Monday, July 26, 2010

NW Herbfest 2010

This is the Kitchen Lecture "Hall"
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...mostly the best. I made a decision to stay in a hotel instead of camping. I also declined to purchase the meals, not because they aren't good, (they are!), but because at more than $20 per meal it was simply too expensive. I brown bagged it! Plus I was able to bring my own snacks and that turned out to be a good thing too.

It also meant I could spend more money at the vendors tables! I got some stuff to take home to mom since she had to withdraw due to back surgery. This included a booklet of the Symposium notes provided by each speaker. Some are very complete, others not so much. But it is valuable tool to reference during the lectures.

On Saturday I took:

Wound Care by Kelly Marie Fitzpatrick BSN, MPS, ND
Class Description: We will discuss the physiology of wound care and the rationale for botanicals as well as nutritional supplements that are important in wound care.

I liked that she referred to inflammation (both outer and inner) as a type of wound and how an acute case can turn into a chronic case with conventional treatment. She was very emphatic that we should help our patients with life style changes NOW before things deteriorate to an "end care" type situation in the hospital. However I thought she was much too exclusionary in her vocabulary. She could have spoken much more plainly instead of using medical jargon.

Herbs & Improving Tissues Of The Body by Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir
Class Description: This lecture focuses on the main types of tissues in the body and the herbs that best improve their function and structural stability.

I thought this was one of the best lectures. I have read so many conflicting and confusing diagnostic methods. Her's was the best and easiest I've come across. She has a biochemist mother and a science researcher sister. Also she is the Head of Faculty at the Academy of Scottish Herbalism and has her own shop in Eugene.

Ayurvedic Basics for the Gastrointestinal Tract by Cascade Anderson Geller
Class Description: Digestive stimulants and much more, this class will feature the medicinal wonders hiding in the kitchen and the details to help you get the most medicinal effect from them.

I got some good information from this class, but kind of felt it was a gabfest. At a later class she stated she was kind of unhappy about how she did in this one. Overall she did give some excellent advice but obviously 1.5 hours is really not long enough for this particular instructor. I mean that in the best way. She likes to thoroughly explain an aspect of the subject before moving on. Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu system based on the 3 Basic Nature types or Doshas - Vata (Air), Kapha (Water) and Pitta (Fire). Actually she described it as a life style rather than "medicine" as often it really involved the kind of food one ate.

Lemon Balm

As a side note, I'm kind of ambivalent about Asian herbal systems overall. Not because I don't think they have value but because I wonder about the need or effectiveness when I can't grow the herbs myself. I tend to want to know more about can be grown here, and how things that DO grow here naturally were really used. That said, I have more of an interest for Ayurveda than Chinese Herbal tradition.

Tea Blending for Health and Pleasure by Jane Bothwell
Class Description: Learn to make teas that taste good and have fabulous medicinal effects. From the experience of blending teas for many years I will share with you my insights into formula making for effectiveness and pleasure.

This was a nice class and she has a quick and easy formula for tea blending. She also had examples of fresh and dried teas. I liked she suggested making popsicles and ice cubes too! What is delightful ise she freely gives away her recipes for specific teas, over 18 of them! She runs the The Dandelion Herbal Center in Arcata CA.

On Sunday I took:

Biphasic Formulas, How to Build Them, How to Use Them by Robin DiPasquale N.D., RH (AHG)
Class Description: This class will cover the principles of building biphasic formulas, discussing the various categories of herbs to use in developing a biphasic formula - steroidal saponins, phytoestrogenic herbs, liver herbs, circulatory stimulants, adaptogenic herbs, nervines.

I liked this class alot as well. Biphasic formulas are (as I understand it) are complementary formulas for the Follicular (Dark moon to Full moom-Estrogenic) and Luteal (Full moon to Dark moon-Progesteronic). This was a totally new concept for me and I found it very interesting. She is on the staff at Bastyr University near Seattle (although she lives in Wisconsin!) and has her own website here.

The Pharmacy in the Pantry by Cascade Anderson Geller
Class Description: This class will feature the medicinal wonders hiding in the kitchen and the details to help you get the most medicinal effect from them.

I liked this class alot better. It was another very interesting history lesson. This time it was about spices and it's violent and sad history. (Hint-the Dutch are not nice). She gave some very good and specific advice about grinders for spices and how to cook with them. I also learned that insects and most animals do not like spices. They seem to used by and for specifically humans and how to help us eat and live well!

Sensing The Chemistry In Herbs By Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir
Class Descriptions: The same colors, tastes, aromas and textures that stimulate our senses give us clues about the chemistry of an herb. We’ll cover the primary herbal chemical constituents, what they are known to do, how to best extract them and give examples of which herbs contain them.

I thought this class was good, but did not really go too much into the color, tastes or smells of the herbs. It was more about the chemical family trees and whether they were best soluble in water or alcohol (depends on what you want to get out of them of course!). The best thing I took away was to start just doing it. Empirical practice is the best way to judge if something is effective or not. Unfortunately my phone rang twice near the end of the class! I was so mortified.


I had to leave early to go to work at home so could not take the very last class. Frustratingly, there was traffic, a wreck (not us!) and technical problems which prevented me from working at all! There was a bit of a freak out that we will try not to repeat. However overall this was a much better experience than last time. Evidently Ms. Tilger is going to skip next year so this is the last NW Herbfest until further notice...

Later I will post reviews of some audio CD's I order for classes I couldn't take:
1. Golden Boughs - Medicinal Trees by Cascade Anderson Geller
2. GynEcology by McQuade Crawford
3. First Aid in the Field by Wren Davidson

No comments: