Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ACHS and Apothecary Shoppe Re-Certified as Green America Gold Certified Businesses

A member of Green America since 2000, American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) and the Apothecary Shoppe College Store have been re-certified as Green America Gold Certified Businesses.

Green America’s vision is to “work for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the bounty of the earth is preserved for all the generations to come.” ACHS supports this vision through the College mission and partnerships with dedicated organizations like Green America.

“We’re thrilled ACHS has been re-certified with Green America’s highest honor, the Gold Seal, for our dedication to providing leadership in holistic health education through comprehensive professional online and on-campus education and high-quality natural products with a commitment to sustainable practices and principles,” says ACHS President Dorene Petersen. “A big thank you to our students, alumni, and Apothecary Shoppe customers for supporting ACHS and for supporting other Green America members.”

To display the Green America Green Business Certification Gold Seal of Approval, ACHS successfully met Green America’s stringent green business requirements. The Green Business Certification is awarded to businesses that are actively using their business as a tool for positive social change, operating a “values-driven” enterprise according to principles of social justice and environmental sustainability, and environmentally responsible in the way they source, manufacture, and market their products and run their operations and facilities. (You can find a complete list of business standards at http://www.greenamerica.org/greenbusiness/)

Learn more about ACHS’s commitment to sustainability online at http://www.achs.edu/achs-green-campus and view ACHS’s sustainability profile, green achievements, and commitments in the National Green Pages online here: http://www.greenpages.org/listing/guide/education

About ACHS
American College of Healthcare Sciences was one of the first accredited colleges offering degrees, diplomas, and career-training certificates in complementary alternative medicine fully online. Founded in 1978, ACHS is committed to exceptional online education and is recognized as an industry leader in holistic health education worldwide. For more information about ACHS programs and community wellness events, visit www.achs.edu, call (503) 244-0726, or stop by the College campus located at 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland OR 97239.

>> GO TO www.achs.edu to read the full article on the American College website under News and Events. Or click here.

Exploring the Indonesian Herbal Tradition – Jamu

By Dorene Petersen, President, American College of Healthcare Sciences

This past May, I was invited to speak at the Asian Aroma Ingredients Congress & Expo on the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali. This biannual conference brings together producers, processors, exporters, scientists, and educators (like me!) to discuss essential oils, essential oil products, and the future of the industry. At this conference there were more than 300 participants from 17 countries!

My lecture, “U.S. Trends in Aromatherapy,” focused on an overview of the use of Indonesian/Asian essential oils in the aromatherapy market in the U.S. To collect my data, I surveyed key communicators within the U.S. aromatherapy industry, including members of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, and Registered Aromatherapists with the Aromatherapy Registration Council.

The results of the survey were interesting and confirmed my feeling that U.S. Aromatherapists have a high awareness of important factors that influence therapeutic viability of oils, such as organic production. What the research also revealed was the Indonesian essential oil industry can have a significant impact on the professional clinical and retail aromatherapy markets in the U.S. if there is marketing and educational outreach focusing on new and emerging oils. I was delighted to learn that organic patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is the Indonesian essential oil with the highest retail sales  in the U.S. I love the warm, spicy aroma that lingers as patchouli fades out, but I know not everyone feels the same: particularly if you are a baby boomer like me. Truthfully, I had expected the most commonly used Indonesian oil to be clove (Syzygium aromaticum) bud.

You can read more about the trends in Indonesian essential oil use in my white paper available through the ACHSedu website here: http://achs.edu/download-us-trends-aromatherapy-white-paper-achs-president-dorene-petersen

For those of you who have been to Bali, you already know it is a beautiful island, rich in culture, lush color, and very warm people. It is a part of Indonesia, a country with a long tradition of herbal medicine use. This traditional plant heritage struck me from day one. You don’t see street vendors offering herbal medicines here in the States, and you’re not likely to get a recommendation from the locals to use cajuput (Melaleuca leucadendron) essential oil with insect bites either.

In Indonesia, the ancient art of herbal healing is part of the everyday culture. It’s called Jamu, which promotes inner and outer health and beauty through the use of herbal powders, ointments, lotions, massage, and ancient folklore[1]. A dose of Bali belly provided a great opportunity to experiment with the locals’ recommendations, which included rubbing my belly with neat cajeput oil and ingesting one drop of patchouli oil. I did both and within 24 hours was feeling almost back to normal.

I guess what struck me most was the easy coexistence of the two approaches: Western medicine and traditional herbal medicine being used hand in hand with encouragement, cooperation, and assistance from the Indonesian government. Health and healing  accessible to all was clearly the focus. Now back in the States, this is a powerful reminder and motivator for me to keep doing what we do here at ACHS: provide research- based accredited programs empowering student success in the holistic health and wellness arena. Experiencing Jamu showed me how much can be achieved when all sectors of the healthcare industry cooperate towards a common goal. And whether or not you have the opportunity to travel to Bali yourself, Jamu shows us all that health and wellness is a cultural and a community affair, and that we have the knowledge, the tools, the herbs at our fingertips. So, spread the education and wellness!

If you’re interested in learning more about Jamu, I’m putting together an Indonesian aroma study tour for 2013, including a tour of botanical gardens and distilleries, day trips to remote villages to learn about local, green medicine, and several cultural landmarks. I hope you can make the trip with me! I’ll have more detailed information posted to the ACHS website soon (www.achs.edu). In the meantime, feel free to email me at president@achs.edu.

[1] For more information, I recommend the book Jamu: The Ancient Indonesian Art of Herbal Healing by Susan-Jane Beers. It is available through Amazon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Growing Valerian in Your Botanical Garden

It's June and our valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is in full bloom! Here's a picture of our valerian taken in the American College Botanical Teaching Garden in Portland, Oregon.

The ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden is part of the ACHS campus and is open to visitors year-round. Stop by! Bring your friends and family for a self-guided tour of some of our favorite medicinal plants ... like valerian! >>Click here for directions

Did you know valerian is a perennial? It has paired leaves and white, or light pink, slightly fragrant flowers.

Valerian, commonly used for its sedative effects, has also traditionally been used with high blood pressure (associated with stress), influenza, insomnia (associated with nervous conditions), mental strain, migraines, nervous irritation, pain, spasms, stress, and traumatic injuries with associated pain.

Valerian has a powerful antispasmodic and tranquilizing effect on the nervous system, yet is not habit-forming and can be used in the stated dosage over time. It was once widely used, but with the advent of synthetic tranquilizers such as Valium and Librium, its use has declined.

Unlike synthetic tranquilizers, it does not have side effects if used in the stated dose. However, an excessive dose of valerian may produce stupor, drowsiness, severe headaches, and vomiting. Smaller doses at more frequent intervals are recommended rather than increasing the size of each dose.

Recipe: Nerve Tonic (for stress and emotional wear and tear)
1 oz valerian Valeriana officinalis
1 oz skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora
½ oz catnip Nepeta cataria
½ T coriander seeds Coriandrum sativum
¼ t cayenne pepper Capsicum annuum

Mix ingredients and prepare as standard infusion. Use 4-6 T warm, 3-4 times a day and before bed.

Watch this ACHStv YouTube video with ACHS President Dorene Petersen for an overview of valerian in the ACHS Herb Garden. Great shots of flowering valerian, harvested for its root in the fall.

Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. You should always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine.

ACHS Welcomes New Graduates to National Chapter of DET Honor Society

American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) announces four new members to its national chapter of the Delta Epsilon Tau (DET) Honor Society.

Kudos and Congratulations go to:

•    Priscilla Andrews, Master Aromatherapist & Certified Iridology Consultant, Floyd, NM
•    Wendy Gattinella, Certified Aromatherapist, Kingston, NH
•    Shannon Nerren, Certified Wellness Coach, Nacogdoches, TX
•    Charlene Caswell, Certified Wellness Coach & Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Sedona, AZ
All accepted as of the close of the first quarter of 2012.

“We are thrilled to congratulate and highlight the achievements of these alumni,” says ACHS President Dorene Petersen. “Our DET Honor Society alumni are an inspiration to all ACHS students who are striving for the highest academic achievement, as well as forging successful new career paths in the growing holistic health industry.”

To qualify for membership, ACHS graduates must attain an academic average of at least 96 percent, which demonstrates a core body of knowledge in and dedication to the field of Complementary Alternative Medicine, as well as a commitment to the safety of clients and customers.

