules, with food, or smoked! As I began to study Chinese herbs I learned that they were typically prepared as teas. Then the explosion of natural medicine occurred and a wide variety of herbal remedies…
  • Snap Your Spleen Back into Shape! Part 2
    In my last blog post we explored patterns of disharmony for the Spleen, which are so prevalent at this time of year. Here, I'll discuss remedies for those patterns. SPLEEN DIET There are many great treatments and herbs for strengthening the Spleen, but it all starts with what we eat…
  • Snap Your Spleen Back in Shape! Part 1
    We are at the end of the Spleen/Stomach "time of year" – actually the Spleen/Spleen time – meaning that digestive and metabolic issues can be especially strained now. Every organ system "rules" about two and a half months of the year during which its energy should flourish. In addition, the…
  • Care for the Caregiver, Part 2
    In Part I of this series I began the discussion about using of herbs to care for the caregiver. As a reminder, many herbs support your body-mind complex to assist in stressful times. They can increase immunity, help sleep, calm the mind and emotions, and treat issues such as anxiety,…
  • Care for the Caregiver, Part 1
    Now that you know how to be and find a hospital advocate, what about the advocate herself? How does she get her much-needed support? Being a caregiver can be a staggering job and consume your mental, physical and emotional energy. Yet there are many ways that you can be supported…
  • Find Your Hospital Advocate, Part 2
    In Part I we discussed the essential need for having or being an advocate when you or a loved one is in the hospital. An advocate can operate long distance via phone, but in person is best and may even be necessary. Here are some of the roles I found…
  • Find Your Hospital Advocate: Part 1
    I hope this never happens to you, but it’s usually inevitable that one day either you or a loved one may end up in the hospital. This is most typical when caring for elderly parents, as happened to me in the last couple of years, yet you never know when…
  • The Fifth Stagnation: Food Stagnation, Part 2
    In Part I we learned about the many signs and symptoms of Food Stagnation. In this segment we’ll cover how to treat and prevent it. Therapies for Food Stagnation Diet Therapy Foods to Eat: Adequate amounts of protein (but not too much!), lots of cooked vegetables and dark leafy greens,…
  • The Fifth Stagnation: Food Stagnation, Part 1
    We made it! We got through Qi, Blood, Cold and Damp stagnations, and now we are on the fifth and last one: Food Stagnation. This one is perhaps the easiest to understand and relate to because certainly most of us have experienced over-eating during holiday meals. All you have to…
  • The Fourth Stagnation: Damp Stagnation, Part 2
    In Part I we learned about the many signs and symptoms of Damp Stagnation and its far reaching affects on health. In this segment we’ll cover how to treat and prevent Damp Stagnation and Phlegm. Of course you’ll be immediately interested in the herbs and formulas to use, but first…
  • The Fourth Stagnation: Damp Stagnation, Part 1
    Whether you've had April showers or are experiencing May ones, rain is a great metaphor for Dampness in the body. Just as rain collects and congests traffic (Qi or Blood stagnation) it can also flood and eventually swamp an area (Damp Stagnation). Damp Stagnation can be likened to standing swamp…
  • The Third Stagnation: Cold Stagnation, Part 2
    In Part I we learned about the many signs and symptoms of Cold Stagnation and its effects on physical and mental health. In this segment we’ll cover how to treat and prevent Cold Stagnation. You may be most interested in herbs and formulas that treat this condition, but first I’ll…
  • The Third Stagnation: Cold Stagnation, Part 1
    Years ago when I worked in Cleveland, I’d stare out the office window at a sunny spring day. Ecstatic to finally have warm weather, I’d rush out at lunchtime without a coat – it looked warm after all – only to find it was still cold. It’s behaviors like this…
  • The Second Stagnation: Blood Stasis, Part 2
    In Part 1 we learned about the many signs and symptoms of Blood Stasis and its effects on health. Now, we’ll cover how to treat and prevent Blood Stasis. Of course you’ll be immediately interested in the herbs and formulas to use, but first I’ll cover other therapies that are…
  • The Second Stagnation: Blood Stasis, Part 1
    After briefly covering the five stagnations in January (Parts 1 and 2) and Qi stagnation in February (Parts 1 and 2), it makes sense to cover Blood stasis next. Qi and Blood are intricately connected in many ways, which means that tonifying or moving one, tonifies or moves the other.…
  • The First Stagnation: Qi Stagnation, Part 2
    In Part 1 we learned about the many signs and symptoms of Qi stagnation and its far reaching affects on physical and mental health. In this segment we’ll cover how to treat and prevent Qi stagnation. Of course you’ll be immediately interested in the herbs and formulas to use, but…
  • The First Stagnation: Qi Stagnation, Part 1
    Last month we discussed the five stagnations in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) along with two formulas to treat all five. In honor of Spring, which begins this year on Feb 10 (Chinese New Year), we will focus on Qi stagnation now. Spring is represented by the Wood Element and its…
  • The Mother of All Diseases: Stagnation (Part Two)
    In Part I of this blog, I discussed the Five Stagnations in general along with some non-herbal treatments. Here are two general herbal formulas that can be used for all types of stagnation. Stagnation Relieving Pills (Yue Qu Wan) This formula can be found as a patent medicine easily from…
  • The Mother of All Diseases: Stagnation (Part One)
    Usually this time of year I write about resting more, doing less and in general, relaxing to replenish your vital kidney energy. Yet, it’s also important to balance rest with movement or exercise. Lying around too much or doing too little can be just as harmful as overdoing; being sedentary…
  • Spice Up Your Holiday with Healing Culinary Herbs
    I don’t know what it is about the holidays and me, but when this time of year comes around I think about spices. It’s probably because of the season – winter, colder weather, Kidney time – and spicing up meals enhances all three of these. So once again I give…
  • Herbal Tonics: East and West
    "What is the difference between a tonic in eastern versus western herbalism?" This question, launched at me during our last seminar, was a good one that deserved more attention than I could give at that time so I decided to write a blog about it. However, the more I dug…
  • Healing Crisis, or Wrong Formula?
    You’ve just made an herbal formula for a new client. She took it for several days, but then began to get sick! You wonder: Is your client having a ‘healing crisis,’ or did you give her the wrong formula? Telling the difference between a healing crisis or a reaction to…
  • Notation Tips for Herbalists and other Complementary Health Practitioners
    Recently I read an article in Acupuncture Today titled "The Devil is in the Details" written by acupuncturist Douglas Briggs, who is frequently called upon to give his opinion on standard care in depositions for malpractice cases. Briggs has experience with the legal demands that determine standard patient care, including…
  • Healing the Whole Person
    Healing means "to make whole." This is frequently forgotten by western medicine as it typically approaches the body like a machine and expects it to respond as such. We herbalists can also forget, as we use herbs for organs and systems, and ignore other aspects of the person. To make…
  • East West Herbal Seminar 2012: AMAZING!
    AMAZING! That’s the only word that best sums up our East West 2012 seminar – amazing! While our annual seminars are always great and well received, somehow this one was quite exceptional. Everything seemed to coalesce beautifully – students, teachers, food, setting, classes, guest instructors – you name it, it…
  • Turmeric: Pros, Cons, and Contraindications
    Turmeric has become increasingly popular over the last decade, first for blood purification and then for joint pain. As it’s hit the mainstream, its uses have narrowed at the same time. While turmeric is a fabulous herb with many beneficial applications, it’s also quite powerful and can strongly imbalance the…
  • Mitochondria and Brain Supplements
    Mitochondrial DNA is big on the alternative scene these days. Brain research and the role mitochondria play has given rise to many new products. Some are quite expensive and promise great brain health and to recharge the mitochondria. The question is, should we take them? Will they really help? And…
  • Confessions of a Weight Gainer -- and Loser
    Weight has never particularly been a problem for me. Yes, I've weighed more than I "should" at various times in my life, but when I focused on losing it, the weight came off. In the last few years, however, not only has it been impossible for me to shed weight,…
  • Wishing You a Do-Be New Year
    Yes, you read that right! I wish you a do-be-do-be-do-be year! Now what in the heck is that? In today's world, most people are action oriented, or "do"-oriented. We make plans, cross off completed items on lists, work several jobs, garden and raise a family. "Do-ers" are action oriented; it's…
  • Nourishing Your Body, Heart and Spirit During the Holiday Season
    When people study herbs and natural medicine they tend to focus solely on physical health. And yet the health of one's spirit is just as important to one's well-being. After all, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spirits having a human experience! This is one of…
  • In Thanksgiving to Barefoot Doctors
    Ever since I learned Barefoot Doctor techniques I have been most thankful, as they often heal conditions where nothing else works. They were named as such for the native healers of China who would walk from village to village (thus, the name "barefoot" doctors) and treat all manner of diseases.…
  • A Tribute to Aviva Romm
    As many of you know, our past AHG president, Aviva Romm (shown at right), stepped down this past year. While there have been many wonderful past presidents and we have a great new president in KP Khalsa, I want to honor Aviva for the incredible work she has done in…
