178 episodes

Practical herbalism from practicing herbalists. Conversations, botanical deep-dives, Q&A with clinical herbalists Katja Swift & Ryn Midura of CommonWealth Holistic Herbalism.

The Holistic Herbalism Podcast CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.8 • 309 Ratings

Practical herbalism from practicing herbalists. Conversations, botanical deep-dives, Q&A with clinical herbalists Katja Swift & Ryn Midura of CommonWealth Holistic Herbalism.

    Interview with Shawn Donnille of Mountain Rose Herbs

    Interview with Shawn Donnille of Mountain Rose Herbs

    As herbalism is becoming more popular, the sustainability of plants themselves needs to be a primary focus for all of us. But like all issues of environmental sustainability, it’s not just about individual decisions and habits. We must pay special attention to the activities of large corporations, because they can have much larger impacts than single people – for good or for ill.
    One company working for good in this way is Mountain Rose Herbs. They are one of the biggest herbal suppliers in the United States, so it’s important that they’re taking seriously the impact their business has on plant populations. That commitment leads them to make some business decisions that put plants ahead of profits – just the way it should be!
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Mountain Rose HerbsCITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)United Plant SaversHerbalGram’s 2020 Herb Market ReportFoster Farm BotanicalsHolistic Herbalism Podcast, Episode 109: Sustainability for Herbalists

    If you have a moment, it would help us a lot if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you!!
    Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.
    Support the show (https://commonwealthherbs.com/supporters/)

    • 51 min
    Herbs A-Z: Angelica & Artemisia dracunculus

    Herbs A-Z: Angelica & Artemisia dracunculus

    There are so many medicinal plants! In an effort to pay some more attention to herbs that aren’t quite our favorites, we’re profiling all of the herbs we keep on the shelves in our apothecary. (Check out the podcast stream for previous episodes!)
    Angelica, Angelica archangelica, is an herb who thrives in extremes. Long days or nights, hot and cold temperatures, wind, rough soil – these conditions make strong angelica. We draw on that strength when we drink decoctions of the roots. When we make infusions of the seeds, they carry a light uplifting scent right into the spirit. Both parts are at least as much nervines & restoratives as they are emmenagogues, so don’t restrict angelica to “an herb for slow periods”!
    Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, is the tastiest little dragon around. It’s less bitter and much more aromatic than wormwood, or even mugwort (two close relatives who we’ll be profiling next week). Tarragon is great in chopped cranberry relish, and it makes a lovely tea for calming anxiety while improving digestive motility.


    These quick plant profiles done off-the cuff & on-the-spot. If you enjoyed them, we have more! Our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.


    If you have a moment, it would help us a lot if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you!!
    Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.
    This episode was sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. We thank them for their support!
    Support the show (https://commonwealthherbs.com/supporters/)

    • 40 min
    Herbs A-Z: Alnus & Althaea

    Herbs A-Z: Alnus & Althaea

    Every herbalist has their core favorite herbs. Sometimes we lose sight of the vast array of plants we have to work with. In an effort to not neglect our less-than-favorites, we’re profiling all of the herbs on the shelves in our apothecary. (The herbs go marching two by two, hurrah hurrah!)
    This week our pair of herbs is two plants who are both very helpful with the regulation of fluids in the body. First up is alder, Alnus incana and other species. Alder is a plant with excellent integrity: it holds itself together in watery areas, and it can help us hold water where we need it – or disperse it from where it’s stuck. Got swollen lymph nodes? Got varicosities & edema? Alder can help.
    Marshmallow, Althaea officinalis, is our #1 demulcent herb. It’s very helpful whenever dryness is the defining state we’re trying to shift. But marshmallow is also an excellent wound healer, and a surprisingly powerful antimicrobial too! We quite like to work with the leaf, despite that the root is a bit more famous and common as an herbal remedy.
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Alnus incana profile at GoBotany, an excellent plant ID site, especially for the New England area.Althaea officinalis at GoBotany.

    Enjoyed these herb profiles? These were done off-the cuff & on-the-spot, but our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.


    If you have a moment, it would help us a lot if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you!!
    Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.
    This episode was sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. We thank them for their support!
    Support the show (https://commonwealthherbs.com/supporters/)

    • 58 min
    Herbs A-Z: Agastache & Alchemilla

    Herbs A-Z: Agastache & Alchemilla

    This week we’re continuing our review of herbs in our current apothecary, from A to Z by their botanical Latin names. We want to give all our herbs an opportunity to get in the spotlight and share their particular talents.
    Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is neither an anise nor a hyssop! Its flavor and digestion-warming actions may remind you of fennel, or of black licorice candy (which is anise-flavored). Its capacity to relax respiratory tension and quell coughs may remind you of hyssop (without the bitterness). But it is an herb all its own, and one of our favorites for improving the taste of our formulae.
    Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) is a protective and comforting plant for anyone – not only ladies – who needs to cultivate feelings of safety. On the physical level it has a measured and helpful tonifying effect on the pelvic floor; it also improves fluid circulation in this part of the body. A flexible herb that pairs well with others to adjust its effects in the direction needed.
    Mentioned in this episode:
    The Holistic Herbalism Podcast, Episode 156: Herb of the Month – An Essential Herbalism Learning Method
    Enjoyed these herb profiles? These were done off-the cuff & on-the-spot, but our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.


