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Ava's Blog

Meet Our Herbal Supplement Partners: Herb Pharm

Meet Our Herbal Supplement Partners: Herb Pharm

An effective herbal healing journey often requires a multifaceted approach, incorporating essences, homeopathic remedies, and herbal teas, capsules, or syrups. To create the customized healing regimen that’s best suited for your needs, I strongly recommend a private consultation with a qualified herbalist. In addition to creating unique, fully customized essence blends for my consultation clients, I’m also able to offer them guidance on the right mix of other herbal remedies to support their healing. And as an authorized reseller of a few select herbal product lines, I’m able to sell top-quality versions of these herbal formulas directly to our consultation clients.

In a previous post, I shared some details on the Gaia Herbs Professional Solutions product line, which we highly recommend for its consistent quality. We are proud to also offer a selection of herbal extracts from Herb Pharm, a local Pacific Northwest-based herb supplier known for their deep commitment to protecting and preserving the local ecosystem. Herb Pharm uses sustainable and regenerative farming methods to grow all their own botanicals on two certified organic, non-GMO farms in Oregon. Their farmland is a designated Monarch Butterfly Waystation, and they have been honored as a United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary for their research into wild herb cultivation. With their careful growing practices and meticulous attention to detail, Herb Pharm produces exceptionally high quality herbs that are fresh-extracted in as little as an hour from the time of harvest to ensure that each tincture is completely fresh, potent, and ultra-effective. Their extracts are created from the parts of each plant that contain the highest concentrations of sought-after phytochemicals, and their herbs are all scrupulously tested for quality and purity.

We offer a variety of Herb Pharm tinctures to treat a range of acute and chronic health conditions. One of my most recommended is schisandra berry, a calming adaptogen that supports eye and liver health. I recommend schisandra berry to increase resistance to upper respiratory infections, as well as to cleanse and rejuvenate the liver.

Some of my other Herb Pharm favorites include sage for tooth and gum health and for longevity, and rosemary for joint concerns such as osteoarthritis, rheumatism, and gout. Chamomile and lemon balm are both effective sleep aids that offer calming support for the nervous system, and lemon balm is also soothing for frayed nerves, especially for parents.

Our line of Herb Pharm extracts is only available to private consultation clients, because it’s important that I gain a clear sense of each client’s background and needs in order to recommend the best mix of homeopathic remedies to benefit them. Visit our Consultations page to learn more about the consultation process, and choose either a Comprehensive Consultation or a Series of Three to gain access to our Herb Pharm collection along with a range of other carefully selected herbal remedies.

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Meet Our Herbal Supplement Partners: Gaia Herbs

Meet Our Herbal Supplement Partners: Gaia Herbs

When clients come to me for private consultations, in addition to creating customized flower, gem, and environmental essence blends, I often also recommend complementary homeopathic remedies, herbal formulas, or teas to support their ongoing healing and growth. What many people don’t know is that at Pacific Northwest Essences, we stock many of these herbs from a few select, highly trusted partners, and can sell them directly to our consultation clients as needed. I am proud to be an authorized reseller, for example, of Gaia Herbs’ Professional Solutions Products, which are only available through approved holistic practitioners.

We chose to partner with Gaia Herbs because they have been a leading grower and producer of top-quality, fresh, Certified Organic (COG) herbs and herbal products since 1987. Their products all adhere to rigorous quality standards, and they control every stage of production for their herbs, from organic soil enrichment programs, seed selection, cultivation, and harvesting to research and analysis for correct harvest time. Gaia Herbs’ products are always validated to Full Spectrum Potency, which means you can be sure the entirety of the plant’s unique phytochemical makeup is intact in their supplements. A Gaia Herbs supplement is not a purified or isolated version of the herb; instead, it truly mirrors nature with an identical chemical composition to that of the original plant.

