Monday, December 21, 2009

ACHS names Pat Reder DETC Outstanding Graduate award winner for 2010

Congratulations to Pat Reder, DETC Outstanding Graduate award winner for 2010!

DETC Outstanding Graduates represent the more than three million distance education students now studying with DETC member institutions.

Pat has worked as a registered nurse for about 30 years, including critical care and emergency and trauma medicine. She has always had an interest in holistic health because she feels there is “a need for an integrative approach between allopathic and holistic healthcare practices.” That is why Pat chose to enroll in ACHS’s Holistic Health Practitioner Diploma program, which she completed in December 2009, in addition to a Certificate in Nutrition, Bodycare, and Herbalism.

Her distance education experience with ACHS gave her “confidence to seek out opportunity,” Pat says. After finishing her first course, Pat says she was able to use the knowledge base from that course to approach her employer about incorporating wellness coaching into their services. She also has used her training to develop a wellness coaching program, which she successfully trialed with her co-workers, and has since “opened the door to marketing the wellness coaching program to their clients.”

To read Pat's full profile, visit:

For more information on the DETC Outstanding Graduate awards, go to

ACHS names Michael Edwards, Director of Thee Wellness Institute, DETC Famous Alumni award winner for 2010

Congratulations to Michael Edwards, DETC Famous Alumni award winner for 2010!

The DETC Famous Alumni award honors distance education graduates who meet select criteria or academic records and the quality of their contribution to their chosen profession and society in general.

Michael, who graduated with a Certificate in Nutrition, Bodycare, and Herbalism, says,
“The first acceptance I had at ACHS made a big difference to me, and it motivated me to read and teach as often as possible. I feel I’m doing my share to give people back control of their health.”

Since completing his Certificate, Michael has completed his master’s degree and launched Thee Wellness Institute (previously The NC Health and Wellness Institute), specializing in preventative health programs and natural products for the community. Edwards also worked as the Clinical Health Educator at Cherry Point Marine Base before accepting the position of Education Program Manager at Patrick Air Force Base. While in this position, Edwards has developed several health-promoting programs and has led motivational wellness classes for thousands of service members in the U.S. Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard.

Read Michael's complete profile here:

For more information about the DETC and this award, check out

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Census Bureau Releases 2010 Statistical Abstract Depicting the State of Our Nation: Healthy Living Highlights

Census Bureau Releases 2010 Statistical Abstract Depicting the State of Our Nation: Healthy Living Highlights

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010:

• There were more than 20,000 farms in 2007 engaged in organic production on more than 2.5 million acres. Sales of organically produced commodities totaled $1.7 billion, of which more than $1.1 billion were organic crops and $600 million organic livestock and poultry and poultry products. (Table 807).
• In 2007, the complementary and alternative medicine therapies most commonly used by U.S. adults in the past 12 months were nonvitamin, nonmineral and natural products (17.7 percent), deep breathing exercises (12.7 percent), meditation (9.4 percent), chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (8.6 percent), massage (8.3 percent) and yoga (6.1 percent). (Table 161)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MyCAA Provides Up To $6,000 in Financial Assistance to Military Spouses

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) has been approved to participate in the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) program.

MyCAA provides financial assistance to military spouses pursuing degrees, licenses, or credentials leading to employment in Portable Career Fields, including holistic nutrition, wellness consulting, and holistic health. Eligible military spouses can receive up to $6,000 in financial assistance to be used for education and training programs, tuition, and licensing/credentialing fees, including Associates, Bachelors, and Masters programs. MyCAA can also be used for course books and supplies needed for the participant’s chosen profession. ACHS Career Advancement Account recipients are currently enrolled in the Certificate in Natural Products Manufacturing and Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine programs, among others

As outlined on the MyCAA FAQs, the goals of the program include: To “seek schools and programs that offer academic degrees, licenses and certificates that lead to employment in Portable Career Fields; seek spouses who are ready to start classes within 90 days; and make financial assistance (FA) available to as many eligible spouses as possible with highest priority on spouses who are ready to start classes within 90 days of opening a MyCAA account.”

Eligible participants are spouses of DoD active duty service members or members of the National Guard and Reserve Components. Guard and Reserve member spouses are eligible “from the date of the Alert or Warning Order for Military Recall or Mobilization, through activation and deployment until 180 days following De-Mobilization.” To be eligible, participants must pass the Defense Eligibility and Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) screen.

To get started, military spouses should visit the MyCAA website to establish an account at For specific questions about ACHS courses and MyCAA and ACHS enrollment eligibility, military spouses should contact ACHS Admissions to speak with a student advisor. ACHS Admissions can be reached at (800) 487-8839 from Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:30 pm, PST, and by email at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Natural Product Recipes and Tips from ACHS Annual Winter Celebration

The 6th Annual ACHS Winter Celebration was a great success! We had more than 40 people attend the workshop, where ACHS President Dorene Petersen demonstrated how to make natural products to support a holistic lifestyle (including herb sugar scrub, aromatherapy and herb bath salt blend, peppermint foot scrub, essential oil blending, and how to make natural lavender and hops sleep pillows).

All of the recipes from the workshop's demonstrations can be downloaded for free from the Apothecary Shoppe College Store website. Click here:

Here are some of the tips and suggestions for making and using natural products that were shared with workshop participants throughout the day:
  • When stressed, it is important to calm the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the "fight or flight" response). To do this, use some deep breathing at least twice a day.
  • Store natural products carefully. Air and light can diminish the active constituents in herbs and essential oils.
  • Coat your body in your favorite base oil and essential oil blend in the morning before you step into the shower. This will stimulate your senses and hydrate at the same time.
  • When making a natural product that requires the use of glycerin, make sure your glycerin is plant-based. Glycerin is a humectant and holds in moisture.
  • After you have stripped lavender from its stalk, do not throw the stalk away. You can use lavender stalks in fireplaces/fire pits to add some soothing hints of lavender.
For more tips like these and to watch Dorene's demonstrations from the Winter Celebration do two things:
#1 Become a Fan of ACHS:
#2 Subscribe to ACHStv on YouTube, where we have posted hours of instructional holistic health videos:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New courses from ACHS: Personal and Community Health & Introduction to Nutrition

ACHS will launch two new courses for 2010 starting January 18, Personal and Community Health (HLTH 101) and Introduction to Nutrition (NUT 101), in response to the growing demand for accredited health and nutrition training.

“Prevention is the future of health care,” says ACHS President Dorene Petersen. “It’s not just about curing a particular problem, but about using a series of health-related tools to identify the root cause of health challenges so that we can make valuable lifestyle changes to help promote optimum health. Health and nutrition education are key for making healthy lifestyle choices. Most people aren’t taught how to read food labels, for example. If we don’t know how to evaluate our food, we can’t make the best choices. There’s a gap in our education. These new courses will teach students how to make good choices for their own health and life, and how to help others do the same for sustainable, long-term wellness.”

ACHS’s new courses—Personal and Community Health and Introduction to Nutrition—are designed for personal interest and as an introduction to holistic health and wellness for healthcare professionals who want to integrate CAM.

American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) announces two new courses for 2010 starting January 18, Personal and Community Health (HLTH 101) and Introduction to Nutrition (NUT 101), in response to the growing demand for accredited health and nutrition training.

As interest in complementary alternative medicine (CAM) and “emphasis on disease prevention through improved dietary habits,” increases, so is the demand for health care and wellness professionals with accredited training to provide food and nutrition counseling in hospitals, residential care facilities, schools, prisons, community health programs, and home health care agencies, as reported by “Top 10 Fastest Growing Allied Health Careers” featured on

“Prevention is the future of health care,” says ACHS President Dorene Petersen. “It’s not just about curing a particular problem, but about using a series of health-related tools to identify the root cause of health challenges so that we can make valuable lifestyle changes to help promote optimum health. Health and nutrition education are key for making healthy lifestyle choices. Most people aren’t taught how to read food labels, for example. If we don’t know how to evaluate our food, we can’t make the best choices. There’s a gap in our education. These new courses will teach students how to make good choices for their own health and life, and how to help others do the same for sustainable, long-term wellness.”

ACHS’s new courses—Personal and Community Health and Introduction to Nutrition—are designed for personal interest and as an introduction to holistic health and wellness for healthcare professionals who want to integrate CAM.

Personal and Community Health (HLTH 101) introduces concepts and skills to identify and help students develop a healthy lifestyle for themselves, their family, and their community. The focus of the course is on day-to-day choices and challenges, and includes stress management, basic nutrition, physical fitness, substance abuse, reproductive health, body weight, environmental health, and death and dying.

Introduction to Nutrition (NUT 101) focuses on introductory nutrition concepts and tools for healthy eating. The components of food (including protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals) are examined, and curriculum includes discussion of hunger in the U.S. and abroad.

Both courses earn credit towards the Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine (AAS), and can be applied to some certificate programs, including the Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting.

>>Read the full-length press release here:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Medicinal Properties of Bay Essential Oil and Liniment Recipe

Bay essential oil, Laurus nobilis, has a long and interesting history. It was known as Daphne to the Greeks because the nymph Daphne escaped the attentions of Apollo by being transformed into a bay tree. Heartbroken, Apollo, the God of Music and Poetry, took the tree as his emblem, hence the term "poet laureate" and "to gain one's laurels."

In addition, the Romans believed bay warded off both evil and infectious disease, and to this day in Europe you can still see bay leaf garlands hanging on doors.

Today, bay is used as a flavoring in foods, and is effective to combat infectious bacteria when used in a vaporizer. In perfumery, bay is sweet, pleasant, and slightly spicy, and blends well with bergamot, black pepper, clary sage, cypress, juniper, lavender, neroli, and rosemary, to name a few.

Medicinally, bay is attributed with antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, diaphoretic, digestant, and sedative properties.

Recommended Daily Dose:
Three times daily unless otherwise stated. Use for a maximum of two weeks, then take three weeks off to avoid accumulative toxicity. In adults, use 2 drops, three times a day. Externally, use up to 5 drops in a bath.

Liniment Blend:
30 drops bay essential oil
15 drops nutmeg oil
9 drops black pepper oil
1 cup peanut oil

Blend all oils together. Peanut oil can be replaced with another vegetable oil, such as sweet almond or grapeseed. However, peanut oil is preferred as it has a traditional reputation for effectively reducing the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.

Blend all oils together. Pour into a dark glass bottle and label. Massage directly into painful areas. Store in a cool place and use within 6 months.

Start! Walking Today!

Why Start! walking? Heart disease is a major killer in this country. But you can reduce your risk and start building optimum health by exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day (that's just one TV show, just half of your lunch break, just about the same amount of time it takes to go on a junk food run round-trip!).

That's why the American Heart Association launched Start!, a movement to get people moving, taking an active role in our health! Joining the Start! movement, and connecting with other members of the Start! community, is easy. When you visit the main website,, there are links to help you find a walking buddy, to message boards, and o walking paths in your area.

