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  • the benefits of basil pesto

    The health benefits of basil pesto, a common food with an uncommon flavor has brought an ancient and mysterious herb to the forefront of our modern culture. Basil (sweet or common basil), Ocymum basilium, is an annual growing to 3 feet. The stem, like other mints, is quadrangular (square). White flowers appear in whorls in […]

  • cinnamon

    The benefits of cinnamon The benefits of cinnamon go far beyond its culinary applications as a spice. Description Cinnamon is the brownish-reddish inner bark of the cinnamon tree. When dried, it rolls into a tubular form known as a quill. Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as ground powder. […]

  • licorice roots

    Benefits of Licorice Root– The Great Harmonizer One of the benefits of licorice root may well be summarized in Mary Poppins’ attestation, “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” The root contains a compound about 50 times sweeter than sugar – a property which comes in handy for helping to ‘disguise’ other less […]

  • Growing up in Michigan, my earliest experience with totems was with totem poles. They were wooden poles carved with the shapes of various heads and symbols. They seemed interesting, but I had little notion what they were about. In my explorations of the 60′s, I had occasion to read the accounts of Carlos Castenada with […]

  • citrine

    Since Covid, many of us have looked for ways to feel grounded, to calm anxiety and soothe stress. This has brought about a rise of interest in alternative therapies such as crystal healing.

  • Hibiscus flower

    Tyler I found a natural remedy for distemper in dogs while living in Ocean Beach some decades ago.  We found an ad in our local paper for a pedigree golden retriever puppy for sale for $50 while at the time the going price was $400!

  • boost your immunity

    How do we “catch” a cold or the flu?

  • herbal punch

    Holiday Herbal Punch We have used this recipe for our kid’s birthdays for years. We catered a wedding with is once . Everyone wanted to know what was in it.

  • Peruvian Torch

    Peruvian Torch – Trichocereus peruvianus In the past, psychedelic plant shamanism was about substances publicly known world wide and were respected for their ability to bring forth the divine, Yahweh, God, The Great Spirit, etc., by the many cultures who used them.

  • Astragalus roots

    Astragalus, also known as huáng qí or milkvetch, is most commonly known for its use in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen the Wei Ch’i or “defensive energy” otherwise known as immunity.

  • As a professional drummer I had experienced some plant medicines. But it wasn’t until 1978 when I got together with my life partner, Jane Richmond, that I started learning about and using herbal medicine for my health and well being.

  • do plants have spirits
  • Castor plant

    Wonder Oil Jim, the first student on whom I demonstrated a castor pack, had been a raging alcoholic and had fairly serious cirrhosis of the liver, a slowly progressing disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue.

  • Plants Have Been Adapting And Evolving On This World For Several Billion Years They’ve figured out how to live on sunlight and to use its energy to synthesize the primary compounds necessary for their metabolic functioning. You’d think they would have their act together by now.

  • I have been practicing herbal medicine since 1979 and teaching it since 1985. That year I tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) playing basketball. I went to an MD friend who was a practicing herbalist who recommended treating it with a hot herbal compress, rather than surgery, the traditional approach in allopathic medicine. Long story […]

  • Mullein plant

    I Can Breathe I formulated a respiratory tea when I had a serious case of the influenza virus many years ago and was having difficulty breathing. It contained these parts by weight: 4 parts Mullein leaves 4 parts Coltsfoot leaves 3 parts Peppermint leaves 2 parts Lobelia herb I added honey to the tea to […]

  • seabuckthorn

    Seabuckthorn Oil, Hippophae rhamnoides (hip-POH-fay ram-NOY-deez) is a deciduous shrub. It ranges from Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to Spain and Asia to Japan and the Himalayas.

  • no ice

    Treating Sports Injuries The Question: Does cryotherapy, the use of extreme cold in surgery or other medical treatment, improve outcomes for acute soft tissue injuries? I have been playing basketball for more than six decades and although it is purported to be a non-contact sport, I have sustained a plethora of injuries, so I have some […]

  • Vitamin C

    Supplement Support for Health and Well-Being I have been supplementing two important vitamins and a mineral to support my general health and well-being and to now protect myself from possible harsh consequences of covid-19 infection. Vitamin C Vitamin C is perhaps the most popular supplement taken to protect against infection due to its important role […]

  • covid petri dish

    How we become a petri dish The common flu is a coronavirus According to WebMD some important statistics on the flu based on the best available data: • 5% to 20% — Percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year. • 200,000 — Average number of Americans hospitalized each […]

  • Echinacea

    An Immune Tonic for the Little Things that get you down With covid-19 bearing down on us, we are faced with the question, once again, of how to maintain our integrity against an array of invasive micro-organisms. Allopathic Medicine Falls Short In answer to this, modern allopathic medicine has largely abandoned natural substances with their […]

