Saturday, November 10, 2012

New blog address at

Hi folks!
We've moved our blog posts over to and we're trying to figure out how to feed that back over to this blogger blog... in the meantime, please go visit us there! Yesterdays blog post is all about Organic wine from one of our amazing faculty, Eleni Delfakis MD, RD..
Best wishes
Erika Yigzaw

Friday, August 17, 2012

Congratulations Recent ACHS Graduates! We can't wait to hear about all your future successes!

Congratulations, American College graduates! Hats off to you! We are very proud of your accomplishments and look forward to hearing all about your future successes. Join us in celebrating our latest ACHS grads, including:

• Allison Sarkar, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting (Honors)
• Amy Palena, Holistic Health Practice
• Aparna Chidambaram, Certificate in Natural Products Manufacturing (Honors)
• Aurora Boyers, Certificate in Wellness Consulting
• Beth Hooper, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Brittany Davis, Certificate in Natural Products Manufacturing
• Candace Wilken, Holistic Health Practice (Honors)
• Caroline Smith, Certificate in Aromatherapy
• Catherine Kubinec, Diploma in Holistic Health Practice (Honors), Certificate in Wellness Consulting (Honors), Certificate in Iridology Consulting (Honors)
• Charlene Young, Herbal Retail Management (Honors), Natural Products Manufacturing (Honors)
• Christina Rise, Certificate in Aromatherapy
• Christina Ybarra, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Cindy Chandler, Certificate in Wellness Consulting (Honors)
• Dorine King, Aromatherapy Master Aromatherapist
• Fabienne Bernard, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting (Honors), Certificate in Wellness Consulting (Honors)
• Fay Smith, Certificate in Herbal Retail Management
• Felicia Yifan Zhang, Certificate in Aromatherapy
• Haney Small, Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Inga Wieser, Certificate in Wellness Consulting (Honors), Certificate in Natural Products Manufacturing (Honors), Certificate in Herbal Retail Management (Honors), Certificate in Homeopathy Consulting (Honors)
• Janet Bodyfelt, Holistic Health Practice
• Jayson Rivest, Aromatherapy Master Aromatherapist
• Jillian Brummer, Certificate in Wellness Consulting
• Julia Becharas, Diploma in Herbal Studies Master Herbalist, Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine
• Kalli Heinze, Aromatherapy Master Aromatherapist
• Karen Eisenbraun, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Kendra Broyles, Certificate in Wellness Consulting
• Lanie Gladwin, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting, Certificate in Wellness Consulting
• Latasha Proctor, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Linda Hohmeister, Aromatherapy Master Aromatherapist
• Lori Herrmann, Natural Products Manufacturing (Honors)
• Lorraine Janssen, Herbal Studies Master Herbalist
• Luvena Rangel, Diploma in Holistic Health Practice (Honors)
• Malik Adisa-Ajene, Diploma in Holistic Health Practice
• Matthew McFarland, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Nancy Jean Jones, Certificate in Aromatherapy (Honors)
• Norma Bewell, Certificate in Wellness Consulting
• Renata Hinton, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Robin Hardt, Iridology Consulting, Herbal Studies Master Herbalist
• Ronna Haxby, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting (Honors)
• Sarah Guarin, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Sharon Marks, Diploma in Holistic Health Practice
• Soleil Hawthorne, Diploma in Holistic Health Practice
• Suzanne Gossett, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting (Honors)
• Tammy Olsen, Certificate in Wellness Consulting (Honors), Diploma in Aromatherapy Master Aromatherapist (Honors), Certificate in Herbal Retail Management (Honors)
• Teresa Graner, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting
• Victoria Shibata-Hatch, Herbal Studies Master Herbalist
• Virginia McDevitt, Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting (Honors)

ACHS graduates, you know first-hand the excitement and potential challenges of going back to school. You can help new and prospective ACHS students get started on the right foot by sharing your experiences.  Become an ACHS Ambassador today and help others change their life the way you've made positive change in yours!

Being an ACHS ambassador gives you the opportunity to share your story, develop confident communication skills, strengthen your holistic health community and help others in their education and holistic health journey.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the ACHS Ambassadors program today!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Netiquette, Twitiquette, and Blogger-Etiquette for Sharing Content

BY Erika Yigzaw, American College of Healthcare Sciences Chief Institutional Officer

Do you love our natural health and wellness blog? Want to share some content with your website readers or store customers? Who doesn’t want to share tips on how to get well and healthy with simple therapeutic lifestyle changes and organic botanicals!

But when does sharing become stealing? We love when you share, but we’ve seen entire blog posts show up elsewhere without a word as to where it came from. Boo! Hiss! It takes time and effort to come up with good content and stealing is not just illegal, it’s really bad karma!

