Good Medicine Confluence

Durango, Colorado


Class 1:
Old World meets New World: Wax Pouring, Bone setting, & Folk Herbalism/Folk Healing Practices in the Ukrainian Settlements in Western Canada.

Moonshine, Goose fat, axle grease, beeswax and holy water—what does this have to do with herbal medicine?

Join Community Herbalist Dionne Jennings and explore the folk healing and herbal practices of Ukrainian immigrants & descendants in the Ukrainian settlements in Western Canada.

Herbal medicine is of course, the medicine of the people. Let’s learn more about how our Ukrainian ancestors practiced it, and honour the hard work, hardships & resourcefulness that contributed to our body of herbal knowledge & these largely forgotten traditions.

Newcomers to Canada from Ukraine came in hopes of acquiring land and a better life for themselves & their children. On long, sea-sick ridden voyages across the ocean, they brought with them grains, seeds, herbs, plant cuttings, tools, as well as many healing practices which were very much needed while surviving their first long & harsh Canadian winters. Access to doctors & hospitals in the settlements was extremely limited. Hardship & poverty were daily obstacles to endure & overcome & the people had to be resilient & self-sufficient out of necessity, as well a reliant on their closest neighbours & community members.

We will explore support for healing the physical body as practiced by Plant Doctors & the Bone-Setters, as well as the practices of sweating, steaming, cupping & leeches. We will also explore where the physical & spiritual intersect, examining the idea that sickness was a result of imbalances, evil spirits, or spiritual crisis. Spiritual Healers, sometimes also known as wise women or “witches” practiced  “Wax Pouring” a divination ritual to cure “Fear Sickness” or the Evil Eye that had been cast on them.

Part of folk medicine practice at the time was augmenting herbal treatment with influences of the spiritual/supernatural. This would include many familiar herbal practices such as making infusions, poultices, & salves with blessed plants and herbs, but also using other ritual objects as instruments of healing such as knives, holy water, candle wax & ribbons from church. First Nations medicine and intersection with spiritual practices certainly also influenced the folk medicine as it was practiced and developed at the time.

Plant medicine-our original system of medicine-was practiced by all of our ancestors, as was medicine & ritual for the spirit. Come hear some stories of mine!

Class Length: 1.5 hours

Class 2:
Babas & Botany: Flora, Fauna & Cosmology in Ukrainian Healing, Ritual & Folk Art
Like all world cultures, the Slavs had a deep connection to the plants and to the land. Spirituality, ritual, and religions that came after all have strong connections to the natural world. Let’s explore the influence of & connection to the natural world as part of Ukrainian folk tradition-from the gathering, use & blessing of aromatic plants and herbs, as well as the symbology and influence of plants and flowers in various facets of Ukrainian folk art.

We will discuss some herbs that we are familiar with the the Western materia medica and some rituals around harvesting them on the Summer Solstice for best healing & charms.

We will also discuss:

-Pysanky. Pysanky are Ukrainian easter eggs made by a resist technique with dyes from local plants and beeswax. They are pre-christian & have many associations & with fertility rituals, symbology to sun gods, the tree of life, the great goddess, and there are many plant, animal & celestial symbols that are used to adorn them.
-The ritual & symbolism of Motanka dolls. Motanka are dolls of protection, or ritual charms, made by hand using plant material, bits of fabric scraps & rags. Intention, wishes & prayers go into making the dolls for health, fertility, & protection. Motanky have connections to the goddess Rozhanytsa which can be traced back to ancient Slavic & Trypillyan culture
-The symbology of the Tree of Life & it’s connection to Great Goddess in handcrafts such as embroidery, also known as “vyshyvky” for clothing & protective “rushnyky” used in ceremony and for the home.

We will also explore Flora & Fauna in traditional Ukrainian Folk Tales including mythical tales of blooming ferns, magical trees, & the ideas of certain trees being favoured by the gods. Let’s share some traditional tales and explore their symbolism & mythology together as a group.