  • When "Going Viral" Isn't a Good Thing
    While most people dream of their projects and ideas going viral, there is one area in which we definitely want to avoid this -- our health. And we are just at the most vulnerable time of year for "going viral"! There are four times when the seasons transition, and this…
  • Agastache for Summer's End
    Agastache urticafolia, a very close relative of huo xiang, growing in Stanislaus National Forest, CA. Photo by Ben Zappin. Summer's end can be a tricky time of year health-wise. It is the completion of Spleen/Stomach time, the season of monsoons in much of the world. This means that forms of…
  • The Wonders of Wan Hua Oil
    I first learned about Wan Hua Oil over 20 years ago when my seven-year old son ran into a doorpost. A huge lump immediately rose on his forehead above his right eyebrow, turning black and blue before my eyes. Thankfully, I was at a friend's acupuncture clinic and he immediately…
  • Summer's Back: Is It Supporting You?
    I have treated a LOT of people for low back pain this past month -- far more than usual. Even people whose back pain was gone had it flare up again, though they had been exercising, eating well and taking their herbs. And I, who rarely experience back pain, started…
  • Sensational Seminar 2011
    What a sensational seminar we had this year! Everything seemed to click and come together perfectly. We had created several new changes and all were received successfully. We had more people than ever with a huge practitioner track added in this year, several guest teachers presented exceptional classes, and even…
  • Treat the Person, Not the Disease
    Recently I had an experience with someone that reminded me again about the major tenet of TCM 'treat the person and not the condition.' While to our students and TCM practitioners this may seem obvious, it's also very easy to fall into a simplistic mode of 'this for that,' even…
  • Wen Dan Tang
    In honor of the near end of Liver/Gallbladder time of year, here's another favorite formula of mine: Wen Dan Tang. It has many uses, especially as a sedative and expectorant, but it is specifically said to 'warm' the Gallbladder. Already prone to Dampness and Heat, how can the Gallbladder ever…
  • Hypertension II (Too!): A TCM look at types of high blood pressure
    Michael has just done a great blog on hypertension, so I decided to supplement that with further information that I use. I have found a system created by the acupuncturist/teacher, Jimmy Chang, to be very useful clinically, as a couple of these patterns are not normally mentioned in books, classes…
  • Nourish Your Yin with Yi Guan Jian
    I've already addressed strengthening Kidney Yang with Two Immortals in an earlier blog post. Now that we've shifted from Kidney time of year to the Liver season, people may experience more Yin depletion, particularly if they haven't gotten the rest they've needed this winter. If there's Kidney Yin Deficiency, then…
  • Cultivate Your Virtues this Valentine's Season
    Our emotions, attitudes and self-perceptions are often physiologically rather than emotionally based. This is a very powerful concept. It means that people's emotional outbursts may have more than stress or inappropriate behavior behind them; it also means there may well be an underlying organic imbalance that is triggering the repeated…
  • Two Immortals
    We are in the depth of Kidney time now and will be for about another three weeks. This is when Kidney energy is supposed to flourish. However, if there's any kidney imbalance now, then those symptoms are more apparent at this time because the Kidneys don't have the energy to…
  • Shed Light on Your Life this New Year
    Instead of making traditional resolutions this year, lose weight, save money, change jobs, shed light on your life and make the big changes instead by shifting the life patterns and cyclical themes that hold you back. Most recurring problems stem from past wounds and core beliefs. These organize into life…
  • Spice up your holidays
    Spice up your holidays this year with three of the season's best medicinal spices: cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Because of their hot energy (or warming in the case of cardamom), they also spark your internal fires, helping to increase metabolism, anchor the yang energies and stimulate organ functions. Thus, they…
  • Winter: Time to Rest, Rest, Rest!
    We have definitely entered the most crucial time of year '" winter. Whether you live in tropical Hawaii or frosty Minnesota, the energy of winter is the same: storage. Conserve and preserve your resources and essence in winter; it is not a time for extravagance. At this time winter's cold…
  • Giving Thanks for Calendula
    Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an amazing herb. It is probably under-utilized and under-appreciated, so I'm going to give it its due thanks! Calendula is a very old herb, employed since the 12th century in Europe and even earlier in Egypt, where it originated. It is often used as a dye;…
  • Herbs for Fall Dry Coughs
    The energy of fall is cool and dry. You can feel it in the air and your lungs regardless of rain or snow. Coughs tend to be dry, even when there's phlegm stuck deep inside and is difficult to expectorate. Several approaches can remedy these coughs, if you can distinguish…
  • Confession
    I have to admit I've been a bit irregular with my blogs lately. But there's a good reason. I've been working with East West student and editor Anne de Courtenay for two years to revise the East West School of Planetary Herbology Herb Course. Given both of our varying schedules…
  • Joint of the Seasons: Fall
    We have reached the joint of the seasons, late Summer into Fall. This is the most vulnerable time of year for many people. With days and nights alternating between hot and cold, the body undergoes extra stress when adapting to swinging temperatures. Because of this, colds and flu most often…
  • End of Summer Tummy Woes
    Digestive issues are up now for many people '" this is the time of year people often gain weight and can't lose it; some may have summer diarrhea or loose stools; or others may get more burping, belching and gas. This is the end of late summer period and, in…
  • Treating GERD with Chinese Medicine
    As we are well into the season of late Summer, more cases are presenting at my clinic with Spleen and Stomach issues. One of my latest was a GERD client, whom I will call Bob. In his late 40s, Bob has had GERD for over 20 years and has tried…
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet on Sugar!
    I find it extremely annoying that the west has gone sweet '" that is, sickly sweet. This occurs not just in mainstream food products, but in health food as well. Until recently, it was easy to find sugarless products in health foods stores, but several years ago when one major…
  • Summer Soup (Kicharee)
    Summer kicharee is not only great for detoxification, but it is also a light summer soup perfect for the hot months of year. It is balanced in protein and can include as many local vegetables as you wish. As well, you can easily cook up a big batch to eat…
  • Late Summer: Season of Earth
    We have just moved into time of year that corresponds to the Spleen and Stomach according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. This means that the energy of those organs flourishes now and is at its strongest '" or should be. This time lasts from approximately July through mid-September, and while these…
  • San Qi or Tienqi Ginseng: A Premier Herb to Stop Bleeding
    Now that I'm on to ginseng-like herbs, here's another one that can be taken during the summer. Its real name is Panax notoginseng, known in Chinese pinyin as san qi, but is best known by its commercial name, Tien qi ginseng. It is definitely in the ginseng family, but has…
  • Codonopsis: The "Other" Ginseng
    Although not a ginseng at all, codonopsis has similar tastes, energies and tonifying properties as ginseng. As well, both herbs affect the Lung and Spleen organs and meridians. Yet, because it is milder in action and far less expensive, codonopsis is often called the 'poor man's ginseng.' Because the body's…
  • Summertime: The Heart Time of Year
    We have now moved into the "Heart time" of the year. It runs from about mid-April through June and encompasses the traditional Chinese medical concept of the fire element and the organs of Heart and Small Intestine. At this time of year everything is surging upward and outward. This includes…
  • How to Get Sick
    There is so much focus on what one should do in order to stay well that I sometimes find switching the tables helps people gain a different perspective of how their habits invite sickness into their lives. Thus, I offer here the easiest ways to get sick. Have fun! Eat…
  • Horsetail
    Horsetail photo by Lesley Tierra Horsetail Equisetum spp. Energies and flavors: Cool, astringent Uses: Hemostatic, astringent, vulnerary With the advent of Spring comes horsetail, a type of shave-grass that grows in watery places. I've been studying several stands of these interesting plants for a few weeks now, watching them pop…
  • Diet and Herb Tips for Spring Health
    No matter where you live '" snowy Michigan or sunny Florida '" Spring is upon us. In nature, this energy is represented by sap rising and buds bursting. Likewise, these same energies stir within as we feel drawn outdoors and into more activities. While it is nearly time to enjoy…
  • When Should I Take My Herbal Formula?
    Students and clients often ask me, "When the best time is to take my herbs?" This is a very good question, and there are several different answers. (However, in truth, the best time to take herbs is when you remember to take them.) Often, when people try to follow rules,…
  • Wind-Chill Colds and Flu: What They Are and How to Treat Them
    The cold and flu season is still upon us. Michael wrote about treating flu last fall, especially the swine flu, but I want to address a different approach here. Cold/flu treatment usually falls into two main categories: wind-chill and wind-heat. Most flu formulas commonly available, western and Chinese, address wind-heat…
  • QUICKLY CLEARING THOSE WIND-CHILL COLDS AND FLU