  • Noni fruit

    What are the symptoms of  Coronavirus covid-19? Fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and trouble breathing are some of the most common symptoms of the novel Coronavirus, covid-19. “It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties,” the World Health Organization says. “More rarely, the disease can be […]

  • Ma Haung The news media continues to release alarming reports of the perilous results of people using commonly used herbs. One campaign has been aimed at Ma Huang, Ephedra sinensis, (or Ephedra sinica), one of the oldest herbs employed in Chinese herbal medicine. It is a gymnosperm, which means its “leaves” are actually needles as […]

  • Make Kombucha

    Kombucha One of the controversial new health fads is a fermented beverage known as kombucha (kom BOO cha). According to reports, millions of Americans are drinking it daily. It can be “brewed” at home in a week by making a sweetened tea with green tea (or black tea) and adding a SCOBY. What is a […]

  • valerian

    Surviving The Holidays As we enter the holiday season we sometimes brace ourselves for the highest stress times of the year. At a time when the days get shorter many animals cozy up in their burrows to contemplate or just snooze. Unfortunately, social responsibilities call for us to leave our cozy nests to fight traffic […]

  • Self-Heal herb

    Self-Heal, Prunella vulgaris, is a flowering member of the mint family long used in herbal medicine and more recently as a flower essence. It is a perennial herb found throughout Europe, Asia and North America, as well as most temperate climates. Other common names include: Self Heal Woundwort All-Heal Blue Curls Brownwort Brunelle Carpenter’s Herb […]

  • Cleveland sage

    Sacred Native Plants San Diegans share the temperate climate we love with some fascinating native plants with a rich history in herbal lore. Sages Various sages grow from coastal areas to the mountains, covering entire hillsides in some areas around Ramona. The most common of this group of aromatic herbs are white sage, Salvia apiana, […]

  • Passiflora-incarnata

    Sleepytime Herbs Surveys show that as many as one third of all adults in the U.S. have trouble sleeping. This may involve trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or with the depth of sleep. This problem in often compounded by taking barbiturates or the valium family drugs (benzodiazepines), like xanax, which can become habit forming.

  • celenite wand

    Did you know we have discovered powerful techniques for creating radiant health, happiness, prosperity, peace and flow in our lives and relationships with pieces of our planet – crystals and stones? There are thousands of crystals and healing stones in our world! Ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, Sumerians and Mayans held crystals and stones […]

  • CBD You’ve no doubt heard about the global craze sweeping the planet. Researchers, scientists, doctors, health enthusiasts, and people with mental and physical health issues are raving about the benefits of CBD. Cannabidiol—CBD—is a crystalline cannabis compound or phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940 in hemp, a strain of Cannabis sativa. It is one of some 113 identified cannabinoids accounting […]

  • sun rays

    Here Comes the Sun Growing up in Michigan in the 50s, we would summer at a tent and trailer park on the bank of Lake Huron. Many hours were spent playing and running around outside, swimming and fishing in the lake and hanging out on the beach.

  • Lemon Balm Benefits

    Top 7 Lemon Balm Benefits In this article, I will share with you the Top 7 lemon balm benefits. 1. Supports brain health and function 2. Used for centuries to promote relaxation and induce restful sleep 3. Powerful antioxidant properties 4. Supports normal blood sugar levels 5. Powerful antimicrobial effects 6. May relieve inflammation and pain […]

  • roses

    Aromatherapy for Valentines the Rose We have one day each year set aside strictly for affairs of the heart. Valentine’s Day. As a child, I remember the ritual of writing the name of each of my class mates on a little card purchased by my parents. We would then exchange them in class, en mass, after […]

  • flower essences

    Flower Essences in Vibrational Medicine In my experience with flower essences over the past 30 years, I have found that subtle influences can indeed evoke profound changes. Our kinship with plants makes us susceptible to their vibrational influence. The use of plants to heal predates our historic period Plants have been evolving on this earth […]

  • yellow dock

    What’s up Dock? Yellow dock, Rumex crispus, is a common weed, found growing around wet places nearly worldwide. Native to Europe and north Asia, this herb is now considered an invasive alien in many places, including San Diego. It is being removed from some canyons here in an effort to reestablish the plant populations to […]

  • herb grinder

    Primitive people and wild animals have been using plants for medicine since before our recorded history. They enjoy a natural alliance with the plants and are guided by an instinctual wisdom in their use of them. Modern people, having, to some degree, lost this connection, have come to rely on an intellectual understanding of herbs, […]

  • white sage

    San Diego encompasses coastal valleys, mountains and desert. This geographic diversity and a temperate climate provide life zones favorable to a variety of native plants. The native San Diegans, several local tribes, had a sacred relationship with their medicine plants. They used them with ritual and prayer. White Sage One native plant used by native […]