Class Length: 1.5 hours

Class 3:
Ancestral Women Healers: Ukrainian Folk Herbal Practices
Seers, Solstice, Seneca Root & Survival: this class is dedicated to the strength of the Ukrainian women in our ancestral lineage. Herbalism and healing as we know it today looked a little differently as practiced in the “Old Country”. Let’s explore the role of woman as healer in Slavic culture.

This class will be 2 parts: an exploration of herbal and folk medicine practices by and for women in the Old Country, and a dedication to the resilience & strength of those women & those practices that were brought with them to Turtle Island.

Herbs & plant medicine were known & called upon for thing like day-to day healing of the household to ritual practices that were in the realm of the psycho- spiritual healers, often known as witches, involving incantation, divination & prayer.

Harvesting herbs on certain ritual days & incorporating them into charms, spells, ritual and divination were common place in Ukraine several generations back, & some of those rituals are still practiced today.

Using herbs to maintain health & treat sickness & illness, as well as visits to the local healer for things outside the realm of the physical (the evil eye, possession) were common place only a generation or two ago in what is now also known as North America, and yet much of those practices have slowly been lost and faded from our cultural consciousness. Doctors were sparse in the Ukrainian settlements & reliance on ones own knowledge of healing practices, local & cultivated plants for tending the sick & injured was a necessity. Reliance on strength & fortitude were necessary to survive the first harsh prairie winters and much of that fell on the shoulders of women.

There is a rich and ancient thread connecting current cultural & christian practices that stretches back millennia to pre-christian practices with origins in the pagan & shamanic. There is a rich connection to plant medicine that’s been all but severed from the women who came before us. Let’s explore what we know, what’s been left behind, and how we might continue to incorporate it today. Come share in some stories dedicated to those times relating the fortitude of the feminine and their connection to the land.

Class Length: 1.5 hours


Full Class Descriptions Can Be Found Here:

Teacher bios here:


Intro To Formulating For Newbie Herbalists

Alberta Herb Gathering  Rundles Mission, Pigeon Lake, AB

So you’ve been studying herbs & you want to start helping people with your plant medicine. It can be intimidating to make the leap to formulating herbs for someone, let alone starting to see clients.

There’s undoubtedly some necessary foundations that need to be in place before we take this step.

Any herbalist worth their salt will tell you it’s impossible to learn the art of formulation in a 1.5 hour workshop & that’s 100% true! Formulating is an art & a science & it takes practice. As newer herbalists, we have to start somewhere, & this workshop is dedicated to beginning at the beginning.

We will discuss considerations for intakes, diagnostics, constitution, energetics, and different approaches to formulating & dosing. How do we decide what to give someone? How many herbs? How much & for how long?

Touching on all these aspects, we will spend the last part of our time together collaboratively brainstorming on a case study & formulating together as a group.


Journeying with 4 Plants

Starts Summer 2017- (1 evening for four weeks). Dates to be announced!

Journeying with 4 Plants will be a series of 4 workshops dedicated to 4 plants in each block of 4 classes. We will begin & do one block in the summer (possibly 2) and 2-3 blocks in the fall & winter.

Basically, in the Kitchen Herbalist Apprenticeship series, we really dive into foundations & technique of plant medicine making, and it’s a fantastic series for beginner to intermediate herb lovers. BUT the format doesn’t allow us to dive too deeply into individual plants & I keep saying “Remember, it’s not one use per plant! Better to know 10 plants really well than have 50 and only know one use for each!” So this is that format for diving a little deeper & connecting in a more meaningful way.

As usual there will be a hands-on component, we will do some experiential learning with our 5 senses, some medicine making & everyone will take home & use our plant of the week daily. We will all convene together in the next class & share our experiences. There will be some light assignments for each week-everyone will contribute to a small piece of research on their plant to contribute to a group plant monograph (or herbal plant “document”). This way we all finish with a small “Materia Medica” (written references) for the plants we’ve been working with to take home with us.