    The cold and flu season is still upon us. While Michael wrote about treating flu last fall, especially the swine flu, I want to address a different approach here. Cold/flu treatment usually falls into two main categories: wind-chill and wind-heat. Most flu formulas commonly available, western and Chinese, address wind-heat…
  • Nourish Yourself with Shilajit for Valentine's Day
    A libido as unwavering as the Himalayas? With the help of shilajit, perhaps! Let's face it, when people think about Valentine's Day they think of sex. But rather than write about aphrodisiacs, I want to discuss a fabulous herb to nourish the kidneys, the root of sexual energy and power…
  • Release the Past with Ho'Oponopono
    Start the new year by cleansing old energies! One of the best ways I know to release the past is through Ho'Oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian cleansing technique used to release unwanted memories, thoughts and beliefs. While traditionally this technique is done in a group under the guidance of a Kahuna…
  • Herbalists, Keep Learning: You Know More than You Know
    At the recent American Herbalists Guild conference, I met various people who felt inadequate about their herbal knowledge '"- that they were somehow inferior to teachers or to other AHG professional members -- and so wondered if they'd ever learn enough about herbs to 'get there.' I guess I felt…
  • Winter diet, herb and lifestyle reminders for a healthy year ahead
    Although I've already done blogs this last year on how to stay in harmony with each season, I can't help but give another reminder today since we've just started the winter season. This is perhaps one of the most important times of the year to pay attention to what you…
  • Appreciate the Little Things
    I recently stated using a macro lens on my camera and it has changed my world -- not just in getting greater close-up shots, but also in bringing the "micro" universe better into view (for a similar experience try looking at nature through strong reading glasses). Yesterday on a photo…
  • In Search of Figgy Treats
    We've got two fig trees: one a black mission and one a green fig. The black mission we call, "Walking Fig," because it's been transplanted so many places and seems to like it. Both are prolific, although this year the weather caused late development of the fruit. The black ones…
  • That Other Flu Rose: Garlic
    No matter what name you give it (or what animal you name it after), we're now full swing into the flu season. Michael's written on the great benefits of onion poultice; how can I pass up touting one of my favorite flu/lung/cough herbs '" garlic? So while you're plastering your…
  • Comfrey Comfort
    Recently I was sitting in my garden one late afternoon trying to pull myself together after a very scattering day. (You know those days, the ones when you plan to do certain things, but instead, everyone and everything else draws your attention away?) I happened to look down and see…
  • Autumn: Herbal and Diet Tips for Health
    In Fall we harvest the fruits and labors of Spring's planting and planning. Shorter days and cooler nights send the surface fires into the body. Just as many people harvest bounty from their gardens to stock up for Winter, now it's time now to pull back from multiple summer activities…
  • Mulberry Dreams
    Last night an unknown neighbor knocked at my door wanting to trade plums for picking my mulberries. My heart almost dropped to the floor. Now I don't have anything against plums; they're dark and juicy, too -- just how I like them. But nothing matches mulberries and we only have…
  • Herbs for Late Summer
    Many climates throughout the world have five seasons; late summer, or Indian Summer, is usually the fifth. Associated with the Earth Element in traditional Chinese medicine, late summer is a time of stability and rootedness, qualities that nourish and balance so we can withstand the changes of upcoming Fall. At…
  • Watch Yourself! A great tool for self-diagnosis
    Recently I reviewed some of the wonderful DVDs that David LaLuzerne of Green Earth Herbs' HerbTV made of several teachers at our 2008 East West Herb Course seminar. On one of these videos, I was the featured lecturer. Now I've never really watched myself before, except on some very old…
  • A Great Summer Sip: Cooling Chrysanthemum
    The Chinese drink chrysanthemum as a summer beverage for its refreshing taste and cooling properties. It clears heat from the Liver and Lungs and indirectly, the Stomach and Kidneys, thus making it a perfect beverage during hot months. Specifically, it cools eyes that are red, painful, dry, or have excessive…
  • Make a summer herbal salve for bites, stings and scrapes
    While summer is one of my favorite times of year, I could do without mosquito bites, scraped shins and bee stings. That's why I usually carry a tin of herbal salve with me wherever I hike (or travel, for that matter). A salve is a thick herbal oil applied to…
  • The Fire Without and the Fire Within: Herbal and Health Tips for Summer
    Summer is the essence of life, growth, heat and activity. With the sun at its zenith, nights are short and days are long. Our energy is expansive now, flowing outward to act on the plans and seeds sowed in spring. Similarly, the body's heat, or "inner fire," starts rising close…
  • A Short Comparison of the Spleen in TCM and Western Medicine
    I recently heard a teleconference on mitochondrial DNA, which got me to thinking about a study I had read years ago and the subsequent article I wrote comparing the spleen in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with that in Western medicine. Because both directly relate to the mitochondria, I am including…
  • Cordyceps, the strange 'herb'
    Call it a woman's prerogative if you like, but I have a newfavorite herb! Now, I'm not fickle with my herbs, just adventurous, exploratory and passionate. So when a new herb grabs my attention I have to shout it from the rooftops. And cordyceps makes me want to do just…
  • Spring Tips for a Happy Liver
    Spring is the beginning of the year, when the earth awakens and new life bursts forth. It's a time of planting seeds, physically and mentally. This season stirs the uprising of vital energy; just as sap begins to rise in trees, so our inner fire stirs and ascends in spring.…
  • Ophiopogon - Another Favorite Herb
    Ophiopogon is a true blessing to those with Yin deficiency. Sweet, cooling and moistening, it nourishes Yin and clears deficient heat while at the same time expectorating phlegm for the lungs. Those who have ever experienced Yin deficient heat (a dry condition) concurrent with phlegm (a wet condition) know how…
  • The Additional Wonders of "Benefit Lung Pills"
    I've always used Li Fei Pian, or "Benefit Lung Pills," for Lung Yin-deficient cough (a dry, nonproductive cough with other possible symptoms of low grade fever in the afternoon and/or evening and malar flush). However, I've recently discovered several other valuable uses for this incredible formula. I first tried Li…
  • Stillness in Action
    I have loved Mary Oliver’s poems ever since Michael introduced me to them. Provocative, sensual and rich in nature, they easily pull my mind back to the earth and so to endless nourishment. Last year Michael and I went to L.A. to hear Mary Oliver speak at UCLA. The auditorium…
  • Have a REALLY Happy Valentine's Day!
    With the big hype surrounding St. Valentine's Day already in full swing, many of us turn our thoughts to romance and, perhaps, aphrodisiacs. Now, I don't tend to work with the western concept of aphrodisiacs -- i.e., "Take this herb and you'll have a good sex drive." Rather, I approach…
  • A Beautiful Poem to Live by . . .
    I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear Of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, To make me less afraid, More accessible; To loosen my heart Until it becomes wing, A torch, a promise.…
  • Start Your New Year off Right - Do Nothing!
    Caught your attention with that one, didn't I? Why give yourself permission to do nothing these days, especially at a time of year when most are busily making New Year's resolutions? Winter: Time of the Kidney, Energy Replenishment and Storage According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this is the Kidney…
  • Salvia, Our Saving Grace
    I once had to introduce myself as a teacher at an American Herbalists Guild conference by identifying my favorite herb. Now, I have to say that I hate this type of public pop quiz where I have to make a split decision, but even more, how could I name just…
  • A Few of My Favorite Herbal Things
    A couple of weeks ago I had an idea for a new blog post: a gift-giving list of some of my favorite herbal things. I wanted to publish it in early December so everyone would have time before Christmas to look into some of these ideas for their friends and…
  • Make Every Day Thanks-giving
    How wonderful it is that our country has one day a year dedicated to giving thanks! Do other cultures have such a day? Of course our Thanksgiving day started on "shaky ground" what with the pilgrims taking land from the Native Americans after thanking them. But that was then. What…
  • Wonderful Celebration and Healing Song
    Anyone know this wonderful little song, great for both healing and when you feel like celebrating? It's great to have running in our mental backgrounds rather than the obsessive thoughts our monkey minds so love to dwell on! It's sung to the traditional nursery folk tune of: "mama's little baby…
  • On Ghosts and Bones and Dragon Bone . . .
    When I think of bones I think of animal parts or anatomy or even the state of my on bones, but I definitely don't think of ghosts. Yet, in my bones some ghosts do live '" as in the Chinese version of ancestors. This thought makes me wonder where my…
  • Welcome to Lesley's New Practice!
    Radiance Energy Medicine for a healthy body, mind and soul In the past I separated out my sessions of acupuncture, herbs, food therapy and shamanic practices. Now I have incorporated them all together under their true heading: energy medicine. To many, "energy medicine" is a woo-woo phrase, but in actuality,…
  • Planetary News
    A SPECIAL OFFERto our students already enrolledin the East West Professional Herb Course: MEET OUR NEW EAST WEST HERB COURSE! WE HAVE FINALLY DONE IT! We have completed ALL NEW Section I, Lessons 1-12, and Section III, Lessons 31-36! Three people and thirteen months of intense, diligent work have yielded…

