Feb 23, 2014

5 Questions // Lydia Bartholow & Portland Apothecary

The fourth interview of our 5 Questions Series is with Lydia Bartholow. Lydia is an herbalist and  psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. In this series we are posing a set of 5 Questions to healers and makers that we love and admire. They are two different sets of questions accordingly, but both have in common an exploration of plants, intention and creative/healing practice. Do comment below to participate in the conversation and please share this interview!

1. What motivates you to work within the health field?

I came to the health field as someone who was very sick. I was fatigued, depressed, anxious and I used alcohol to treat all three ailments. I saw a myriad of health professionals – some of them were helpful, most were not. They seemed to love to talk at me, not with me. They told me what they thought was wrong with me and how they thought it should be fixed. They rarely took the time to hear me; to hear my story and to collaborate with me on how to heal. So, I was motivated to enter the health field and provide a different, hopefully better, model of care. I came to the health field with a deep interest in the healing power of a collaborative relationship between provider and client; a relationship that presumes that the client is the expert in their own experience.

 I’m also motivated by the political nature of health and health care. When I say political, I don’t mean republican or democrat, but instead, I am referring to the ways in which our culture allocates health care resources. Health status and the ability to access health care are a barometer of social inclusion. When I began to practice herbalism, I was working as a paid activist doing prison abolition work. This work was, and is, tremendously important, but I felt drained by not making a direct impact in peoples lives. In doing the health care work that I do now, I get to work with people that are extremely socially excluded, especially ex-prisoners, and I make a direct impact on their access to health care – and their overall experience of social inclusion or exclusion.

2. Is there a certain piece of advice you find yourself giving to your clients often? If so, what is it?

Ban fat-phobia!

I consistently find myself working with people to be less afraid of fat. And I mean this in two ways: 

1st, Dietary fat is a good thing – not something to be avoided. Popular nutrition has done us a tremendous disservice by convincing us that dietary fats will make us fat and give us heart disease. In reality, dietary fats help ease blood sugar levels and encourage nervous system health. And no, I don’t mean fake or hydrogenated fats. But if it’s a fat that your great-grandmother ate, it’s good for you, even (and especially) lard and butter. If you crave a hamburger, don’t worry about the fat – worry more about the processed bun surrounding the beef. For a great evidence-based article on this check out What if it’s All Been a Big Fat Lie, which was re-published in the NY times a few years ago.

2nd, Our culture hates fat people, especially fat women. The hatred is so intense that we’ve convinced ourselves that there is a much greater correlation between body size and health than there actually is. Indeed, the hatred is so intense that we condone things that are much more dangerous than body fat: shame, self-hate, yo-yo dieting, fad dieting and worst of all – food shame. Focus on nourishing yourself and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you feel more and more comfortable in your own body.

3. Favorite books within your healing modality?

One of my favorite books, and one that I suggest to many people wishing to do work with underserved populations is Gabor Mate’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Read this book if you are at all interested in health care for the homeless, addicted, traumatized and tremendously underserved.

4. Are plants part of your practice, and if so, which do you find yourself using the most and for what reason?

Plants are a large part of my practice. As a mental health professional (a psychiatric prescriber of allopathic meds), I specialize in emotional trauma and addictions. The most useful, general grouping of plant medicines for both trauma and addictions are nervines. Specifically, I use Skullcap and Milky Oats on an almost daily basis to calm the nervous system in the immediate and to build nervous system capacity for the long haul. Interestingly, I work with a lot of individuals with intense histories of trauma and yet I know very few people in our culture who wouldn’t benefit from nutritive nerviness. Who doesn’t experience regular traumas related to gender, race, class or size, or intense and un-ending stress? Plants like Skullcap and Oats are useful for so many people – plus they are easy to grow in the Pacific Northwest (where I live and practice) and easy to prepare in a variety of fun ways.

5. Can you offer our community a recipe (this is open to interpretation)?

Our culture is so busy. We focus on getting things done, staying busy and being productive. We need to spend more time turning inward and nourishing ourselves. Herbal Mineral Tea is a great
way to do this because it forces us to spend time on ourselves each day, and it offers vital nutrients for the body. 

There’s no perfect recipe for mineral tea in that each of us will have different nutritional needs or taste buds, but here’s what I generally include in my nutritive teas:

Lavender and/or Rose

Seep the ingredients, covered (this is important because you don’t want to allow the amazing and important aromatic oils to escape into air) for as long as you can stand it. Often, at night, I need a
cup of healthy, hot tea before bed. But to really get the most out of a mineral tea, the tea needs to seep for at least 2-3 hours, because of this, many people chose to drink their mineral tea cold and to sip it throughout the day. 

Have fun finding your perfect combination of herbs for your personal nutritive tea and consider asking an herbalist to develop a mineral blend made specifically for your body.


Lydia Anne M Bartholow is a practicing herbalist and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She is currently working on her doctorate at OHSU in addictions policy. She has a closed practice
in Portland, Oregon but is part of an amazing group of practitioners at Amenda Clinic. She often teaches herbalism courses in Portland, Oregon; for more info on these courses, check out her website.

Feb 21, 2014

Acupressure Support for these Remaining Winter Days // Portland Apothecary

Walking around Portland I can see evidence of Spring all around me. Hellebores are blooming, the scent of daphne and viburnum blooms are heavy in the air, and the catkins from the hazlenut are swaying in the wind. But last week we had blizzards (well in PNW terms) and wailing winds which make the transition period we are in even more obvious. I have an acupuncture practice, as well as my work here at Portland Apothecary, and I am seeing client after client come in exhausted. Working hard all Winter while the natural order of things asks for hibernation, and the nourishing of all restful Yin activities, begins to take its toll. I thought it would be a good idea to begin sharing some acupressure points with you to support you through the seasons to add to your herbal support. 

The above photo is from Peter Deadman's text A Manual of Acupuncture, a classic student text.

Kidney 3, or Taixi, is a powerful point on the Kidney channel that can help recharge your qi, yin and yang. If you are feeling rundown, tired, cold and/or a little weak this is a point that can be of great benefit to you. You can easily find this point by crossing your leg over your knee so you can reach the inside of your ankle. From there locate the highest point of your medial malleolus, or the bony circle, and move your hand towards the back of your ankle so you are positioned in the valley behind the malleolus. You can feel a pulsing right there. Gently press that point and hold for a few solid breaths in and out or until you feel nice and centered. Try this daily for a week or so and see if you notice the results. You can do this with both ankles or just one!

Feb 18, 2014

Food & Wine March 2014 & Portland Apothecary // Community Supported Herbalism

A big thank you to Food & Wine Magazine for highlighting our Community Supported Herbalism Shares in their March issue. We love that magazines like theirs are seeing the growing interest and need in herbalism and preventative medicine. We're also looking forward to trying out some of the recipes this month!

Feb 16, 2014

February in Pictures // Instagram

Some snippets from our Instagram in the past weeks, please join us over there!

Midday tea break

making stock
just took a few days in the studio for these forsythia branches to start blooming

having fun making little ceramic spoons

soothing throat spray now available on the shop
Put my florist apron on for Valentines <3
Working with turmeric root today- such a medicinal powerhouse!

Fireside times with Captain and Eloise

Feb 14, 2014

5 Questions // Marty Windahl (Tarotscopes) & Portland Apothecary

 In our third interview of our 5 Questions Series we are lucky enough to chat with Marty Windahl of the ever enlightening Tarotscopes. Every week we look forward to her insight! In this series we are posing a set of 5 Questions to healers and makers that we love and admire. They are two different sets of questions accordingly, but both have in common an exploration of plants, intention and creative/healing practice. Do comment below to particiapte in the conversation and please share this interview!

1. What motivates you to work within the health field?

It is kind of a long meandering story, so I will just try stick to a few key points.  I really relate to what Sara Seinberg said in her response to the same question, that she spent most of her adult life wishing her body was different than the way it was.  I felt this way not so much about my body, but about my being.  I found myself cruelly trying to shove myself into situations or jobs that trampled my spirit.  I came into this world an extremely sensitive kid.  Being sensitive I've come to understand is a lot like experiencing changes in weather.  When it is sunny and 75 degrees your body feels comfortable and relaxed.  When it is negative 5 degrees and windy your muscles tense up.  As a kid I was experiencing changes in weather several times a day, in different places and with different people.  Adults used to get frustrated with me because I had trouble answering apparently simple questions.  For me the questions were not simple because they were always submitted in the context of a certain set of distracting conditions.  The more impatient they became the harder it was for me to answer the question because, for me, the weather kept changing.  Pressure makes it difficult to listen to intuition or instinct.  Over the years I've observed that the best way for me to understand all the information I'm receiving is by being patient and allowing the feelings to settle before I try and make sense of them.  My intention, through the healing work that I do, is to help create a similar space for others to connect with their intuition and voice and hopefully inspire an appreciation and respect for the unique being found within each of us.   

2. Is there a certain piece of advice you find yourself giving to your clients often? If so, what is it? 

Go with your gut!  Trust your intuition!  This sounds simple, but we carry so many voices inside ourselves that have nothing to do with our intuition.  All these voices make it extremely difficult to hear where that one voice, the one that has our best interest in mind, our intuition, is pointing us.  When I'm working with a client I try to help uncover and peel back some of the conversations that might be blocking intuition.   

3. Favorite books within your healing modality?

Motherpeace by Vicki Noble, Spiritual Astrology by Jan Spiller and Karen McCoy, the words of Dori Midnight (Dori's words are always an inspiration, even if not in book form), Birds of North America: A Golden Field Guide (Okay, this isn't specifically within my healing modality, but I included it because, to me, part of reconnecting with yourself, your intuition, your intuitive voice, higher self, etc. happens through observation and connection with nature.  Also this particular guidebook belonged to my grandmother and still has her scratchy notes in the corners, which I feel like adds another element of magic.)

4. Are plants part of your practice and if so, which do you find yourself using the most and for what reason?

I use herbs if someone needs a spell or a little magic.  The plants I use vary depending on the needs of the client, but I find myself using fennel and rosemary a lot.  One reason is that both are pretty hardy and accessible in the Los Angeles area.  I like fennel because it encourages and opens up all forms of communication.  And I like rosemary because it is a feminist protection herb.

5. Please include 1 recipe (which could include remedies, exercise, art methods, food, visualizations, etc - please interpret recipe in your own way)

Because the next big lunar phase will be a full moon on February 14th (St. Valentine's Day)  I thought I would recommend a variation on a traditional love spell/ ritual/ intention.  I really like making little bags of magic because I think it is nice to have a tangible reminder of what you are welcoming.  I usually use those cotton bags that are sold as reusable tea bags in health food stores or online. 

Bag of Magic- For Self Love/Appreciation and to Strengthen Intuition

1  small bag* big enough to hold the following:

-STONE/ ROCK: Go pick your favorite.  Think about what you want the stone to do.  Then go for a walk or hike and pick up the first stone that jumps out at you.  It doesn't have to be pretty or remarkable in any way, just somehow special to you.  (If you are having trouble finding a stone because you are in an urban setting you can do this at a gem shop and just pick the first stone that jumps out at you.)

-APPLE SEEDS:  Eat an apple, the whole apple, enjoy it.  Think about the good things the apple is doing for your body, think about the ways it is nourishing you.  Keep a few of the seeds from the core and put them in the bag with your stone.

-HERBS:  Pick some herbs to put in your bag.  If it is winter and there aren't any herbs to pick, you can use dried herbs.  Again I recommend, rosemary (for protection and empowerment), fennel (for communication), rose petals (for love), cinnamon sticks or powder (for self love), bay leaves (for intuition) etc. 

-A LIST:  Make a list on parchment paper (you may have to use a permanent marker, ballpoint pen doesn't usually work very well.) of all the things you like, love and enjoy.  This list could include, people, places, things, animals, a particular time of day or night, etc. Then on the night of the full moon- blow on the list 3 times, pass it over the flame of a candle 3 times (feel free to singe it a little bit), sprinkle 3 drops of water on the list, and finally sprinkle a little dirt on the list 3 times.  


Of the stars,
And of the earth,
My voice is strong,
My guide since birth.

By the power of three times three
Blessed be!

*I like to boil the bag first in water with fennel flowers (for communication), or rosemary (for protection), or rose petals (for love) etc.