Google announced this week that they will be taking even more steps to lower rankings for sites that steal content, so how do you ensure you’re following the rules? Not just the rules of copyright law (can you explain “fair use” at a cocktail party?) but also the netiquette, twitiquette, and blogger-etiquette of it all!

How to quote, cite, borrow, and rework existing content is a common issue for students, but it doesn’t go away once you graduate. Most business owners need to steadily create content for blogs and websites, and that can be tiring, particularly if you’re not that handy with the keyboard. While some copying is blatant and just plain rude, we know that lots of folks out there are innocently copying and pasting away without realizing they are skating on thin ice. There is no “10% rule.”

We love this blog post from Hubspot on how to share and give credit in a way that builds your credibility and links, rather than inadvertently stealing content and hurting your Google rankings:

And here are some other ideas on how to get original content for your website or blog:
  • Invite guest bloggers to contribute. (Are YOU interested in writing a blog post for the ACHS blog? Email us today! No, really. We’re talking to you!) This is a great way to increase your content while helping someone else get more readers to their own site and business.
  • Hire a ghost blogger. It’s hard to make a living as a writer in your pajamas. There are lots of would-be Huffington Post writers out there who can write for you and your business. As a ghost writer, they don’t get credit or links out to their own business, but you have to pay them. What to pay ghost writers depends on the industry, experience, word count, etc.
  • Get a copy of Dragon Dictate. It helps avoid carpal tunnel and makes getting that stream of consciousness down on “paper” that much easier.
Do you have a blog or newsletter for your holistic health business? What are your favorite tips for generating new content?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

5 Essential Tips To Know When Using Hydrosols

BY ACHS President Dorene Petersen, BA, Dip.NT, Dip.Acu, RH (AHG)

Throughout your aromatherapy studies, you will have come across reference to aromatic waters, hydrosols, hydrolats, and floral waters.  Essentially, these are all the same thing: the alluring aromatic waters that result from the cooling of the steam process during the distillation of essential oils. I prefer the term hydrosol.

Long thought of as a by-product of distillation, hydrosols are enjoying a revival. Hydrosols are an important tool in your aromatherapy toolbox for health and wellness.

Here are five essential tips to get you started:

1. Gentler? More Balanced? Ever wonder why hydrosols are said to have a more gentle and balanced action?  Hydrosols are jam-packed full of therapeutic constituents, but at a fraction of the concentration of an essential oil. Captured in their aromatic waters are tiny amounts of the volatile aromatherapy essential oil, most of which has been separated off.  Plus, the water-soluble volatiles that don’t make it into the essential oil are captured in the hydrosol. So hydrosols contain a more broad spectrum of constituents and can offer a gentler tool for health and wellness than an aromatherapy essential oil. Hydrosols are yet another way to harness the health and wellness potential from aromatic herbs and botanicals!
Loading the still to distill aromatherapy essential oils at the ACHS campus distillation lavender open house. Pictured here ACHS President Dorene Petersen, ACHS CIO Erika Yigzaw and local massage therapist Donald Toomim. Copyright ACHS 2012.

ACHS CIO Erika Yigzaw using a pipette to separate lavender essential oil from the hydrosol from distillation of L. Angustifolia. Copyright ACHS 2012.

2.  Aromatherapy Essential Oils versus Hydrosols: You know that old saying oil and water don’t mix? Well, in an aromatherapy grade hydrosol, a small amount of essential oil is already diluted and mixed in water. You will learn throughout your online aromatherapy classes at ACHS and your holistic health careers that wellness is something we should ideally do everyday: Hydrosols make it easier to accomplish daily health and wellness. No need to dilute or create blends - the hydrosol can be used as a room and body spray right away. Plus, the fact that the essential oil is physically dissolved in the aromatic water assists the body to absorb it.
ACHS separator separating the essential oil from the hydrosol at the ACHS 2012 Lavender Open House.

3. But is it safe? Safety is always key so this is always a good question to ask. Hydrosols are safe and have been used for many centuries throughout many civilizations and still are.  For example, the aromatic water of Sage Salvia triloba is liberally drunk in many Middle Eastern countries. In Turkey, when you are invited to someone’s home, you'll often be offered a glass of iced sage hydrosol is usual  - an instant and effective antibacterial and antioxidant refreshment.  Rose water and orange blossom water are two other hydrosols that have a long history of culinary use.

4. What about external application? Splash on and leave to dry – yes, hydrosols are an ideal, quick, and easy external application. Remember they don’t contain alcohol which can be drying and sting if the skin is cut, grazed, sensitive or inflamed. When concocting an unguent or cream, think about adding a hydrosol rather than a tincture; it is milder on the skin. Preparing a hair tonic? Think hydrosol!

5. Inhalation: This is one case when you want to inhale! Spray and breathe deep – yes it is that easy. Unlike infusions, lotions, essential oils and tinctures, which all need a level of preparation before the client can use them, aromatic waters are mostly instantly available for a range of internal and external uses. For example, a spray bottle of chamomile Matricaria chamomilla water in your purse or kept at home can be sprayed too soothe skin after a little too much sun or a brush with some irritating plants after a day in the garden. Or use the chamomile Matricaria chamomilla hydrosol as a facial toner, inhaled in hot water or added to a baby’s bath . . . the list is endless. You can even add a teaspoon of chamomile Matricaria chamomilla hydrosol to your chamomile tea for a relaxing end to the day or after a big meal. Need a calming and soothing skin tonic? Spray with Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia. Musty smell in the garbage or anywhere around the house? Spray Lavandin Lavandula intermedia. (What? Aren't they the same? No! Lavandula angustifolia is very different from Lavandula intermedia - more on that in another blog post!) Freshen up the laundry while drying by soaking a cloth in  Lavandin Lavandula intermedia, and toss it in while the clothes are on the dry cycle. Feeling out of sorts because it’s that “time of the month”? Spray your face and wrists three times a day with Vitex Vitex angus-castus hydrosol! As you can see, there are many choices of hydrosols for health and wellness!

The American College of Healthcare Sciences’ Apothecary Shoppe College Store provides a small select range of boutique, hand-distilled therapeutic hydrosols available in 2-16 ounce sizes.

Watch Dorene Petersen distilling Lavender Lavandula intermedia at the ACHS campus during the 2012 ACHS Lavender Open House: 
Learn more about aromatherapy preparations with ACHS's comprehensive, accredited, online diplomas, certificates, and courses. Click here to request more information today.

This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease.  ACHS has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by ACHS.

U-pick lavender at the ACHS Campus 2012.

Friday, July 27, 2012

How to Make Homemade Lavender Lemonade and Lavender-Infused Water

We love making our own fresh-from-the-garden libations! They're easy to make, refreshing (especially in the summer), delicious, and a great alternative to sugary drinks! Herbal-infused spa water is one of our favorites, like a combination of cucumber, lemon, and organic mint (orange and organic strawberries taste great, too).

But if you like more flavor, herbal teas and lemonade blends are easy and fun to make. Just a few days ago we hosted the American College's annual Lavender Open House on our campus in Portland, Oregon, and served lavender-infused water and lavender lemonade as part of the festivities. Everyone loved it! Plus, lavender-infused drinks are a great complement to lavender shortbread cookies (or any other lavender treat). Yum!

We thought you might enjoy the recipes from the ACHS Lavender Open House to try at your next picnic, party, or just because you're in the mood for a healthy, delicious drink. Thanks to ACHS Shipping Manager, Kelly Johnson, for putting these recipes together!

>>What are your favorite fresh-from-the-garden summer drinks? We'd love to share recipes. Just click "comment" to post.


Lavender Lemonade for 6 quart beverage dispenser (fills dispenser approximately 3/4 full)

  • 1 12 oz container frozen lemonade (We used organic Cascadian Lemonade Concentrate)
  • 1/2 cup/4 oz Lavandula angustifolia (commonly called English Lavender*)

We used organic, dried lavender flowers (double quantity if using fresh herbs). Add lavender to 6 cups hot water. Cover and let steep for 5-8 minutes. Strain brewed lavender water and add to lemonade. Combine with plenty of ice and filtered water. For garnish, combine with fresh-picked lavender sprigs, lemon wheels, and a dash of sugar if you like it a little sweeter and a little less tart!


Herbal Infused Water - Lavender 2012 Open House Recipe

Combine into 6 cup teapot and steep together for 5-8 minutes
  • 1 tsp organic basil
  • 1 tsp organic lemon balm
  • 1/2 cup/4 oz  Lavandula angustifolia* (we used organic, dried lavender flowers )

Add filtered water, ice, and infused herbs into your beverage container. Be creative with your garnishes. We added cucumber wedges, lavender sprigs. and frozen blueberries. Yummm!

*Be sure to use culinary lavender Lavandula angustifolia. Provence or English Lavender are popular choices. Some varieties such as Lavadin contain camphor oil better used for non-culinary purposes.

