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I have enjoyed the abundance of the plant world since being a small child hungrily waiting for dinner and sneaking nasturtium flowers in the backyard for a snack. My desire to study plant medicine later brought me to study Western Herbalism at the Ohlone Center where I trained with amazing teachers including Pam Fischer, and also completed a TCM Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis mentorship with William Morris. I am currently a practitioner at Farmacopia in Santa Rosa.

Prior to my training in Herbal Studies I received a BA in Studio Art from UC Berkeley and Teaching Credential from SFSU. After a period of time spent teaching in South East Asia the world of tea culture began to present itself to me and I found Camellia Sinensis in her various forms to be a guiding light. A world of tea and tisanes (herbal teas) has drawn me toward unraveling the mysteries of plants as healers within the framework of psyche and physiology. My intention is to merge my creative drive with my practical side that strives for sustainability. Sustaining body, spirit, and mind reflects how we are able to be vital within the elusive universe. Vitality allows us to recognize the miracle of each moment and meet it with everything we have got.

Working with each individual's needs, consultations can include tailoring lifestyle adjustments like nutrition and physical activities along with synergistic herbal teas and extracts. I'm grateful to be working within my community and it would be a pleasure to meet with you! I can make house calls in the greater Bay Area.

I also have my own herbal tea line, made with high quality organic herbs. Please contact me for ordering details or if you are interested in custom tea blends.
Click on the Upcoming Events & Classes Button above for a full description
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Ready for an (internal) Spring cleaning?  Join me for a Spring Detox workshop on Thursday, March 3rd, at the Center for Sacred Studies in Guerneville.  This is a donation based evening workshop that goes from 7-8:30pm.  Details are in the flyer below or go to the facebook event page
I'll be leading a workshop on Women's Health and Stress Management this Saturday, December 5th 2015 from 4-6pm at Alembique Apothecary in Berkeley.  This is going to be a fun and revitalizing workshop, sign up in advance or pay on arrival.  Link to paypal for event: Women's Health and Stress Managment paypal
Come one and come all to the Holly King Craft Fair on Saturday December 12th in Guernville, CA.  I'll be selling my teas and sampling them, and there will be many amazing items for sale made by local artisans.  Check out the facebook event page for more info:  Holly King Craft Fair 2015
I'll be sampling and selling all of Herbal Horizon's herbal teas at the Holiday Craft Fair benefiting Santa Rosa Charter School and Preschool from 10am-2pm.  Please join me and other local crafters.  There will be kid craft activities, a bake sale, and a pancake breakfast. No admission fee; $5 breakfast.
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Click on Community Button and scroll down for all the info on community happenings!

Flower Essence Mentorship: Subtle Medicines for Universal Healing with Dr. Joel Kreisberg

$325 for 6 Tuesday Evenings 6:30pm-9:30pm Starting April 19th

Working with plants starts with the substance, yet healers through the ages developed techniques for discovering more subtle dimensions of healing. One such well known practitioner of the subtle was Edward Bach, whose 38 flower essences have become the basic set of plant healers for integrating emotional challenges and increasing well being.

Dr. Bach’s system is evolutionary traveling on a journey from the discovery of illness through various stages leading to merging back into the cosmos. This mentorship will follow Bach’s journey through the 12 Healers, the 7 helpers and the 18 successive remedies.

This class will cover:

  •  Preparing a Flower Essence
  • Developing oneself to work with essences
  • Twelve windows of perception
  • The four stages of a Flower Essence Response
  • The eight levels of meta-flora healing
  • Clinical applications
  • Blending flower essences in an integrative practice.

This is a hands on mentorship that involves working with the essences ourselves as in a cauldron of healing. As well as using flower essences with others. We will create a safe container for entering into the subtly of nature with our body, hearts and mind.

Space is limited to 15 participants!


Joel-1-Colorwith Dr. Joel Kreisberg, DC, CCH, ACC

Dr. Joel Kreisberg, has been transforming health for individuals and for society for close to 30 years. He recognizes healing potential in everyday actions and uses this energy to bring back wholeness and resilience. By listening carefully to the body, to feelings, and to nature, greater joy, passion, and fulfillment are available for everyone. His work is based on 28 years as an integrative physician, 20 years of innovative program development in healthcare and several years as an Integral Master Coach™.