We proudly offer Gaia Herbs capsules and syrups including black elderberry, ashwagandha, maca root, olive leaf, and echinacea goldenseal; herbal blends for immune support, sleep support, and memory; and many others. My most frequently recommended formula from this line, and a favorite of many clients, is the HPA Axis Daytime Maintenance formula. These capsules are a daytime formula for replenishing depleted adrenals, which means they can help those who are suffering from the effects of long-term stress or mental overwork to achieve a more even more, greater stress resistance, and a decrease in irritability.

Another excellent formula is the Female Hormone Support, which is designed to keep the body and mind balanced throughout the normal hormonal fluctuations that can accompany PMS and menopause. I often recommend that women take this supplement a few times a month, or regularly during menopause.

Some of my other favorites from Gaia Herbs include eleuthero root, an adaptogen that can provide more energy for those who are overtired or who work physically most of the time, such as dancers, athletes, massage therapists, or landscapers; and holy basil, a powerfully effective herb for improving sleep quality.

These formulas are only available to our private herbal consultation clients, and cannot be purchased directly through our website. This is because as a healer, I need to get to know a client and make sure I have a good grasp of their needs and concerns before I can make a good recommendation for treatment. To schedule a consultation and learn more about the herbal formulas we offer, visit the Consultations page on our website and choose either the Comprehensive Consultation or the Comprehensive Consultation: Series of Three. And check back later this month to learn more about some of the other herbal lines we carry.

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The Essence Kingdoms: How to Find Your Ideal Essence

The Essence Kingdoms: How to Find Your Ideal Essence

For many essence customers, one of the biggest challenges can be choosing which essence to try for a given health problem or to further their personal growth. For those who are new to essences or are seeking help with more serious or longstanding health problems, I always recommend a comprehensive one-on-one consultation as the best way to get started. With a consultation, you get the benefit of an objective and experienced healer to guide you toward the right combination of essences and other herbal remedies for your unique needs, as well as ongoing followups to keep you on the right track as your healing journey progresses.

But whether you are looking to get the most out of a consultation or prefer to choose your own essences, one easy guide to getting started is to learn about the different essence families that are available to you. Respected doctor Rajan Sankaran classifies homeopathic remedies into three main “kingdoms”: the plant kingdom, the mineral kingdom, and the animal kingdom. When choosing an essence, it can be helpful to understand which of these three kingdoms your constitution will benefit most from.

The plant kingdom tends to be the first choice for those who are more emotional and sensitive to changes in their surrounding environment; who are more oriented toward creativity and whose moods and sense of wellbeing are more easily changeable. Such a person may be drawn toward and benefit most from remedies that are made from plants, such as flowers, roots, leaves, and so on.

Mineral essences, meanwhile, such as those made from stones and fossils, tend to benefit those who are more even-keel in their temperament. For these personalities, changes in mood may happen more slowly and steadily, and their orientation in their vocabulary, lifestyle, and outlook tends to be more about structure, security, safety, and order. When their health fails, they will be more likely to describe their state using words that connote a structure, such as falling down, disintegrating, having weak foundation, missing a roof, breaking down, or lacking a key component.

The third kingdom, the animal kingdom, tends to benefit those who are more animated, more physical, and more oriented toward survival, with a constant awareness of competition. There is more of a “fight or flight” theme for these personalities, and they can also be harder to diagnose.

These general guidelines apply not only to choosing remedies for deep emotional and physical healing, but even to treating something as simple as a common cold. There are some people who will heal more quickly with the help of mineral supplements, such as colloidal silver and zinc, while others will find greater healing from a plant remedy such as a belladonna homeopathic or an elderberry syrup. Those who are drawn to animal kingdom remedies may find their healing is best supported by spending time with animals or out in nature.

Of course, we are all complex, multifaceted beings, and we may also respond better to different types of essences at different moments in time. This is why so many of our essence blends contain a combination of essences from different kingdoms, allowing them to address an issue from multiple angles at once. To find the best fit for your own needs, pay attention to which kingdom you’re most drawn to at the current moment in time, or reach out to schedule a consultation with me and have a totally customized essence blend created just for you. 