Follow the signs to better health! Use this link to find a walking path near you:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Elderberry Extract for Easing Influenza Symptoms

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been mentioned in health news quite a bit lately because of new research showing it may be effective with influenza. Clinical studies have "found that elderberry extracts can inhibit influenza a and b infections, and pre-clinical studies have shown antiviral effects," according to the American Botanical Council (ABC). [2]

A recent clinical pilot tested the effect of a proprietary slow-dissolve elderberry extract lozenge with flu-like symptoms and found, according to the study's author, that the proprietary extract "can rapidly relieve influenza-like symptoms." He further commented, as reported by ABC, that "the results suggest that the proprietary elderberry extract is superior to antiviral drugs in treating influenza-like symptoms and shortening the duration of illness."

>> To read the details of the study, visit the American Botanical Council website or click here:

1. King HF. Pilot clinical study on a proprietary elderberry extract: efficacy in addressing influenza symptoms. Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics. 2009;5: 32-43.
2. Garner-Wizard M. Review of pharmacology and clinical benefits of European elderberry. HerbClip. January 31, 2006 (No. 070752-297). Austin, TX: American Botanical Council. Review of Monograph. Sambucus nigra (elderberry). Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(1):51-55.

Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael MD, Li D, Alberte RS. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochem. Jul 2009;70(10):1255-1261.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Image (c)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Federal Government Stimulus Money Funding New Herbal Research

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009, has about $5 billion (of a total of $787 billion) allocated for scientific and medical research. A handful of these studies involved research on herbs and herbal dietary supplements.

There are several interesting uses for herbal ingredients being researched with the aid provided by these federal grants. For example, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jeevan Prasain, PhD, is testing whether metabolites in cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) can protect against bladder cancer. Researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor are studying the effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) root as a preventative of colorectal cancer. For the ginger study, Suzanna Zick, ND, MPH, and her team of 10 other researchers are using the $98,022 to hire a part- and full-time employee, creating 2 jobs (oral communication, October 21, 2009). Specifically, the supplemental grant will fund the analysis of a panel of inflammatory markers in the gut tissue of people at normal or high risk for developing colorectal cancer. The grant funds will be used to obtain supplies, rent equipment, and hire the personnel to run the inflammatory marker assay, according to Dr. Zick.

“If we didn’t have this stimulus grant, it wouldn’t make us as competitive for the next grant,” said Dr. Zick. “Bio-marker work is expensive.”

Dr. Zick also added, “Ginger is an up-and-coming herb in cancer prevention.” She further noted that the main use she and her colleagues are studying is the prevention of colorectal cancer, not cancer treatment, as in previous animal studies ginger was most effective if rats were given ginger before cancer started growing or at the very beginning. She also added that ginger may be effective against metastatic cancer as it has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Another interesting study, taking place at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, involves the possible inhibition of cancer cell proliferation by the constituents in American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, grown in Wisconsin, obtained from the Wisconsin Ginseng Board). The grant received by lead researcher Laura Murphy, PhD, will total $275,000 with $125,000 awarded the first year and $150,000 the second. The $125,000 will primarily be used for the salary of a new technician. This ginseng research team currently consists of 2 research technicians, and 1 undergraduate student whom is working for class credit. The researchers hope to further recruit 1 graduate student (whose stipend will have to be paid by the department of physiology) and 1 unpaid undergraduate intern.

In the research team’s research project they have found repeatedly that oral ginseng treatment helps the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin be more efficacious in decreasing human breast cancer tumor growth in nude mice. According to Dr. Murphy, there has been nothing published using animals or in humans related to this specific ginseng indication.

“But, it is very difficult to tease apart the mechanism of action,” said Dr. Murphy (e-mail, October 20, 2009). “The uniqueness of this project is that we recognize that ginseng is a virtual ‘drug store.’ Treating a mouse with a single ginsenoside or polysaccharide component does not tell you what ginseng will do.”

>>Read the full-length article here

By Kelly E. Lindner. This article was originally published in HerbalGram, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Botanical Council, in issue 85, ©2010.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Natural Support for Winter Moods

BY Dr. Arianna Staruch, ACHS Academic Dean

Wintertime blues are common for those of us living in the northern latitudes of the U.S., and they usually begin when the days get shorter, darker, and greyer. The clinical name is Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It seems to be more common in women but more severe when it occurs in men. There may also be a genetic component, as with other forms of depression, that runs in families. Generally speaking, with SAD the changing levels of light impact the pineal gland and the production of both serotonin and melatonin, which may be connected to the development of depression in some people.

Symptoms of SAD may include any or all of the following:

  • Carbohydrate cravings, appetite changes, weight gain
  • Loss of energy, fatigue
  • Depression, hopelessness, anxiety
  • Increased sleepiness and sleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities and social withdrawal
  • Difficulty concentrating

SAD may increase the risk for a major depressive episode, which can lead to social withdrawal, work problems, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

Since the cause of SAD seems to be a lack of light, it makes sense that adding light may address the underlying cause and provide support. A number of clinical studies have now shown the effectiveness of light therapy in the treatment of SAD. A light box delivering 2,000-10,000 lux for 30-120 minutes daily during the winter is typical.

In addition, different color temperatures of “full spectrum” light have been studied and the use of the light box both morning and evening seems to work best. Bright light seems to increase serotonin levels, so it is no surprise that light therapy has been shown to be as effective as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medications, which raise serotonin levels, in a number of studies.

>> To read the full article by Dr. Arianna Staruch, click here

Image (c)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Help Support Your Kid's Health Naturally

Fall is all around. As the leaves change bright colors and the air turns crisp, winter bugs can sneak up on us*. And when someone in your family is sick, everyone suffers! You want to do something to help them, but what?

There are many natural remedies you can try to help support healthy immune function*. Here are some tips for parents and caregivers from ACHS adjunct instructor Deborah Halvorson, BA, Dip Aroma, RA, who says, “I've never used over-the-counter cold remedies with my kids, just herbs and essential oils, and when the colds start going around, my kids generally get over it much quicker than their friends and classmates.”