Note: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational 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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Top Ten High Fiber Low Calorie Foods

BY Erika Yigzaw, ACHS CIO 
Are there magic foods that we can eat all day and still lose weight? Not really. But there are some foods that are relatively low in calories yet have high nutritive value, either because they are high in fiber, phytonutrients such as antioxidants, or high in protein. These are foods to keep handy in the pantry, refrigerator, or garden and eat daily. Train your family – particularly children – to snack on these top ten foods rather than chips and sodas and you’ll be ahead of the nutrition curve before you know it!

To pick these top ten foods, I looked at nutritional value, energy density[1], and volume. I want to focus on foods that provide a lot of bang for the buck (i.e., keep us full and have high nutritional value with fewer calories than other choices). Fruits and vegetables with lots of water are often lower energy density[2] , but my primary criteria for the list is fiber. Why? Fiber is critical. Remember your grandmother telling you to eat more “roughage”? Well she was right! We need at least 25 grams a day, and ideally 35 grams a day, for a healthy bowel. I think the correlation between high fiber diets and lower cancer rates is not just from fiber but is synergistic, since most high fiber diets are high in fruits and vegetables, which are also high in antioxidants and other phytonutrients. But, fiber is clearly also very important and few Americans get enough. 

Here is my current top ten list of high fiber low calorie foods:
  1. Raspberries rank as one of the highest high fiber low calorie foods, at 8.0 grams of fiber and just 64 calories per serving (1-cup) (1 calorie per raspberry!)[3, 4]. They are delicious and we can grow our own here in Oregon! Yay!
  2. Pears have about 5.1 grams of fiber and only 51 calories for a medium sized pear[5]. They are easy to pack in a lunch and store well. They are also easy to grow here in Oregon.
  3. Apples provide about 4.4 grams of fiber, at roughly 55 calories for a small apple. Choose organic as apples are on the EWG dirty dozen list 2012[6]. Apples are easy to grow here in Oregon and many parts of the US, with the newer columnar varieties letting you grow pounds of fruit in a small garden or even a container!
  4. Blueberries provide about 3.5 grams of fiber, and roughly 40 calories for 50 berries. Choose organic as blueberries are on the EWG dirty dozen list 2012[7]. Again, blueberries grow well here in the Pacific North West, although take a few years to fruit well. Mulch with wood chips as they love acidic soil.
  5. Strawberries provide about 3.3 grams of fiber and average about 2 calories per strawberry. Choose organic as strawberries are on the EWG dirty dozen list 2012[8]. Grow even a few strawberry plants in a barrel or tuck them into ornamental garden beds where the foliage stays a lovely dark green throughout the summer while providing you with berries!
  6. Black beans – 1 cup has 15 grams of fiber – along with 15 grams of protein – and just 227 calories[9]
  7. Whole-wheat spaghetti weighs in at 6.3 g of fiber per serving and approximately 174 calories per 1-cup serving (always check the label as brands vary)
  8. One cup of oatmeal provides 4.0 grams of fiber and about 60 calories per serving
  9. Whole wheat or multigrain breads offer 1.9 grams per slice and about 65 calories per slice (always check the label as brands vary)
  10. Cooked peas, at a whopping 8.8 g of fiber and a low 67 calories per cup serving size. Turn a cup of peas into instant soup with a stick blender and some vegetable stock. 

So that’s our top ten, but there are some other notable additions:
  •  Boiled turnip greens, which offer about 5.0 grams of fiber per cup sized serving and about 48 calories
  •  Raw carrots offer 1.7 grams of fiber and 21 calories for a small carrot. Raw, fresh carrots are about 88 percent water.
  •  Broccoli has 5.1 g of fiber and about 52 calories per cup. Steamed broccoli is best for cholesterol lowering benefits. 100 calories of broccoli gives you 10 grams of fiber!
  • Grapefruit is about 90 percent water, and one contains approximately 3.4 grams of fiber – more than 13 percent of your daily fiber needs – and about the same amount as a cup of strawberries, cabbage, cauliflower or beets. The amount of fiber in one grapefruit exceeds that found in a banana or in 1 cup of celery or bell peppers. An entire grapefruit has just 78 calories. Grapefruit also contains vitamin C and pectin[10]. Good news too – grapefruit is on the EWG clean fifteen list – meaning they are one of the 15 produce items lowest in pesticides[11]!
  • Raisins, which provide 1.6 grams of fiber per 1.5 ounce serving and roughly 42 calories for a 5-ounce box. Note that grapes have more volume for the same fiber and calories so are an excellent choice! Grapes are another dirty dozen item so choose organic!
  • Just one cup of barley has 13.6 grams of fiber in 270 calories – add a cup of barley to your vegetable soup for a hearty winter way to increase fiber! Plus barley is a great source of selenium[12]!  

