In the beautiful setting of the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, hundreds of herbalists converged to re-connect with their true roots of herbalism at the 2016 American Herbalists Guild (AHG) Symposium. As a lucky recipient of a scholarship provided by ACHS, I was among the hundreds of proud herbalists.
This was my first national herbal symposium, and all I can say is: it was amazing! Prior to going to the symposium I received a 440-page document with the notes/slides of every single class offered. It is a document I will treasure, because it is the wisdom from some of the greatest minds in herbalism.
The first thing you will notice at the symposium is the genuine caring nature of all the attendees, speakers, and event organizers. Not knowing anyone, I thought it would be a lonely weekend. I never sat alone for very long without someone coming up to introduce themselves and to ask if I would like to join them. By the end of the symposium I networked with so many remarkable practitioners. I now have friends around the country that I can contact as I embark on my herbal journey.
The symposium offered numerous classes on infectious disease as well as an all-day intensive on Monday for those who were seeking a certificate in working with infectious disease. Many classes focused on the roots of local Appalachian herbalism. Herbal walks were available in the beautiful mountain landscape. Even though it was a grey and rainy weekend, it never dampened the spirit of the herbalists. Raincoats, umbrellas, and hiking boots came out.
The keynote speaker on Friday night was Phyllis Hogan, an ethnobotanist and herbalist from Arizona. Phyllis shared her incredible 40-year journey of learning and working with Native Americans of the region. Her love of the people and plants was evident. She is a co-founder of the Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Association, which is dedicated to the preservation of the indigenous plants of Arizona. It was a very motivational presentation for this novice herbalist.
The Exhibition Hall was another classroom all its own. I spent a considerable amount of time talking and learning from the exhibitors. I finally had the awesome experience of tasting a quality echinacea root Echinacea spp. tincture. I felt the tingle and needed a napkin for all the saliva it produced. I learned how to identify a quality product using my eyes, nose, and taste buds.
Saturday night was the Rocking Roots Party. I found out that herbalists really know how to throw a party! Between the hula hoops and dancing, special bonds were formed. The silent auction offered wonderful products, textbooks, and even a kachina doll from the Hopi reservation in Arizona. There was also a poster presentation at the party that highlighted the research of talented students and researchers.
I’m a nurse, trained in the allopathic model of healthcare. My love of herbs has always been more of a hobby than a profession. I graduated from ACHS with my Master of Science in Complimentary Alternative Medicine degree in May 2016. The education I received was broad and encompassing. It has helped guide me in my endeavor to help create a whole health program at the Veterans’ hospital where I work. The symposium gave me the human contact with others who had the same passion I do for herbs.
The theme of “Connecting to our Roots” was an excellent choice. Though the popularity of herbs increases, many people still look at herbs in an allopathic manner, picking an herb for a specific condition. “What herb should I use for my migraines or the flu?” The roots of herbalism (and the reason it has stood the test of time) lie not in the peddling of herbal products or supplements, but in the understanding of the human condition as well as the personalities of the plants. The symposium helped this novice truly understand this concept.
Thank you ACHS for this amazing gift of knowledge!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a student of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”