One of Deborah’s favorite cough recipes is vapor balm, which is a natural alternative to a VapoRub-type ointment. Here’s a recipe you can use to make vapor balm at home. The recipe has been adapted from Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathy Keville and Mindy Green.

Vapor Balm

1 cup Olive oil

3⁄4 oz. beeswax

1 1⁄2 tsp Eucalyptus (E. smithii) essential oil

1 tsp. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil

1⁄4 tsp Thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) essential oil

Directions: For children 2-10 years old, use Eucalyptus smithii and Thyme linalool; for older children and adults, E. globulus or E. radiata and Thyme ct. thymol can be used. For children ages 1-2 years, the above recipe can adapted using only the Eucalyptus smithii and leaving out the peppermint and thyme oils.

Melt beeswax and olive oil in top of double boiler. Allow to cool a bit and add essential oils. Pour into clean containers, label, and date. To use, rub a small amount on the child's chest.

For cold or flu with a fever, Deborah recommends a combination of lemon (Citrus limonum) and marjoram (Origanum marjorana) essential oils. Lemon may help reduce the fever, and marjoram traditionally has been used for respiratory infections and to help with sleep. To use these essential oils, blend 10 drops of lemon with 5 drops of marjoram; then add 1 drop of the blend into a warm bath before bedtime or nap time, or use the blend in a nebulizing diffuser.

If you child is experiencing nasal congestion or sinus infection, you can use essential oils with steam inhalation. For children older than 5, use the ratio of 3-5 drops of essential oil to 6 cups of water. To make the inhalation, boil the water and pour into a bowl, and then add the essential oils. Have the child inhale the steam, and be sure to remind them to keep their eyes closed and their face 8-12 inches from the bowl.

To use steam inhalation with children younger than 5, do not have them directly inhale the steam. Rather, place the bowl in the room with the child, and the essential oils will disperse into the air through the steam.

Essential oils typically considered effective and safe for use with children include:

  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica): An expectorant that may strengthen the immune system and have a calming/sedative action.
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri): Traditionally an immune system stimulant that may also help with cough.
  • Manuka/New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium): Traditionally used with bronchial congestion/bronchitis, sinus congestion/sinusitis, and has been shown to inhibit the growth of streptococcus (bacteria that cause strep throat) as well as bacteria that cause pneumonia. .
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana): An expectorant that may be helpful for respiratory infections and sinusitis, and is thought to have a calming action.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Traditionally used with respiratory infections and sinusitis (may be stimulating; do not use before bedtime).
  • Peppermint (Mentha x piperita): Frequently used with sinusitis and bronchitis. *Should not be used with children younger than 2.

If your child is willing to drink tea, a warm tea with honey (no honey for children younger than 12 months) can be soothing and comforting. Deborah recommends lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) for use with fever and to help calm fussy children. For use with coughs and achiness, lemon balm can also be combined with peppermint and chamomile (Matricaria recutita).

For more information, visit Cold and Flu--Just for Kids

*Always see your primary care physician for diagnosis. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. For informational purposes only. Not intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homeopathy Action Alert--Raise Your Voice for Homeopathy

Homeopathy has suffered a very serious attack. A UK based group (VoYS) from Sense About Science, dedicated to eliminating homeopathy, recently sent a letter to the World Health Organization asking WHO to condemn homeopathy in developing countries, especially in the areas of influenza, childhood diarrhoea, malaria and AIDS. WHO replied last week with statements from various Departmental Heads saying that they do not have any indication of effectiveness of homeopathy in any of these areas. BUT it did not say that the medicines are ineffective in these conditions. Above all there was NO official circular from WHO.

VoYS has twisted this response and circulated the response of WHO to the media and have amplified the letter as if it is a public announcement from WHO, which it is not. Additionally, VoYS has stated on its website that it will be contacting the Health Ministries of all countries in the world to let them know about the WHO response and press them to condemn homeopathy in their country.

The BBC online then spread this item as "WHO Warns Against Homeopathy Use". They have since revised their article to include additional perspectives on homeopathy. Read the BBC article here:

The original article, however, has already been printed by several publications, including
USA Today. To combat the spread of this information, HOMEOPATHY LIVES! is asking for action by:

1. Please send emails or letters to the BBC complaint department AND to other newspapers publishing the statement. Tell them that this headline is false and BBC has since changed the article. Here is a link to the letter HOMEOPATHY LIVES! sent to WHO, which can be adapted:

2. Forward this information to all of your homeopathy contacts and ask them to spread the word.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dr. Weil tells Portland "Why Our Health Matters"

Last Thursday, October 15, we went to hear Dr. Andrew Weil give a talk in downtown Portland. (Here's a picture of ACHS President Dorene Petersen with Dr. Weil outside the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.) Dr. Weil, author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, has a new book, Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine That Can Transform Our Future, which addresses many of our current healthcare myths and challenges, as well a “Call to Action” for change.

Did you know, for example, that the World Health Organization has ranked the U.S. 37th in the world for healthcare outcomes, which puts us on par with Serbia? We hear about healthcare and disease everyday, but do we really know what all the information circulating about means for our health? "We don't have healthcare," Dr. Weil said. "We have disease management."

Dr. Weil attributes the root problems causing "disease management," to the unimaginable and rising cost of healthcare. We literally cannot afford to get sick. Why the high costs? Dr. Weil talked about two main reasons: 1. We don't talk about prevention (or, not enough); and 2. Medicine is dependent on high-cost technology.

Why, then, aren't we serious about prevention? What's holding us back? What can we do?

"The real meat of prevention is lifestyle medicine," Dr. Weil said. And, "if we are going to see meaningful healthcare reform, it will have to come from you."

So, how can you get started?

Here are some changes we can demand immediately, Dr. Weil's Call to Action. This list has been adapted from information included in "Why Our Health Matters" program materials.

1. Ban direct-to-consumer marketing and advertising by big pharma.

The pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable in the country, with sales totaling about $643 billion a year. Most pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of their budget on advertising, which has created a skewed view of how health care works, that there is a “pill for every health problem.”

2. Create a National Institute of Health and Healing at the NIH and fund it generously.

Medicine needs to “return to its roots,” to focus on the natural healing power of humans. Research into the body’s ability to defend itself and regenerate will help achieve this. As a result, we will create and improve treatment and therapies that are less invasive and expensive.

3. Create an Office of health and Promotion within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and fund it appropriately.

Obesity kills about 400,000 people a year; yet, we spend 40 times more on the health risks of terrorism than obesity. The emphasis should be on prevention, not on treating disease. Education about nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle is the most effective way to “defeat the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and conditions that lead to life-threatening diseases.”

4. Teach health promotion and integrative medicine at medical schools and residency programs.

We need “hands-on primary care physicians” who can education their patients about prevention of disease in addition to strategies for disease management and crisis intervention.

5. Require insurers to cover health promotion and integrative care.

Today, millions of Americans are taking supplements, practicing yoga, and using other natural modalities, which are all preventative measures that will “keep them out of the doctor’s office and drive down the costs of treating serious problems like heart disease and diabetes.” Yet, insurance companies do not cover these activities.

6. Establish an Office of Health Education within the U.S. Department of Education.

Healthy habits needs to start young. An Office of Health Education would make nutrition, diet, an integral part of every child’s education and would promote new and more meaningful ways to teach health.

7. Learn how to take care of yourself.

“You can’t afford to get sick, and you can’t depend on the present health care system to keep you well.” You have to make the right lifestyle choices to protect and maintain your body’s health.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eye of Newt, 3 spider legs and a full moon

Or a cup of tea- Not many appreciate the fact herbs have been around back when Hypocrites was forming the medical community rules and guidelines. Often in todays fast paced, high stressed lifestyle we run to the over the counter quick fixes and ignore the time tested herbal alternatives. Heck, I am an herbalist and even i will offer cough medicine this time of year when one of my kids wakes me up in the middle of the night coughing. Though when I was a little girl my mother would offer me lemon and honey tea--perhaps with some catnip in it as well. I remember how soothing and pleasant the honey and lemon would taste with the warm water, the honey would be thick with granulated pieces that would crunch in my mouth and scratch my itchy throat as it went down to my belly. The cup of tea would soothe my spirit as well as my sore throat--and the healing properties in the local honey along with the vitamins in the lemon would set to work in my immune system. The catnip would soothe my need to cough and allow me to return to my sleep.

Now, I love our earth and I love science--this is why my professional and personal passions are total wellness. I know when we combined our thoughts of wellness to the right scientific measures we are 13 steps ahead of those over-the-counter quick "fixes". Very similar to the common sense of washing our hands to prevent the spread of the cold and flu viruses which seem to jump from person to person so quickly during the cold winter months. Benjamin Franklin is given credit for the quote "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and I think we need to consider what he meant by this. Waking up at 2 a.m. to a coughing child--that needs a cure, right? We need the child to sleep well, we need the child to return to a healthy state, right? However, what if we offered that soothing cup of catnip tea before bed? Perhaps as a nightly routine when colds and flu are upon us--soothing warm tea and a bedtime story. We would save the time it takes in lost sleep preparing the tea and soothing the child back to bed. This is also what I love about herbal therapies, in some regards the safety of them offers such a convenient healthy way of prevention! We can't just offer to our children cold medicine each evening just in case the may succumb to the viruses that are inside of them laying in wait. That would be more potential for harm than it would be for good. To the contrary, catnip is non habit forming, the fresh leaves contain vitamins A,B and C--all immune supporting vitamins. The plant contains minerals like calcium and zinc both shown to improve your state of health as well as iron which is needed by everyone as well. How many vitamins and minerals does the average over the counter child's cold remedy contain? Yeah--exactly.
So, next time you walk by your catnip plant outside, grab some leaves to prepare some tea. No catnip plant? That is OK, you can order some! This is the ounce of prevention you need to have in your cupboards during the cold season so your family, including your little ones, are not down and out.

How to Prepare Catnip Tea
Boil 1 cup of water.
In a tea cup of your choice add 1 teaspoon dried mint, pour boiled water over the herb and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the herb and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon as well as 1 tsp raw organic honey. Stir and sip while still warm.

***Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid catnip. Nursing fathers should probably also avoid it--just on the side of caution ;)***

-Maureen Jeanson CMH, cPT

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ACHS featured in Real Authentic Woman magazine

In 1978, Dorene Petersen founded a college in New Zealand, designed to bring distance-learning and study of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) a.k.a. holistic health, to interested students, living outside the college geographic locale. In 1989, Ms. Petersen brought ACHS to the United States, establishing the college in Oregon, where it has grown and expanded during these 20 years.

The value and necessity of holistic health practice and treatment, which considers the person--mind, spirit and body--as a whole, has increased tremendously since 1989, as Western medicine has consistently been shown to be incomplete in its approach to treatments of many conditions (especially preventative practices). Often Western medicine will damage a system of the body, in treating another system, such as is the case with chemotherapy. Holistic health knowledge and practice has never been more pertinent and ACHS is the leader in the holistic, alternative healthcare world, providing serious instruction and guidance to hundreds of students, most of whom have eyes on a career as alternative healthcare practitoners--but also "hobbyists" who wish to apply these ancient, time-tested principles of healing and health maintenance to themselves and their families.

