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Assessment Skills

When:  September 15th, 2016 (10 am – 2 pm)

Where:  Black Creek Center for Herbal Studies (Middleburg, Fla.)

Who:  Intermediate to Advanced Herbal Students

Cost:  $60.00

As herbalists, our senses are crucial in assessing the states of disharmony within someone we are working with and determining the appropriate remedy(s). When working with others, the herbalist must engage their senses as an aid to determining underlying imbalances. We observe the client and note the subtleties of their complexion and expressions, we feel the speed of their pulse, the texture and temperature of the skin, observe the tongue and we listen to and hear their stories.

Come out and join me to gain insight into the various assessment skills that herbalists use in uncovering the root cause or contributing factors that lead to imbalances.

Discussions will include:

  • Looking for Patterns
  • Client Intake Form
  • Tissue States
  • Assessment of the Nails
  • Assessing the Tongue
  • Reading the Pulse
  • Nutritional Screening
  • Drugs and Side Effects
  • Case Review
  • Looking for “Red Flags”

(Register Now)

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Pocket PoulticeFor those of you who enjoy camping, hiking, walking in the woods or just the great outdoors in general, you know that sometimes accidents happen.  I always like to carry along a few first aid items whenever I am “off the grid”.

An application that is often used in first aid situations is called a Poultice.  A Poultice or Cataplasm as it is also referred to is basically a moistened mass of plant or food materials that is applied to various areas of the body in order to impart it’s medicinal benefits and to provide relief.  There are various ways to create a poultice using either fresh or dried herbs.

One of my favorite items to carry along in my first aid pouch is what I like to call the, “Herbal Wound Healing Pocket Poultice”.  If something like this exists on the market, I am not aware of it and so therefore I created my own.  This is great if you are in an area where you are not familiar with the local plants.


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Black Creek Center LogoRegistration is now open for my 2016 – 2017 Herbal Programs.  This year I have made a few changes which I hope will appeal to many of you.  The program that I have been teaching for the past 4 years is 9 months long, begins with the basics and moves right into intermediate and some advanced herbal studies.  The program formerly known as “Fundamentals of Herbalism and The Foundations of Health”, is suitable for the family herbalist, but also includes information for those who plan to work as a community herbalist and also further their career as an herbalists.

Because there are those of you who don’t necessarily want to make a career out of herbalism, or can’t really commit to 9 months, I am now offering a “Family Herbalist” program.  This 3 month course offers basically the same foundational information you would get in the nine month program along with giving you the confidence you need to help keep your family healthy and tend to acute conditions when they do arise.

Another thing I have added this year are options for Work/Trade/Barter to offset tuition costs.  Simply fill out the Work/Trade/Barter form, submit it, and see if you qualify.  There will only be 2 students per class eligible for the work program.  However, based on my needs I may be able to workout an arrangement for Trade or Barter.

There is a discount for early registration which runs through August 15th, 2016 so don’t wait.  Registration closes on September 2nd, 2016.

To learn more about my upcoming classes or to register:



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Come join me on April 16th , 2016 from 10 am – 4 pm to learn how to make your own herbal preparations and how to use them safely and effectively for both acute and chronic conditions.


This class is a hands on intensive where each student has the opportunity to make their own herbal preparations which they will then get to take home.  These remedies will include the foundations for beginning your own herbal first aid kit.

In this class we will we discuss the safety of herbs, the benefits of using herbs as well as learning how to prepare the following:

  • – Herbal Tinctures
  • – Herbal Teas and Decoctions
  • – Infused Herbal Oils
  • – Herbal Elixirs
  • – Herbal Oxymels
  • – Herbal Healing Salve
  • – Herbal Syrups/Honey

Students will receive handouts of all the material that is covered in class.

Coffee, Tea and Snacks will be provided, but students are encouraged to bring a bag lunch.