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Minding Our Hearts

By Aldyn Richmond
Posted February 18th 2016
Reposted from Satya Lightworks Collective 

Ask someone what comes to mind when thinking of the heart and different ideas emerge like love, the heart symbol shape, the area of chest where it’s located and the color red or pink. But how often do we think about the electricity, the pumping, the blood, the arteries and chambers, and the heart organ itself? It is noteworthy that most other organs, systems, and parts of the body tend to be linked to  to literal interpretations--in contrast with the mystery, romance, and other far reaching interpretations associated with heart.

Historically, Anahata, the heart chakra, is interpreted from Sanskrit as “unstruck, unhurt, and unbeaten.” It is here where the unstruck sound of the cosmos can come into fruition. The wishing tree, the lotus flower, a branching system that reaches out to the rest of the body and simultaneously to the mysterious divine. The heart creates the ability to transcend karma through playing out heartfelt connection without attachment.  The chakra is associated with the thymus gland and immunity--weaving the interplays of the heart system with other vital functions of the body.  This is reflected in Ayurvedic Medicine where the all three doshas -- Vatha, Pitta, and Kapha all hold some space in the heart.  Also, the respiratory channel, mind channel, and lymph channel are housed in the heart.  Imbalances in heart health can often be linked to the mind and treatment can include an initial focus on detoxification and digestive strengthening with ayurvedic herbs, dietary suggestions, light physical activity, and bodywork.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Shen or spirit resides in the heart.  Disease involving the heart can come from external or internal sources and lifestyle.  The liver is often approached when there is a blood related issue, but the supreme source of the blood is the heart.  So, the heart is a point of focus when the blood carried through the vessels is too much, to thick, not enough, too hot, etc.  The heart is tied into the 5 element theory as being associated with fire.  Fire sparks joy and is embodied in the season of summer.  The organ clock in TCM puts the heart hours from 11am to 1pm.  It can be helpful to note how one feels at this time each day and what is being eaten at this time if it is suspected that there is an imbalance in heart health.  The imbalanced heart can lead to disturbed shen which may manifest as insomnia or mental imbalances.  Often, treating the heart will thus improve sleep and mental wellness.  Acupuncture is often used to balance the flow of meridians in the body, and can positively impact both emotional and physical heart health.


In Medical Astrology, the Sun is the ruler of the heart and the heart can be reflected in the 5th house of the natal chart.  To enhance the Sun in a chart, for instance if it is in a difficult aspect with another planet or if the fire element needs needs some ignition, cardio-tonics and plants with morphology that have sun-like characteristics (like bright yellow flowers that open with the sun), warming herbs that are detoxifying, and vision clearing/enhancing herbs can be therapeutic.  Also dietary suggestions and flower essences can provide healing.  In ancient astrological traditions, including ancient Chinese, Mars was considered to rule the heart.  This is interesting because Mars is linked to the blood which is ruled by the heart in TCM.  Many herbs that are helpful for healthy blood flow and heart function can be therapeutic to enhancing the planet Mars in the chart.  Medical Astrology can provide unique insight into healing the heart and has been used in many civilizations for thousands of years.  


A heart beats about 72 times per minute, 100,000 times a day, and 35 million times each year.  Our hearts don’t get a break, so why not take some cardio-tonic herbs?


Three herbs for healing the heart:


Hawthorn is one of the best cardio-tonics.  Most people can benefit from this thorny tree’s berries (sometimes other aerial parts are used also) that have a long lineage of use in Europe and TCM for heart conditions. Hawthorn has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Hawthorn is also relaxing to the nervous system and great for balancing the effects that too much caffeine can have on the body and other over-stimulation or stress. Hawthorn berries can be added to broths, made into a tea (it is more medicinal if simmered for a period of time), ground into a powder to sprinkle in food, and taken as a solid extract in addition to being taken in capsules and liquid extracts.  Hawthorn also helps to digest lipids and can help reduce strain on the body while maximizing absorption of nutrients from fatty meats and other rich food.  Hawthorn does pose some risk of increasing the effects of blood pressure medication, so it is best to monitor closely if the herb is being taken in tandem.  Another possibility is tapering off pharmaceuticals with a doctor’s permission, and replacing the drugs with hawthorn or a hawthorn containing herbal formula.