What are foods to leave out?
  • Canned baked beans – a favorite in New Zealand and the United Kingdom – pack a lot of fiber per serving, but also lots of sugar and sodium.
  • Processed foods – yes a processed food with added fiber is better than one without, but stick to the foods that mother nature made high in fiber for optimum health.
  • Act: Using your favorite app (mine is MyFitnessPal available on the app store and at track your food intake and see how much fiber you’re really getting! Try a fiber day and see how much you can pack in! 

Share: What are your favorite foods? Check their fiber and calorie content and add a comment!

Read more: Aedín Cassidy, Immaculata De Vivo, Yan Liu, Jiali Han, Jennifer Prescott, David J Hunter, and Eric B Rimm. Effects of fiber on telomere length? Associations between diet, lifestyle factors, and telomere length in women. Am J Clin Nutr May 2010 vol. 91 no. 5 1273-1280

There are many papers on nutrition and fiber at – find your favorite and post a comment to share it with others!

  2. The World's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan
  4. Environmental Working Group
  5. Changing Shape

[1]  According to the Mayo Clinic: “Simply put, energy density is the number of calories (energy) in a specific amount of food. High energy density means that there are a lot of calories in a little food. Low energy density means there are few calories in a lot of food.” From accessed on 7/16/12
[2] Keep in mind that this concept is useful for more than just weight management: If you are hiking, you want to choose foods that are high energy density, such as trail mix and high fat foods.
[3] Read more:
[5] Read more:
[10] The World's Healthiest Foods: Grapefruit In-Depth Nutrient Analysis:
NOTE: This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent disease. Always consult your primary care physician or natuopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine.

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

Learn more about ACHS’s commitment to sustainability online at and view ACHS’s sustainability profile, green achievements, and commitments in the National Green Pages online here:

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, call (503) 244-0726, or stop by the College campus located at 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland OR 97239.

>> GO TO 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:

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 ( In the meantime, feel free to email me at

[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

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

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:
[2] Belsinger, S. & Wilcox, TM. (2008). Natural Pesticides: Herb and Soap Ant-Repellent Spray. The Herb Companion. Retrieved online at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meet Elizabeth Edleman, Administrative Assistant, the Newest Member of Our ACHS Team

Meet Elizabeth Edleman, the newest member of our team at the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). Elizabeth has been hired as Administrative Assistant. Welcome to the College, Elizabeth!

“I’m honored for the opportunity to work in a school like the American College of Healthcare Sciences," Elizabeth says. "Having been a distance-learning student myself, I look forward to assisting others in the same position. Since I started working at ACHS, I have been learning something new every day, and am eager to take on the new and exciting challenges this position will bring!”

Elizabeth graduated from Emporia State University in 2011 with a Master of Library Science. In 2007 she earned a B.A. Psychology from Western Washington University and has several years’ experience in reception and administration. Elizabeth volunteered with the Seattle Public Library in two different capacities, both greeting library visitors as a Welcome Desk Volunteer and repairing damaged library materials as a Mending Volunteer. She has also served as a digital reference volunteer with Oregon Library Network’s L-net, answering patrons’ questions in an online environment.

She will work directly with ACHS administration to uphold ACHS's commitment 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. Elizabeth can be reached at (503) 244-0726 ext 33 or

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, call (503) 244-0726, or stop by the College campus located at 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland OR 97239.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ACHS CIO Erika Yigzaw Awarded 2012 DETC Distinguished Recognition Award

Congratulations Erika Yigzaw, American College CIO, on being awarded the 2012 Distinguished Recognition Award at the 86th Annual Conference of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). We're very proud of your achievement and continual, dedicated contributions to the advancement of distance education.

The 2012 Distinguished Recognition Award recognizes outstanding work on special projects that have contributed to the advancement of distance education and DETC and has been awarded to 23 individuals since 1988.

“It's a great pleasure to award this Distinguished Recognition Award to Erika—her outstanding support for distance education and her tireless work on DETC special projects has more than earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues,” says Marie Sirney, Chair of the DETC Awards and Recognition Committee and Executive Vice President of American Graduate University.

>> Click here to read the full-length press release, including a message from Erika about what this honor means to her.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Extend the Benefits of Massage: Part 2

By Mindy Green for American College of Healthcare Sciences

Extend the benefits of your massage by facilitating detoxification with herbs and essential oils.


Herb teas and essential oils can be used in the bath for their healing and detoxifying properties. Start with five to eight drops in a full tub and do not exceed 15 drops of even the safest oils, such as lavender or geranium. If using peppermint, lemon or other citrus scented oil such as lemongrass, do not exceed three drops, as they can irritate skin.

