Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ACHS holistic health alumni Stephanie Austin hosts raw foods event

An event like this doesn't take place every day. If you have an interest in raw and living foods, finding answers to health concerns, or you're just looking for a great group of positive, green conscious people, you won't want to miss this event.

Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes, world-renowned raw food authors, educators, and lecturers will speak at the Meadow Park Building in San Luis Obispo, California, April 24, 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Monarch and Stokes produce an online TV show called The Raw Food World. In addition, Stokes runs Raw Reform, blogs, and speaks worldwide about the benefits of raw and living food, and Monarch has written books and blogs about the raw food lifestyle, and runs Raw Spirit.

For more information, go to Love, Life, and Laughter, the blog of ACHS holistic health alumni Stephanie Austin.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Soroptomists' Regional Conference May 1 Needs Speaker ASAP

The Soroptomists' Founder Region Conference May 1 in San Ramon, California, needs a replacement for their scheduled speaker. This is a terrific opportunity for a prepared holistic nutrition professional to speak to a highly interested and educated audience.

The conference topic is women’s heart health, and the speaking subject is diet and nutrition. The conference has scheduled a doctor to talk about the signs of an unhealthy heart, including diabetes, but they are in need of a nutritionist to talk about women’s diet and nutrition to improve their overall health and quality of life.

For more information about the conference and presenting, contact Tess Albin-Smith at (707) 961-1123.

AHG TeleSeminar: "What do the FDA Good Manufacturing Practices means for herbalists?"

Registration is open for the second installment in the 2009 AHG TeleSeminar Series. Roy Upton, AHG's Vice-President, will be speaking on "What Do the FDA Good Manufacturing Practices Mean for Herbalists" on May 4 at 7:00 p.m., EST.

When the new GMPs for herbal products were finalized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2007, many breathed a sigh of relief: the FDA was not requiring practitioners who make their own products for their clients to adhere to the new regulations. The FDA did retain the authority, however, to do so in the future. This raises questions for herbalists, like “What would cause the FDA to come knocking" on an herbalist's door or to change their minds and require us to follow the guidelines?

There are few better people than Roy Upton to answer these questions or to discuss the ways to ensure that your clients are receiving high-quality herbal medicines.

Trained in both traditional Western and Chinese herbalism, Roy Upton is a founding and professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. His background includes extensive study with various Native American and non-Native herbalists, ethnobotany of the United States Virgin Islands, and seven years of clinical practice, followed by a three-year clinical internship with Michael Tierra and training at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China. He is the executive director and editor of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® and is also a member of the Standards Committee of the American Herbal Products Association.

In his "day job," Upton is general manager of Planetary Formulas. He writes extensively and is the author of St. John's Wort and Echinacea, as well as co-author of the Botanical Safety Handbook—a landmark text of herbal safety—and is currently active in the preparation of a new edition.

To register for the AHG TeleSeminar, call the AHG Office at (203) 272-6731 or visit:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Is In the Air

Spring is arriving a little more each day. The trees here are covered with bulging buds ready to pop. Magnolias are almost in bloom. Today I spent time in the sun enjoying the work of readying my herb garden for this years growth. I trimmed the oregano and lemon balm -both of which love to spread and take over my garden. I cut back the marjoram - that one seems to try to escape the herb bed by growing over my edging stones. The chives are already over a foot tall and will be ready for my soup this week. Sage and lavender grace the back of the garden making a beautiful wall along the bricks.

The squirrels have graced my garden with flowering bulbs I never planted, and again this year I have purple and blue bells sprouting between the herbs. They are lovely, so I leave them. At the edges of my herb garden I have daffodills blossoming and enjoyed the snow drops last month. The New York weather is too harsh for the rosemary to survive winter so I will replant again this year along with two types of basil for salads.

Since New York is crowded, there are no open areas nearby for me to safely harvest dandelion greens which are delicious now when they are small. I buy them at the local green grocers to add to salads. They are great for cleansing the toxins left from winters gloomy days. Soon I will be able to pick blackberries from the trees nearby along the bay. I look forward to getting a few, usually the birds beat me to most of them. The days are longer now and with daylight savings time in effect it is light out until almost 7:30pm. The neighbors bar-b-ques are going in the evening and the sweet scent of the herbs mixes with the heady odors from the grilles. This is my favorite time of the year. Happy spring everyone!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rose: King of Indian flowers

Amongst all the scents used in perfumery, rose is one of the oldest and best known. Ancient reference of rose distillation is found in books by Charak and Susruta (Ayurveda sanhita). Mogul emperor Jahangir filled canals of his Palace Garden with distilled rose water. The oil, which was found to float over it, was collected and named as ‘Itr-e-Jahangiri’. This oil was nothing but the rose oil.

