207 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 Holistic Herbalism

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.8 • 359 Ratings

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

    Herbs A-Z: Lycium & Matricaria

    Herbs A-Z: Lycium & Matricaria

    Tonight we’re talking about two of our favorite herbs, and two of the tastier herbs in our materia medica.
    Goji berry, Lycium barbarum / L. chinense, is an excellent post-workout adaptogen. It’s a very good herb to consume as food, whether a simple handful of dried berries, included in a trail mix, cooked into rice, or decocted into dissolution in a broth. It is famous as an herb for building Blood in TCM, and also for supporting blood vessels from the perspective of modern phytochemistry.
    Chamomile – and we’re talking primarily about “German” chamomile, Matricaria recutita – is quite possibly the herb we mention most often! It’s definitely a favorite, with its light relaxant aromatics and its deep antispasmodic bitters. Chamomile is a panacea of nuances: depending on how you prepare and apply it, it can serve a myriad of different functions.
    These quick plant profiles were 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.
    Support the showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

    • 34 min
    Herbs A-Z: Lavandula & Leonurus

    Herbs A-Z: Lavandula & Leonurus

    This week we highlight lavender & motherwort!
    Lavandula angustifolia (and many other Lavandula species), a well-known scent to everyone, recognizable and soothing. Lavender relaxes and releases tension. It has a warmth to it, which is more noticeable the more you take or the longer you take it. The flowers are the part that are most popular and available, but we also love to work with lavender leaf! It’s more astringent and less “floral” than the flowers are, and makes a lovely tea.
    Leonurus cardiaca is a lion-hearted plant with strong protection for its “babies”, the seeds. Motherwort soothes the human heart and releases tension, draining excess heat. It can also relax the pelvic organs, and because of this, help bring on menstrual flow that is restricted by tension. Despite warnings you may see, motherwort is quite safe even for a pregnant human, at the common dose strengths of Western/American herbal practice.


    Lavender & motherwort both feature prominently in our Neurological & Emotional Health course. This course is a user’s guide to your nerves & your emotions – including the difficult and dark ones. We discuss holistic herbalism strategies for addressing both neurological & psychological health issues. It includes a lengthy discussion of herbal pain management strategies, too! In addition, you receive everything that comes with enrollment in our courses, including: lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, an active student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, 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 showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

    • 51 min
    Herbs A-Z: Inula & Juniperus

    Herbs A-Z: Inula & Juniperus

    We’re back to our apothecary shelf herb profile tour! This week we have a pair of herbs who both support respiratory function. They demonstrate two types of heat: pungency and the hot aromatics.
    The root of elecampane, Inula helenium, taste in a way we fondly refer to as “peppery mud”. This herb is fantastic for cold, damp lung conditions. When you feel like you’d need a shovel to get all the phlegm out of your lungs, look to elecampane for help. Inula is also an excellent digestive herb, and these effects are most comprehensive when it’s taken as a decoction.
    The leaves and, especially, the berries of juniper (Juniperus communis) are bright with warm, airy aromatic movement. Simply holding a berry in your mouth and letting its vapors pervade your sinuses & lungs is an old trick from the Nature Cure movment. Today it’s a good habit for when you’re traveling or in a large group of humans! Juniper’s an excellent urinary antiseptic also, and for Katja, it’s a standout emotional support herb.


    Our Respiratory Health course includes more discussion of elecampane & juniper, as well as other key herbs to work with, and methods for targeting herbal remedies to the sinuses & lungs. Asthma, cold/flu/corona, COPD, and other troubles are covered in detail. Plus, you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses. That includes: lifetime access to current & future course material, twice-weekly live Q&A sessions with us, open discussion threads integrated in each lesson, a buzzing student community, study guides, quizzes & capstone assignments, 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 showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

    • 57 min
    The Herbs We Didn't Pack

    The Herbs We Didn't Pack

    We’re almost moved! This week our episode is about the herbs we’ve kept on the shelves so that we have them available every day. These are plants that are helping us get through the physical exertion, dust!, and stress of packing & moving. We talk all about why we love them in this episode, and some formulae for infusions & decoctions we’ve been drinking to keep steady.
    We also discuss in this episode the possibilities for formulation with the herbs we’ve kept on hand. There are lots of different ways to put them together to address different health issues. These exercises in flexible formulation, and in making do with what you have on hand, are central to our practice of herbalism. Learning herbalism, to us, isn’t about rare or ‘exotic’ plants, expensive remedies, superfoods, and complicated protocols. It’s much more about learning to work with herbs in an agile, responsive way – and about appreciating the breadth of their potential.

    Here are the herbs we kept on hand:
    angelicareishiastragaluseleutherocodonopsiscacao nibs

    self-heal (Prunella)damianared clover

    sagemonardarosemarycedartulsichamomilecatnipmarshmallowlungwort (Pulmonaria)mullein

    gingercalendulacinnamonorange peelhawthorn berryturmericcardamom

    The best way to build that flexibility & agility into your own understanding of herbs is to study them in depth! Our comprehensive presentation of herbal allies is in our Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. It includes 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. Two tuition options are available, including a monthly payment plan.


    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 showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

    • 1 hr 9 min
    [REPLAY] Herbs For Physical Challenges (What Ryn Took To MovNat Level 3)

    [REPLAY] Herbs For Physical Challenges (What Ryn Took To MovNat Level 3)

    Ryn says: We've got another replay for you this week, and it's one of my personal favorites. (It also happens to be from right around the last time we moved!) It's episode 95 from 10/5/2019, and it's an episode we made right after I attended the MovNat Level 3 certification challenge.

    It was a 4-day course/test/immersion in natural movement. It was quite the challenge! We ran three miles barefoot on complex terrain, we jumped 9' across rocky chasms, we picked each other up and carried each other up the hill & down the trail, we hefted logs and traversed ropes, we held our breath in icy streams... it was great, and it was HARD. :)

    In this episode, we talk about all the herbs I took to prepare beforehand, and the ones I brought along to help me get through. If you want to work with herbs for physical challenges in your own life – whether that’s an intense sporting event, or a job or lifestyle that’s physically demanding – these might help you, too!

    Oh, one last note: In the episode you'll hear me mention a few challenges I didn't master during the event. I had to improve my skills, complete the challenges, video them, and send them in. Well, it took me two years (minus two days) to finish all my challenges, but I did it!

    I'm really looking forward to offering more hybrid movement x herbalism events in 2023 and beyond. Bringing these areas of holistic health and natural movement together is my happy place, and I want to share that with you. If you're on our mailing list, you'll hear about these events as soon as I've got them planned! (If you're not on our mailing list, just visit commonwealthherbs.com and you can sign up at the bottom of the homepage.)


    Here are all the herbs & preparations we discussed in the episode:
    supplements: reishi, ginkgo, chlorophyllteas:EVRY DAY YEAH: jiaogulan, goji, cedar, sage, ginger, licoricedemulcent blend: marshmallow, cinnamon, fennelchewroots: calamus, sol’seal, licoricetinctures:ginger-chamomileblackberry rootwuggy guts: peach leaf, ginger, ground ivySTIMULANT: kola nut, guarana, eleuthero, ginkgo, ginger, prickly ashHerbal Medics echinacea mixHerbal Medics Cold & Flu formula: yarrow, elderflower, boneset, echinacea mix, prickly ashantiseptic spray: propolis, berberine mix (barberry root, Oregon grape root & leaf), yarrow, cedar EO“red salve” (HM sprain & strain): comfrey, juniper, prickly ash, cayenne, black cohosh, lobelia, arnica, meadowsweet, horsetailjoint liniment: (sol’seal, st j, alder, cayenne, lobelia, clove EO)


    We teach herbalism online! When you sign up for any of our courses – including our FREE Herbal Study Tips course – you get access to twice-a-week live Q&A sessions, integrated discussion threads on every lesson, and a vibrant student community. Our courses are centered on video lessons you can watch at your own pace, and once you’ve bought a course you retain access to it (and any future updates!), forever.


    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 showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

    • 1 hr 6 min
    [REPLAY] 4 Medicinal Mushrooms: Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi, Lion’s Mane

    [REPLAY] 4 Medicinal Mushrooms: Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi, Lion’s Mane

    We're replaying some of our favorite episodes from the back catalog of the Holistic Herbalism Podcast. In this one, originally aired as episode 142 on 11/6/2020, we highlight four of our favorite fungi: shiitake, maitake, reishi, & lion's mane.

    Essentially all medicinal mushrooms share some features of interest herbalists. Famously, they can modulate immune responses – boosting immune surveillance and efficiency, while reducing excessive inflammatory or autoimmune expressions. Some mushrooms can also have adaptogenic activity, improving our endurance, resilience, and fluidity of response to stressors. And some mushrooms (more than you might expect, actually) can even help regenerate damaged or diseased nerve tissue, and protect the nervous system. Sounds pretty good, right? 

    Listen for the full story.

    Mentioned in this episode:
    Herbal Revolution – our friend Kathi Langelier’s new herbal recipe book – you can pre-order your copy today! Also check out all her excellent herbal remedies & delights.Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy is an excellent and down-to-earth book on all things fungal.Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help?, Sabaratnam et al, J Tradit Complement Med. 2013 Jan-Mar; 3(1): 62–68. doi: 10.4103/2225-4110.106549 – This is the review paper showing neuroregenerative activity from lion’s mane, reishi, maitake, and cordyceps, among others.Antitumor Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) Mediated by Immunological Mechanism and Its Clinical Application. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1182:39-77. doi: 10.1007/978-981-32-9421-9_2 – This is the paper Ryn quoted an excerpt from, about the anti-cancer activities of reishi.
    We teach herbalism online! When you sign up for any of our courses – including our FREE Herbal Study Tips course – you get access to twice-a-week live Q&A sessions, integrated discussion threads on every lesson, and a vibrant student community. Our courses are centered on video lessons you can watch at your own pace, and once you’ve bought a course you retain access to it (and any future updates!), forever.

    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 showYou can find all of our online herbalism courses at online.commonwealthherbs.com!

    • 1 hr 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
359 Ratings

359 Ratings

•Dejah ,

Very informative

Thank you!!!

Bre_Lady ,

🌱🌈👍

This is an exceptional podcast. It is calming and informative

e______o ,

Comforting!

This is the podcast and teacher duo I turn to when I need comfort and encouragement in my ongoing health journey. These two make herbalism fun, accessible, and intriguing. What a gift!

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