>>Download the complete article about ACHS in PDF format here

© 2009 Emerson Sandow, Real Authentic Woman Magazine:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oregano essential oil featured in Well Being Journal for antiseptic properties

Common oregano, Origanum vulgare, "has long been used as a remedy for digestive, respiratory and rheumatic problems and as a treatment for stings and bites," according to the article "Natural Solutions to Drug-Resistant Infections," which appeared in the September/October 2009 edition of Well Being Journal.

Author CJ Puotinen provides a detailed list of recommended uses for Origanum vulgare based on the text The Cure Is in the Cupboard: How to Use Oregano for Better Health by Cass Ingram, who recommends both the dried herb and essential oil for: allergies, asthma, cold sores, colds, congestion, fatigue, flu, gastritis, parasites, tooth and gum infections, ulcers, and urinary infections, to name a few.

Regarding suggested use, Puotinen says Origanum vulgare can be made into a "water-based antiseptic solution." It can also be grow and dried for use in capsules or made into a tincture.

>> If you want to learn more about the use of essential oils to help support your body's optimal function, click here

To purchase therapeutic grade Origanum vulgare essential oil, visit the Apothecary Shoppe

Monday, October 12, 2009

World Osteoporosis Day is October 20!

World Osteoporosis Day is coming up, October 20!

Sponsored by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) is an opportunity to educate the public and policy makers about prevention. The WOD website urges us all to "Stand Tall for bone health!" by taking up their 'call to action' and spreading the word about the importance of prevention, early detection, and affordable therapies for those suffering with osteoporosis.

What You Should Know

Osteoporosis, or decreased mineralization of the bone, typically occurs in people older than 50, but can start as early as 40. The common cause is usually an inadequate amount of calcium and vitamin D over a long period of time. However, there are additional causes. For example, an inability to absorb calcium from the intestines, a calcium/phosphorus imbalance, lack of exercise, and postmenopausal hormonal imbalance can also be causes.

To detect osteoporosis, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a Dexscane, which tests for bone mass density.

Holistic Protocols for Prevention

Nutrition, supplements, exercise, aromatherapy, and herbs can all be used to help support osteoporosis prevention. For example, herbal sources of calcium can easily be incorporated into the daily diet and include alfalfa Medicago sativa, chamomile Matricaria recutita, dandelion Taraxacum officinal, and plantain Plantago major.

Similarly, weight-bearing exercise like walking and weight lifting have been shown to stimulate the production of new bone and can easily be incorporated in your everyday health and wellness routine. Exercise also strengthens muscle that supports the joints, which can help improve balance and prevent falls.

>> For more information about bone health, check out "Vitamin D is not just for healthy bones" by ACHS Academic Dean Dr. Arianna Staruch

Prevention and health protocols should be adopted well before symptoms of osteoporosis appear. However, this information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Rather, before making any significant changes to your diet, exercise, and/or health routine, it is recommended that you consult with your primary healthcare provider first.

>> To read more about World Osteoporosis Day and to take the One-Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test, visit the International Osteoporosis Foundation website

Friday, October 9, 2009

The antiviral activity of essential oils

BY Arianna Staruch, ND, ACHS Academic Dean

A recent study looked at preparing a nasal spray from the essential oil of bupleurum root (Radix bupleuri) and tested it in animals for effectiveness. It did show promise as a fever reducer. However, many essential oils can be irritating to mucus membranes and should not be used undiluted or without first doing a skin patch test.

So how can you use essential oil in your everyday life to help reduce to risk of viral infection? Essential oils can be used in the home as antiviral cleaning products. A diffuser with any of the oils listed above, such as eucalyptus, lemon balm, or peppermint, may reduce the airborne viruses in a room. In addition, essential oils may be added to hand creams to help reduce the spread of viruses by contact. Of course, these should be used in addition to the common sense CDC recommendations to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with your arm when you sneeze, and to stay home if you are sick. (You should see your primary care provider for a proper diagnosis if you think you may have the seasonal flu or the H1N1 flu, and follow their recommendations.) This fall may be a challenging time because there is the potential for many people to be sick with the flu at the same time, but we can use natural support options, such as essential oils, to keep us healthy.

>> Click here to read the full-length article about using essential oils to reduce the risk of viral infection

1. Astani, A., Reichling, J., and Schnitzler, P. Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytother Res. 2009 Aug 3.
2. Reichling, J., Koch, C., Stahl-Biskup, E., Sojka, C., and Schnitzler, P.
Virucidal activity of a beta-triketone-rich essential oil of Leptospermum scoparium (manuka oil) against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in cell culture. Planta Med. 2005 Dec;71(12):1123-7.
3. Schnitzler, P., Schuhmacher, A., Astani, A., and Reichling, J. Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses. Phytomedicine. 2008 Sep;15(9):734-40.
4. Hayashi, K., Kamiya, M., Hayashi, T. Virucidal effects of the steam distillate from Houttuynia cordata and its components on HSV-1, influenza virus, and HIV. Planta Med. 1995 Jun;61(3):237-41.
5. Xie, Y., Lu, W., Cao, S., Jiang, X., Yin, M., and Tang, W. Preparation of bupleurum nasal spray and evaluation on its safety and efficacy. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006 Jan;54(1):48-53.

>> For information about organic essential oils, click here

>> To learn more about aromatherapy classes, click here

Herbs and natural foods support optimal brain function

"Many foods an nutrients are known to improve brain function," according to NaturalNews. "Fish has long been known as 'brain food' because of the omega 3 fatty acids, but many other foods can improve and maintain healthy mental function and improve memory."