  • herbs for opiate withdrawal

    If you or someone you know is struggling with opiate addiction and finding it difficult to learn the best way to quit…you are not alone. In fact, you are part of an ENORMOUS population of people that share a common bond. It is estimated that somewhere between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide, with over 2.5 […]

  • riverbank

    A Simpler Way It normally takes a good bit of material from mild medicinal plants to trigger healing reactions in the body. If one is working only with the plants for their chemical compounds, one ounce (about a handful) of mild herbs steeped in a tea is standard. This chemical model breaks down, however, when […]

  • herbs for alcohol recovery

    When I quit drinking alcohol several years ago, I was very worried that I would never be able to relax anymore. Alcohol had long been my crutch for increasing my energy levels and allowing me to tone down my mood after a long day of work. Toward the end of my drinking years, I started […]

  • how we became herbalists

    In 1984, my life partner, Jane Richmond and I were living in Ocean Beach, California in a small house with our two young boys. I had been working with the local stagehand union setting up and taking down for concerts, theater, and the like. It paid fairly well but I got to the point where […]

  • Most of my friends and family hug each other when we meet and when we part. I encourage hugging with our students as well. When we meet someone new, they often extend their hand to invite a handshake. The handshake is thought by some to have originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that […]

  • ships

    There aren’t many of us that can claim San Diego as our native home. We have come from everywhere on the planet to create the melting pot population we find here. Our plant population is also a mix of natives and plants brought by settlers from their native homes. Voyage to the New World When […]

  • Canada’s immigration website crashed on Tuesday night as the US election results were rolling in. The top story on Business Insider has been how to move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen. For those of us electing to stay and see what the future brings, there may be need of a safe and effective […]

  • As we enter a new millennium, it may be helpful to look back to assess what we’ve learned collectively about medicinal plants that could prove helpful in our future. And, while many other things are changing in this technological age, the plants remain. One medicinal plant has survived the modern attacks on herbs and has […]

  • I began playing drums in rock bands shortly after I got out of the Navy in 1966. I was 21. While in my fifties I played in a rock band with guys who were in their early twenties. We played originals and occasionally played improvisational music, commonly known as jamming. During several such occasions we […]

  • Ah, Springtime! Romance is in the air. Even the parrots of Ocean Beach are making advances and doing their special courtship dance on the telephone wires. Spring rains have encouraged a profusion of colorful flowers with their delicious scents. Soon the night-blooming jasmine outside our window will be filling the night with its delirious odor, […]

  • Over the past thirty years I have been making an herbal combination that can help deal with stress and emotional challenges during the day, while supporting restful sleep at night. It consists of a combination of tinctures (alcohol extracts) of Valerian Root, Chamomile Flowers, Passion Flower, Skullcap, Wood Betony, Milk Thistle Seed and Peppermint. While […]

  • War – Mushrooms – and Milk Thistle My brother was a psychological casualty of the Vietnam war. All wars suck, but that one particularly. His  fiancée sent him a dear John letter a week after he got there. We didn’t hear from him for a time after that. Then his letters were very spacey. He […]

  • coltsfoot tea

    Reading This Over A Cup Of Coffee? Next time, try green tea. A number of recent studies have shown some varieties of tea may help prevent cancer and other disorders. Camellia Sinensis, the tea plant, is indigenous to both China and parts of India. Wild tea plants can grow 90 feet and above. In the […]

  • mugwort

    Weed it and Reap Whether you live in an apartment with little or no dirt to play in or have acres to manage, a great deal of joy and beauty can be brought into your living space by planting and growing herbs. With a little knowledge, some planning, and a bit of effort, we can […]

  • UpS_Logo

    Where Have All the Flowers Gone I received my certificate from Rosemary Gladstar’s Professional Training Program in 1984. At that time herbs were little known in the United States. But as the herbal renaissance gained momentum in the nineties, medicinal plants became more popular and thus more at risk. United Plant Savers To address this […]

  • cocktail

    Tummy Tonic Here come the winter holidays again, for better or worse. The better part is the drawing closer of friends and family to share in the celebrations. Often though, our stomachs get the worst of it as we feast on candies, cookies, fruitcakes and other rich foods. And, although stomachaches are not unique to this […]

  • Some Believe That The Human Body Is Designed To Last Forever Folks in the Old Testament lived for many hundreds of years. More recently, one Chinese herbalist, Li Ching-Yuen, supposedly lived to be over 256 years old, not only surviving that long, but maintaining stamina and virility. He supposedly produced over 200 descendants during his life, […]

  • Thinking Man

    Food for Thought – Herbal Brain Boosters   Studies on plants indicate that some of them can actually make us smarter. The new term for phytochemicals that enhance mental function is Smart Drugs, and they are forming the backbone of a blossoming field of medicine known as nootropics. The term nootropic comes from a Greek […]

