The AHA Herbal Blog

Blue skies, warm nights, and even warmer days. The busy-ness of summer is in full swing and you may find yourself having difficulty sleeping and feeling a bit on edge. This is the perfect time to be introduced to Green Flowering Oats (Avena sativa) . Talking to oat farmers, the green oats will be ready in the next couple weeks to harvest and make the best nervine tincture for the rest of the year.

Both the grass and the seed have this amazing rejuvenating ability to soothe the frayed nerves, improve sleep and provide you a profound sense of calm. Ellingwood (1919) remarks the usefulness of the oats for convalescence from prostration due to mental overwork or great anxiety and worry, and even nervous exhaustion. Seems like just what is needed in the current times. It is one of the few herbs which ‘feeds’ the nervous system, acting as both stimulant for the exhausted and relaxant for the overwrought (Hoffman, 2003).

The nervine quality of this herb also makes this herb valuable for the management of difficult menses both for challenging emotions and far too often headaches that accompany the monthly bleed. Oats are even useful for the challenges of menopause, allowing women to navigate the changing waters of their hormonal evolution (Ross, 2010).

And want to hear a funny fact, you know cat grass that you see in the store, that is often oats. So as you are making your tincture or tea, your cat can happily munch on the herb as well.

Green Flowering Oat Tincture

1 cup of Green Flowering Oat tops

750 mL Everclear or (95% alcohol)

Fill a 1L jar with the Green Flowering Oat tops and then cover with the alcohol until the oats are totally covered. Place in a cool dark place. Check on it every day. Typical tinctures take 6 to 8 weeks to prepare, but I find that you’ll know this ready when all the green is leached out of the oats and the tincture is the pretty emerald green you ever did see.

Works Cited

Ellingwood, F. (1994). American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy 11th Edition (1919). Sandy: Reprinted Eclectic Medical Publications.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism - The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Ross, J. (2010). A Clinical Materia Medica. Wald, Germany: Greenfields Press.

We have crested the halfway mark of the year and the balmy days of summer are truly here -perfect timing to talk about Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis). Did you see what I did there? Mom humor at its best.

Lemon Balm - Credit Kate Talbot RAc, RH

Lemon Balm, sweet, lemony, fast growing and beautiful, a wonderful addition to any sun tea and a lovely aid to ease you into sleep on those warm summer nights. As it swells over the shelf above my kitchen sink in the beautiful drapery of foliage that few herbs attain, I like to consider and learn about the past of this herb. Lemon balm has recorded historical uses dating back to 1551 (Gerard, 1633) known to comfort the heart, doeth away all the melancholy and sadness. Driving away troublesome cares and thoughts from the mind. And truly when you crush the crisp green leaf in your hand, deeply inhaling the lemony scent there is a feeling of hope and summer.

This deceptively humble herb also has even more profound traditional uses like a spasmolytic for upset stomachs and unfortunate flatulence– helpful for those big summer barbeques (Bone & Mills, 2013). And an easing and fast healing for those skinned knees of bike rides when combined with a couple other herbs and made into a cream (Buhner, 2013). Lastly for the emergence of those nagging summer colds, hot tea made with lemon balm will relax your body into sleep and support your immune system to have you back frolicking amount the clover before you know it (Hoffman, 2003).

Lemon Balm is easily cultivated in your garden, though remember it grows like peppermint so govern it accordingly. Planting it in a hollowed-out coffee can, or the like, is a simple and effective way to prevent runners – keeping it neat, tidy and manageable. To truly reap the most benefits from this garden treat, fresh lemon balm leaves can be used to make a hot infusion, sun tea or tincture.

Balm of skinned knees and sore skin

2 ounces of lemon balm leaf

2 ounces of birch bark

2 ounces of calendula flower

2 ounces of rosemary leaf

Combine the herbs in a crockpot with 32 ounces of water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 days. Turn off heat and allow to cool completely to strain. Return to heat, bring to boil and reduce to simmer until reduced to approximately 2 ounces (mind yourself, as it burns quickly at this stage). Add 1 ounce of organic bees wax or until consistency. Pour into airtight jar.

Apply 3 to 5 times per day. This will promote healing, reduction in pain, usually within a couple days.