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Essence Therapy for All: Treating Our Animal Clients

Essence Therapy for All: Treating Our Animal Clients

You may have noticed that the Pacific Northwest Essences website now includes a new sub-category of Herbal and Essence Consultations: Consultations for Animals. Just as flower, gem, and environmental essences can be life-changing for us humans, they also have enormous potential to help our beloved animal companions. I recently expanded my practice to include work with a variety of animal species, inspired in part by the great success I’ve had in using essences and other homeopathic remedies to treat my own horse, Ellie.

Ellie is a 17-year-old paint who came to our family after a career in dude ranching in Wyoming. As soon as she arrived, I noticed that her knees had large bony deposits and appeared unusually thick and stiff, which are typical signs of arthritis. Evaluations by a vet and an equine physical therapist showed that she indeed had some arthritis, but the pain and inflammation seemed moderate.

Ellie had a host of other concerns as well, though. Some were physical, such as occasional lameness when trotting, a sour body odor that suggested some digestive issues, and signs of weakness, including sweating on her back after only minor exertion. Her hooves seemed excessively bony and hard, her coat was matte and coarse, and she looked older than her age, with several bare patches of skin that looked like old scars. Other issues were more mental/emotional in nature: Though she appeared curious and intelligent, Ellie showed only slight interest in connecting with us, her new caretakers. She was extremely anxious in her new surroundings, and almost immediately became herd-bound; her anxiety was clear whenever we took her to the barn to be brushed, saddled, and ridden, and she would shake her head intensely when pulled at the bit. Horse trainers and health specialists offered dismissive and depressing assessments of her health and of the potential she had to learn “at her advanced age.”

I approached working with Ellie from several angles, including homeopathy, flower essences, herbal and nutritional supplements, and lots of affection. To begin, I created a custom flower essence blend that included white birch for pain; teasel, comfrey, and woolly mullein for joint and cartilage concerns; dandelion and horehound for inflammation; and plantain and teasel for their antibacterial and anti-parasitic effects. I also gave Ellie a homeopathic daily dose of Apis (bee venom), a once-a-month treatment of the constitutional remedy Calcarea fluorica in high-potency pellets, and a daily dose of Calcarea fluorica added to her flower essence blend.

I began using this blend with Ellie in two different formats: as a tincture, and an aura mist. To give the tincture, I would dispense about a dropperful onto a brown sugar cube and feed it to her once a day. With the mist, I would spray the formula above her and rub generous amounts into her fur and onto her joints. If I noticed she was relapsing into nervousness, I would repeat the misting again.

After just one week, Ellie had already become much calmer, more centered, and better at dealing with the bit and with her new surroundings. She was paying more attention to my actions, was not as panicky anymore, and was limping much less frequently.  After about four weeks of the essence treatments, I decided to add daily potencies of three additional homeopathics to her blends: sulphur, to aid with her body odor; hekla lava, which helps with bony growths and other bone issues; and guaiacum, for signs of premature aging, arthritis, and rheumatism.

After six weeks of treatment, Ellie had made enormous progress. She smelled of fresh hay—no more sour body odor—and her coat was shiny and thick, with all her old scars filled in with new fur. Her head shaking and other nervous tics had disappeared, and her anxiety had dramatically improved. Today, Ellie’s eyes sparkle with curiosity and interest, and she looks years younger, moving with grace, lightness, and nimbleness. Her knees look smaller, indicating that some of the swelling has gone down and/or that the bony growths have been reduced, and she doesn’t limp anymore when trotting without a rider. She is full of energy and confidence, and even seems to be recalling some old knowledge that the professional horse trainers insisted she didn’t have, such as moving from light touch and groundwork on a line. I’m thrilled with her progress, and plan to continue with the same blend 4 to 5 times per week for the time being.

I’ve enjoyed working with Ellie and my other animal clients enormously, and am so pleased to now be officially offering animal consultations among our custom essence offerings. We currently offer three different types of consultation offerings on our website: For a comprehensive 50-minute consultation that includes a customized essence blend as well as advice on other homeopathic and herbal remedies to complement the essence treatment, select the Comprehensive Consultation for Animals: Essence, Herbal, and Homeopathic. Because essences can work in subtle ways, we find that having regular follow-up sessions with your healer is the best way to evaluate your pet’s progress and evaluate the best way forward for them. Choose the Comprehensive Consultation for Animals: Series of Three offering for a full series of three consultations, including three custom essence blends and ongoing advice on what other herbal and homeopathic treatments may work well with them. Finally, choose the Consultation for One Custom Essence Blend for Animals if you’re looking for a shorter (30-minute) one-time consultation that includes a custom blend for your animal companion.  

Please note that for chronic or more significant health problems, and for older animals, I strongly recommend committing to a series of sessions with follow-ups once every two to three months. Neglecting follow-ups is one of the biggest mistakes people make with essence or homeopathic healing. Animals and humans alike are dynamic beings, so we react on an emotional and physical level to changes in our environment, the weather, the seasons, and our relationships. Because of this, it’s essential to closely observe how an animal’s healing may progress—or be set back—over time, and make adjustments accordingly. In Ellie’s case, for example, I’ve noticed that a few of her symptoms tend to regress after about 2 1/2 weeks, so I’ve begun repeating her higher quantity of Calcarea fluorica every two weeks, rather than once per month.

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Essence Therapy vs. Aromatherapy: What's the Difference?

Essence Therapy vs. Aromatherapy: What's the Difference?

I am often asked by clients who are new to essence therapy whether our flower essences are similar to aromatherapy essential oils. While both do harness the healing properties of plants, the truth is that flower essences and essential oils are actually quite different.

Flower, gem, and environmental essences like the ones we make at Pacific Northwest Essences are a way to support and heal the mind, body, and spirit using the vibrational energy of plants, gemstones, and other natural elements. They are energy medicines similar to homeopathic medicines. To make our flower essences, I carefully choose local wildflowers (or occasionally organic flowers we’ve grown ourselves) and infuse them in water under the sun or moon for a number of hours. Then the plants are removed and the mother tincture is strained and preserved with brandy. The resulting essences are powerful enough to have strong healing effects, but also safe enough to be used by children, adults, and even pets, as well as to be used alongside other medicines. 

Our flower essence tinctures are packaged in dropper bottles. You may choose to take a flower essence directly from the dropper, dropping two to three drops at a time onto your tongue, or to dilute it in a glass of water or juice. For those who prefer not to take their essences internally, we do also offer blends in an Aura Mist form, which can be misted around the head or around your living or work space (more on this below). I recommend using essences daily, a few times a day, often for a period of a month or longer, rather than on an as-needed basis. With this healing modality, a longer-term commitment is essential to experience deep and lasting shifts.

This is the biggest difference between flower essence therapy and aromatherapy: The two modalities offer very different capacities for healing. Essential oils make for good active ingredients in professionally formulated skincare. They also can be very pleasing from an aromatic standpoint, offering an energizing or soothing effect, depending on the oils chosen. 

Flower essences, meanwhile, heal on a whole different level. They are much closer to homeopathic medicines than to essential oils. Because they draw on a plant’s vibrational energy, they are capable of creating major shifts in our awareness and enabling powerful emotional healing and growth. Flower essences can help us to shed negative energies and unhealthy patterns that are holding us back, to heal from past trauma, to better attune to nature or to our own creativity, and to achieve new levels of spirituality and inner peace.