Michael's Blogs

  • Not All Sugar Is Bad: Glucose for Your Brain, Nerves, Heart and Muscles
    Could you ever imagine yourself as being ‘sugar deprived?’ Do you find yourself unable to sleep soundly throughout the night, getting up frequently to urinate, feeling exhausted the next day with frequent memory lapses – or what about instead of feeling a boost of energy from a reasonable aerobic workout,…
  • Tinnitus Treatments by East West Teacher Holly Hutton
    What's that sound? Why won't it go away? Tinnitus, commonly known as "ringing in the ears" and the perception of sound where no external source of sound is present, is a surprisingly common affliction. You may not know that complementary medicine offers treatment options for this condition, including herbs. Furthermore,…
  • Treating Arthritis, Lower Back and Joint Pains
    Arthritis, joint and back pain is so prevalent throughout the world that there really is no point to describe how many sufferers there are. It is safe to say that if you are around the age of 55 or older you probably have some form of arthritis somewhere in your…
  • Book Review: "Eat Wheat" by Dr. John Douillard
    Gluten or dairy intolerant? You may not need to give up wheat and dairy, says Dr. John Douillard, DC, in his book Eat Wheat (Morgan James Publishing, 2017). Backed by years of clinical experience helping people who previously were unable to digest wheat and dairy, Dr. Douillard employs traditional thousands-of-years-old…
  • The Three Levels of Healing
    In my previous blog on treating H. pylori-induced stomach inflammation with herbs, I touch briefly on a fundamental difference between conventional and complementary medicine: namely, that conventional medicine prefers to identify an isolated pathogen or discrete named diagnosis which it aims to treat singularly; whereas complementary or traditional medicine relies…
  • Herbs for H. pylori and gastric inflammation
    Recently, a colleague sent me the following question: A friend in Canada tested positive for H. pylori bacteria. Of course, the Western doctor he goes to wanted to start heavy antibiotic treatment. Plus, he said he would need to be on some 'pill' for the rest of his life! He…
  • Two Acupoints for the Price of One: GB 20 and Krikatika Marma for Allergies, Headache and More
    Acupressure applied to Gall Bladder 20. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are 361 charted acupuncture points on the body. Acupuncturists generally recognize any active point on the body that is particularly sensitive as an acupuncture point, so understood in this way, the number of actual points are…
  • An Unforgettable Educational and Cultural Experience: East West Students in China
    Michael Tierra with a view of the Huangshan mountain range. The East West Herb Course and TCMZone organized a special training for our advanced and graduate East West Course students to receive advanced clinical training at Shanghai University of Traditional Medicine (SHUTCM). Based on the enthusiastic and grateful responses to…
  • Tonic Herb Master Ron Teeguarden Visits East West Seminar
    by Beverly Jennings, RH (AHG), MT, East West School of Planetary Herbology Graduate East West students were fortunate to have the opportunity to spend an entire day with renowned herbalist Ron Teeguarden (pictured above) and his son Lucky at East West’s yearly seminar at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond,…
  • Guest Blog Feature: Chris Hobbs on Gentiana lutea and Bitters
    Christopher Hobbs Christopher Hobbs needs no introduction to the herb world. If you have even the faintest spark of interest in herbs, you should know of him. I can’t even begin to count his many achievements, the number of books he’s written on herbal healing, yet he remains one of…
  • Where Music and Herbalism Meet: Notes on "Arcana"
    “Northwest Passage” The amazing music of composer, Alex Shapiro Featuring the world premiere of ARCANA: SUITE FOR PIANO commissioned by and dedicated to and performed by Michael Tierra, pianist. Peace United Church, Santa Cruz, California March 20, 7PM I am diverging this month from the usual blog on herbs and…
  • Curing Pills: Don't Leave Home without Them
    The most widely used Chinese herbal formula comes with the boastful name, “Curing Pills.” In North America and Europe any herbal preparation with such a name would be viewed with the same humorous disdain as “”snake oil” was during the 19th century in North America. (Though if the real “snake…
  • Triphala and Elderberry for IBS
    The three fruits of Triphala. My clinical experience using the Ayurvedic formula Triphala is extensive, based on literally thousands of cases over the course or 25 years. It is only within the last three years that I can proclaim it to be as near a specific for IBS, ulcerative colitis…
  • Calm Your Mind, Silence your thoughts with Bindi Tapping
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a little spot on our head that we could tap to clear our mind of troublesome thoughts, fears, anxieties or mental garbage whenever we needed? Or how about another spot to foster higher consciousness? In fact, such spots do exist. These used…
  • Colds, Flu and Fevers: Just Sweat It Out
    One of my favorite movies, Where the Wild Lilies Bloom (1974), tells the story of a family of five Appalachian children who use herbal folk healing they learned from their widower father who recently passed away. Not wanting to be separated and adopted out, they developed a reputation of healers…
  • East West Free Clinic Update: Bleeding and cupping treatment for severe back pain
    Michael Tierra applies cups to a patient with severe back pain at the East West Free Clinic in Santa Cruz. We have encountered many extreme acute chronic conditions among the homeless population that we’ve treated. The most common involve pain due to trauma or metabolic imbalance. Naturally enough, other common…
  • Untangling Yin Deficiency with Heat
    As we continue this blog series on Yin Deficiency (with Heat), I want to make clear that the description of Heat hereby discussed is confined to the organic pattern of Heat and not the description of the external contraction of Heat in terms of communicable bacterial and viral diseases. This…
  • The Concept of "Heat" in Traditional Chinese Medicine
    Heat is an extremely common condition in Traditional Chinese Medical Diagnosis. In Ayurveda Heat can be described as pitta and there are two broad classifications: Pitta prakriti describes a constitutional predisposition of a normal pitta condition from birth. This is distinguished from Heat or inflammatory disease described as pitta vikruti…
  • Hawthorn Fruit Wine: An Herb for Healing and Opening the Heart
    How beautiful in autumn shadows, the blood red berries of hawthorn are! Drooping in small clusters along thorny branches they transform the final seasonal rays of the sun into a unique abundance of flavonoids and oligomeric anthocyanidins responsible, among other things, for their red color. Western Use of Hawthorn It…
  • Faith, Herbs or Placebo?
    In desperation, a family with strong ‘old world’ roots brought to my office their beloved father, a humble Italian man who was diagnosed at Stanford hospital with late stage pancreatic cancer. He only spoke Italian and thus required one of his relatives to be present with the doctors and subsequently…
  • Studies substantiating the energetic properties of herbs based on flavors and organ meridians
    Can the claims of traditional herbal medicine be substantiated scientifically? Because trials are expensive and because there is no profit in sight for researching and bringing to market anything that anyone can find or grow in nature, scant studies are available. However, papers do exist that in many instances demonstrate…
  • A Better Way to Reap the Phenomenal Benefits of Noni
    Mention “noni” (Morinda citrifolia) to anyone who has tasted the fermented fruit, and the conversation is over. Some people would rather die than have to ingest fermented -- a polite word for ‘rotten’ -- noni juice, regardless of the well-supported claims of miraculous healing attributed to this humble fruit. After…
  • Introducing: the East West Free Herbal Clinic
    East West Free Clinic herbalists Maureen Flash, Erin Massengale, Michael McEvoy, Beverly Jennings. I have always had the desire to be of service to the poor and indigent in our community, but was never quite sure how to incorporate that into my life, given all my other commitments as both…
  • New York Attorney’s Botched Attempt to Regulate the Herbal Industry
    A much-touted recent investigation by the New York State Attorney general’s office claimed national store brand herbal supplements sold at GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart in fact did not contain the herbs shown on their labels. Instead they found such things as mustard, wheat, radish and other substances. All four…
  • The Low-FODMAP Elimination Diet
    My last two blog posts attempted to answer two questions: 1. Is it really necessary for all or even the majority of the 18 million people who are eliminating all wheat and gluten from their diet to do so? 2. Are the adverse reactions to certain foods including those containing…
  • Perceived Gluten Sensitivity and Traditional Herbal Approaches
    Gluten sensitivity and the TCM Spleen The unique concept of the ‘Spleen’ in TCM encompasses far more than the standard Western physiological organ. The TCM Spleen is a Yin organ whose function is described as “transformation and transportation.” What is transformed is food, air and water and these are transported…
  • NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY – FACT, FICTION OR FANCY?
    12/1/2014 In my 40 years of involvement as an herbalist in the natural health movement, I’ve seen a panoply of questionable diets, wonder-cures and pseudo-diseases (what herbalist, David Winston calls “disease du jour”) for which there are always ready and willing numbers of experts to vent their theories and assumptions…
  • Ebola and Traditional Chinese Medicine: Nothing New Under the Sun?
    While I don’t think it is appropriate for any herbalist or alternative practitioner to claim to be an expert in treating such an obviously dangerous disease as Ebola, it might be of interest to know that there is a historical precedent for treating hemorrhagic diseases such as Ebola in the…
  • Herbal "Flavor" vs. "Taste": What's the Difference?
    While many people may think that taste and flavor are the same, they are actually different. Here’s why: Taste refers to the senses in the mouth and has to do with how the tongue and mouth interact with food and drink. The tongue has two types of receptors: one is…
  • Cayenne: Another Rude, Crude, Unsung Hero
    Like garlic, cayenne pepper (Capsicum annum) is one of those rude, crude herbs that has staunch friends and enemies. Regarded as a virtual panacea by many, others find themselves irritated and annoyed by its hot spiciness. Among herbalists there are “cayenne doctors” who extol its benefits for just about every…
  • Garlic: Rude, Crude, Unsung Hero
    Ever wonder why you never hear mention of certain well-known herbs in the higher echelons of herbal medicine? Garlic is one such unsung herb. I once asked my prominent TCM and Ayurvedic herbalist cohorts why garlic is not included in any of the classical texts and higher level discussions of…
  • Current Herbal Regulation in the UK
    "Be it ordained established and enacted by authority of this present parliament, that at all time from henceforth, it shall be lawful to every person being the King’s subject, having knowledge and experience of the nature of Herbs, Roots and Waters… to practise, use and minister in, and to any…
  • Triphala: Effective Treatment for Gingivitis
    Anyone who knows me knows that I believe the traditional Ayurvedic formula called Triphala is the greatest single herbal formula the world has ever known. That’s quite a statement, coming from an herbalist of 40 years experience, author of nine books on herbal medicine, and who knows and has regularly…
  • Wild Cherry, One of the Great North American Herbs
    Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina, P. virginiana) also known as choke cherry, is one of several herbal remedies that contain amygdalin, also called prunasin, a toxic glycoside found in the seeds of many species of Rosaceae including bitter almonds, peaches, apricots and loquat, an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine…
  • Salmonella in Spices and the Herbal Treatment of Food Poisoning