Legends about rose
Some say that rose was created from a drop of sweat falling from the brow of Mohammad. Some say, it was due to Bacchus. He fell is love with a beautiful nymph and to appreciate her beauty, covered a thorny bush with red perfumed flowers, we now call rose. Cupid said to have given the God of silence a rose to bribe him, not to reveal the amours of Venus. The rose then became the emblem of silence.

Cleopatra was bathing in rose water and used absolute rose to seduce her lover Antony. Lord Krishna's favorite was rose. Hindus wash and clean their alter of Gods with rose water. Roman banquets were decorated with Roses. When Alexander the Great came to India, he fell in love with beautiful gardens of India, nicely decorated with various kind of fragrant roses.

Rose species: There are more than 5,000 varieties of roses known to botanists. Only a few of them are fragrant and the fragrance varies according to the plant variety. Most of the fragrant roses are hybrids and the fragrance, referred by perfumers as ROSE, is found exclusively in the roses belonging to the group ‘cetifolia’ of family Roseaceae. Out of these only three are commercially exploited for the production of oil.

1. Rosa damascena: Also known as ‘Pink Damask Rose’
Found in wild in Syria, Morocco, and Andalusia. This variety contains relatively high amount of volatile oil. The oil required for perfumery is obtained from rose cultivated in Bulgaria and Turkey. The volatile oil obtained is light yellow, slightly greenish and is semisolid at room temperature. Odour is powerful and is characteristic of fresh roses. Flavour is sweet, strong and honey like. Damascena rose absolute is orange yellow, orange reddish or slightly olive yellowish viscous fluid with extremely rich, warm, spicy floral deep rose odour, with honey undertone.

2. Rosa alba: Also known as ‘white cottage rose’
This contains much less volatile oil and is of inferior quality compared to damask rose. This variety is resistant to unfavourable climatic conditions and hence is preferred by farmers. It is also grown in Bulgaria.

3. Rosa centifolia (L): Also known as ‘Light Pink Cabbage Rose’
This variety is grown exclusively in the Grasse region of southern France. It is also grown in Morocco and there it is also referred to as ‘Rose de mai’. It is difficult to distill oil from this variety using steam distillation. Hence solvent extraction is used to prepare concrete and absolutes from this rose. This variety appears to be related to Rosa damascena. ‘Rose de mai’ is orange-yellow to orange-brown viscous liquid, with rich sweet honey like tenacious odour.

Rose plantation: Soil in which rose thrive best is clayey, rich in humus, slightly sandy containing traces of ferrous salts. The soil should be slightly moist, not too dry. Hill slope at the altitude of 2,500–3,250 feet are very much suitable for the growth of rose plant. The plant should be well protected against cold winds as well as hot winds. Climate should be humid. New fields are started in fall. The first harvest can be obtained in third year after planting. Normal harvest is obtained after five years.

Harvesting: Rose begins to bloom in the second week of May and lasts for 3 to 4 weeks. Harvesting begins as soon as flowers open. They are collected by hands; nipped off just below the calyx. Usually plucking starts at day break and continues until 8–9 am.

Perfumery and flavour application of rose oils: Rose oil adds beauty and depth to the odour blend. When solubility in dilute alcohol is important, rose oil is used. Rose absolute can be used only when high grade alcohol is used. It is very important in rose –jasmine complex found in fashion perfumes. Rose de mai is useful in rounding up sharp notes in synthetic compositions. It is useful to flavour a variety of tobacco, snuff and chewing tobacco, soft drinks and alcoholic liqueurs. Also, to add interesting effect in fruit flavours such as apricol, raspberry, bitter almonds, etc.

Rose in India
The introduction of scented rose cultivation in India was started during Mughal time. Major rose oil producing region in India are Kashmir valley, mid-hills of Himachal Pradesh, upper plains of Uttar Pradesh, Haldi ghati in Rajasthan and upper Shivalik hills in Punjab. More than 50% of production is confined to the state of U.P. & Rajasthan. We have been credited for introducing large-scale cultivation of Rosa damascena in Shivalik zone and upper plains of Punjab. The jawala variety of Damask rose developed by IHBT, CSIR has been standardized for the cultivation of this valuable crop in the plains of Punjab.