A bottle of flower essence contains the energy of the plant from which it was made, but does not actually contain any part of the plant itself, and all flower essences are safe for internal use. Essential oils, on the other hand, are made by distilling or pressing the flowers, leaves, fruit, hardwood, or bark of a plant. The resulting extract is usually diluted in a carrier oil for topical application. I do not recommend taking essential oils internally unless you are working directly with a certified medical aromatherapist. While a qualified professional may prescribe select essential oils (in minute quantities) for internal use for certain health conditions, I don’t recommend making your own prescriptions from these strong and varied substances. Instead, I recommend using essential oils either topically (a few to several drops in a bath mixed with a body oil), or in a diffuser to fill the air with a plant’s aroma. Because essential oils can be extremely potent and some can be skin irritants, I do not recommend applying your own essential oil mixes on the sensitive skin of the face, which can quickly become oversensitized, or on babies or small children. In my opinion, a diffuser is the safest way to use essential oils on your own for aromatherapy.

The way that flower essences are made also makes them an environmentally sustainable way to take advantage of a plant’s healing properties. While most essential oils are made by distillation, one of the wonderful things about essence therapy is that essences offer all the benefits of nature’s healing energy with barely any impact on nature itself. An essential oil manufacturer may need several pounds of plant material to create just one bottle of essential oil. The exact quantity will vary depending on the plant type, but it can take up to 22 pounds of rose petals, for example, to produce just 5 milliliters of rose essential oil! When creating a flower essence, on the other hand, I need only a small handful of blooms to create a strong “mother essence,” which I can then use to create hundreds of bottles of flower essences—and the customer only takes a few drops at a time from their bottle. The flowers we do use are always carefully harvested, leaving plenty of flowers behind so the plants can continue to thrive. And for especially rare plants, we avoid picking the flowers altogether, instead placing a bowl of water directly beneath the blooms and allowing the essence to infuse for a longer period of time.

After experimenting with aromatherapy for years, I have found that well-selected essential oils can support the direction of essence therapy, but are in no way powerful enough to equal or replace what flower essences can do. While they do offer topical benefits, in my experience they are  not capable of delivering the deeper emotional healing or the spiritual shifts that essences and homeopathy can. However, I do use essential oils to contribute an additional aromatherapy component to our Scented Aura Mists. For customers who prefer a mist format instead of taking our essences internally, we offer both Scented and Unscented Aura Mists. For the scented versions, I’ve chosen essential oils or absolutes that contribute an aroma complementary to the effects of the essence blend. So for example, our protective, strengthening Fragile Being Aura Mist is enhanced with the grounding scent of Moroccan cedar and the invigorating aroma of eucalyptus. These aromatic components are meant to support and enhance the mist’s effects, but it’s the blend of flower and gem essences that give the blend its deeper healing properties.

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Who is your healer, your medicine maker?

Who is your healer, your medicine maker?

We read so much from the body language of the healer, from her or his energy, voice, level of attentiveness to us, the client. It usually happens during the first in-person encounter, but is is harder to do this unconscious screening test when seeking to find a long-distance healer. It may require patience, and trial and error.

What I look for in my healer, the person I will trust with my most private thoughts and concerns, is a deep level of compassion, true caring for me, and a drive to take the clients' health to new levels overtime. I don't care whether my healer is stylish, has wrinkles, has gray hair, or what style of eating she or he has. Great herbalists tend to look alike to me: a little like hikers, like mushroom pickers, like serious gardeners. Their hair is often a fascinating giveaway: longish, grayish or black, crazy, dry like straw. Who knows why? And their connection to plants', animals', and stones' spirits becomes registered on their face.


Since you live far away, here is my face on a regular day. Tired as usual, hair gets crazy and indeed is dry. I hope you see something in my face that makes you trust, surrender the armor. A level of trust is helpful so the healer can hear your whole story and address the most pressing or most heart-felt needs first. ​

My process of working with a client and selecting essences for a custom blend is not fast, it is not just intellectual choosing, and in fact sometimes I put so much energy into it that I can only work on one to two blends a day. But this energy I put in becomes bound with the blend and travels in your bottle to you, to give you a stronger medicine.
- Ava

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