    The FDA’s recent report on "Pathogens and Filth in Spices" finding salmonella in imported spices, especially from India and Mexico, has raised questions of how to prevent or treat food poisoning generally. Ironically, many of the herbs such as coriander seed, which is supposed to be effective in the treatment…
  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang to treat a wide range of diseases based in Spleen Qi and Yin Deficiency
    Besides the ancient traditions of Traditional Chinese Medicine based on the Huangdi Neijing and the Nan Jing, there have been subsequent important schools of thought based on the practice of great masters that further defined TCM principles in unique ways. Each of these tends to deal with conditions that are…
  • Treating Chronic, Complicated Conditions with Li Dong Yuan's Pi Wei Lun
    Chinese medicine divides diseases into two broad categories: 1. Diseases of "external contraction" (Wei Guan), which are relatively simple conditions that are acute in nature. 2. Diseases of "internal damage" (Nei Shang), which are usually chronic and complex involving simultaneous contradictory symptoms, such as a combination of hot and cold,…
  • Book Review: Modern Herbal Medicine by Steven Horne and Thomas Easley
    Steven Horne is one of the leaders the herbal renaissance which began with only a few of us during the mid 20th century. He has had a distinguished career and powerful impact on the course of herbal medicine for the last 45 years, and is a past president of the…
  • Simple Steps to Health and Happiness
    To feel healthy, strong, vibrant, and vital each day sets the stage for all the other virtues, hope and interest. We will all eventually pass away sooner or later, but we owe it to ourselves to feel as good as we can each day we are alive. Since I happen…
  • A tiny new addition to our East West family
    We are pleased to welcome to the East West family Áine Amanita Rose McCormack, born to East West graduate Anne de Courtenay and her husband, the musician Martin McCormack. Áine came into the world on a snowy Tuesday, January 14, in Anne’s home town of Chicago. (She is three weeks…
  • Corydalis yanhusuo for inflammatory and neuropathic pain
    I'm not sure when the use of poppy for the relief of pain was made illegal for herbalists, but it certainly is. In fact, in California one can be cited and made to uproot and discard any poppy plants that are even remotely suspected as being used for medicinal purposes.…
  • Premio 10: The Most Useful Healing Tool I Discovered in 2013
    It’s hard to believe that only about 25 years ago computers became the thing and I and a few of my friends purchased our first new Eagle computer. At the time it seemed state-of-the-art but alas, Eagle computers seem to have flown the coop and hardly compare with what’s available…
  • Gifts for Herbalists (and Others) on Your List
    Numen: The Nature of Plants A film about the healing power of plants http://www.numenfilm.com This is the most beautiful film yet produced on what we herbalists are all about. It runs 75 minutes long and features many of our herbal teachers as spokespersons. I especially appreciate the extended eloquent presentations…
  • Clinician's Corner: Pulse Diagnosis
    I recently gave a free in-depth introductory webinar on pulse diagnosis. We have since published it on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6WTq0GhnyQ Pulse diagnosis is a signature diagnostic method used in a number of traditional healing systems, notably Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda and Unani Greek medicine. In all of these traditional healing…
  • Weight Loss Plateaus and Exercise
    A close member of my family recently went on a weight loss diet and happily dropped 25 pounds within two or three months. Suddenly encouragement changed to despair as she found that try as hard as she must, sticking close to her diet, she could hardly lose even another 5…
  • Some Useful Ideas and Tips for Weight Loss
    The word is finally getting out. Approximately one third of Americans are overweight. As a result, they suffer from a number of metabolic diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The health problems arising from this condition result in literally billions of dollars in additional health care costs. On…
  • Maral Root: A Lesser Known Adaptogen from Russia
    "Adaptogen" is a term coined by Russian professor of medicine and physiological medicine Dr. Israel I. Brekhman and colleagues to describe herbs that have the potential to increase the body’s ability to withstand stress. In this sense, stress refers primarily to physiological stress from athletic performance, work and trauma, as…
  • Book Review: Botany in a Day gets a new color edition
    Many years ago, Montana resident Thomas J. Elpel dropped off a manuscript entitled Botany in a Day at my office. Over the years many people have submitted manuscript copies of their book to me in the hopes that I would provide some sort of endorsement that could be used for…
  • Global Warming and My Garden
    I think climate change is affecting my garden in Ben Lomond, California (a section of which shown at right). It is situated along a narrow strip in the Santa Cruz Mountains which lie some 2,500 feet above sea level and in close proximity to the San Lorenzo River watershed. We’ve…
  • Moxa for Menstrual Irregularities, Infertility and Insomnia
    Menstrual Irregularities and Infertility Conception Vessel 4, called guan yuan or "origin pass"is located approximately two inches above the top of the pubic bone on a straight center line down from the navel. It is approximately directly opposite Governing Vessel 4 located between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae on…
  • Moxa for Back Pain, Colds and Flu
    Last time, I talked about moxibustion and its uses on the acupuncture point Stomach 36. There are several other uses and locations for moxa, which I will discuss in this and subsequent blogs. Best of all, moxa is an inexpensive treatment that can be applied at home. Following are a…
  • Moxibustion and Stomach 36
    Moxibustion, commonly called "moxa," is one of the methods used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) where the downy fluff of the leaves of Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) is burned directly on or near the skin of specific areas of the body. Mugwort is a member of the Asteraceae family. There are…
  • Butterbur for Allergies
    In my previous blog, I discussed the little-known use of ragweed for allergies. Another herb that can give over-the-counter antihistamines a run for their money is butterbur (Petasites hybridus). About 20 percent of Americans complain of allergies each year, often interfering with normal work and recreational activities. Butterbur, like ragweed,…
  • Like Treats Like: Ragweed to Treat Allergies
    Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1482 Spring conjures images of life renewed, flowery blooms, love and mating. But for one in five people, it means shutting the windows, missed days at work, and the annual pilgrimage to the local pharmacy to pick up allergy medications, antihistamines, decongestants, combination allergy medicines,…
  • The "Bitter Brew" Vindicated by Science
    Before there was any understanding of biochemical constituents, traditional herbal healing systems relied on flavors as indicators of medicinal properties. (Determining the properties and quality of an herb by its taste, color, texture, etc., is called "organoleptic" assessment.) Traditional herbalists have long associated corrective and potent therapeutic value intrinsic to…
  • Influenza Revisited
    Here it is again – another influenza epidemic claimed to be the biggest in 10 years. We’re bombarded by the usual display of public health officials including TV doctor-personality Dr. Oz all dutifully encouraging the public to rush to get a worthless flu shot. Yes, I call flu shots worthless…
  • Triphala for Ulcerative Colitis: A Case Study
    Ulcerative colitis affects approximately 100 out of 100,000 people in the United States. Genetic disposition and food sensitivities are common causes. The disease can lead to colon cancer and related conditions of irritable bowel disease and ulcerative Crohn’s disease. Conventional western medicine has no satisfactory cure or treatment for these…
  • How to Lose Weight: One Herbalist's Journey
    A few months ago, I found myself asking the question that so many of my students and colleagues were polite enough to not ask me: "What is an herbalist, author of multiple best-selling books and articles on natural healing, mentor to an entire generation of healers, doing walking around with…
  • Exploring the Rewilded Cave of Ancient Hawaii
    Hawaii is the endangered species capital of the United States, according to paleoecologist David Burney, author of Back to the Future In the Caves of Kauai (Yale, 2010). Closely associated with the work of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG), Burney and his wife, Lida, also an archeologist, have spent…
  • Dui Yao Therapy: When Two Herbs are Better than One
    Most herbalists have learned that preparing several herbs in a formula which are extracted together or brewed into a tea causes the infinite number of biochemical constituents to interact and to some extent alter so that a formula has the potential of becoming more than the sum of its parts.…
  • Herbal Medicines: The Most Effective Ways and the Best Times to Take Them
    Once upon a time, when people got sick they knew that that they must "drink their bitter brew" to get well. Presumably this meant some sort of herbal tea or other liquid potion. While native and traditional cultures barely bat an eye as they wash down sometimes large doses of…
  • Wildcrafting in the Sierra Wilderness
    Michael Tierra in the Sierra, August 2012"I'm gathering pulsatilla which is all around me. There are also stands of mule's ears (Wyethia species) at my feet and scattered around is California osha (Oschala), green gentian, sitka valerian, monardella (coyote mint) and arnica." "Michael, you want to go with us tomorrow…
  • Adulteration of Chinese Herbs: A Different Perspective
    The nondescript appearance of herbs in their dried or powdered form, coupled with their high commercial value, has historically made them subject to adulteration, falsification and substitution to increase profits. In fact, adulteration in the herbal industry has been so widespread that at various times regulatory agencies have had to…
  • Bermuda Grass (Durva): The Second Holiest Herb; The Number One Weed!
    Many of my readers will have heard that holy basil (also known as tulsi, Ocimum sanctum/tenuiflorum) is the most sacred herb in India. But did you know that the second most sacred Indian herb is so widespread throughout the world as a noxious weed that even the most dedicated organic…
  • Book Review: "Brew Your Medicine" by Kristi Shapla
    Making alcohol from plants is the origin of pharmacy. As such, it became closely associated with ancient doctor-shamans who made herbal medicines preserved in their own self-generated alcohol. In fact, the character yi, meaning "doctor," is often written in a simplified (variant character) form with the addition of the character…
  • Dandelion, Burdock, and Cancer
    Dandelion root and burdock root are my two most commonly prescribed herbs when chronic conditions require anti-inflammatory, blood purifying alteratives for gentle detoxification. This includes conditions such as arthritis and cancer. I’ve studied literally hundreds of herbs from around the world, and considering cost, availability, palatability (no small matter, as…
  • Preventing and Treating Seasonal Allergies with Neti, Triphala and Honey
    According to a medical researcher on the Dr. Oz show, because of the early Spring and prolonged proliferation of windborne pollens, 2012 is supposed to be on track for being one of the worst allergy seasons in recorded history. Pollen must be sticky in order to adhere to the ovaries…
  • Why Herbs Aren't Regulated the Same Way Drugs Are
    In its February-April 2012 issue, HerbalGram, one of the most reputable and distinguished journals in the world on all things herbal, published a definitive article: "The Regulated Dietary Supplement Industry: Myths of an Unregulated Industry Dispelled" by R. William Soller, PhD, Holly J. Bayne, Esq. and Christopher Shaheen. It is…
  • White Rice vs. Brown Rice: Which Is Best?
    Despite the overwhelming evidence of the added health benefits of fiber, vitamins and minerals of whole grains, most traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic doctors recommend eating white rather than whole brown rice. It's generally understood that despite the superior nutrition of brown rice, white rice is the easiest to digest. Nineteenth-century…