Adaptogens, for example, help brain function by reducing stress caused by the "fight or flight" response (such as, ginseng and rhodalia), while other plants work to detoxify the blood and brain (such as cabbage, broccoli, collards, kale, brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, arugula, radish, wasabi, watercress, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabaga, and turnips).

Other types of brain-healthy herbs and foods include vitamin D, which is important for calcium absorption, omega 3 fatty acids, thought to help with mood, and protein foods.

In general, "to improve brain function, avoid foods that contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup. [...] Processed foods in general, do not help build healthy bodies or brains."

>> For more information about herbs, herbal medicine, and holistic nutrition, click here
>> Read the full-length article on NaturalNews here

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beekeeping for medicinal use

Mother Earth News has a very useful article on their website right now, "Keeping Bees Using the Top-bar Beekeeping Method." With this method, author Phil Chandler says, you can build simple, inexpensive hives now and start keeping bees as soon as next spring.

Unlike more conventional hives, with this method, Chandler explains, "you build simple box hives with slats (bars) of wood laid across the top, to which the bees attach their wax comb." The benefits of which include: less expense, increased pollination and improved yield of fruits and veggies, and production of both honey and beeswax in a rural OR urban setting.

Chandler's one caution, however: "If your goal is to obtain the absolute maximum amount of honey regardless of all other considerations, top-bar beekeeping is not for you. This style of beekeeping can produce adequate amounts of honey, but the emphasis is on sustainability and keeping healthy bees rather than maximizing honey crops."

>> For detailed instructions about how to build top-bar hives and the medicinal benefits of small-scale beekeeping, visit the Mother Earth News website:


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Herbs used around the world to protect against swine flu

The October issue of HerbalEGram features an article about how herbs like holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) are being used in countries worldwide to help protect against swine flu. The "International Report on Herbs and Swine Flu" cites statistics from a recent World Health Organization report: "More than 300,000 people around the world are estimated to have contracted Influenza A(H1N1) virus, and at least 3,917 people have died from it." Though a shortage of vaccination is not expected in the U.S., many developing countries will not be able to supply the demand of the their population and as a result "some in these nations are turning to medicinal herbs with immune-boosting properties in attempts to help protect against the virus."

In Bangalore, for example, "people are purchasing Indian tinospora (Tinospora cordifolia), a deciduous climbing shrub with anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects, and immune-boosting properties." In addition, in the "Indian tribal district of Dangs, where medicinal plants grow throughout the forests, the health department is giving tourists an herbal drink also containing Indian tinospora. Prepared by local Ayurvedic doctors, the drink also contains holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which exhibits adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities, and ginger (Zingiber officinale) root, which has anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory effects and also aids digestion."

>> To find out more about how herbs are being used to help protect against H1N1, click here for the full-length article:

>> If you're interested in learning more about herbal medicine, click here for more information from the American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Image ©

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Physicians Can Benefit from Adding CAM to Their Practices

The American Academy of Family Physicians released a new article on their website earlier this month, "New Report Details Billions Americans Spend on Complementary Alternative Medicine," which explores growing use of CAM in the U.S. and by family physicians.

According to the article, "U.S. adults spent a total of $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on CAM products, classes and materials and on visits to CAM professionals in 2007. Ten years earlier, that out-of-pocket figure was estimated at $27 billion."

Therefore, family physicians can benefit from incorporating CAM into their practices in many ways. For example, the AAFP article explains how "family physicians can build in discussions of CAM during face-to-face office visits for specific complaints [...] by suggesting, for example, nasal irrigation for allergies and respiratory problems; yoga relaxation breathing for insomnia and anxiety; yin yoga for back, hip and flexibility problems; journaling for grief, depression, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma; and meditation and prayer for hypertension, stress and depression.

In addition, "New Report Details Billions Americans Spend on Complementary Alternative Medicine," includes information about CAM remedies that the AAFP feels have been proven effective in studies. Examples listed in the article include:
  • glucosamine sulfate for osteoarthritis;
  • saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia;
  • topical tea tree oil for acne;
  • turmeric for prevention of Alzheimer's disease and as an anti-inflammatory;
  • melatonin for insomnia;
  • fish oil for heart disease; and
  • ginkgo biloba for vascular dementias and claudication.
>> If you're interested in learning more about CAM for personal or professional use, visit the American College of Healthcare Sciences website at

>> To read the full-length article, visit the American Academy of Family Physician website at or CLICK HERE

Monday, September 28, 2009

United Aromatherapy Effort Needs Your Help

A few months ago, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, Founder and Director of the United Aromatherapy Effort, Inc., started a new campaign to provide military personnel and their families with emotional and physical support, including the use of aromatherapy and massage.

Sylla partnered the UAE with the United Service Organizations (USO) to provide troops with comforts away from home and has since sent a test box to Camp Phoenix. The soldiers at Camp Phoenix will forward the natural bug sprays sent to Forward Operating Bases for testing.

Now the United Aromatherapy Effort needs your help! According to a September press release, the UAE is "now soliciting small sprays for the next box to go to our "Soldier on the Ground" in Kabul, Afghanistan, Camp Phoenix." They are looking for individual sprays (2-4 oz), and suggested blends include:
  • Respiratory (conifers/pines), because the air quality there is very bad (dusty, dry, and smelly), and quite polluted as well.
  • Relaxing and sleepy time blends because the stress level is quite extreme.
  • Wake up sprays for alert time, night duty, and morning call.
The UAE says to send anything anytime! If you want to ship directly, contact Sylla; otherwise, send to Florida or Louisiana, whichever is the closest location to you, and the UAE will ship to AFG from these two locations:

SHIP TO: UAE/ c/o Sylla Sheppard Hanger, 16018 Saddlestring Dr, Tampa, FL 33618

or UAE c/o Geraldine Zelinsky, 6051 Roma Dr. #103 Shreveport, LA 71105

To read more about the UAE and military disaster relief, visit

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ACHS named Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) has been named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. The 2010 G.I. Jobs list of Military Friendly Schools honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools who do the most to create opportunity for American veterans.

