Archives for posts with tag: herbalism

Herbes Dix - Open At Six

This Saturday March 2, join us for Herbes Dix/Ten Plants during Montreal’s Nuit Blanche. We are excited to have been selected to be a part of the official programming of Nuit Blanche. The exhibition features mixed media paintings on wood by Natasha Henderson. The paintings depict ten plants that help you survive and thrive through the winter, as selected by Herbalist Tammy Schmidt.

We will open early, at 6pm, to accomodate more people throughout the evening. We recommend coming early (before 8pm) in order to enter our free draw for a painting from the show. We will also offer special discount coupons to everyone who drops by, as well as entice you to play a fun and competitive game “Match The Latin!” So come by before 8pm if you can. See you!

Fleurbain is located at 460 St Catherine West, unit 917.

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art, herbalism, activism, and fun… Verdant Life In The City!

It is with great delight that we are about to celebrate one year since opening our doors in this verdant city, Montreal. At 6pm onward on Saturday November 3, we will do so in style. We have so much to celebrate! Fleurbain is where seeds have been thrown, ideas have germinated, friendships and connections have grown. After having extended our branches in the worlds of herbalism, art, health and empowerment, we have seen dreams and hopes begin to come to fruition.

a McGill student relaxes over some tisane and painting

Having begun as a blog (you are reading it!) between herbalist Tammy Schmidt and artist Natasha Henderson, Fleurbain has grown into a workspace for these two creative urbanites, but is much more than that. Both women have led workshops in their respective fields. Natasha began her successful “Drop In Painting” sessions, in which anyone was encouraged to pick up a paintbrush and create. Tammy has led dietary workshops and support groups, in The Nourishment Series. She has also hosted many in-house spa treatments, using only organic, healthy ingredients to nourish the skin and spirit. Early in the existence of Fleurbain, Tammy was interviewed for the documentary Fairly Foul, in which she spoke about alternatives to toxic beauty care products. Shared beliefs between BCAM and Femme Toxic and Fleurbain has made for extended support and networking for change in areas we strongly believe in.

Tammy during shooting for the documentary, Fairly Foul

Numerous community events have been organised and presented over the last year. Vernissages for new exhibitions have been a highlight. Poetry readings, artists’ talks, and yoga classes have rounded out some of the cultural and good things going on at Fleurbain.

activity at Fleurbain

As we look back, we want to thank each artist in their participation. Carole Arbic, Elissa Baltzer, Heather Boyd, Denise Buisman Pilger, Marc Chabot, Naomi Frangos, Anna Grigorian, Jennifer Hamilton, Meredith Hayes, Natasha Henderson, Françoise Issaly, Thaneah Krohn, Jeffrey Mackie, Jenny McMaster, David Merk, Lorraine Miller Emmrys, Kimberley Mok, Michel Pednault, Sarina Rahman, Keivan Khademi Shamami, Spiranza Spir, Darlene St Georges, Lauren Trimble, Patrycja Walton, Julie Webb, and Alice Zilberberg… Thank you!

Tammy leading a large workshop for Femme Toxic on organic, herbal skincare

While Tammy has activated the lives of many with her workshops, support groups, and classes, she has also maintained her private practice as a consulting herbalist. Her in-house dispensary is a wonderful place to get your favourite herbal remedies after your consultation with Tammy.

Natasha curates the art gallery, with a number of themed group exhibitions throughout the year, as well as her own New Work solo show each spring. Art creates a vibrant and creative, always changing scene for all that happens in Fleurbain.

Natasha paints, creates felt objects, and curates the gallery.

This Saturday, November 3, please join us in celebrating all this, and more. From 6pm onwards, we will enjoy pies, wine, special herbal teas by Tammy Schmidt, and fabulous company. Natasha is proud to present a selective retrospective exhibition of her paintings from over the last few years, as well as some brand new works. New herbal products made by Tammy are available in our shop, including tisanes and lipbalms to go. Natasha’s handmade felt products, fun Goober cell-phone cases and stylish scarves, await new homes. Our new product lines and ideas are blooming, we are planning new classes for this winter and 2013, and more is cooking at Fleurbain. Come celebrate with us!