The ACHS chapter of the DET Honor Society, sponsored by the Distance Education and Training Council, was established to recognize the academic achievements of students who study at a distance and to bring honor and earned recognition to individuals who have worked diligently to acquire new knowledge and skills from an accredited distance learning institution.

What inspires you to achieve academic success?

ACHS Hires Jared Schaalje Instructional Technologist

American College is excited to welcome Jared to our team as an Instructional Technologist. Jared will work directly with CIO Erika Yigzaw to create powerful education experiences for online students worldwide. 

"I am so excited to be a part of ACHS, where there is a constant flow of ideas, innovation, and creativity within our team! I love the fields of herbal medicine and instructional design, and ACHS provides the ideal environment for me to meaningfully contribute to both of these areas." 

Jared graduated from Capella University in 2007 with a Master’s degree in Instructional Design for Online Learning. He earned a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Utah State University in addition to his Bachelor’s in Psychology from Brigham Young University.  He has several years’ experience as a hospital and healthcare instructional designer, building web-based training courses.

Jared can be reached at (503) 244-0726 ext 30 or jaredschaalje@achs.edu.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How Can You Tell If Your Sunscreen Is Doing More Harm Than Good?

Sunscreen is not an optional accessory. It's essential! UV rays play a big part in photoaging and "are the leading cause of cancer--skin cancer--in the United States," says Rhonda Allison in "Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?"[1].

There is a lot of information circulating out there about good and bad ingredients (namely mineral vs. chemical). How can you tell if the products you like to use keep your skin healthy and provide adequate protection from harmful UV damage?

Allison says in the May 2012 edition of Skin Inc Magazine: "Today, the vast majority of SPF formulas have a laundry list of chemicals that potentially subject the skin to dangerous ingredients. Some of the most common chemical ingredients in nonmineral sunscreens include octinoxate, oxybenzone (a form of benzophenone) and avobenzone.[...] When several of these chemicals are combined to form a broad-spectrum sunscreen, the formula may release its own free radicals, subjecting the skin to damage."

As an alternative, sunscreens classified as physical blockers "have been shown to be more effective [than chemical blockers] in protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the two most commonly used blockers. These naturally occurring ingredients protect against the full UV spectrum; however, one of the major issues with naturally occurring blockers is the chalky cosmetic appearance and texture that is often associated with them.

"Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound and an essential mineral for the body. It plays an important role in cell production, promotes healthy skin and hair, boosts the immune system and also provides broad-spectrum protection, which, in turn, helps reduce UVA-induced free radical production in the deeper layers of the skin. Zinc oxide is not absorbed by the skin; rather it sits on the skin’s surface, blocking both UVA and UVB rays."

>>To learn more about the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, click here to read the full-text article "Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?" on the Skin Inc website.

Allison, R. (2012 April 27). Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? Skin Inc Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.skininc.com/treatments/suncare/149258055.html?page=3

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What Can I Legally Do As An Herbalist, Aromatherapist, Or Other Holistic Health Practitioner?

Most holistic health modalities are currently unlicensed. However, legislation is currently in place in multiple states, including Minnesota and California, and it is important to be aware of and compliant with relevant legislation.

The National Health Freedom Coalition offers a state listing that is useful. We recommend that you become aware of the organizations in your state and consider joining their efforts to support Health Freedom. Just a reminder, though: completing any training program, including courses at American College of Healthcare Sciences, does not constitute any type of licensure to practice.

It's always important to keep in mind what the unlicensed complementary and alternative healthcare provider is ethically and legally able to do[1]. First, it is important to remember that a holistic health practitioner is not a primary care physician. Without other licensing, a holistic health practitioner cannot diagnose, treat, or prescribe drugs[2].

