ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

How Growing Lavender Brings Summer Fun for Everyone

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Aug 18, 2014 4:00:00 PM

With mild, rainy winters and precious months of warm (or even hot!) summer sun, we are fortunate to live in a climate that is ideal for farming and gardening here in western Oregon. Lavender is just one of the many flowering plants that can thrive in our Eden-like land of the Pacific Northwest, if given the right conditions. After visiting the rolling lavender fields of Provence with the very first ACHS study abroad program in 1999, then again in 2000, 2001, and 2002, my addiction was official and I started my own lavender farm in Sherwood, Oregon. In 2003, we planted dozens of lavender plants in the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden in SW Portland, taking over the bland roadside verge with a swath of lavender! 

After more than a decade of growing lavender, I’ve learned many things:

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Topics: herbal medicine, DIY, botanical teaching garden

Why Alternative Treatments are Better for Veterans

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Aug 13, 2014 3:45:00 PM

According to a study published in June, 44% of U.S. military members experience chronic pain following combat deployment. 15.1% of those seek the use of opioids[1] for relief.[2] This statistic is particularly disconcerting when it’s known that opioid use accompanies a slew of scary side effects such as “sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression.” [3] Additionally, “opioids can be considered broad spectrum analgesic agents, affecting a wide number of organ systems and influencing a large number of body functions.”[4]

Isn’t it time we start seriously looking at alternative treatments for pain management for military servicemen, women, and veterans?

Here are just a few complementary alternative treatments that can be effective options for military members suffering from chronic pain post deployment:

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Topics: herbal medicine, alternative medicine, massage, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, military

How to Make a Luscious Herbal Moisturizer

Posted by Kelly Johnson on Aug 6, 2014 3:00:00 PM

By Kelly Johnson and Renee Long

Skin, being the largest organ in the body, protects you, insulates you, and connects you to the world. With harsh, cold weather in the winter and exposure to damaging UVA/UVB rays in the summer, your skin takes a beating all year long. Doesn’t it deserve a little extra TLC?

Both oily and dry skin needs to be moisturized to protect from the abrasive environment and to replace the moisture loss that occurs naturally as we age. Emollient herbs are not only great for preparing herbal teas, but their high mucilage content also makes them ideal for use in lotions and creams.

Almonds, avocado, borage, chickweed, rose, and comfrey root will all smooth, soften, soothe, and fortify facial skin. We love DIY projects and homemade products, so this past weekend we made one of the recipes from NAT 101 Nutrition, Bodycare and, Herbalism. It turned out to be so gorgeous that we wanted to share this step-by-step recipe for the ultimate, DIY herbal moisturizer with you!

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Topics: herbal medicine, DIY, free recipes, essential oils

Quiz: Is Online Learning for Me?

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Jul 21, 2014 4:30:00 PM

A couple of common misconceptions about online learning still linger in some minds. Even though Stanford and Harvard offer online classes, and satisfaction ratings are exceptionally high for ACHS’s online programs, some people still believe that getting an online nutrition degree or an online aromatherapy certification will be easier, less challenging, and less fulfilling than attending classes on a physical campus.

But ask any ACHS student or graduate, and you’ll find that the online classes at the American College can be as rewarding and rigorous as sitting in a brick and mortar classroom. Add the benefits of flexible hours and 24/7-access to your classroom material, and online learning often turns out to be the better option for busy adults.

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Topics: online education, quiz

Green Cleaning: 8 Eucalyptus Life Hacks You’ll Love

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Jul 17, 2014 4:00:00 PM

The best thing about essential oils: they’re incredibly versatile. An essential oil kit with a few key oils can be a “one-stop-shop” for holistic wellness. In my seemingly endless battle to cut the clutter, I love when a product can work on multiple levels and make life a bit simpler (come on, who doesn’t love simplicity? And if I ever need inspiration to simplify, I watch an episode of Hoarders! I’m pretty sure my house would end up “show ready” within a couple of months if I wasn’t careful!).

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus [Labill.] or Eucalyptus smithii [R.T.Baker]) is one essential oil I always keep on hand for its versatility. It’s great for inhalations during cold and flu season while also ideal for topical application on bites and stings in the summer. With powerful antiseptic and antiviral qualities, it’s also extremely useful for green cleaning around the house. Ah, simplicity in a little bottle! Here are eight green cleaning life hacks that will make you want eucalyptus on hand 24/7[1]:

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Topics: free recipes, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, green cleaning

Holistic Mommy: Top 12 Foods to Beat Morning Sickness Naturally (Part 2)

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Jul 15, 2014 5:13:59 PM

One of the best ways us holistic mommies can beat morning sickness naturally is through balanced, holistic nutrition. I hope you found my first blog on natural remedies for morning sickness helpful, but if you’re still struggling, here are my top 12 foods to naturally beat morning sickness:

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Topics: holistic nutrition, natural remedies, holistic parenting

FAQ: 11 Frequently Asked Questions About Online Education at ACHS

Posted by Amy Swinehart on Jul 12, 2014 12:35:00 PM

If you’re scoping out potential colleges for your holistic health education, you know how tricky it can be to find answers to your most burning questions: How will I pay for school? Can I transfer credits from my previous school? Is accreditation important? 

No matter where you are in your search, there’s no need to get overwhelmed, because we’re here to help! The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) admissions team and I are experts at fielding tough questions like these, so we put together a list of 11 frequently asked questions about online education at ACHS:

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Holistic Mommy: How to Beat Morning Sickness Naturally (Part 1)

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Jul 8, 2014 4:00:00 PM

The first trimester can be really tough. We know we have to eat healthy foods for baby (or babies in my case), but all day long nausea can make it tough to make smart choices. Severe morning sickness (or Hyperemesis Gravidarum) means you cannot eat or keep anything down at all (be sure to see your doctor if that happens as dehydration is dangerous for you and your baby!).

While not putting on weight in the first trimester may be okay for singletons, it’s bad news if you’re having twins or super-twins. So get with your doctor if your nausea stops you from eating enough. In other cases of morning sickness, eating the right foods can help, in which case it’s important to make healthy choices or the weight will stack on too quickly. Here are a few of my tips for how to beat morning sickness naturally:

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Topics: holistic nutrition, natural remedies, holistic parenting

The Aroma of Choice: Health Freedom and Aromatherapy*

Posted by Dorene Petersen on Jul 3, 2014 4:00:00 PM

* This article originally appeared in the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal Summer 2014.2 and is also published with permission on the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy’s blog. 

Some of my favorite summertime activities in the States are gathering with friends and family for picnics and parties on the patio, at the park, or at the beach—especially on the Fourth of July. Even though I’m originally from New Zealand, there’s something about this celebration of freedom that fills me with hope and excitement for all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead. 

We’ve worked hard to build a society for ourselves where we are not discriminated against, where we can speak and write freely, and when we feel things need to change, we have the right to petition our law-makers. Yet, change is a process that takes time, particularly in the holistic health industry. Citizens seeking more natural approaches to healthcare have long had restricted access to services from natural medicine practitioners, such as Registered Aromatherapists (RA).

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Topics: holistic health and the law, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Green Cleaning: Why We Love Lavender Essential Oil (And You Should, Too!)

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Jul 2, 2014 4:00:00 PM

Ahh, lavender! It is absolutely one of my favorite flowers and essential oils. I became addicted to lavender 15 years ago during our first Summer Study Abroad Program in Provence. I love it so much that I even started my own sustainable lavender farm! This purple, peaceful flower is most associated with relaxation, sleep support, and yummy smelling soaps and candles, but lavender essential oil can do more than add a soothing, floral note to your bed-time bath blend. 

Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.) (also called French lavender or true lavender) is a fantastic essential oil for green cleaning! It’s especially ideal for those who prefer a light, floral scent to the medicinal aroma that accompanies other well-known green cleaning essential oils like eucalyptus or rosemary. (Note that you can also use Lavandin Lavandula intermedia (Emeric ex Loisel.) for green cleaning, but it has different constituents and actions. I’ll blog about lavandin soon!)

If you love in floral scents, relaxation, and the idea of a sparkling clean home without the use of all those chemical nasties, here are more reasons you’ll love green cleaning with lavender essential oil:

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Topics: free recipes, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, green cleaning

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