Combining essential oils with vegetable oil before adding to the bath will reduce any irritation on sensitive skin. Epsom salts contain magnesium chloride, which helps to relax the muscles. Soak for 20 minutes. Using the same oils provided during your massage can trigger the same relaxation effect.

If you absolutely must be active after your massage, utilizing stimulating essential oils can help restore your vigor.

Post Massage Herbal Detox Tea
Combine one ounce of each-

  • dandelion
  • cleavers
  • parsley
  • linden
  • peppermint
  • ginger

 Use one teaspoon per cup of boiling water, cover and steep for 5-15 minutes. Strain and drink.

Post Massage Muscle Relaxing Bath
Combine three ounces each -

  • yarrow
  • burdock
  • calendula
  • cramp bark
  • black haw

For an herbal bath, use one cup of dried herbs per three quarts of water. Bring the water to a boil, remove from heat, add the herbs, cover and steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain the tea into the full tub of water.

Post Massage Essential Oil Bath Blends

4 drops lavender
2 drops chamomile
2 drops orange

Muscle Relief
5 drops marjoram
2 drops eucalyptus
1 drops lemongrass

5 drops rosemary
2 drops fir
1 drops peppermint

Add each 8-drop blend to one full tub of water. Stir, and soak for at least 20 minutes.

Herbal Suggestions for the Tub or Teacup

Lymphatic herbs
Cleavers: best lymphatic tonic, with alterative and diuretic properties; assists the detox process of swollen glands.
Calendula: anti-inflammatory herb helpful for a variety of skin complaints, including bruises and sprains; also supports detoxifying the lymph system.

Nervine herbs (calming effect)
Wild oat: The best nourishing nervine, it is specific for debility and exhaustion.
Chamomile: best known for calming insomnia, anxiety and as an anti-inflammatory.
Vervain- strengthens nervous system while relaxing stress and tension, antispasmodic.
Linden: soothing herb that has the unique ability to reduce cholesterol deposits and prevent build-up.

Passionflower: Sedative and pain relieving; the best choice for insomnia and neuralgia; antispasmodic

Detoxifying herbs
Burdock: Mild bitter stimulation encourages the liver and eliminative processes including digestive and kidney function.
Dandelion: effective diuretic with excess potassium providing an overall gain of this important nutrient.
Parsley: This overlooked culinary garnish is an effective diuretic and digestive aid; rich source of vitamin C.
Yarrow: Urinary antiseptic and diuretic that stimulates digestion and tones the vascular system.
Celery seed: Anti-rheumatic, diuretic and digestive herb reduces uric acid levels in the body and is helpful for arthritic conditions.

Muscle relieving herbs
Crampbark: Relaxes muscle tension and spasms; sedative and astringent.
Black haw: Antispasmodic and sedative useful in reducing blood pressure through relaxation of the peripheral blood vessels.
Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, warming and stimulating for peripheral circulation, sprains and fibrous muscle conditions; promotes elimination through perspiration.
Cayenne: Hot spice that blocks pain receptors; used to relieve everything from overworked muscles to arthritic complaints.

About the Author:

Mindy Green is a nationally recognized authority on botanicals and co-author of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, 2009. Friend her on Facebook or see more at

>>To learn more about the benefits of using herbs and holistic nutrition as part of your health and wellness routine, click here for a schedule of accredited online holistic health classes and wellness programs from ACHS.

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

Extend the Benefits of Massage: Part 1

There I was, lying on the massage table, basking in the afterglow of an hour of totally relaxing massage bliss. Do I really have to get up now? The reality of daily life was slowly creeping in.

How can I make the most of this experience and carry the tranquility of this moment throughout my day? My week? Anyone who has ever had a great massage has likely had these thoughts. There are a number of things you can do to maximize the physical and emotional benefits, post-massage.

Consider scheduling your massage at the end of the day to avoid making a mad dash back to the office or picking the kids up and running them to their myriad of activities. Try not to fall into a routine of drinking coffee to keep you revved up for the next thing on your list for the day.

Savor the moment. Make the most of extending your massage. Enjoy a cup of tea in a quiet setting or take a nice long bath with candles and soothing music. We may be aware of relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing to sustain that inner peace, but there are also things we can do to help our physical bodies garner the maximum benefits of massage.


Eat lightly and drink plenty of water. These are two of the simplest ways to continue the cleansing process initiated by massage. The Swedish style or lymphatic drainage massage is best supported by a light diet of steamed vegetables or fresh fruit. Fresh squeezed juices such as carrot, beet, and parsley are often recommended in a cleansing regime.