  • Belief, Placebo, and True Healing
    Healing should always leave room for the miraculous to occur, and our belief system is usually the foundation that allows (or does not allow) miracles to happen. Our belief system is also the foundation for the well-known placebo response. Placebo (meaning "to please") is by definition a self-satisfying experience. There…
  • Protect yourself from the holiday blues with an herbal talisman
    A wise sage once told me "where there is great light, there is great darkness." For many, this is especially true during the festive holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year"s. This is a time when expectations run high -- expectations of ourselves and of those we love. Old family…
  • Aviva Romm and the AHG
    Despite their shared love of nature, plants, caring for the earth, animal and human life -- herbalists as a bunch have at times had an ironic history of contentiousness that seems to not always serve their higher purpose. I suppose it's based on an essential rebellious 'maverick' consciousness that caused…
  • Breitenbush 2011: A 30-Year-Reunion for North American Pioneer Herbalists
    Breitenbush 2011 portrait: Leaning on the rail: (unknown). Left to right, top row: Ken Collins, Autumn Summers Spelman, Kevin Spelman, Daniel Pinney. Next row: Cassandra (organizer), (unknown). Third row: Jane Bothwell, Rob Menzies, Gabriel Howearth. Fourth row: Leslie Gardner, Jim Green, Svevo Brooks, Cascade Anderson Geller. Fifth row: (unknown), Michael…
  • Panax Ginseng: The World's Greatest Tonic Herb
    The entire class of tonics in Chinese medicine is defined as herbs that "make things normal." They are regarded as food grade, meaning they can be taken regularly as part of a super food diet, with or without food, and are remarkably low in adverse side effects. There is no…
  • It Doesn't Have to Taste Bad!: Administering Herbal Medicines to Children by Michael Tierra
    Your child is sick and you'd like to try administering herbs rather than drugs. The reason is obvious: you correctly ascribe to the notion that most medicinal herbs are safer and have less potential side effects than drugs. One problem: your child, like most, is resistant to taking anything unfamiliar…
  • Walnuts: For Back Pain, Stress, High Cholesterol, Weight Loss, Longevity and Fish!
    I always think it's a good idea to learn to derive your special nutrients from foods rather than pills and nutritional supplements. Certain foods, like garlic and onions for example, are so potent that they are included in the Chinese materia medica. Walnuts, or he tao ren in Mandarin Chinese,…
  • All complementary medicine is placebo? Gimme a break!
    A recent article published in the Economist (May 19, 2011) entitled 'Think Yourself Better' claims that all alternative medical treatments are mere placebos designed to bilk the consumer out of an estimated $60 billion per year spent on alternative medicine (based on 2008 estimates). The article is based on the…
  • Springtime Colds, Flu and/or Allergies
    In the springtime, when birds do sing, tree pollen flings, eyes itch, noses clog, throats do hack '" hey ding a ding, a ding: Sweet lovers love the spring. --- Paraphrase of Shakespeare's Lover and His Lass Are you mistaking that Spring cold for an allergy? Often, the reason Spring…
  • Herbs and Supplements for Radiation Exposure
    The threat of exposure from the nuclear reactors in Japan made unstable by the recent earthquake has captured the world's attention. At maximum risk of exposure are, of course, the Japanese people, followed by the surrounding South Pacific islands including Hawaii, and those of us who live here on the…
  • Traditional Herbal and Western Conventional Medical Treatment Options for Hypertension
    If you suffer from hypertension, several avenues of treatment are available to you. How do you choose what is best for your unique condition? In this blog, I'll explore the approaches to hypertension offered by Western conventional medicine, Western herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and East Indian Ayurvedic medicine.…
  • Know Your Ferment Metabolites
    Nancy Angelini, the author of the article, "What Exactly Are Ferment Metabolites?" which I'm featuring in this blog post, is the head East Coast educator for Planetary Herbals and Source Naturals supplements, the company who manufactures and distributes by herbal products. One afternoon she was visiting the West Coast. She,…
  • Book Review: Ayurveda in Nepal by Vaidya Mana Bajra Bajracharya
    Book Review: Ayurveda in Nepal, Volume One: Ayurvedic Principles, Diagnosis and Treatment by Vaidya Mana Bajra Bajracharya Edited by Vaidya Madhu Bajra Bajracharya, Alan Tillotson and Todd Caldecott Directly based on clinical manuals of a great Nepalese Ayurvedic practitioner, Dr. Mana Bajra Bajracharya, Ayurveda in Nepal goes far beyond the…
  • EU Set to Ban Hundreds of Herbal Remedies in 2011
    An article published in the UK Independent on Dec. 30, 2010, reports: 'From 1 May 2011, traditional herbal medicinal products must be licensed or prescribed by a registered herbal practitioner to comply with an EU directive passed in 2004.' The reason given for the directive is a purportedly 'rising concern…
  • Does the U.S. really have the greatest healthcare system in the world?
    My friend Don Monkerud recently sent me his periodic political critique which included the following: 'Corporate controlled politicians claim America has 'the greatest healthcare system in the world,' only to reveal their ignorance. The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th among nations in healthcare performance in 2000, although we…
  • The Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease: Part 3
    Thus far in this series we have described two other powerful herbs for coronary heart disease: hawthorn from the Western herbal tradition, and dan shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) from the Chinese herbal tradition. Rounding out the trio with arjuna, a botanical from the Ayurvedic herbal tradition, we see that while all…
  • The Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease: Part 2
    Sage Advice For the treatment of Coronary Heart Disease It's not too often that a representative of a pharmaceutical company will call an herbalist asking what herb might be worth researching for a particular condition. Several years ago I had one such call and the representative was inquiring about herbs…
  • The Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease with Herbs: Part 1
    It's no secret that cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the #1 killer in the United States. Estimates are that 81,100,000 people in the United States have one or more forms of CVD (approximately one out of every 3 deaths in the US). Apart from this, over 10 million Americans suffer chest…
  • DMSO: What's Good for Your Horse Just May Be Good for You
    For years I have known and used DMSO for the topical relief of inflammation and pain. It's unfortunate that even after learning of the wonderful healing powers of a particular herb or substance such as DMSO, for some reason in the pursuit of new or different treatments sometimes we allow…
  • Eat a Full Fat Breakfast and Lose Weight?
    I've lived through 40 years of fad diets ranging from Adele Davis, living foods, Paul Bragg, juice diets, macrobiotic, low fat, low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, high protein, to the currently fashionable Paleolithic diet. We may be coming around full circle with the recent findings that a high-fat breakfast consisting of foods…
  • Richo Cech, Plant Whisperer and Author of "The Medicinal Herb Grower"
    Above: Richo Cech in Zanzibar Just as a horse whisperer understands the particular needs and psychology of horses, a plant whisperer is one who can receive the subtle communications from plants revealing their special needs for successful cultivation. In both instances, only someone with a unique aptitude who is willing…
  • Honeysuckle: Taking the Bitter with the Sweet
    Each spring, the honeysuckle flowers gather at the end of their stems to trumpet their sweet, gentle scent of purification and renewal. When I lead an herb walk in my backyard, I always pause with my students in homage at the woodbine (honeysuckle vine). After a discussion of the powerful…
  • Triphala, Honey, and Castor Oil for Healthy Eyes
    During the 1970s on one of my trips to Bangalore in southern India, I made it a point to seek teachers, schools and hospitals that were exponents of Ayurvedic medicine, which at that time was still barely known in the western world (particularly the United States). One Ayurvedic hospital I…
  • Triphala, Honey, and Castor Oil for Healthy Eyes
    During the 1970s on one of my trips to Bangalore in southern India, I made it a point to seek teachers, schools and hospitals that were exponents of Ayurvedic medicine, which at that time was still barely known in the western world (particularly the United States). One Ayurvedic hospital I…
  • Forget H1N1; The real world health threat is Big Pharma
    Almost exactly one year ago today, I published a blog post, 'Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Flu,' about the corporate-made H1N1 fraud. Now, according to Digital Online, the German news source Der Spiegel published an exhaustive article describing how 30 representatives of Big Pharma met with WHO Director-General Chan…
  • When Does "Health-Conscious" Become "Health-Obsessed"?
    My first Chinese herb teacher Foon Lee Wong once cryptically remarked: "It's not good to be too healthy." Since then I've often thought of native peoples throughout the world described by early explorers as remarkable specimens of health. These natives ate the purest foods, drank the purest water, breathed the…
  • Pomegranate compounds inhibit breast cancer
    The pomegranate (Punica granitum), highly touted these days as an antioxidant-rich superfruit, has an ancient metaphysical and culinary history. In fact, the image of the celebrated pomegranate was carved on the pillars of King Solomon's temple and was referenced several times in the Bible's Song of Songs of Solomon, as…
  • The Art of Herbal Formulary
    In the marketplace, it is often more difficult to sell the general public on an herbal formula as opposed to a single herb. This is understandable, because people are usually driven to single herbs when they hear of some sensational effect associated with it. For example, Ligusticum porteri (now available…
  • Book Review: "The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants" by Anna Pavord
    The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants by Anna Pavord (New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2005) is hardly a new book, but it's new to me and worth mention. This book reads like an exciting true life adventure -- a Raiders of the Lost Ark-type…
  • Acid Reflux Disease (GERD): Causes, Treatment and Prevention
    It's no secret that acid reflux is a widespread condition. Just think of all the antacid, Nexium or Prilosec advertisements you've seen lately. Some people eat Tums, an alkalinizing form of calcium, like candy. But you don't have to resort to taking expensive prescription drugs or chewing bushels of antacids.…
  • Sow Some Wild Oats this Valentine's Day
    For a good 'romp in the hay' this Valentine's Day, be sure the hay is oat straw! Wild oat straw and its seeds foster the right balance of relaxation and enhanced libido for both men and women. Sowing your Wild Oats For their aphrodisiac effect, it's the milky sap of…
  • 20 Tips for Achieving Optimal Weight and Healthy Eating
    I'm rounding out this trio of blogs on diet and weight management with the following 20 tips. Under each tip is a link to a supporting article or study. 1. If it's on your plate, you will eat it. Develop the habit of taking small portions. This is a variation…
  • 10 Principles for Achieving Optimal Weight and Healthy Eating
    After the period of feasting from Thanksgiving through Christmas, the New Year leads many of us to think about getting back in shape and losing some of those holiday pounds. There's a wide variety of dieting approaches, ranging from raw food, juice, vegetarian, high carbohydrate, low carbohydrate, low fat, and…
  • UK set for herbal regulation? Say it ain't so!
    This Dec. 1, 2009, article at the BBC website entitled "Prince Charles: 'Herbal medicine must be regulated'" points to a potential crisis for the practice of herbal medicine in the UK. Under threat of new European Union (EU) laws scheduled to take effect in April 2011 that would restrict the…
  • Dragon's Eyes -- Longan Berries
