Thursday, July 28, 2011

American College of Healthcare Sciences Raises Lavender Awareness Through Community Wellness Events and U-Pick

On July 20 we hosted our annual Lavender Open House community wellness event at the College campus. More than forty people attended the event to raise awareness about the benefits of growing and harvesting lavender for personal health and as a garden aid!!

Our ACHS Chief Institutional Officer and Master Gardener, Erika Yigzaw, led participants through a series of hands-on workshops highlighting the holistic health applications of lavender, including a lecture about the aromatherapeutic properties, a demonstration of how to use lavender in personal care items, and a demonstration of how to grow, harvest, and pot lavender and other herbs for culinary and herbal medicine use.

Free downloadable videos from the day’s events will be available through the ACHS YouTube channel, ACHStv (, and photos and suggested uses for lavender are available on ACHS Facebook (

Download and read the full-text press release online here:

We'd love to hear from you! What lavender-specific topics would you like ACHS to cover at our next Lavender Open House event?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do You Use Cananga Oil As An Alternative to Ylang Ylang: ACHStv Gathering Canaga Flowers for Distillation

ACHS College President Dorene Petersen recently traveled to East Java. Here's an ACHStv video from her trip about how cananga flowers are gathered for distillation.

The terms cananga and ylang ylang are sometimes used interchangeably but there are botanical and subsequently essential oil differences. Ylang ylang is Cananga odorata var. genuine while cananga is Cananga odorata var. macrophylla. Both are from the Anonaceae family.

The trees of C. odorata var. macrophylla are quite common in East Java. The oil is extracted from cananga flowers using the hydro distillation process. The oil content in the flower varies from 0.75% to 1%. Total annual production of cananga oil in Indonesia is approximately 30-35 tons.

The main distillation season for cananga oil is from July to October. Areas of concern for this industry are the lack of tree replanting, while the existing trees are getting old and being attacked by caterpillars, which eat up all the leaves. The trees are not managed and grow to heights of 40-50 feet, which makes it difficult and dangerous to harvest. Previously a harvester had fallen from a tree and died from the injuries.

There is potential for developing and encouraging awareness of environmental issues and sustainability practices. The market for cananga oil is small so the price paid to the flower harvesters is low - approximately $0.45 U.S. per kg. Its continued production is tentative given the areas of concern and the low market demand.

This is an oil that deserves a closer look at by aromatherapists, natural product manufacturers, and natural perfumers.

Do you use cananga oil as an alternative to ylang ylang? We'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to post your comments here or to ACHS Facebook at

Lavender U-Pick at ACHS and Lavender Open House Pictures

Our Lavender Open House July 20 was so much fun! Thanks to everyone who participated.

If you're in the Portland area but were unable to attend in-person, stop by the ACHS campus @ 5940 SW Hood Ave, Portland for U-PICK LAVENDER from our Botanical Teaching Garden. It's just $6/bunch! Call (503) 244-0726 for more info. We look forward to seeing you!

We posted pictures from the Lavender Open House to ACHS Facebook here Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite lavender tips!

Visit our YouTube channel ACHStv for videos of the day's demonstrations, too.

Photo of Erika Yigzaw, ACHS Chief Institutional Officer and Master Gardener, demonstrating how to pot lavender and herbs. Image by Joel Strimling, Dean of Freshmen Students. Image © ACHS 2011.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Use Your Essential Oil Travel Kit

Join Tracey Miller from the American College of Healthcare Sciences at the Beaverton Farmer's Market as she walks you through the seven must-have essential oils for travel: cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), lemon (Citrus limonum), tea tree Australia (Melaleuca alternifolia), peppermint (Mentha piperita var. vulgaris), and ylang yang (Cananga odorata). Traveling with essential oils is a great way to support you health while traveling and to have your sustainable, natural first aid kit on the go!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ACHS Annual Lavender Open House, Distillation, and U Pick July 20

We are soooooo excited about our Lavender Open House tomorrow. If you're in the Portland area, make sure to stop by the ACHS campus from 11 am-2 pm for a workshop about the health benefits of lavender, growing lavender, and how to distill and harvest lavender. It's going to be lots of fun!

If you're able to attend, make sure to RSVP to (503) 244-0726 or email The event will be at the ACHS campus at 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland Oregon 97239. You can find directions to our campus online here:

If you're not able to attend in person, not to worry--we'll post lots of pictures and video from the day's events to ACHS on Facebook at AND our YouTube channel, ACHStv here

Here's a clip from our 2009 Lavender Open House and Distillation. Enjoy! Watch Parts 2-5 on ACHStv here

Cananga Flowers (Ylang Ylang) Being Sorted and Gathered From the Ground

Cananga flowers (ylang ylang) being sorted and gathered from the ground. The flowers drop to the ground after they are cut from a very tall tree. The harvester, in this case a man, was perilously perched 40 feet above the ground in the branches executing the cut with a hooked blade tied to a 15 foot stick. His wife is on the ground sorting and gathering with amazing speed. Unfortunately they are paid only .45 cents per kilo of flowers.

Photo by Dorene Petersen, ACHS President. © 2011. Bali.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lipstick for Dogs: An ACHS Fundraiser Benefiting the Oregon Humane Society

ACHS is hosting a fabulous fundraiser on July 27. We hope you can attend! 

Lipstick for Dogs is a fundraiser benefiting the Oregon Humane Society.

35% of retail sales and 15% of preferred client sales donated with a minimum $250 donation


Lipstick for Dogs features Arbonne vegan cosmetics, skin care, and nutrition products. Events include a raffle, free makeovers, and more!

