Kathleen Note: This blog was primarily written by my friend Ruth Redenbaugh. Ruth and I recently attended the 2019 Ojai Herbal Symposium in California (“The Wisdom of the Body”) and we wanted to share some of our learnings and a few adventures with you!
Best Laid Plans
As Mark Twain once said, “Knowledge cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth.” So two Midwesterners were off to Ojai California for a weekend of learning about medicinal herbs that can help our bodies maintain a healthy balance. We were excited about the trip, off to a good start and on the plane at MCI for our adventure to Ojai until the pilot announced maintenance issues. After de-planing and re-planing, we missed our connecting flight by TWO minutes, stayed in DFW with no luggage, then caught the first flight in the morning to Santa Barbara Airport. We missed the opening Chumash Blessing and 1/4 of the symposium. How frustrating! This was our introduction to living “on Ojai time.”
Herbs for Resilience
Our first speaker was Ron Teeguarden, Master Herbalist at Dragon Herbs and author of and expert about Chinese herbs. He talked about herbs for resiliency, the tonic herbs used 2500 year ago created by the Shennong Pharmacopoeia. Emphasis was on getting medicinal tonic herbs with 2 rules for success: 1. Must take the herbs for it to work, and 2. Always use the purest obtainable that you can afford.
James Adams, USC School of Pharmacy, spoke on the “Medicinal Benefits of Plant Terpenes.” Many drugs were originally sourced from terpenes aromatics. There are 28 channels in the skin that transmit pain. Breaking the pain cycle in the skin has occurred with CA Sagebrush Liniment sprayed around the wound, see https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ for the recipe.
David Crow (Licensed Acupuncturist, Floracopeia.com and Shift Network) presented three topics. We missed his keynote on wisdom of the body due to previously mention plane maintenance on Ojai time. Then he talked in two parts about herb and oil combining for more impact. Essential oils have been around for centuries and require the most information to use correctly. He described a hierarchy of a triangle where the widest part is the five elements, next up is food, then food grade herbs, stronger herbs, extract tinctures, with essential oils at the point being the most potent. Layer herbs, tinctures and oils. Every oil is anti-microbial. Essential oils must never be taken internally undiluted as shown on essential oil injury database. Lots of good content here, we’d suggest just go to Floracopeia.com
Some Business Insight
Mind, body and spirit of success was presented by Zhena Muzyka, founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea and author of Club Magic Hour. Her talk provided key marketing how-to’s for those in the healing professions, including the seven pillars of marketing .
CBD Natural Pharmacy
Dr. Jake Felice, Doctor of Naturopathy, gave a talk titled, “An Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System.” This course covered at an introductory level how plants, including but not limited to cannabis, affect the human body by stimulating the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Manitoba Harvest said CBD eases symptoms and progression of Huntington, MS, and ALS. Components are CB1, acts on nerve to nerve for the head high, and CB2 assists the immune system. To die from CBD or THC, you would have to eat your weight in cannabis. CBD is not for full term use, except for sleep.
Turmeric: An Ancient and Powerful Herb
Dr Jena Sussex is a practicing Resident Physician in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at a large urban public hospital in Los Angeles. She who uses natural medicine in her practice whenever supported by research. Orally or topically, turmeric is safe per the NIH. Even small amounts of turmeric in food has a good effect to turn off inflammation.
Seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting herbs was so fun at the pie shaped Cluff Vista Park on Ojai Ave led by Lanny Kaufer, Symposium Director, herbwalks.com. Here is a smattering of all the information conveyed. Bay trees were quite tall, and leaves have been used for everything from keeping weevils out of flour to insect repellent to relieving migraines. Mugwort is a weed in nature and dry leaves smolder into a calming smoke of the thujone family that works like Adderall. Sambucus elderberry is used for cough syrup and has a soft center that can be removed to make musical instruments from the hollow branches. Everyone in the Chumash Tribe played musical instruments. Toyon is in the rose family and has bright red berries that we picked and chewed with a bittersweet flavor. Rosehips were used by the Chumash to treat cancer. Acorn is the rare treat that has the complete complement of amino acids. White Sage is becoming difficult to find. Put one leave in a bottle and fill with water, refilling all day, for a calming effect.
Near the Symposium grounds was a labyrinth. Labryrinth walking is an ancient practice used by many different faiths for spiritual centering, contemplation, and prayer. Entering the serpentine path of a labyrinth, you walk slowly while quieting your mind and focusing on a spiritual question or prayer. A labyrinth is not a maze. It has only one path to the center and back out, which is called unicursal (one line). It has no blind alleys or dead ends as mazes have. The path twists and turns back on itself many times before reaching the center. Once at the center, there is only one way back out. In this way, the labyrinth symbolizes a journey to a predetermined destination or the journey through life from birth to spiritual awakening to death.
Tibetans regard the heart as the organ that thinks. The heart is the repository of karmic memory most active during sleep. Connections of physical and emotional have been proven by studies that show that there is a higher risk of stroke or heart attack within two hours of outburst of anger. Dr Nathan Kaehler was an incredible speaker and is a Tibetan Amchi, DACM (Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine), LAC (Licensed Acupuncturists), and has a Masters in Psychology. Since he is also a Master Gardener, he provided pictures from his own garden and uses for over a dozen Chinese herbs. He recommended Energetics of Western Herbs, by Peter Holmes for deeper, extensive study.
We were able to network with other attendees and speakers and learned a lot of tidbits along the way about other businesses, ailment treatments, new technologies and more. We were also able to take in a wonderful breakfast at the Farmer’s Market in the area. And finally, the weather was gorgeous: cool 50s in the morning, warm 80s in the afternoon, and we experienced that Ojai “Pink Moment” when the sun briefly hits the copper in the mountains at sunset. Perfect for two Midwesterners!
Note: Featured image at the beginning of the post is from Central-Coast California Tourism’s website. For more information on Ojai and the “Pink Moment,” go to: Pink Moment.