Therapeutic application of rose
The rose has many therapeutic values as long as it is of good grade, pure natural oil. Arab healers believed rose ‘jam’ could heal lung complaints. Dr. Leclerc, in Plantes Condimentaires published in 1950,valued it as a gentle laxative. It is astringent, antiseptic, soothing to eyes. A recipe by Galen suggests use of rose in cold cream. Galen was great Greek Physician. In cosmetic applications, rose is useful in eczema, to cure broken skin, against wrinkles and help remove skin puffiness. It is suitable for all skin types. It increase smoothness, reduce wrinkles on the face and helps the skin of the body glowing and charming rose oil helps patients suffering from depression, fear, nervous tension, insomnia and gives the feeling of well-being. It is helpful in women’s gynecological disorders, menopausal symptoms. It reduces excessive heat of the body. If used before menstrual cycle, it reduces P.M.S. problems.

About the author
Dr. Geetanjali Ranade is a graduate of the Australasian College Certificate in Aromatherapy program. She is a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and was visiting scientist at the National Cardiovascular Center, Japan, for post-doctoral research in brain physiology. She also holds RMP(Registered Medical Practitioner) from Indian Board of Alternative Medicine.

© 2008 This article originally appeared in the NAHA Aromatherapy E-Journal, 2008.3

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Holistic Practices - Fusing our Skills

In the next few days the Congress will vote on President Obama's budget. In thinking about the concept of fiscal policy, I am struck by the vast difference between the way we as individuals and business persons are required to handle our finances vs the methodology of the federal government. If my business runs a deficit for an extended period of time, I am out of business. If I follow poor fiscal policy in planning my budget, I will eventually be met with failure. We as individuals are held to a higher standard of fiscal and monetary policy than that of our federal government.

As a holistic health care practitioner I am proud of the fact that I can share with clients not only my expertise in herbal medicine and healthy relationship practices, but also my ability to effectively manage my business and personal finances. My earlier Master's degree in finance and economics gives me the background to share specifics from my personal experience in responsible budgeting and fiscal policy as a part of my practice.

When we, as graduates, move into our chosen field of study, we bring to the table a vast array of skills we may have previously garnered. The more we can incorporate these varied areas of expertise into our practice, the more benefit we bring to our clients. Having a wider base of education and experience give us a more holistic approach to helping our fellow human beings. We can be proud of all our accomplishments and fuse them together to make our practice as beneficial as possible for our clients.

The root of my life: my family (plants' healing potential)

One day, when my daughter was in kindergarten, her teacher called to tell me that Brecca had rebelled against doing the Hokey Pokey, and she had incited a mutiny by getting the other children to follow her lead. When I questioned Brecca, she replied, “It’s not like I would not do my math. What does the Hokey Pokey have to do with anything?!” Well, in addition to discussing classroom decorum, I soon started dosing her with the vibrational essence of Vine, as it helps to correct the imbalance of “being domineering and autocratic, and not seeing value in another’s point of view.” Happily, this worked like a charm, and my sweet child has developed the traits of “selfless service, and joyfully participating in and listening to the individuality of others,” the flip side of the pattern of Vine vibrational essence.

Several years later, Brecca decided that she wanted to get to know her father, so she left home with me to live with him for a few years. She had planned to live with him until she completed high school, but had grown so unhappy living with him that she asked if she could return home for her senior year of high school. In the middle of this already sticky process, her father was in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. After moving back home with me, I noticed that she could hardly get enough dill to eat, and she ate it on everything—including pizza! I knew that her craving was driven by her innate intelligence, which was holding space for her. The vibrational essence of Dill is good for “helping one stay centered when experiencing an overwhelming number of impressions, feelings and sensations, and when feeling under pressure,” and “to change perception [from] being a victim to seeing one’s power.”

Her father has a strong personality that she felt was engulfing hers, which was complicated by her father being hurt, and the feelings of guilt that arose from having strong negative emotions towards an injured individual. Her craving for dill expressed to me what she was not able to find the words for, and allowed me to respond to her in the most beneficial way, including using Dill vibrational essence in her sublingual blends. When her dill craving diminished, I knew that she had regained her balance and personality, and no longer felt like a victim. She now speaks often of her love of Daffodils, which tells me that a deep place within her desires “to find her own voice and know her divine nature.” Naturally I now include the flower essence of Daffodil in her blends.