Fleurbain is located at 460 St Catherine West, Unit 917. If you should arrive late, and the front door is locked, buzz for the security guard to let you in. See you Saturday!

Join me at Fleurbain for the LAB Series.

On August 30th and 31st we are all about Lemon balm, otherwise known as Melissa officinalis.

What you might like to know about this herb ahead of time:

Lemon balm:

* is a great tasting herb, so lemony, but it is actually a part of the mint family.

* improves mood, and helps with the less glamorous moments of irritability and forgetfulness.

* can work to relieve stress headaches, heartache, aids digestion, helps you sleep and diminishes seasonal depression.

* is a famous antiviral that is effective against cold sores and shingles.

* can be used by folks of all ages.

* and to top it off, it is a beautiful perennial in Quebec!

At Fleurbain I will share with you the winning, synergistic combinations of lemon balm with other herbs.  We will discuss who should not be taking it in large quantities.  And we will experiment with a plethora of recipes used for refreshment and cosmetic purposes.

There are three opportunities to come to the Lemon balm LAB.  Preregistration is appreciated.

Please send me an email at: fleurbain@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 30th  4:00 – 5:30 p.m. or 7:30-9:00 p.m.

Or

Friday, August 31st      4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Cost: $20.00  This includes notes, recipes and delicious samples.

It is the middle of winter.

Energy is a little low, “sigh…”

The weather is a little intimidating with all the snow and ice and icy cold mountains of slush.  It’s not just the ubiquitous boots, but the whole experience of walking down the street makes people scream, “Ugg!”

We see this and so, we thought we would make it a little easier to do something good for you!

All courses starting in February are half-price, even if they span into March.

Yup, half-price!  🙂  We knew this would add a little warmth to your winter!

Here is a list of what is going on in the next couple weeks.

Tammy Schmidt, CHT

A fleurbain mid-winter Cleanse

You may want to shed a few of the post-holiday pounds or you may want to improve your energy by eating better.  Find supportive and positive approaches to nourishing yourself and renewing for Spring.

Includes anti-inflammatory recipes, menus and plenty of helpful information.

Tammy Schmidt will be facilitating this support group. She is trained as a clinical herbal therapist. She also provides consultations and education on herbal remedies.

Monday February 6th – March 12th; 7:30pm – 9:00pm, $120 for the session.  Half price discount is $60, plus tax, for the six sessions.

Intro To Painting: Old masters Basics

In this eight-week course, students will learn about techniques used in both oil and acrylic painting. Students can choose to paint in oil or acrylics. Natasha will provide you with a list of supplies you will need, and advise on your choice of paints upon registration.

Instructor Natasha Henderson has taught art for several years, and has exhibited her paintings for over a decade. Her classes are supportive, fun, and informative. Please check out her website to see more of her work.

Play, colour theory, illusion… perspective, perception, and more will be covered in this class. The final day will be spent out of the studio, on a field trip to the Musee des Beaux Arts to look at, and talk about, painting. Great painting that will further inspire our hearts, minds, and souls… and art. We will learn by doing and making, and then revel in what we now know.

The class is held in Fleurbain, at 460 St Catherine Street West, Unit 917 H3B 1A7, close to McGill and Place des Arts metros, ts of nearby parking too. Class is scheduled for either Saturdays (February 11 to March 31) or Sundays (February 12 to April 1) 12-3pm. Cost is $320.  Half-price discount, the price is now $160, plus tax for 8 sessions! (If you join late in the session, class prices will be pro-rated.)

Four Weeks of Felt (aka “I ♥ Felt”)  

In I ♥ Felt, students will learn how to make felt in the wet-felting process.  Instructor Natasha Henderson is experienced in feltmaking, puppet-making, painting, and cartooning. Over the last several years, she has been inspired by seeing her students take felt-making to new levels.  This will be a fun, informative, and relaxed workshop.

We will make: *a flat project (the ever-popular scarf!)
* a simple form that can be crafted into a cell-phone case or small purse or other nifty little object
* a larger, more complex form using a resist technique (either a larger purse or a vase)
* jewelry, forms and decorative shapes

Classes will be held in Fleurbain Tuesday nights, February 14th to March 6th, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Cost of the four weeks of supplies and fun, is $160, plus tax. The half-price discount price which includes supplies and instruction is $80, plus tax.

Are you looking for affordable one-on-one instruction from a skilled painter?  Come explore your creative side at the Wednesday Night Drop-in Painting from 6:30pm-8:30pm, $35, plus tax, per drop-in.  For the month of February, Half-price discount is $17.50, plus tax. All supplies are included!

All classes are held in Fleurbain, 460 St Catherine West Unit #917. Please email us at fleurbain@gmail.com to register or for more information.

YES! We did it! We opened our doors to the public…

in the midst of the celebration

On November 5th, we had a  party and business-launch and vernissage of art! It was a fabulous evening.

We are proud and happy to announce that we are HERE. You can join us!

Tammy is available for full consultations and mini consultations.  Please email tammy.schmidt.herbalist@gmail.com to book an

Tammy Schmidt, CHT

appointment. Her herbal dispensary is stocked and beautiful.

Tammy is also excited to announce a series of really cool workshops this winter.  Would you like more information?  Email fleurbain@gmail.com to sign up for our newsletter.

private or drop-in painting classes with Natasha Henderson

Natasha is in Fleurbain during regular gallery hours, 3pm to 6pm Tuesday through Sunday. She also is hosting a variety of drop-in and pre-registered workshops in painting, feltmaking, and other creative endeavours. Please call 514-504-3290 or email fleurbain@gmail.com for more details!

Natasha Henderson, BFA

The beautiful Espace Fleurbain is ready for you…

Talk to us about hosting your event, about space rental, about your verdant ideas about life in the city.

Fleurbain is under construction. Fleurbain is moving… moving in, setting up shop, shifting around, clarifying, distilling, and experimenting to compound our knowledge and expertise.

Fleurbain is no longer only a dream and a website… Fleurbain is a site.

We will have a grand ouverture and vernissage soon (probably in early November), but in the meantime we will have small open-houses, host workshops, and meet with our clientelle in the realms of herbalism and art. In coming weeks we will announce regular opening hours, but for now we are available by appointment.

Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist, is available for appointments through tammy.schmidt.herbalist (at) gmail.com and Natasha Henderson Artist and felt-making crafty Workshop Instructor is available through nhen@videotron.ca. We can both be reached through fleurbain@gmail.com!

See you soon, Montreal!

Tammy Schmidt and Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Christopher Hobbs at the American Botanical Council Garden imparting knowledge to other herbalists attending the AHG 2010 Symposium

I just read a very silly article in the Globe and Mail called The promise and perils of backyard herbalism by Adriana Barton.  In this, she tries to pit herbalists against ‘real’ science and research.  I love how this article reveals how bound-up we are in our respective beliefs.  Some people are thoroughly disgusted with anything beyond the allopathic medical model.  Why is this?