Reishi is a medicinal mushroom that has been used to support longevity for thousands of years.  It is a very hard and fibrous mushroom, so the fruiting body cannot be cooked and eaten like some edible mushrooms can be.  Reishi helps modulate the immune system and builds deep foundational support and strength.  The catch to this miraculous tonic is that it generally needs to be consumed on a daily basis for at least a month to have any noticeable effect.  Reishi can lower blood pressure and have other positive effects on the heart.  In TCM it helps to keep a healthy residence of shen and the shen lives in the heart.


Motherwort can help the inner-mother and has an affinity for the heart chakra area of the body.  While TCM views motherwort as warming, Western Herbalism will describe the herb as cooling.  Motherwort has a bitter flavor and will generally have a calming effect on the thyroid.  The herb is taken for nervousness and anxiety and the effect on the heart is generally that of relieving pressure and agitation.  Although generally safe, as with any herb, dosage should be taken into consideration, as high doses may be sedating or in some cases have the opposite effect.  Since motherwort can calm thyroid function, it is generally not advisable to use the herb where hypothyroid conditions are present.


Other ways to pamper your heart


Flower essences are an often underrated energetic medicines that are healing on subtle levels and shift energy that might otherwise go unnoticed.  An excellent flower essence for heart healing is Dicentra formosa or as it’s common name suggests: Bleeding Heart.  It is a great choice for hypertension that is linked to deeper emotional issues such as imbalanced relationships and unresolved grief (and let’s face it, who doesn’t have unresolved grief these days?).  Many choices exist for flower essence healing around the heart.  A few other that are commonly used include Vervain, Cherry Plum, and Vine.


There are many different styles of meditation and it is important to not get overly caught up in how-to-meditate-correctly to the point where one does not want nor have time to meditate at all.  Meditation can be done in a chair, or even in bed.  It is preferable to have a clear space both visually and energetically to promote easier access for one to slip into a meditative state.  One easy and effective meditation is chakra meditation.  This involves visualizing the colors of the chakras and perhaps focusing on one in particular.  Visualizing green (and sometimes pink) can help to bring concentrated healing energy to the heart chakra.  This can be further refined with the use of crystal therapy.  

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Gems that are green or pink can be helpful, such as jade and rose quartz.  They can be placed on the heart or be kept near the person for an energy balancing and replenishing effect.


The human heart may be just a vital organ in a complicated body system, but it is the symbols, imagery, stories, and love that bring the heart to life and keep it pumping.


“The precious tree

of nondual mind

spreads through the triple world;

it bears compassion flower and fruit,

though there is no other

or doing good”

-From Saraha’s Treasury of Couplets

I reached into my purse for my dropper of lemon balm. Once again, I had gone a little crazy with my tea obsession. But reading Oscar Wilde, while delicately slurping on finely aged puerh – steeping after steeping – had been deliciously worth every moment. Of course, now I was slightly jittery and agitated at my recounting of just how ridiculous money-obsessed-social-climbers can be. Oh well, I suppose some things haven't changed much in the last century and a half. At least I could get a deeply therapeutic laugh out of it. And with that thought I squirted a blissfully refreshing bit of tincture onto my tongue.

I puzzled over the taste. Lemon balm does not taste minty, but it is refreshing. Most mint is refreshing, but not lemony. Beyond a refreshing taste, lemon balm is calming to the nerves. It is an un-nerve racker, if you will.

It took me a while to appreciate this plant's power. It's Latin name is Melissa Officinalis. Melissa comes from the word “bee” in Greek. This is because of this fragrant plant's ability to attract precious bees. Officinalis was used in medieval times to describe a medicinal herb; Melissa has a long history of gentle healing. Gentle can mean a lot of things. It can be slow and deliberate, it can be soft and unassuming, or kind to us in other ways. While it is easy to recognize more bold gestures from plants, it can take some time for anything noteworthy to be noticed from more quiet advances.

