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about CSHS

Located two miles west of Forestville, in beautiful Sonoma County, the California School of Herbal Studies is one of North America’s oldest centers for herbal education. Founded in 1978 by Rosemary Gladstar, and led today by School Directors Rebecca Maxfield and Jason Miller, along with Program Coordinator Autumn Summers, CSHS continues in the spirit in which it was created.

Our mission is to help create sustainable communities by providing Earth centered, community based herbal education. CSHS works to empower individuals with the skills, experience and confidence needed by the community herbalist. Our school teaches from the tradition of western herbalism, with a materia medica primarily made up of North American and European herbs. Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine perspectives and herbs are used to complement the Western tradition.

Our full-time, 8-month intensive offers students a broad-based foundation in herbal medicine. For those who can't make a fulltime commitment we also offer a broad range of weekend series courses and one-day workshops. Successful graduates of our intensive program leave here with the knowledge they need to enter and contribute to the field of herbalism. Upon graduation students receive certificates of completion that are highly regarded by the herbal community.

CSHS is located on a lovely, rustic 80 acre sanctuary known as Emerald Valley. Our campus includes a classroom with an adjacent kitchen, a one-half acre garden with over 400 herb species, a medicine making building and forested hiking trails. Forestville is an hour and a half drive north of San Francisco. Visitors to the school are welcome, but please call first so we can be sure someone will be available to greet you! We look forward to meeting you and sharing friendship and herbal experiences.

herb of the month: Violet (continued from left)
Elder shrub
indications: Violet is a gentle, moist and cooling remedy that soothes inflamed mucosa. It has been used traditionally as a cough remedy, especially for children and dry coughs. Violet leaves and flowers are a demulcent, nutritive and tasty food rich in minerals like Vitamins A & C, and can be eaten fresh or taken in tea.

Violet is a gentle, subtle remedy that can bring great relief. Herbalist Jim McDonald recommends violet - especially fresh - in the case of constitutional dryness - be it constipation, dry skin / mouth / breathing passages, dry cough, hard lymph nodes, or an herbal formula that is too dry. Violet is known to be a useful remedy for eczema, esepcially with children and elderly where gentleness is a must.

Violet also has the ability to act on the lymphatic sytem, both topically as a poultice, and internally as tincture or tea. In the case of hot, swollen glands, or older, hard congested glands, it can bring releif and movement. It is known to be especially helpful with breast swellings, from mastitis to fybrocystic conditions, both internally and applied in oil with massage, and in combination perhaps with other herbs. Centuries ago violet was known to "ripen and dissolve swellings" and violet has a modern reputation for being useful in the treatment of cancer. Although this herb could be an appropriate part of a larger treatment approach, this 'anti-cancer' association is misleading in its oversimplification of the actions of an herbal medicine and the complexity of treating such a disease.

In the emotional, plant-spirit context, violet has been associated with love for centuries, and is said to 'calm and strengthen the heart' and soften and soothe the spirit, espeically in stress due to hot, dry rigidity of the emotions or psyche- not unlike the physiological use!

contraindications: Caution with root/seeds, strong emetic and not advised for use.

primary references:
McDonald, Jim: Violet Herb Guest Post for Methow Valley Herbs
Henriette's Herbal / The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918
• Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism, Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 2003

note: This information is not a replacement for a trained herbalist. Please consult your medical professional before treating yourself or others with this or any other herbal remedy.