As a member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), ACHS strictly complies with SOC principles and criteria and provides flexible programs, including: accommodations for non-traditional learners, a fully online format, and 24-hour access. In addition, ACHS accepts all military education benefits and has partnered with the Imagine America Foundation to offer a Military Scholarship for veterans and military spouses.

“This list is especially important now,” said G.I. Jobs publisher Rich McCormack, “because the recently enacted Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school. Veterans can now enroll in any school, provided they’re academically qualified. […] Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend.”

The American College currently has more than 100 military and veteran students enrolled.

The American College recently returned from the DoD Worldwide Education Symposium, where Kate Harmon, ACHS Director of Military Relations, and Dean of Admissions and Military Education Coordinator Tracey Miller met with Education Officers to educate them about how servicemembers can maximize their military education benefits while studying in the dynamic field of complementary alternative medicine.

The G.I. Jobs list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled from more than 7,000 schools polled nationwide. An Academic Advisory Committee including educators and administrators from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toledo, Duquesne University, Coastline Community College, and Lincoln Technical Institute helped to develop the methodology, criteria, and weighting for the list.

The criteria for being selected as a Military Friendly School included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students, and academic accreditations.

American College of Healthcare Sciences is the only accredited, fully online college offering degrees, diplomas, and career-training certificates in complementary alternative medicine. 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, call (503) 244-0726, or stop by the College campus located at 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland OR 97239.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Aromatic Journey in the Eastern Mediterranean

BY Dorene Petersen, ACHS President

Chios's aromatic mastic gum oozes silently and slowly from the wounds cut into the Mastic tree trunk and forms droplets. Diamond-like droplets fall to the ground and collect beneath the tree. Sparkling with a clear brilliance when the sun hits them, they lie on the ground protected from the soil and debris by a layer of white clay tamped down and flattened to form a table-like surface until they harden and are gathered. The white clay placed under the tree keeps it clean and transparent and is called a trapezi or table. One-thousand tons of kaolin is used per year on Chios to make the white tables under the mastic trees.

My husband Robert Seidel from The Essential Oil Company and I have sailed to the eastern Mediterranean beating into the meltemi wind howling from the northwest to visit the Greek island of Chios. We are on a mission to learn as much as we can about the Chios mastic tree and understand how the now European Union-protected Chios mastic gum is harvested. We have had the great fortune to meet two experts, John Perikos, author of many books including The Chios Gum Mastic, and Vassilis Ballas, who along with his wife Roula moved to Chios from Athens to become a mastic farmer and to provide ecotours of the mastic fields amongst other fascinating things. They have established a company called "masticculture".

John and Vassilis kindly spend time with us and share the mastic gum process and their vast knowledge, much of which is handed down verbally. Vassilis drives us around the island sharing all the secret fascinating places, which are tourist destinations, but so strangely signposted we miss them when driving ourselves. Vassilis takes us out into the mastic fields so we can experience the aromatic trees and the gathering process first hand.

Mastic gum must coagulate before it is collected. There are two major collection dates. One starts around August 15th and the other September 15th. The area under the tree is swept with a regular broom and the entire collection is picked up and put in a sack. The sacks are taken back to the village (originally by donkey, but now in a strange-looking vehicle that resembles a lawn mower on wheels with a truck-bed addition in the rear). They say you can tell a mastic grower by the vehicle and we see a determined old lady, her head wrapped tightly in a white scarf, driving a bunch of what could have been her grandkids through the town of Prygi, one of the quaint medieval mastic villages in one of these converted lawn mowers. The sacks of mastic harvest contain lots of soil and debris, as well as the gum, and they sit until October or November when the mastic gum cleaning process begins. The sacks are emptied into half barrels full of water. The leaves float and are collected with a sieve and put aside. The remaining material is left in the water for three days. Calcium carbonate is added to the water changing the density and the mastic gum floats to the surface. The mastic is skimmed off and sorted. Gum must be refrigerated if it is stored before being delivered to the cooperative, which is in Chios town.

The Cooperative sorts the mastic again. This time women clad in pretty pale-blue smocks with matching hair coverings, and all wearing latex gloves, sit around a large table covered in mastic tears and with speed and dexterity using a small sharp pointed knife blade they cut away impurities and they "pick" through the gum, sorting it by size and color. Here also is a computer which analyzes quality by passing it through a light box that checks the color clarity and can also give an average size for payment. All mastic gum gathered must be sold to the Cooperative. The Cooperative was started in 1938. Mastic producers must sell to the cooperative and even if they want to make their own product they must sell the gum and then buy it back. The Cooperative has stabilized prices and has done a lot to promote Mastic gum with exports of Chios Gum mastic increasing considerable over the years since it was formed. The new chain of Gum Mastica boutiques one of which recently opened in New York is the brainchild of the commercial division of the Cooperative. [...]

You may wonder why mastic produces this wonderful therapeutic gum. The mastic is said to be in the tree to protect it. Vasillis says, "You can take the same tree and plant it in Sweden and it will not produce mastic". The mastic gum from Chios has been granted protection by the European Union with designations such as PDO - Protected Designation of Origin; PGI- Protected Geographical Indication and TSG Traditional Specialty Guaranteed. Only the Chios gum mastic has these designations.

>> To learn more about mastic and download mastic recipes and formulas, click here. Or, go to and click on News and Events.