According to the UK Mental Health Foundation… “Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the burden of disease worldwide.” And in the UK, mental health conditions are responsible for the largest burden of disease, far exceeding cancer and heart disease.
With one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem in any given year, it is important for herbalists and the general public to understand how to treat many of these most common problems.
Most of us know someone; if not ourselves, who has struggled or is struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, insomnia or stress; the most common mental health conditions.
First Aid is a group of health issues that by their nature arise quickly, and are very common situations. They include pain, injury, burns and wounds.
This workshop combines these two common conditions, mental health and first aid situations. And while a professional may sometimes be necessary, both of these groups can sometimes be alleviated with herbal medicines.
First Aid is important for everyone to learn; whether it is for yourself, family or members in your community. There are many ways we can help our neighbours and friends with common mishaps like burns, sprains and strains, and infections.
First aid is used in unpredictable events and so it is helpful to have these skills and medicines ready at any time to help.
Because these two health situations are often encountered, I asked 7Song to come up with a practical workshop that was suitable for everyday folk, as well as community herbalists. So that’s what he agreed to do, this workshop is titled Practical Herbal Medicine for Mental Health and First Aid.
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These classes will be divided into 2 separate but related workshops. On Saturday you will learn herbal medicines to help with commonly seen mental health issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, stress and insomnia. As well as look at a number of cognitive dysfunctions including ‘brain fog’, memory and concentration difficulties.
You’ll learn how medicinal plants can affect the various aspects of mental health and the herbal preparations to help them such as tea, tinctures, capsules and glycerites. Some of the plants that will be discussed are Tulsi, Rose, Damiana, Lemon balm, Anemone and Vervain. Also covered will be how to make individual formulas for the above conditions.
The Sunday class will cover practical approaches for using herbal medicine in a range of first aid situations. These will include herbal medicine for wounds, injuries, pain, infections and burns.
We will look at the various categories such as anti-inflammatories, antimicrobials, and skeletal muscle relaxants and discuss a number of plants for each of these categories. Some of the plants covered will be Yarrow, Garlic, Echinacea, Feverfew and Licorice.
Along with herbal medicines these classes will cover assessment and counselling skills, formulation for these conditions and patient compliance. Patient compliance is particularly important with herbal medicine due to their unfamiliarity for many people along with their flavour and uncommon preparations.
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- Date: Saturday 18th June & Sunday 19th June 2016
- Time: 10am to 5pm
- Location: Hampstead Heath Education Centre, Parliament Hill Fields, Highgate Rd, London NW5 1QR
- Food: Please bring a packed lunch or you can buy food from local shops.
- Type: Non-residential
- Age: 16+
- Availability: FULLY BOOKED (booking terms)
7Song started his own herb school, the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine in 1992, and has been immersed in plants and herbal medicine for nearly 30 years.
As he recently told me “I want folks to know that I am not Native American (despite my unusual name). I am a second generation Russian Jew from the eastern US (think bagels and sarcasm).”
He is what I would call a ‘community herbalist’… and a very accomplished one at that.
He’s also been a main first aid organizers and practitioners at one of the largest outdoor gatherings in the US called the Rainbow Gathering. They see up to 100 people a say during the course of this weeklong event. The health care situations range from minor to serious and it is staffed 24 hours a day.
He is one of the founders and the director of holistic medicine and a clinical herbalist at the Ithaca Free Clinic, a mixed modality free clinic now in its ninth year, where he sees about 200 patients a year. This is one of his most valued achievements as it helps herbal medicine become affordable and accessible to those it may be out of their reach. He has also worked in a free clinic in Nicaragua with Natural Doctors International (NDI).
I don’t know about you, but to me that’s an awful lot of real-world, in-the-trenches experience. And not a single smudge stick or shaman in sight!
Which brings me to something else that you need to know…
7Song IS a skeptic. If he hasn’t seen it work in the field, then he needs to see some proof of its efficaciousness. He’s also NOT a ‘spiritual herbalist’, relying on science, clinical and other experiences to help decide on how effective a remedy may be.
The reason he wants you to know this is that many herbalists are rooted in some form of spirituality and you may be expecting this of him.
In his own words: “I don’t think of herbal medicine as ‘magical’. Medicinally I think of plants as intricately complex chemically rich organisms that when taken interact with our bodies, our physiology in various ways. As a herbalist, I see myself part of a very long continually evolving tradition of treating people using plants as a primary medicine. I enjoy plants, and appreciate their beauty and utility, and hope to help others gain insights and appreciation.”
He goes on to say, “I also value modern medicine. Conventional drugs may be over-prescribed and the ‘system of medicine’ is far from desirable, but there are many places where it is health saving. I work in a free clinic alongside MDs, Nurses and other conventional practitioners, and I am glad to work in this setting as each form of medicine may have something to offer.”
“I think this is especially true when administered by open-minded practitioners who look out for the patient’s needs first. To me, this is holistic; how to best care for the patient by taking their concerns into consideration.”
OK that sounds pretty heavy stuff, but he just wants you to know, that he doesn’t practice what my American friends call “Woo-Woo Medicine”.
On a lighter note, humour is definitely a key ingredient in the 7Song recipe, and I think it could be fairly well said that he leans a bit on the irreverent side.