In her first few paragraphs, she takes Kyle Patton as a typical herbalist. His training is sited as a 7 month course in Ithaca, New York.  I would say that Patton may be passionate and he might have learned a lot during this course, but he is relatively new to herbalism with only a 7 month course under his belt.  I am curious to know how he is already prepared to lead courses in herbal medicine.  Judy Nelson, of Dominion Herbal College, is right to say that a credible herbalist is someone that people might go to for teaching or advice. Nelson notes such a person should have studied at the very least for 4 years, and this should include a good deal of supervised clinical hours.  Herbalism is both an art and a science.  I personally believe that you need many excellent mentors to be your teachers.  Kyle Patton states that herbalism is not book learning.  I will give him a break, he is new to it all and hopefully he was misquoted, because any credible herbalist I know will tell you it is both book learning and experience with plants and practicing traditional methods.  It takes many, many hours of study of both the human body and plants. It takes practice in working with/being-with both the plants and humans.  I think clocking about 10,000 hours in total is about right before anyone should really call themselves an authority on herbal medicine.  And guess what?  You have to keep going with it if you want to stay fresh!  This is not to say that people can not learn along the way and work towards becoming an herbalist.  It is just that if you are choosing mentors or experts in the field, look for one whose dedication to herbal learning can be respected.

a mentor of mine, Christine Dennis, as she leads a class

Today’s popular culture is in a bit of a DIY state of mind.  DIY is trendy.  But Adriana Barton is quite frankly out of touch to write that all herbal medicine is a DIY trend.  Over 80% of the world uses herbal medicine as their primary medicine. The World Health Organization recognizes this!  Herbal medicine is not just one tradition.  There are many, many traditions around the globe for producing effective herbal remedies.  People learn what is passed down in their families, people practice herbalism around the globe.  This is quite simply anything but a Do-It-Yourself type trend.

Barton’s article gives examples that make herbalism look wacky.  She states that researchers, “caution that “natural” doesn’t mean necessarily “safe”,” AND she states that these “researchers” have evidence of misdiagnoses, incorrect preparations and heavy metal contamination amongst other contaminants. These sages also informed Barton that St. John’s Wort interacts with everything.  I would like to challenge this and say that “researchers” are not the only ones saying this.  Credible herbalists know this too.  We learn about plant constituents, their actions and compare this to pharmacological texts and pharmaceutical industry manuals. A comprehensive knowledge of interactions and contraindications is fundamental to herbal medicine. Had Barton asked me, I would have told her as much as her researcher did. We have been saying and using this information too!  Good herbalists stay up to date with the latest research on herbs. Our vocation is to work conscientiously with the remedies that grow on our planet.

Also, as a herbalist, I agree with the researchers that mistakes do happen in terms of dosage, plant identification and plant remedy suitability.  Westerners are highly urbanized, and we should not kid ourselves that our oneness with nature is sometimes no more than a mere feeling. Few of us have this sense due to actual relationships to plants and the land.  Adulterations do happen.  From time to time, people do not identify plants properly.  It turns out that one time a commercial producer ended up picking plantain and toxic immature foxglove plants and putting them in the same batch.  Oops!  If a commercial producer can do this, there is a chance you could too. I learned this account from Roy Upton’s presentation at the 2009 American Herbalist’s Guild annual symposium, “FDA Good Manufacturing Practices and Community Herbalists.”

AHG 2010

Folks that have been interested in herbal medicine for a few years now; Christopher Hobbs, Mark Blumenthal, Roy Upton, Robin Marles

I am not saying that the people are not qualified to participate in herbal medicine.  I am saying that we need skilled experts, including herbalists, to guide us.  It is terribly interesting how Barton’s article goes so far as to quote the researcher on how it is so impossible to reason with backyard herbalists because,  “It is like a religion to them.”  I think that there is a serious issue here if we get locked in ideological camps and cannot reason with each other.  There are times when allopathic medicine is the most effective, efficient and humane of medicines.  There are also times when people find healing with herbs.  There are times when allopathic medicine is not effective. Sometimes herbal remedies work best.  Not only that, but many herbalists are researchers, they study medicine, some go on to becoming doctors.  For these folks, it might have began as a seven-month course, but it continues to grow.