    If you have a moment, it would help us out if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you!!
    Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.
    This episode was sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. We thank them for their support!
    Support the show (https://commonwealthherbs.com/supporters/)

    • 39 min
    Herbs A-Z: Achillea & Acorus

    Herbs A-Z: Achillea & Acorus

    Hi everyone! We’re back from a brief hiatus, and kicking off a new series on our podcast feed. We’re going to be profiling every one of the herbs on the shelves in our home apothecary. Why? Because we definitely have our favorites, herbs we work with really frequently – and these also tend to be the herbs we talk about most on the show. So we want to make sure everyone gets a bit of attention!
    We begin this week with Achillea & Acorus. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an herb with complex energetic qualities, particularly along the warming/cooling axis. It’s what we call a “polycrest” herb, one with impacts on several different body systems and the capacity to help out with a wide variety of health issues.
    Calamus (Acorus calamus) could perhaps be reductively described as “a digestive herb”, but it’s much more than that. Calamus acts notably on the vagus nerve – and so, on all the many internal organs which are connected to it. It eases transition into the parasympathetic “rest and digest” state, and opens the senses into wide-angle perception.
    Mentioned in this episode:
    The 2021 AHG Symposium is coming up soon -October 15th-17th – and tickets are still available! Katja will be presenting on Recovering Health in the Context of Chronic Illness; Ryn is presenting on Oneirogenic Herbs & Dreaming.Herbstalk, Boston’s local herb conference, will this year will be one day only, September 25th. We’re presenting a class on herbal management of chronic pain.Achillea millefolium profile at GoBotany, an excellent plant ID site, especially for the New England area.Acorus calamus profile at GoBotany.M Grieve attributes “sell your coat and buy betony” to “an old Italian proverb”. She also cites a Spanish saying. A number of other places (including Wikipedia) repeat the two in tandem without further citation… which makes us think she popularized, if not originated, these sayings! You’ll sometimes find it attributed to the Romans, too, and in fact we found a couple places claiming it for Wiltshire or Sussex, England. The thing Ryn was thinking of is the Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum, 12th-13th century; it doesn’t look like the quote comes from there.Thetis is Achilles’ mother.jim mcdonald’s profile on calamus has an excellent explanation of the asarone hepatotoxicity question, and also good clarifications on the botanical varieties of the plant.Enjoyed these herb profiles? These were done off-the cuff & on-the-spot, but our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.
    If you have a moment, it would help us a lot if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you!!
    Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.



    Support the show (https://commonwealthherbs.com/supporters/)

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Herbalism & Climate Change: The Plants!

    Herbalism & Climate Change: The Plants!

    Climate change affects everyone, and that includes the plants. Medicinal herbs and food plants growing across the world are changing, moving – and sometimes, struggling or dying – as a result of the changing climate. As herbalists, and as stewards of medicinal plants, we need to recognize these shifts and respond in ways that will help protect & sustain our herbal allies as much as possible.
    Three steps any herbalist can take in this effort include:
    Observe & recognize the changes in the local wild plant populations, and stop wild harvesting early when you see signs of stress.Cultivate & steward the plants you depend on, so that you can harvest without impacting the wild populations.Work with the new plants – often designated as “invasive” – who are coming in with the changing climate. Many of these are potent medicinals, and they’re so abundant that it’s safe to harvest them freely without worrying about damaging the population.Changing our habits – of harvesting behavior, and even of perception – is difficult. But it’s incumbent on us as humans to interact with our environments in a responsible way. Every member of an ecosystem plays a role in it, and this is ours!
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Episode 77: Urban Wildcrafting Ethics & GuidelinesEpisode 90: 3 Medicinal Invasive PlantsEpisode 109: Sustainability for HerbalistsInvasive Plant Medicine, Tim ScottHerbs discussed include: self-heal, st john’s wort, mugwort, calendula, solomon’s seal, fleabane, evening primrose.


    If you have a moment, it would help us a lot if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you!!
    Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.
    This episode was sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. We thank them for their support!
    Support the show (https://commonwealthherbs.com/supporters/)

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
309 Ratings

309 Ratings

mountainlaurelherbs ,

Budding herbalist finding inspiration

I absolutely adore this podcast and the two of you. I’m a potter and spend hours alone working on my art, only accompanied by podcasts, music and audiobooks and an occasional cat. I binged this podcast once I discovered it, learning so much about herbalism, activism and all through a very heartwarming, activating and entertaining medium. The hosts Ryn and Katia are an adorable couple that also know their stuff at a deep level. I love hearing about their relationships with plants and how I can integrate them into my own personal practice as well as support my friends and family. This is a must go to podcast for herbal learning! Love, love, love!

CT160 ,

Herb of the Month Episode

This was a very informative and helpful way to approach learning herbalism. It is very overwhelming and I often have feelings of defeat simply because I don’t know where to start! This episode helped me to remember to keep things simple and to personally learn herbs in a visceral , physical way! Thank you!

Lauren Homebody ,

Applying Herbs to Current Events

This is one of the best herbal podcasts around. I have been listening for the past 6 months and have gone down the rabbit hole of the entire back catalog. There is so much good information here-not just on herbs, because yes, but there is also good information on developing a proactive mindset for just about everything. I love the voice Katja and Ryn use while discussing how they choose herbs based on energetics, using what herbs are available to you, and especially how to apply this historical knowledge to our current social concerns. They are not only sharing the history of these plants, but guiding the listener to think through how to best use them now, which is invaluable. Thank you to Katja and Ryn for sharing your knowledge, selves, and time with me! I feel like you both are friendly little guiding voices in my head as continue on my own path incorporating herbal medicine in my life and the lives of those around me.

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