    Driving on Highway 50, the only highway on the island of Kauai, during morning traffic, a sign advertising fresh Longan berries next to an improvised roadside fruit stand (Euphoria longana) caught my eye. I simply couldn't resist the opportunity to stop and see if these were the very same as…
  • Bacopa monnieri: The True Brahmi
    Both gotu kola (Centella asiatica and/or Hydrocotyle asiatica) and Bacopa monnieri (pictured at left) are known as "brahmi."This has created much confusion in the literature in the use of these two plants. Both are known to enhance memory and intelligence but gotu kola is decidedly the weaker of the two…
  • Onion Poultice for Deep-Seated Coughs
    Have you ever had one of those lingering, deep-seated coughs (often the last hanger-on symptom after a cold or flu) that just continually and gradually wears down your reserves of strength? No matter how long or hard you hack, regardless how many pints of cough syrup or handfuls of pills…
  • Alleviate Grief with Albizia, "The Tree of Happiness"
    Albizia is one of my favorite herbs because of its real and unique ability to nourish the spirit in a way no other herb (or chemical substance, for that matter) can. Better known as the beautiful mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin), both the bark and the flowers are used to help…
  • Swine Flu Vaccinations and Antiviral Drugs: A Matter of Faith
    There is mounting fear -- and perhaps even hysteria -- around the H1N1 virus as we usher in the fall and winter, which are the typical flu seasons. As I try to make sense of the plethora of conflicting information about H1N1 and what sort of a threat it really…
  • Beyond cranberry: Simple and effective herbal treatment for urinary tract infections
    Recently a friend of mine called to say that she had a terrible bladder infection. Her doctor prescribed an antibiotic, but it had no effect; in fact, the infection worsened. She also said she tried drinking cranberry juice, but that had no effect on the condition either. Women's bladder infections…
  • Universal health care for the United States?
    Have you noticed the lack of health care in your area? I have, in Santa Cruz. So many GPs have retired because of the astronomical price of liability insurance they must pay to stay in practice, along with the mounting sheaves of paperwork they are required to maintain -- not…
  • Miriam Lee (1926-2009): the mother of North American Acupuncture
    "This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang, but a whimper" - T.S. Eliot, 1888 - 1965, from The Hollow Men Miriam Lee who began her healing career as a Chinese nurse midwife…
  • In Search of the True Mediterranean Diet
    Corfu Bay: Practically every square yard of arable land is covered with olive trees or grapevines As someone who's worked in the health field for most of my life, I get to hear about all sorts of fad diets. Many of these come and go and have little basis in…
  • The Mighty Ashwagandha, Superior Aphrodisiac and Male Fertility Tonic
    Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) is considered a most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Its ability to serve as a tonic and adaptogen in many of the same ways as Panax ginseng is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is well known. It is one of the best herbs for building…
  • Pressed for Time: Piano and Plants in Fort Worth, Texas
    Pianos... I'm in Fort Worth right now, at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. As a classical pianist, the opportunity to attend the Van Cliburn is akin to being able to attend a Super Bowl playoff. It's especially a kick for me, because one of the contenders happened to be…
  • Herbology and Herbalism: Two Sides of the Same Coin
    Read more...
  • Swine Flu: Media hype and a boon to the pharmaceutical industry
    Who's afraid of the Big Bad Flu? I know many of us are concerned about Swine Flu, and as I write this even the World Health Organization has declared a Level 5 outbreak; just one step away from Level 6, the highest, which is reserved for pandemics. Somehow it all…
  • Oregano: An herbal treatment for MRSA?
    Have you seen those PSAs for MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) that have made their way onto primetime television lately? 'Staph' infections are among the most common type of skin and soft tissue infections and may appear as a small infected pimple, boil under the skin, sore or insect or…
  • Kudzu found effective for relief of cluster headaches
    If you or someone you know is one of the unfortunate 0.1% of the population who suffers from cluster headaches, take heart:an herb commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and in Asian cooking may help manage the frequency of attacks and severity of pain. A recent study completed by Yale…
  • Michael Moore, 1941-2009
    Michael Moore, the great Southwestern herbalist of North America, left his earthly dwelling for other realms on Friday, Feb. 20, 2009. Michael leaves us a rich legacy of herbal knowledge and wisdom, the fruit of over 40 years of his passionate explorations of the fundamental healing relationship between plants, the…
  • The Age of the Piano Recital is Not Dead!
    Been to a piano recital lately? Thanks to the dedication of the impresarios at the UCSC Arts and Lecture Series and the indefatigable John Orlando of Cabrillo College's Distinguished Artists Concert and Lecture Series, I attended exquisite back-to-back piano recitals by Valentina Lisitsa and Halida Dinova in Santa Cruz last…
  • "Birds Do It, Bees Do It:" Foods and herbs to spice up your love life
    When the little bluebird Who has never said a word Starts to sing Spring When the little bluebell At the bottom of the dell Starts to ring Ding dong Ding dong When the little blue clerk In the middle of his work Starts a tune to the moon up above…
  • Fasting for Detoxification and Weight Loss
    We're already halfway through January! How are you doing with your health-centered New Year's resolutions? In my last post on diet and weight loss, I discussed exercise and making reponsible food choices. In this post I'd like to address another option for detoxification, balancing and weight loss: Fasting. All fasting…
  • An Appeal for Complementary, Integrated Health Care Modalities to Be a Part of Any Future American Health Care Plan
    Please copy and sign the following petition and submit it to http://change.gov/agenda/health_care_agenda/ Then please send or forward it to as many people as you know, asking them to do the same. Or sign it online here and share the link! --------------- To: President-Elect Barack H. Obama Presidential Petition for Incorporation…
  • New Year's Resolution: don't just lose weight, get healthy
    It's the new year and guess what's on (almost) everyone's minds: Losing weight and dropping some of the pounds they put on, especially during the holiday season. Of course, there are a number of those 'airy' thin, yin, fiery types who seem to be able to eat as much as…
  • Celebrating the Seven Days of Kwanzaa: Skullcap for Faith
    The theme for today, day seven of Kwanzaa, is Imani -- Faith: To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. The Struggle Today's theme is particularly appropriate given the unsettling state of things throughout the…
  • Celebrating the Seven Days of Kwanzaa: Dang Gui for Creativity
    Dear reader: wiith other commitments needing to be attended to, I've invited my student and East West School editor, Anne de Courtenay, to guest-blog for the sixth day of Kwanzaa. I'll be back tomorrow with a post on Faith. --- Michael Tierra The theme for today, the sixth day of…
  • Celebrating the Seven Days of Kwanzaa: White Atractylodes for Purpose
    The meditation for today, the fifth day of Kwanzaa, is Nia -- Purpose: To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. America is a great country because we are all here! Aren't you great? Aren't I?…
  • Celebrating the Seven Days of Kwanzaa: Ginseng and Astragalus for Cooperative Economics
    The meditation for today, the fourth day of Kwanzaa, is Ujamaa -- Cooperative Economics: To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together. In meditation on today's theme, I look back once again to my experience at Black Bear commune where our…
  • Celebrating the Seven Days of Kwanzaa: Goldenseal and Marijuana for Collective Work and Responsibility
    The meditation theme for today, the third day of Kwanzaa, is Ujima -- Collective Work and Responsibility. I can hardly reflect on this theme without considering my own experiences as a Digger -- a hippie living in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district from 1967-69. These years of my life, considered…
  • Celebrating the Seven Days of Kwanzaa: Comfrey for Unity
    Many of us have heard of the African-American celebration called Kwanzaa, but I must confess that I along with the majority have not known what it actually is. Reading a recent article published in the Los Angeles Daily News, I was happy to learn that this may be one seasonal…
  • Celebrating the Seven Days of Kwanzaa: Cyperus for Self-Determination
    The meditation for yesterday, the first day of Kwanzaa, was: Umoja (Unity): To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. I tried to meditate on this theme yesterday after my family's exchange of gifts as Lesley and I took a walk up a hill near…
  • The Botanic Gardens of Kauai and Humankind's Infatuation with Plants
    Lesley and I recently returned from a relaxing vacation on Kauai. Granted, it's not a large island, but by pure coincidence we often seemed to find ourselves situated in places that were especially suited to our interests. Along the south shore, just a mile down the street from our timeshare,…
  • Lemon balm and other mints for the treatment of herpes
    It is well known that oils of aromatic herbs which include all the mints, lemon balm and sage serve the function of putting up a protective barrier to plants against infective agents such as bacteria and viruses. In recent years research has given scientific credence to the possibility that this…
  • My Favorite (Herbal) Things for Holiday Giving
    With the holidays and the season for gift-giving upon us, I thought I'd put together an Oprah-style list of "My Favorite (Herbal) Things" for all you generous hearts out there. Here goes: ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR HERBAL BOOKSHELF All of Michael Moore's classic Trinity Herb Books: Medicinal Plants of the Mountain…
  • Amazing Grace: President-elect Barack Obama
    Like many of our friends, Lesley and I are ecstatic about Barack Obama's winning the American presidency. It lifts a dark cloud of cynicism from American politics and represents new hope. Personally, I like John McCain and think he is a great man but on the wrong side. His choice…
  • Crafting an Effective Treatment for Cancer Using Conventional and Complementary Methods
    When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they of course seek the help of an oncologist. The oncologist, in turn, is bound to follow what is sometimes an antiquated standard of care incorporating surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. When facing a complicated and difficult disease such as cancer, it helps to know…
  • Looking back ... and forward, at Natural Products Expo East
    In 2008, Planetary Formulas (now renamed "Planetary Herbals" to account for many of the single herbs that have been incorporated into the line) turned 25 years old. In honor of this occasion, Lesley and I were sponsored by the company to attend the country's largest natural products exposition shows, Natural…
  • Dietary Cold and Flu Prevention Tips
    An old method my mother used to prevent my catching airborne colds and flus was to go to the pharmacy and purchase a camphor cube, which she would wrap in a thin muslin cloth and pin inconspicuously to the upper part of my undergarment. As a preschool and lower school…
  • An Herbalist's Autumn, plus Herbal Cold and Flu Prevention Tips
    Autumn Parched over Sun's heated passion Causing plants to ripenSquirrels to scamper and work, And many colored leaves to fall. What was once innocence, joy and abundanceDescends like PersephoneTo wintry dreams of a distant spring to comeAnd so our world enters its recession From unlimited excess and abundance Inevitably partaking…
  • Welcome to our brand new home on the Web!
    Behold, our new website! Many of you -- especially my own students -- will notice that it looks considerably different. Our goal has been to give it the emphasis, look and feel befitting one of the finest herbal training courses in the country. Further, it more clearly reflects what makes…