Deep tissue massage needs protein to help rebuild connective tissue that has been heavily worked. Following any style of massage you should avoid stimulants, sweets and fatty foods. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids after a massage. A minimum of one quart of water or herb tea is required, but two quarts is best. Electrolyte replacement beverages, such as coconut water, are beneficial.


Physical manipulation can stir up a lot of toxins and drinking lymphatic cleansing herbal teas such as cleavers and calendula are very helpful in continuing the detoxification process. Also useful is supporting the organs of detoxification such as the kidneys and liver with burdock, dandelion, parsley, yarrow, and celery seed.

Nervine tonic teas such as wild oat, vervain, chamomile, linden, or passion flower can help sustain a calm interior and maintain a sane life in a world filled with stress and high tension. Sore muscles can benefit from circulatory stimulant herbs such as ginger and peppermint, or a liniment infused with cayenne and rosemary oil. The antispasmodic activity of crampbark, black haw and kava is also useful for muscle cramps.

Let’s not forget the benefits of fragrant plants in the form of essential oils. The scent alone is enough to trigger a memory association in the brain, bringing you back to the massage table and that same state of relaxation, if only in your mind. Studies have shown that is all it takes to relive the benefits.

If your massage therapist used lavender scented oil for your treatment, using it in the bath can help recall the experience. Lavender oil itself has many benefits. Its healing attributes for the body include benefits for sore muscles, insomnia, stress and depression. It is healing for burns, bites or abrasions of the skin, and it helps to slow the aging process with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; best of all, most people find the fragrance appealingly pleasant.

About the Author:
Mindy Green is a nationally recognized authority on botanicals and co-author of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, 2009. Friend her on Facebook or see more at

>>To learn more about the benefits of using herbs and holistic nutrition as part of your health and wellness routine, click here for a schedule of accredited online holistic health classes and wellness programs from ACHS.

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ACHS President Dorene Petersen Contributes to Rose! Herb of the Year 2012 Published by International Herb Association

 Earth Day is every day! Learn more about the natural, green therapeutic benefits of the essential oil of Rose beyond smelling sweet. Rose! Herb of the Year 2012™ published by International Herb Association (IHA) includes the informative chapter, “Essential Oil of Rose,” written by Dorene Petersen, Wellness Expert and President of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS).

“There is a growing interest in a green, all-natural lifestyle every day, not just on Earth Day. People are seeking out ways to use all-natural, plant-based products in their daily life­–to clean, to treat, and to pamper. The essential oil of Rose certainly fits the bill,” says President Dorene Petersen.

Rose! Herb of the Year 2012™, with content provided by over 25 expert contributors, offers a detailed presentation of the Rose-Rosa, the natural and beloved flower. This book is full of history, lore, botany, cultivation, and medicinal information of the Rose. Chapters include green and natural recipes for the kitchen, bath, and apothecary.

“There are many uses for the essential oil of Rose beyond perfumes. People are surprised to learn how much organic material is needed to produce natural distilled Rose oil. It can take 10,000 lbs. of Rose flowers to produce one lb. of oil. One can quickly see why pure distilled Rose oil is precious and commonly adulterated,” adds Petersen.

Signed copies of Rose! Herb of the Year 2012™, organic essential oil of Rose, and other green living products are available through the ACHS’s Apothecary Shoppe College Store online here or on-campus at: 5940 SW Hood Ave. Portland, OR 97239.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Clean Your Body: A Basic Introduction to Fasting

We spring clean our house, but how often do we spring clean our body?

Fasting--or abstaining from solid foods for a time--assists the body to cleanse. By eliminating food, the enormous energy required to digest food is released and put to the task of spring-cleaning the body. The liver and entire digestive system is given a well-earned rest.*

Fasting begins as soon as you stop eating. There are many types of fasts, and the duration will depend on your work commitments and physical and mental state. Each person is different and will respond differently to fasting, so listen to your own body. However, there are some basic rules:
  • Consult your physician or naturopathic doctor before undertaking a fast if you are on medication or have any medical condition.
  • No smoking or drinking alcohol, coffee, or tea. You may want to cut down consumption of these items gradually in the weeks before the fast.
  • Discontinue vitamin supplements.
  • Two days before a fast, eat light foods: mainly vegetables and fruits.
  • You may want to try a fresh-foods diet as an alternative to fasting to begin with.
  • Allow yourself to rest when you feel like it during the fast. You may experience discomfort, headaches, dizziness, and nausea as toxins are eliminated.
  • Avoid stress and concentrate on positive thoughts.
  • Fast on vegetable and fruit juice (freshly extracted), pure water, or herb teas. It is important to drink at least eight large glasses of water a day.
  • It is important to have a bowel movement once a day while fasting. Use senna leaf tea, linseed tea, yellow dock root and burdock root decoctions or capsules, or enemas if necessary.
  • Exercise regularly: walking is ideal.
  • Resume eating gradually after fasting. Start with a piece of fruit or lightly steamed vegetables. Take two to three days, depending on the duration of the fast, to resume normal food intake. Never overeat.
The benefits of fasting are enormous.* It allows the body to throw off toxins and regenerate tissue, and it can result in heightened self-awareness. If you decide to fast for longer than three days, seek guidance from your physician, naturopathic doctor, holistic nutritionist, or other experienced practitioner.