July 27 from 5-8 pm, PST at the Apothecary Shoppe Store, American College of Healthcare Sciences, 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland Oregon.

For more information, call (800) 487-8839 and "Like" the American College of Healthcare Sciences on Facebook for more information:

For directions, visit our website at

Monday, July 11, 2011

Valerian in the Herb Garden: How to Grow and When to Harvest Valerian

Check out this new video we posted to ACHStv, our YouTube Channel ... In Valerian in the Herb Garden ACHS President Dorene Petersen gives a short overview of the herb valerian, including medicinal properties and tips for harvesting the root in the fall.

Be sure to share this link with your herbal medicine and gardening friends! Then post a comment with your best valerian tips for growing, harvesting, and using the herb in natural products!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meet Dean Vanderslice, Owner of edits!, and Learn to Harness the Clean Power of Essential Oils

ACHS Certificate in Aromatherapy Graduate Dean Vanderslice has found a unique way to combine her passions. Dean, owner of edits!, offers her clients more than one-day redesigns—she provides a fresh start.

“Our goal is to introduce a new beauty and function creating a new energy for living a more inspired life…naturally,” Dean says.

Edits! specializes in transforming homes and offices into stylish spaces by reusing, repurposing, and restyling things clients already own. While moving through a client’s space, edits! cleans, nourishes, and refreshes hard and soft surfaces with a line of non-toxic essential oil products Dean created.

“My confidence and passion for using essential oils in this way came from desperation, as most change does,” Dean says.

Six years ago, Dean’s husband underwent a stem cell transplant for a diagnosis of cancer. His doctor wanted him to live at home through the process because his body would already be used to bacteria, fungus, etc., living in the home verses a new environment, like the hospital. However, through the yearlong process, preventing exposure to new and seasonal “bugs” was critical.

“I was daunted by the task of keeping our home with two young children, two dogs, and lots of activity free of new germs,” Dean says. “I knew in my gut that Clorox and Lysol were not the answer for someone whose system was already being flooded with toxins. Thanks to my discovery of essential oils, we all survived and even thrived.”

Dean continued using essential oils to clean and disinfect her home, and soon began experimenting with using natural ingredients boosted by essential oils to counteract her husband’s chemo-dried skin. She also experimented with recipes for her daughters if they had sore muscles or started to get stuffy noses.

“I realized that since the use of essential oils, we had never been healthier. And I had to know more,” Dean says. “I found ACHS and was drawn to it because it was as serious as I was about utilizing the value of these amazing, therapeutic oils. I didn’t want fluff; I wanted real scientific information on why these oils worked and how to utilize them to their full potential. I got that and more. It was my first online study and although the coursework could be quite challenging, the process was simple. I enjoyed all my classes and was amazed and grateful that such acclaimed instructors took such time to develop us, not only as future aromatherapists, but business people as well.”

“As a mother of two teenage daughters, a wife to a husband who is a cancer survivor, and a business owner, I endorse a life that is simply free from artificial chemicals,” Dean says. “From what we eat, to what we put on our body, to what we clean our homes with—nature provides.”

For more information about edits! and Dean’s chemical-free products and philosophy, visit edits! online at or email Dean at

For more information about the ACHS Certificate in Aromatherapy, visit ACHS online at

Friday, July 1, 2011

Healthy July Fourth Grilling Alternatives

BBQ's are a holiday favorite. Grilling outdoors provides a great opportunity to share a delicious meal with friends and family. However, as recent reports highlight, cooking at high temperatures may produce chemicals with potential cancer-causing properties and grilling is "double trouble," according to the Harvard Health Letter.[1] The smoke that rises from the burning coals further exposes food to chemicals. To maximize flavor and support optimal health, it pays to take a few precautions.

The Harvard Health Letter suggests: 1. Cook smaller pieces because smaller pieces cook faster, reducing exposure. 2. Cook leaner means, which have less fat and produce less smoke. 3. Flip foods frequently.

If you want to skip the grilling altogether this 4th of July, here are a few of American College of Healthcare Sciences' favorite healthy, fresh, and flavorful recipes sure to be holiday hits! What are your favorite healthy holiday recipes? Post your recipes!

Garden Gazpacho
3 or 4 large tomatoes, peeled if desired, cored and quartered
1 medium Vidalia, Walla Walla, or other sweet onion, quartered
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into pieces
2 or 3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cucumber, peeled if waxed, cut into 8 or 10 pieces
About 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper
8 or 10 fresh basil leaves, minced

In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic, and cucumber. Process using the pulse button, until it is almost pureed. There should be a few bits of vegetable to bite down on; it should not be totally smooth. Stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lime juice, olive oil, bitters, salt, pepper, and basil. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving and taste for seasoning; adjust with vinegar or lime juice, salt, or pepper. Serve cold garnished with croutons.

Summer Fruit Salad with Infused Lemon Herb Syrup
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 large handful of fresh lemon herb leaves, bruised
Few strips of lime zest
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 firm ripe mango or papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small, ripe cantaloupe, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces

Make the flavored fruit syrup by combining the water, sugar, vanilla, herbs, and zest. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cooled to room temperature, strain the syrup and stir in the lime juice. At this point the syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Toss the mango, papaya, and pineapple in a large bowl. Pour the syrup over the fruit. Toss the mixture well. Cover the fruit and chill it for at least 1/2 hour before serving. Serve at cool room temperature.

[1] Harvard University. (2007, June). Tips for safer and healthier grilling, from the Harvard Health Letter. Retrieved from