Things get even worse when I read Barton’s other article, When it comes to herbal medicines, buyer beware.  It should be titled: “The obvious reasons journalists are not necessarily the best people to do summaries on herbal medicines.”  Not only is the information misleading, but there is no mention of the Latin names for precise plant identification. Only the common names are used.  She lists feverfew, milk thistle and lavender as safe for most people and black cohosh, licorice root and pennyroyal to be used with caution or not at all.  I would counter this and say that to use any of them, you are better with counsel from a credible herbalist.

As far as summaries go, there might be better ways of describing the herbs she mentions.  Yes, most herbalists would agree, feverfew has brought great results to some who suffer from migraines. And yet every herbalist should know that one needs to take this remedy over a long period of time in order to see an effect.  If you use it like an Advil, it will not work.  Milk Thistle is not a primary herb used to reduce blood sugar.  It is known to be one of the very best liver remedies.  Most herbalists will tell you that black cohosh is not the menopause herb.  It is in fact an antispasmodic, pain reliever and it is used to relieve muscular pain. Licorice root is usually not used in high quantities in formulas and when used in the right context, for the right people, it has a long history of safe use.

Lavender is not primarily used for hair loss.  And why is Barton suddenly talking about aromatherapy with the mention of thyme, rosemary and cedarwood oils to mix with the lavender?  Any aromatherapist would ask the simple question when seeing this formula; which thyme oil are your talking about?  Which rosemary oil are you talking about?  Also, it’s irresponsible of Barton to hastily state that lavender might disrupt hormones in young boys without giving context or information on studies. The effect is to create fear of something that simply cannot be understood in a few paragraphs of news text.  And then, with the pennyroyal example, she compares leaves of pennyroyal to concentrated essential oil of pennyroyal.  This, too, is really silly.  Anyone who has tried the famous oil of oregano, made with the essential oil of oregano, typically sold as a product already diluted with olive oil will tell you that it is not the same experience as a cup of mint or oregano tea.  The leaves of pennyroyal are not the same as the highly concentrated essential oil of pennyroyal.  To say that pennyroyal oil is most famously known for liver and kidney damage, seizures, lung failure and brain damage is really obscuring the story.  I mean, this is true, but that is not the story!  It was used by young women trying to induce abortions on their own.  No credible herbalist that I know would ever, EVER recommend this!  I am not sure a credible herbalist recommended this in the first place.  It is a sad cautionary tale.  You don’t forget it.

Another part to the article that bothers me is that there is no mention of the ethics of picking wild plants in an urban environment or any environment.  Wild plants growing in the wrong places can be toxic due to the soil and the plants being exposed to toxins.  Also, plant diversity in cities is already at risk.  If we start to recommend that everyone living in a small area start picking wild plants for medicine, this will further destroy an already perhaps exhausted and not exactly healthy environment.  Ethical production of herbal medicines needs to consider sustainability.  Isn’t this one of the best reasons to choose herbal medicine, it can easily be made sustainable and accessible?  I think it makes more sense for people in the urban settings to grow what they can in the community gardens (without pissing off the other gardeners because herbal medicines, such as milk thistle, st. john’s wort and others are naturally robust in gardens), and partner with interested local organic producers outside of the cities before we start recommending wild crafting.  Who wants to look at a bald Mont Royal in Montreal?  Do you want to be the herbalist responsible for creating something like this?

So, it might be that herbalists, ones that are really interested in practicing as herbalists, are needed in many different domains.  Professionals such as pharmacists and researchers from universities have studied alongside me, so I know that they are picking up a few things from the herbalists.  If you are choosing to use herbal medicine, seek out many books, seek out many experts, and keep exploring. Herbalism is not an easy field to master.  At the same time, small steps and good advice from credible folks will give you the courage to keep exploring and to do this responsibly.  Yes, it can be like cooking, it can be like art.  But we have all heard of food poisoning.  Cooking and herbalism is not all so common sense.  The plants may be communicating, but would you not want to test the message?  Science and intelligence through practice helps, in both the areas of cooking and herbal medicine.

Tammy Schmidt, CHT.

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