*NOTE: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational 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.

Monday, April 2, 2012

10 Tips from ACHS Seed Starting and Growing Herbs in Pots Community Wellness Workshop

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Seed Starting and Growing Herbs in Pots workshop with Erika Yigzaw, ACHS Chief Institutional Officer and Master Gardener, on March 29, 2012. We had a lot of fun learning how to get a jump on our spring gardens, and hope you did, too!

For those who were unable to attend ... not to worry ... we'll have a video of the presentation live on ACHStv soon. You can subscribe to ACHStv on YouTube here for automatic notification of when the video goes live and for dozens of gardening how-to videos.

Scroll down to read 10 top tips from Master Gardener Erika Yigzaw's presentation.

When container gardening:
  1. Use seed starting mix or good-quality potting soil.
  2. Make sure your container has a hole in bottom for drainage; dampen the soil and then allow to dry for few hours before planting seeds.
  3. Fertilize! Organic, liquid fertilizer works great. Compost tea may be a good sub: to make, put kitchen waste into a stocking, soak in gallon of water, and portion onto plants.
  4. After the first leaves appear you may transplant if you want.
  5. When grouping, think of the types of conditions each plant likes and group accordingly.
When ground gardening:
  1. Plant seed as far down as the size of the seed (same with bulbs). If the seeds are really small, such as poppy, scatter across the top of the soil.
  2. Do not over-till the ground.
  3. If you can grab a handful of dirt and squeeze moisture out, the ground is still too wet to plant.
  4. If using a raised bed, the temperature will be approx 15 degrees warmer for the plant than when in the ground. Make the bed 6-8" taller with compost.
  5. Do not over-water. Dampen the soil and then allow to dry for few hours before planting seeds.
Are you a master container gardener? We'd love to hear from you! What are your favorite herbs to grow in containers for the spring and summer seasons?

>>To learn more about herbal medicine training, including harvesting and using herbs for personal health and wellness, check out American College herbal medicine courses online here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

5 Tips to Help Kick-Start Your Spring Health Goals

There is no magic pill for weight loss. The best magic for weight management is weight maintenance. That can be a hard sell over the winter. On cold days, it can be hard to convince ourselves that we would rather have a carrot than a piece of organic chocolate cake.

Moderation is the key. Here are 5 tips for moderation to help kick-start your spring health goals:

1. Do some type of exercise every day... preferably every morning

Don’t think about it. Just pull yourself out of bed the second the alarm goes off. Autopilot over to the clothes you left out the night before, open the door, and start walking. By the time your brain catches up, you will already have done 10 minutes.

The effect? Elevated metabolism, increased energy, appetite control, and a big plus in your feel-good column for the day. You are more likely to make healthy food choices when you start your day off with some exercise.

2. Have lots of healthy foods available

It is much easier to make a healthy food choice when there are some healthy choices available! Make a big fruit salad to keep in the fridge for when you need a snack. Have some of your favorite veggies ready to eat when you are hungry. Make an extra-large salad at night and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Just leave the salad dressing on the side, otherwise your salad gets soggy.

3. Limit alcohol

Alcohol has a lot of empty calories, depresses your metabolism, and stimulates your appetite.

4. Make exercise fun

Take walks with friends and family. Invite them to your gym to workout and visit with you. Many gyms offer free passes for friends and family, anywhere from a single-use pass to a week-long pass. Take advantage! Wrap up warm and go for a bike ride. Be active.

5. Eat breakfast

When you don’t eat breakfast, you go from dinner the night before until lunch the next day without food. That’s about 12-14 hours without food. Your body may interpret such a long stretch without food as starvation, and it may slow your metabolism as a safety mechanism.

How do you incorporate holistic health and nutrition techniques into your everyday routine to improve your overall wellness? We invite you to join the discussion and post your best spring health tips here! Just click "comment."

>>To learn more about holistic nutrition for personal health and wellness, check out the American College of Healthcare Sciences HLTH 101 Personal & Community Health Online course here!

*This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. Consult with your primary care physician, naturopathic doctor, or holistic nutritionist before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.