COST:  $65.00 (includes material costs/non-refundable)

LOCATION:  4170 Dowling Rd., Middleburg, Fla. 32068

CONTACT:  Natalie Vickery (904)613-2738/family_herbalist@yahoo.com





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CayenneBotanical Name: Capsicum annum; C. frutescens

Family: Solanaceae

Parts Used: Fruit

Actions: Stimulant, diffusive, carminative, diaphoretic (stimulating), rubefacient, expectorant (stimulating), antiseptic, astringent, emetic, alterative

 Tissue States: Depression, Atrophy

Energetics: Warming/Drying; Acrid


As a stimulating herb Cayenne acts on the circulatory system spreading throughout, warming and toning the system. Cayenne can warm the periphery where there are cold hands and feet and open the pores to increase perspiration. Herbalist Matthew Wood says it is an herb that is useful when we age and, “the heart muscles are starting to become lazy and the circulation is getting stagnant in places.” Acting on the heart and blood vessels, Cayenne may be beneficial in increasing the strength of the pulse without affecting the rate.

Cayenne increases metabolism, peristalsis and digestion while helping with the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats. Cayenne may be beneficial where there is a lack of function in the stomach or the intestines with poor appetite and weak digestion. As a carminative, Cayenne may be beneficial in helping to relieve gas and bloating or cramping of the stomach and bowels.

Topically, Cayenne increases circulation at the surface bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area helping to expedite healing and relieving pain. In cases of sore throat a compress soaked in Cayenne may be applied to the throat while also taking internal doses. A diluted infusion of Cayenne can also be used as a gargle for tonsillitis and is indicated for hoarseness when the uvula is relaxed.

Uses and Preparations:

– Research suggests that Cayenne may help protect the mucosal lining of the stomach from the effects of NSAIDS. (Stargrove)

– Tincture (1:5 in 25%)

– Infusion/ ½-1 tsp with to 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 mins. Mix 1 tbsp of infusion with warm water and drink as needed (Hoffman)


Composition Powder

Bayberry bark (Myrica cerifera) 16 parts

White Pine Bark (Pinus strobus) 8 parts

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) 8 parts

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) 1 part

Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) 1 part

Combine dried powdered herbs. Add 1 tsp to hot water; Indicated for colds, flu, fever and poor circulation.

Cayenne Gargle for Sore Throat


1 tsp Cayenne powder

1 tbsp Sage or Thyme(dried)

2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp Sea salt

2 tbsp Honey

1 pint of water

Make an infusion by pouring boiling water over the herbs and steep for 10 minutes. Strain off the herb and add the remaining ingredients to the sage and cayenne infusion. Use as gargle as often as needed.


– In large doses it may cause vomiting and/or pains in the stomach and bowels.




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Chamomile 1Life is stressful to say the least.  Consider the burden placed on the body when we are exposed to constant stress.  When under stress the body releases chemicals that trigger physiological reactions such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, constriction of blood vessels, and release of glucose into the blood stream for energy.

Imagine what happens if these physiological reactions occur over and over again and what kind of strain that places on vital organs and the body as a whole.  This kind of constant stress can lead to headaches, digestive problems, sleep disturbances, fatigue, weight gain and a host of other health problems.

Not all of us have the luxury of dashing off to some remote and exotic vacation spot where we can lounge on the beach and watch the sun set.  However, there are a number of things that we can and should do to help reduce stress in our lives in order to promote better overall health: (more…)

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entEarPinnaGrayBB1207When it comes to Acute Otitis Media (AOM) or the common ear infection there is still much confusion as to whether or not to administer antibiotics.  Generally, antibiotics have been prescribed as a safe guard to bacterial illnesses which may be present.  However, it is reported that at least 60% of cases of AOM will resolve within 24 hours and 80% of cases within 3 days without the use of antibiotics.  (1)

“Acute otitis media (AOM) is responsible for a large proportion of antibiotics prescribed for US children.  Use and overuse of antibiotics is associated with the development and spread of resistant bacteria.” (Coco et al)

If you’re a parent or have raised and cared for children you probably know (more…)

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