  • Folk tradition has been passed down from experienced elders to young apprentices for generations through the millennia. It’s been a living record of effectiveness. They didn’t rely on the interpretation of results from scientific studies performed in controlled settings. They used remedies that had proven effective for their fathers and forefathers. According to the World […]

  • flowering comfrey

    There’s Something About Comfrey A tour of an herb garden to meet the plants and do some collecting is always an adventure. If the borage and comfrey are flowering, there’s a real treat for the senses- sweet and tasty flowers possessing a vibrant, yet simple, beauty. Knitbone Comfrey’s traditional names’ are knitbone, boneset and the derivation of […]

  • muscle man

    Yang go Bongo How to fix guys (in 700 words or less!) If you asked the ladies, you could probably come up with a list of at least 700 things that needed fixin. The organs and hormones that make us distinctly male account for our unique abilities as guys, but also provide us with our […]

  • While teaching an herbal fundamentals class in the holistic health practitioner program at a local massage college, we got deep into the relationship between plants and people, and ultimately, among all things animate and inanimate.   The concept of treating the whole body or the whole person, including body, mind and spirit brought up the […]

  • lavender

    Ah Spring! I love the longer and warmer days of Spring with abundant rain triggering a transformation within the heart of little seeds, spurring them on their life cycle as a cog in the great wheel of life. We’ve discovered some of these green beings in our garden, dancing in Spring’s blustery moments. One, particularly, […]

  • dandelion root tea

    Herbal Alteratives There is an array of mood-altering medicines in pharmaceutical use, as well as a number of legal and controlled plant substances that alter the psyche or consciousness. So we are familiar with the concept of alteration. Blood Purifiers Herbal alteratives are known as blood purifiers because by cleaning up the blood, they alter our […]

  • Stevia Plant and Sugar

    How Sweet It Is! What allows me to sleep well at night is the knowledge that while I sleep, agencies of our government are vigilantly protecting me from harm. The FDA in particular has been working late to keep a potentially dangerous herb from creeping into our food supply. This perennial shrub, Stevia rebaudiana, is […]

  • Rosemary tea

    Rosemary – An Herb to Remember A shrubby evergreen herb graces our garden. It requires so little care that one may not give proper notice until beautiful blue flowers provide evidence of its royalty among plants. It holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to its many virtues. The name rosemary is […]

  • Algae

    Algae One single-celled organism, available as a whole, natural, wild food may well be the answer to many of the problems facing us in the world today. The Algae Story Although it has been around for billions of years, this part of its story starts more than six thousand years ago when a volcanic eruption […]

  • Smart Medicine CNN coverage of the Gulf War impressed people around the world with the ability of weapons developed for the military to be directed against specific targets, while leaving the surrounding real estate intact. And while “smart bombs” must be the quintessential oxymoron of our modern age, I’ve always been struck by the ancient […]

  • Nettles

    Refreshing Nettles When the weather heats up, we look to beverages for refreshment. Beer is often the beverage of choice. It is also a favorite during the winter holidays. And while commercial beer can present health risks because of the chemicals used in the process, herb beers have been a traditional part of folk medicine […]

  • Dandelion Wishes

    Magical Dandelion While in our herb garden the other day my daughter picked a dandelion that had gone to seed. She blew heartily till all the seeds flew off and floated away in the afternoon breeze. Remembering having done the same as a child, I inquired if she had made a wish. She had indeed. […]

  •   Before shopping there was gathering There was actually a time when going out to get something for dinner did not entail making reservations at a restaurant or shopping. Southern California has always been a haven of good weather, and the good life. The Native Americans (Kumeyaay) in San Diego wanted for nothing before outsiders […]

  • eye drops

    It’s Funny How Some Things Resonate At Different Times In Our Lives As a health educator, I’ve been hearing about the benefits of DMSO from students and associates for thirty years. In 2014 my son slammed into a tree snow boarding, and injured his finger, causing inflammation and pain. For most of us this would […]

  • People Have Used Herbs In Medicine For Thousands Of Years, And This Tradition Continues Today In 80% Of The World Herbs are also used for their cosmetic and culinary properties. Before 1750 most people lived on farms in small villages. The land provided food and material needs. If someone had a pain they brewed a […]

  • mugwort

    Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana, grows in tall abundant patches along the banks of the Russian River in Guerneville, California

  • herb vinegar

    Preserve Fresh Herbs with Vinegar Preserve Fresh Herbs With Vinegar – John Finch – San Diego Living Thank you so much for coming! Well thank you for having me.

  • Herbal Formulas for Fresh Herb Tinctures This may be a bit complicated for some folks, but for a medicine maker that wishes to use herbal formulas for fresh herb tinctures that make sense, this is groundbreaking.