It is worth noting that lemon balm is marvelous and safe for most people. However, it is advisable for anyone with an imbalance related to their thyroid to be cautious of how lemon balm could interact with body chemistry. Specifically, it is prudent for anyone with hypothyroidism to choose another wonderful plant that is not contraindicated. Ultimately, the plant itself can let you know if it is your ally. All you have to do is listen.

When I first was introduced to lemon balm, it was exalted by the community of herbalists who are my teachers. Naturally, I had high expectations for the small bottle of Melissa Officinalis tincture they gave me to try. I splashed a few drops in my mouth – it didn't taste bad...nothing happened. A few days later I tried more. It tasted pleasant. I noticed absolutely no changes. At this point I certainly was not about to write off Melissa as useless, but I also was not about to write home about it. To lemon balm's credit, I had been informed that its synergistic affect was perhaps the most exciting of its powers. It apparently made the most amazing “road rage” formula when mixed with Kava kava and another herb. It was an amazing antidepressant when used in a formula with St. John's Wort and a few other plants. It could be added to many herbal formulas to enhance the overall effect. I tried it a third time, and I just couldn't feel a thing that was different about me. So, on the shelf it went with my other tinctures. Just another bottle with a purpose that I – perhaps – had yet to discover.

As previously mentioned, I have a fondness for Camellia Sinensis. Particularly, I just love puerh teas that brew darkly and taste delightfully earthy. Tea leaves that have been made into puerh can be re-steeped many times. Each steeping can be stimulating due to the caffeine and other constituents found in the beverage. There is a certain point in a tea drinker's journey where tea may seem to say “it is time for you to call upon your own energy, or I will drain you of it and add a dash of anxiety to your day.” The overuse of any plant energy can lead to unwanted consequences. I know what the consequence of too much tea are; I'm still learning when to put the cup down and understand that I have had sufficient.

Luckily, there is an antidote for most unbecoming situations. On one particular occasion when I had more than a sufficient amount of tea, I felt my nervous system taking the brunt of my overindulgence. I realized that I could put up with the mild anxiety I was feeling and try to breath more deeply. While breathing deeply, I had another thought. Why not take a nervine and give my nervous system some nourishment and relief? I glanced at my various herbal medicines. What was that knocked over in the corner there? A particular bottle had caught my eye and I walked over to take a closer look. It was my bottle of Melissa. Figuring that it could not hurt to try, I gathered a generous amount into the dropper and took the light-green liquid. It did seem to impart more of a crisp and enjoyable taste than I had recalled. Within seconds I felt calm and balanced. I finally knew what all the hype over lemon balm was. I thought to myself: lemon balm, I love you.

Since discovering that lemon balm can negate the ill effects of too much caffeine, I have begun to wonder whether there isn't some synergy between the caffeine and lemon balm. I do not have an answer, but I've noticed positive changes on my psyche when having tea and lemon balm during the same sitting. I am shifting my view: instead of lemon balm being an antidote, I am finding a balance of Camellia Sinensis and Melissa Officinalis that feels healthful.

As I gingerly place the bottle of tincture back into my purse, I take a moment to reflect on my tea consumption. It had been a little too much tea. I do feel good now and I am thankful for that. But really, why couldn't I have had just a tad less tea? Perhaps it was the fact that I had been reading about a tea party taking place in Wilde's script. The whole experience of reading about ridiculous people having afternoon tea was made all the more fabulous by my sipping away. What has really ended my afternoon on just the right note, though, is my laughter and Melissa. But, I wouldn't have either of those sweetnesses without the influence of Wilde and tea. I feel a gentle sense of balancing within me as I smile, close my book, and head toward home.

by Aldyn Richmond
Get the urge to know your plant medicines.

What is your favorite type of tea?

Herbal tea/tisane (3 | 28%)
Not into tea (2 | 18%)
Please contact me with questions regarding consultations and herbal tea orders. I can do custom tea blends as well with orders in large quantities. I am seeing clients at a low cost clinic in Berkeley on Mondays and the first Saturday of the month. Look forward to hearing from you!
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