Individual Sections I (store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464525&category_id=6) or III store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464526&category_id=6:     $224. 99 each


Sections I and III together store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464527&category_id=6:       $299.99  33% OFF!!!

Or if you wish to purchase all three Sections in coil bound format, you may replace your current course books for: $399.99 store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464528&category_id=6

If you enrolled after May 1, 2011 or are a graduate of the East West School, your price is even lower!

Individual Sections I store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464529&category_id=6 or III  store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464530&category_id=6: $149.99

Sections I and III together store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464531&category_id=6: $199.99  save 33%!

All three Sections store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464532&category_id=6: $299.99

OFFER IS VALID UNTIL SEPT 22, 2011  the last day of summer!

* This special offer is only available to students currently or previously enrolled in the East West School who are replacing the present course material with an upgrade to the newer edition. Students who enrolled July 16, 2011 or after have already received the new course.

SAMPLE MATERIAL:
It would be best if we could include this in the pdf format so it looks exactly as it does in the lessons

Include:
Section I: p. 9-28
Section III: p. 35-44 and p. 34-25/26

Lesson 9, July 10, 2011 Excerpt

Lesson 35, July 10, 2011 Excerpt 1

Lesson 35, July 10, 2011 Excerpt 2

Lesson 35, July 10, 2011 Excerpt 3



The new Sections I and III are now available for you to own and use!

Purchase one or both Sections (latter is highly recommended) and replace your current material to receive the most up-to-date information and teachings from the Tierras. Don't pass up this incredible opportunity to enhance your study!!!

Or if you wish to purchase all three Sections in coil bound format, you may replace your current course books for store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464528&category_id=6: $399.99

If you enrolled after May 1, 2011 or are a graduate of the East West School, your price is even lower!
Individual Sections I store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464529&category_id=6 or III store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464530&category_id=6 : $149.99

Sections I and III together store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464531&category_id=6: $199.99  save 33%!

All three Sections store.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images.tpl&product_id=1203464532&category_id=6: $299.99

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