You can choose to do all four “blocks” or jump on to one or two, it’s up to you! This series is for anyone to get to know their herbs more intimately-so if you are a total beginner, or if you are a more advanced herbal student or practitioner, this is time to carve out to get to better know the plants in community with other plant lovers!

More details to follow-e-mail if you want to be put on the list for first dibs. This will be a group of 6 to 8 people max.

Distilling Essential Oils

Summer Field Trip with the Edmonton Herb Club

Interested in a tranquil afternoon spent outside of the city featuring local organic herbs, aromatic notes of essential oils filling the air, & time out in nature?

Join YEG Herbalist Dionne Jennings & Gord Steinrath at Greater Edmonton’s local herb farm, Harmonic Herbs in Barrhead, where we will spend an afternoon experiencing the alchemy of essential oil distillation.

Herb Grower extraordinare Gord will be firing up his aromatherapy still & walking us through the distillation process that begins with our plant material and ends with our aromatic essential oil.  We will be discussing considerations for essential oil use and the properties & benefits of Black Spruce, our beautiful aromatic oil of the day, as well as learning the process of essential oil distillation from start to finish.

We will switch gears from the distillation process while we wait for the oil to finish, & Gord will be giving a tour of Harmonic Herbs farm so we can get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at herb & vegetable cultivation & heritage seed saving in Alberta.

Please feel free to bring snacks or a bagged lunch-we will be breaking for snacks/light lunch after the farm tour before we wrap up our distillation demo & bottle an essential oil for each participant to take home.

Please plan for the weather-we will be spending the afternoon out of doors, so dress to be comfortable-bring hats, water, mosquito repellant, etc. And snacks!

(Indoor bathroom facilities available-in case you were wondering about that. ;))

Facebook Event Link

Eventbrite - Essential Oil Distillation Field Trip: Harmonic Herbs w/Edmonton Herb Club



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Intro to Medicinal Herb Gardening in YEG   May 6th, 2017  1-3:30pm

Get hands-on & get your hands in the dirt! Learn how easy it is to grow medicinal herbs here in Edmonton. We can grow so much more than “parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme” as the song goes.

If you’re one of those people that have been like “Oh, I’ve always wanted to grow some herbs” but didn’t know where or when to start, now is the season!
In this fun & exploratory class, learn the basics of starting a herb garden—from choosing the site, to prepping the bed, to starting seeds indoors. We will discuss the needs & conditions of most medicinal (& culinary) herbs, (soil & sun) what we can grow here (a lot more than you think) as well as how to actually get them into the garden & grow them successfully. We will explore planting, spacing, & dividing plants in my Highlands Herb Garden, as well as how to successfully overwinter new plants.

We will also discuss some easy & common ways to use herbs as medicine regarding the plants we are working with so you actually know what to do with them once you’ve planted them!

Come home inspired to start your own backyard herb garden, with a seed starter (planted by you!) that can be transplanted after May long weekend, as well as a medicinal herb plant.

Class includes:


-an extensive list of medicinal herbs that we can grow here in our zone

-a list of sources for organic seeds & medicinal herb plants

-a seed start (planted by you!)

-hands-on instruction from medicinal herb gardener & Community Herbalist, Dionne Jennings

-an opportunity to play out in the sun with other plant geeks & get your hands in the dirt!

This is a hands-on class—we are definitely going to get our hands a little dirty (& possibly our feet). Gardening is like that (but we’re not getting too crazy physical!) Dress for the outdoors in comfortable clothes. Bring gardening gloves if you have them & shoes/boots you don’t mind getting a bit wet (& possibly a bit mucky if we get into the soil).

I will e-mail my address a few days before the class-I am located just outside of the city centre on the Northeast side near the river.

Eventbrite - Intro to Medicinal Herb Gardening in YEG


A Journey Through the Medicine Wheel w/ Tiffany Freeman (*Sold Out!)