I cannot express how comforting it is to know that no matter what challenges my daughter may encounter, there is a corresponding plant to help ease the way. The core lesson I have tried to impart to her is that life is about understanding Self and how one responds to situations. She never needs to feel overwhelmed, stuck, sad, discouraged or caught in an uninvited pattern. Plants, whether in the form of essential oils or vibrational essences, are the keys to making the adjustments necessary.

Author Bio: Candace Covington is a graduate of the ACHS Certificate in Aromatherapy program. She is an aromatherapy, Ayurveda, and spa modalities instructor, a presenter for Red Mountain International Resort and Spa, and author of Just Ask Miss Candice, a weekly online self-help column.

How to make your press release newsworthy

There are four common PR misperceptions to watch for...

1. You are the focus of your PR.

Although we like to think it, we are not the news. (Sorry.) To convince strangers that they want to hear what you have to share—and that they then want to take action—your press release should focus on the service you are offering...a service that is The Solution.

Remember, your future customer does not know they are looking for you. They're looking for someone or something that can ease their stress, help with lifestyle improvement, relive a persistent cough, etc. Therefore, to show your future customer the truth, that your service is The Solution, focus on the concrete benefits to them.

2. More is Better

More is not better. Specifics are better.

For example, you are hosting a community wellness event about nutrition. The inclination might be to send out a press release about all of the services you offer, thinking “When will these people read about me again?" But, it would be more beneficial to ask yourself, "If my future customer only remembers one thing, what should it be?"

The answer: the day, time, and location of your event.

Be specific. Use a specific, targeted headline when you send out your press release, such as: Free nutrition consultation for students with ADD.

3. Flash is Better

Flash is hard to pull off. It’s better to be informative than insincere; although they are both memorable, one has clear benefits over the other.

What constitutes as flash? Overwriting. Overselling. Over anything...

Stick to words and descriptions your audience is familiar with, will respond to.

For example: "New eco-sheik botanic day spa consultancy opening in your neighborhood featuring free aromatherapy massages ranging from $60-100."

Huh? I'm not sure I even know what I mean. Is it a day spa or a consultant business? What's free? Eco what?

Or: "Stress-targeting massages with organic aromatherapy products boost your immune system and support green business."

You now know what the service is, how it benefits your future customers, and that there is a larger connection to the environment, which makes your press release news worthy.

4. The More Flashy Qualifiers the Better

Qualifiers take up space. Again, it is better to be sincere, informative, and service-minded than dazzling.

What is a qualifier? Good. Great. Greatest. Best. Better than. Amazing. Great. And so on.........

We think these words will catch the reader’s attention. And they do, but not in the way we want. They signal overstating or overwriting, which automatically makes the reader defensive and suspicious.

Why? Like writing with “flash,” self-promotion without substance is hard to pull off, and qualifiers mean different things to different readers. What one person may find good or great, another may not. This is the “one-size fits all” approach, and it doesn’t work.

Remember, it is better to offer a strong, service-oriented promotion than to oversell a so-so one.

3 tips for using Twitter to promote your blog

Twitter—aka the new social media which has everyone “tweeting” professionally—is being used in many different ways and by lots of people. At its most basic, Twitter allows you to post short sentences alerting friends and family (i.e., followers) to what you’re doing.

But there are several social networking applications too. For example, some businesses use Twitter to announce new promotions and others use it as a survey tool to gauge customer response and demand.

Yet, for holistic health professionals (that is, small to medium-sized business owners, Twitter is becoming the fastest way to build a word of mouth following.

3 tips for using Twitter to promote your blog:

1. Ask a Question

It’s easy to tell people what you’re doing. But it won’t hold their interest for very long. So, instead of saying “Posted article about caring for your pets with homeopathy,” ask, “How has homeopathy helped your pet to feel better?” Questions encourage conversation, which allows more followers to contribute their experience.

2. Remark

The competition over blog comments can be fierce. But, if you post something that attracts a lot of comments, first comment back. Then, post a short line to Twitter inviting people to join the conversation.

3. Ask for What You Want

Once you know which of the social media referral sites (or voting sites) drives the most traffic to your blog, ask your followers to dish out a review (for example, StumbleUpon, Digg, Newsvine, etc.). Think of it as cross promotion. Every blog needs a little push now and then.

Based on Chris Brogan’s article “How I Use Twitter to Promote My Blog” on Problogger: