Neglected Herbal Powerhouses

Date: December 5, 2012

Teacher Name and Titles: Matthew Alfs, MH, RH (AHG)

Alfs, Matthew

We‘ve all heard about black cohosh, echinacea, garlic, cinnamon, saw palmetto, ginkgo, and ginger ad nauseum! Judging from articles in popular health mags and by TV/radio news “bites,” one gets the impression that these herbs are all that there is to herbal medicine. Without a doubt, they are best sellers on the herb market and also have been highly studied in the scientific literature. Yet, none of them are native to Minnesota. On the other hand, hundreds of other herbs native to our state have a long history of successful usage by native–Americans and by white pioneers in our area (including by Physio–medicalist and Eclectic physicians who practiced in our area), yet have been little studied in the modern scientific literature, are largely ignored in the media, are not typically available on the herb market, and are little used by modern Minnesotans. This lecture reviews a number of these neglected herbal powerhouses (mainly native plants, but a few EuroAsian imports), revealing how they have been successfully used by the aforementioned healers and in the modern clinical practice of the lecturer. Included for discussion are anise hyssop, bull thistle, bunchberry, clearweed, field pennycress, fireweed, horsemint, Labrador tea, peppercress, pineapple–weed, sweet everlasting, and wild mint (and perhaps a few others, if time allows). The goal is that attendees will be educated, empowered, and enriched by the information presented.

Matthew Alfs is a clinical herbalist (since the mid–1990s) and one of fewer than 200 of such in the USA who is nationally–peer–reviewed as a registered herbalist (R.H.) by the American Herbalists Guild. He is the founder and director of the Midwest School of Herbal Studies, offering distance education in herbal medicine throughout North America), the founder and director of the Midwest Herbs & Healing Center , an integrative natural–therapies center in Roseville), and a highly–sought–after teacher and lecturer throughout North America. He has authored dozens of articles in magazines and journals on herbal medicine and two popular books on the subject: 300 Herbs: Their Indications and Contraindications (2003) and Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants of Minnesota & Wisconsin (2001).(A revised and expanded edition of the latter book is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2013 under the new title Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants of the Midwest.) He is also the author of the 1,500–page curriculum used by the Midwest School of Herbal Studies.