Marty Windahl has a very special practice. She is an interdisciplinary artist whose current body of work is a marriage of many, many of her interests. It’s part writing project, part clairvoyant performance. It’s part lifestyle assistance, part metaphysical forecasting. It’s part public service, part benevolent future gazing witchcraft. Her current project is Tarotscopes, a weekly guide to life based on her readings of horoscope and tarot cards. It’s a very cool public project that seeks to help you navigate your every day by way of a little magic.
Marty is a little lady who lives in Silver Lake. She recently moved into a glowing white space that is where she makes the weekly Tarotscopes. The space has a very nice connection to the outdoors, something that is very important to Marty. You actually hear about her tie to nature very much in her writing.

Feb 6, 2014

5 Questions // Lis Goldshmidt LAc & Portland Apothecary

Our second installment of our 5 Questions series is with artist and acupuncturist Lis Goldshmidt of Five Pins Project in San Francisco. In this series we are posing a set of 5 Questions to healers and makers that we love and admire. They are two different sets of questions accordingly, but both have in common an exploration of plants, intention and creative/healing practice. Do comment below to particiapte in the conversation and please share this interview!

1. What motivates you to work within the health field?
I’m motivated by the basic human need to be healthy and comfortable.
If only we were all as healthy and pain free as possible! Just imagine: people would be more present and loving with their friends and families, be able to make more art, be involved in more community events, and have more fun!
My hope is that by supporting individuals in their strive to be more healthy and comfortable, I am also supporting the community at large. 

2. Is there a certain piece of advice you find yourself giving to your clients often? If so, what is it? 
Rest, rest, rest.
If we’re not getting enough rest, it doesn’t matter how well we eat, or if we take herbs or get exercise. Our bodies and minds need time to recover from our bustling lives. For times when people are too busy to get as many hours of sleep as they want/need, I suggest brief naps, or even a few moments spent after lunch with their eyes closed. 

3. Favorite books within your healing modality?
There are so many classics in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Whenever I’m presented with a difficult case, I go back to the basics: The Foundations of Chinese Medicine by Macioca.

4. Are plants part of your practice and if so, which do you find yourself using the most and for what reason?
I do use herbal medicine as part of my practice. I most often use alcohol based tinctures made with organic and wildcrafted herbs. In Chinese Medicine, we rarely use single herbs - we usually use balanced formulas that combine several herbs. However, the one herb, used alone, I often recommend is turmeric. In Chinese Medicine we call it Jiang Huang and we use it for conditions of blood stagnation- like painful menstruation and body aches. There have been so many recent studies that show that turmeric is great for everything from inflammation to cancer prevention. I suggest it to many of my patients, either to be taken as a supplement or included more often in their diet. 

5. Please include 1 recipe (which could include remedies, exercise, art methods, food, visualizations, etc - please interpret recipe in your own way)
Take one minute everyday, either first thing when you wake up or just before you go to sleep, and notice all the ways your body is working perfectly. It's nice to take a moment to notice the stuff that's working, and not only the aches and pain and parts that aren't doing what we need/want them to do. 
Are your lungs allowing you to breath in life giving oxygen? Are your liver and kidneys helping you yo detoxify? Is your heart keeping your blood moving through your veins? Is your nervous system allowing you to sense your surroundings? For many of us, these kinds of miraculous bodily functions happen with out us even having to think about it. 

Lis Goldschmidt is a Licensed Acupuncturist in California with a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM). Lis excels at treating a variety of conditions including pain of all types, insomnia, digestive issues, menstrual issues, and addiction. In addition, she has advanced training in the treatment of depression/anxiety, Lyme Disease, transgender health issues, and pre/post surgical care.
While studying Traditional Chinese Medicine, Lis interned at the ACTCM Community Clinic, the Auricular Clinic, the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, and the Jewish Home for the Aged. Lis has also worked at San Francisco Community Acupuncture, Circle Community Acupuncture and Community Acupuncture Works. She currently volunteers her services to Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic.
Having earned a Bachelor of the Arts in Art Education, Lis brings an artist’s sensibility to the practice of Chinese Medicine. Lis’ enthusiasm for holistic health care grows from her interest in the human body, the arts, and her commitment to community.