The Holistic Health Practitioner:
  • Recognizes that achieving good health requires a proper diet, fresh clean water, fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and rest.
  • Teaches his or her clients how to achieve and sustain good health on a daily basis with herbs, essential oils, homeopathics, and other natural modalities to supplement their healthy lifestyle.
  • Understands that each client has a physical, mental, and spiritual self, and that good health requires balance in all areas.
  • Recognizes when allopathic healthcare may be necessary, and is always ready to refer a client to his or her primary care physician for diagnosis and/or treatment.
  • Empowers the client to achieve improved health, both today and for the future, through addressing any imbalances caused by improper nutrition, poor quality sleep, insufficient water, lack of exercise, fresh air, and relaxation.
  • Educates clients to evaluate their lifestyle choices, to isolate and change any potential causes of ill health.
The Holistic Health Practitioner Does Not:
  • Diagnose disease. A holistic health practitioner performs evaluations to determine causes of potential health problems, but they do not diagnose disease. Always refer a client back to his or her licensed physician for a diagnosis.
  • Treat disease. A holistic health practitioner focuses on health and education, not on disease, and empowers clients to take charge of their own good health.    
  • Prescribe drugs or pharmaceuticals. Holistic health practitioners teach clients about herbs, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, homeobotanical remedies, flower essences, dietary supplements, and nutrition.
  • Perform Invasive Procedures. Depending on his or her training and licensing, a practitioner may use hands on techniques as part of his or her practice. For example, a practitioner may also be trained as a massage therapist, chiropractor, or osteopath, and use natural health modalities along with that discipline; For example, a massage therapist may use an essential oil blend to complement a massage treatment. Existing healthcare professionals should check with their licensing bodies regarding incorporating their studies into their existing practice. Holistic health practitioners do not perform any invasive procedures, give injections, or draw blood.
>> For additional information, click here to read more complementary alternative medicine articles from the American College FAQ Knowledgebase.

[1] Note that this is general information and is not intended to be legal advice, and you should seek legal advice in your state for detailed information.
[2] If you do hold licensing in a health care field, you may have a different scope of practice than practitioners without other licensure.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Natural Garden Pest Control

Garden pests chomping on your fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies can be a real bummer. But, what can you do, right? Plenty! Good news: There are several natural products you can try to help stop pests from eating through your garden without the use of chemical pesticides.

For example, have you tried an herbal ant-repellent spray? How about a garlic and chile insecticidal spray? The Herb Companion magazine has recipes for both posted online for you to try as part of "What’s Wrong with My Herbs: Natural Pesticides for Gardens" by Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox[1]. 

>>How do you naturally keep garden pests at bay? Post a comment and share your tried and tested techniques for a maintaining a healthy garden.

According to Belsinger and Wilcox: Once "you’ve determined that a pest has taken up residence among your plants, you can take actions to stop it. Begin with the least toxic, least expensive and most convenient method first: a strong spray of water.

"You’ll need an adjustable nozzle turned to the fan setting. This will allow you to direct a wedge of water over a large plant surface. Adjust the pressure so the water will wash away pests without damaging the plant. Spray the entire plant, side to side and top to bottom—as well as the top and bottom of leaves—until the plant is completely clean.

"[...] Besides using these water baths to stop pests, we also use a homemade garlic-chile-soap spray, neem oil and horticultural oil, alternating among them monthly, if necessary, to keep pests off-balance."

Belsinger and Wilcox's Herb and Soap Ant-Repellent Spray[2]
  • 1/2 cup fresh tansy leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh santolina leaves
  • 1 quart boiled water
  • 1 tablespoon Murphy Oil Soap
  • 10 drops vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) essential oil
1. Add herbs to boiled water, cover and steep until infusion is cool.
2. Strain out herbs. Stir in soap and vetiver oil.
3. Before use, shake mixture well, then filter it into a sprayer. Use Herb and Soap Ant-Repellent Spray on ant trails, counters, soil surfaces or wherever ants are a problem.

>>Click "comment" and share your tried and tested techniques for a maintaining a healthy garden! We look forward to reading your garden tips!

[1] Belsinger, S. & Wilcox, TM. (2008). What’s Wrong with My Herbs: Natural Pesticides for Gardens. The Herb Companion. Retrieved online at: http://www.herbcompanion.com/gardening/defend-your-garden-with-herbs.aspx?page=3
[2] Belsinger, S. & Wilcox, TM. (2008). Natural Pesticides: Herb and Soap Ant-Repellent Spray. The Herb Companion. Retrieved online at: http://www.herbcompanion.com/2008-6/ant-repellent-herb-soap-spray.aspx