Works cited

Bone, K., & Mills, S. (2013). Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Toronto: Churchill Livingstone.

Buhner, S. H. (2013). Herbal Antivirals - Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. North Adams: Storey Publishing.

Gerard, J. (1633). The Herbal or General History of Plants. New York: Dover Publications.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism - The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Ross, J. (2010). A Clinical Materia Medica. Wald, Germany: Greenfields Press.

Updated: May 21

I’m sure you have heard by now the recommendations from Health Canada, and know that preventing the spread of corona virus (2019-nCOV or COVID-19) through human contact is our number one defense against overwhelming the healthcare system. We encourage everyone to protect the vulnerable members of our communities by limiting contact with people outside home and avoiding public areas as much as possible. Frequent hand-washing, of course, is one of our best defenses. Below you can find links to stay aware of the latest information from Health Canada & Alberta Health Services.

Many of us are going to be unable to do the work we’re used to for a while, whether seeing clients, hosting workshops or other in-person activities. Even in isolation, there are so many ways we benefit our communities through our knowledge, care & strength as healers. Keeping up with clients via phone or internet consultation, hosting virtual classes, and creating videos or social media posts are some of the ways I have seen herbalists step up to teach their communities about maintaining health and immunity. If self-care is your jaDear Alberta Herbalists, Members, Supporters & Friends,

I hope that all of you are healthy and safely tucked away at home during this time of isolation, perhaps with a good book or new hobby to keep you happily occupied. Now is the perfect time to focus on healing the healer. It’s also the time of year to get outside and start digging in the garden, boosting our immunity with fresh air and soil microbes!

Because there is no protocol currently in place to deal with the 2019-nCOV virus, there’s been a lot of speculation about the role that herbs and vitamins may play. People are seeking security in unsettling times. This has lead to the sharing of unreliable information & advertising, disguised as advice regarding this herb or that. It is imperative to remember that there is no historical data or traditions pertaining to the 2019-nCOV virus specifically. Herbalists & other members of the Natural Health Industry are not permitted to label any herb or formula with claims to treat, prevent or cure 2019-nCOV. This rule from the NHPD applies to all herbs & extracts for internal or external use, including washes and hand-sanitizers. While anti-microbial properties of many plant & extracts are documented, we do not have the data to apply these claims to this novel corona virus. Please note also that all hand sanitizers or other products intended for disinfection should contain 70% alcohol, in addition to any herbal extracts desired, in order to be effective against the virus.

We can support our clients and communities most effectively by being sources of reputable information, and leading by example with healthful habits and common sense. This is a great time to stay true to the practices at the heart of our traditions! Spread awareness of herbs that support nourishment & vitality, and share the focus of herbalism as on the Person, not the Disease. Enjoy healthy foods, plenty of water and exercise, and keep a healthy frame of mind - the roots of health in many herbal traditions.

Additionally, we at the AHA support the practices of responsible wildcrafting & safety, as amateur herbalists may be out experimenting with gathering & processing their local plants. By helping to provide sound information on safe, ecological wildcrafting practices, we create a better understanding of the true spirit of herbal medicine.

Your AHA board will continue to provide planning, programming and support during the next few months. You can contact us as always via email, , or through the AHA website . Stay Safe, may health & happiness be with you and your family.

Yours in Healing,

Kalyn Kodiak, ClH

AHA President


NHPD (Natural Health Products Directorate) Labeling information:

Where to get Updates about 2019-nCOV /COVID-19:

Health Canada COVID-19 Info:

Alberta COVID-19 info:

Support for Albertans during Isolation:

Alberta supports:

Canada supports:

More Resources:

Protocols for Viral Infections by Chancal Cabrera:

Herbalists Without Borders COVID-19 Resources:

Wild Crafting Best Practices

1. Don’t trespass

2. Take care of the land you wildcraft on; pick up trash

3. Make 100% sure that you know what you are harvesting

4. Only harvest what you need and never harvest an endangered species

5. Harvest in season

6. Harvest respectfully and give thanks to the plants

7. Don’t harvest in a polluted area; this includes roadsides

8. Only harvest if the plant community can sustain itself -- Wildcrafting guidelines from

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