The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








Herbalism workshop series

Thursday, July 23, 6 to 9 p.m. “Herbalism – The Basics” 
Thursday, Aug. 6, 6 to 9 p.m. “Mother Nature’s First Aid Kit”
Thursday, Aug. 20, 6 to 9 p.m. “Keep Calm & Carry Herbs”
Thursday, Aug. 27, 6 to 9 p.m. “Energizing Caffeine-free Herbal Alternatives”
Where: Beaver Brook Association, 117 Ridge Road, Hollis
Cost: $20 per workshop, $55 for three, or $70 for all four 

Holistic healing
Beaver Brook offers herbalism workshop series

By Angie Sykeny

 Get back to the basics with a four-part herbalism workshop series at the Beaver Brook Association, beginning with the first workshop on Thursday, July 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. The series will cover the history and theory of herbalism, how to identify and harvest herbs, the practical uses for herbs and how to create herbal teas, tinctures, oils and more.

“The [series] gives people a full package,” said Tiffany Coroka Gillen, the instructor and developer of the workshops. “Each class will focus not only on the herbs, but also the body systems the herbs pertain to. You don’t have to take [all the workshops], but if you take them all together, you can learn the entirety of the body system through an herbal lens and see how herbs give a cohesive functionality.”
Each workshop will consist of a lecture time, a demonstration and a hands-on project that students can take home.
The first workshop, “Herbalism – The Basics,” is a complete introduction to herbs, appropriate especially for the herb newbie. Students in this workshop will learn the history of herbalism and herbal traditions, both globally and locally, from the cavemen era to present-day use. The preparation, administration and dosages of medicinal herbs will also be discussed, with an emphasis on safety and avoiding negative interactions with other medications. Students will then have the chance to make their own tea blends from herbs like licorice, chamomile, lemongrass, cinnamon, ginger and holy basil.
“The first class is information-dense and supplies a sturdy foundation to ... continue with the other workshops or onto a path of self-study,” Gillen said. “The information isn’t so much that it’s intimidating or overwhelming, but enough that it’s exciting and empowering.”
The second workshop, “Mother Nature’s First Aid Kit,” happening Aug. 6, will take place outside on the Beaver Brook property, where students will learn how to find, identify and harvest herbs while being environmentally conscious. The goal of this class is to show how, in the case of a mild outdoor injury such as a scrape or bee sting, there are herbal remedies in nature that can be used to treat the injury if no other first aid supplies are available. Herbs discussed will include plantain, hemlock, dandelions, witch hazel and wintergreen. Students will create a sting salve to take home.
The third workshop, “Keep Calm & Carry Herbs,” on Aug. 20, will address stress, the physical symptoms that result from stress and how herbs can promote relaxation and healing of the parasympathetic nervous system. Herbs for stress relief include valerian root, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, rosemary and skullcap. Students will be making small satchels of crushed herbs and herbal sedative tinctures to aid with sleep. The workshop will conclude with a guided meditation.
“This is a more spiritually inclined class,” Gillen said. “I think herbalism and spirituality are connected, internally within the mind, body and heart. Having the meditation at the end is a magical moment where people can feel a sense of support and take that deep breath they haven’t been able to get for two days, two months or even two years.”  
The final workshop, “Energizing Caffeine-free Herbal Alternatives,” Aug. 27, will explore the history of coffee, what it does to the body and why many people are so dependent on it. Then, students will learn how certain herbs can provide the energy of caffeine without the jitteriness, crash, dehydration and headaches. Herbs discussed will include dandelion, rosemary, basil, peppermint, rhodiola and sage. Students will create an energizing lip balm to take home. This workshop will cover other holistic ways to boost energy and focus as well, such as pressure points and breathing techniques.
Gillen said she hopes those who participate in the workshops will leave with a better understanding of the body, a plan to incorporate more herbs into their lifestyles and confidence in creating their own herbal medicines.
“All these chemicals and drugs on the shelves today have so many backlash effects,” she said, “but herbal medicine comes with many benefits and rarely any side effects, so I feel like knowing your herbs is especially important in today’s society, and, as with anything, you have to understand the basics to move forward.” 
As seen in the July 16, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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