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Learning about Herbs

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Dominion Herbal College will immerse a new group of plant lovers into the world of herbs in July

Dominion Herbal College will immerse a new group of plant lovers into the world of herbs in July.

The College's 29th Annual International Herbal Summer Seminar is the longest-running of its kind in North America. College president Judy Nelson, ND, remembers helping her mother Ella Birznick with the first seminar in White Rock in 1971, which evolved into a farm in Chilliwack.

"[My] always made big pots of soup with nettles and comfrey leaves," she recalls. "People came and set up their tents."

Now the week-long seminars take place at the University of British Columbia's beautiful botanical gardens and brown-bag lunches are the order of the day. The high-quality herbal training remains the same-and it's spreading across the country. This past May, Dominion Herbal College organized a similar seminar with the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

The workshops cover such topics as herb identification, Kneipp water therapy and how to make herbal teas, infusions and salves.

This year, Nelson is particularly excited about the presentation on herbs from the prairies, as that's where she grew up. She's also looking forward to a workshop on new ways of making tinctures.

People from as far away as Malaysia and Japan have come for the seminars, including nurses, medical and naturopathic doctors and those who just have an interest in herbs. Ryan Drum, Phd, MH, from Oregon, guides the herb walks and, has attended every Dominion College summer seminar, including the first!

Dave Fuller of Ave Maria Specialties health food store in Prince George, British Columbia, attended his first seminar about three years ago.

"I remember on a herb walk the guide found some comfrey," he says. "He chewed it, stuck it on his forehead and explained its effectiveness. It's stuff you can't get from books!"
Fuller has sent some of his staff members to the seminars. Eight of them have worked on Dominion Herbal College's correspondence courses.

"Knowing this stuff is essential," he says. "At the seminars you get to taste it, feel it-herbalism comes alive, and you're not just selling a product in a bottle."

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