Friday, May 12th, 2017 6:30-8:30pm

Join Tiffany Freeman on Friday evening, May 12th, as she shares with us traditional Medicine Wheel Teachings & the 4 sacred plants with those of us in Edmonton. This is a special offering, as Tiffany travels from Calgary to teach all over North America & is generously offering this evening by donation. Some of you may have connected with Tiffany at the last Alberta Herb Gathering at Pigeon Lake, & I am honoured to host her here.

“Through right of honour passed down from my Cree Elder I am grateful to share the stories and teachings of the Medicine Wheel. Join in an experiential learning circle which will introduce the four directions and its related medicines. Learn how the Medicine influences our daily lives and how we can deeper connect to those elements to create better harmony.

The teachings are held in a traditional healing circle format, we sit in a circle closest to the earth/on the ground. Each offering of the Medicine Wheel is different depending on the participants and what transpires, but the foundation is the same. We walk through the 4 directions, discuss the meanings of each of these, their related medicines, how they relate to health, healing, and our daily lives.”

-Dr. Tiffany Freeman TCMD, R.Ac, Reg Cl.H (AHG)       Space is limited to 11 people for this evening.

Eventbrite - A Journey Through the Medicine Wheel










Pulse & Tongue Assessment with Dr. Tiffany Freeman TCMD, R.Ac, Reg Cl.H (AHG)

May 13th, 2017

Join Dr. Tiffany Freeman TCMD, R.Ac, Reg Cl.H (AHG) in the classroom (In Edmonton!) for this full day intensive course. Master the basic foundations of Pulse & Tongue Assessment, based in Traditional Chinese Medicine Pulse diagnosis but developed for the western practitioner.

  • Learn to properly assess the pulse & tongue
  • Learn factors that affect the pulse including common pharmaceuticals, seasons, cycles, foods, how to best find it and proper positioning, etc.
  • Establish a functional knowledge of the different pulse categories, tongue mapping and their therapeutic meanings
  • Develop an understanding of the meaning of TCM terms and pattern discrimination used in assessment and how that translates to the western view of the body
  • Acquire valuable experience as we assess one another in the practical part of the class
  • Unlike online courses, you will walk away with confidence in assessment through the ability to ask, feel and learn from a live teacher
  • Open to any modality or practitioner of natural therapies!

Investment: Earlybird Registration $125 before April 2nd, 2017. $150 after April 2nd. 

Location to be announced-near to city centre. Registration is open-until I create an Eventbrite listing, if you want to secure a space you are welcome to do e-mail transfer to

About Tiffany:

Tiffany’s passion lies in traditional medicine and therapies that connect us to a deeper healing. Her primary focus is on East & West herbal preparations, Master Tung lineage of Acupuncture, Classical Chinese Medicine, and Traditional Native Healing. Tiffany incorporates her teachings and traditional values as a person of Cree First Nations descent and as a Traditional Medicine Woman with her studies and practice of Traditional Chinese and Western herbal medicine to create a wholistic healing experience for her patients & students.  She is an educator, practitioner, mother of two, and an avid admirer of nature.

Eventbrite - Pulse & Tongue Assessment with Dr. Tiffany Freeman TCMD, R.Ac, Reg Cl.H (AHG)


Kitchen Herbalist Apprenticeship series dates announced for Spring 2017! 4 Saturdays 1-4 pm starting April 1st.

Eventbrite - Kitchen Herbalist Apprenticeship-Spring Workshop Series


Workshops at Kolya Naturals Apothecary Kitchen

Home Spa

Ongoing–available exclusively at Kolya Naturals Apothecary. Visit for upcoming dates.

Tea Crafting

Ongoing–available exclusively at Kolya Naturals Apothecary. Visit for upcoming dates.

Body Balms

Ongoing–available exclusively at Kolya Naturals Apothecary. Visit for upcoming dates.

Chemically Free Clean

Ongoing–available exclusively at Kolya Naturals Apothecary. Visit for upcoming dates.

Holiday Gift Ideas

Ongoing–available exclusively at Kolya Naturals Apothecary from October -December. Visit for upcoming dates.

Cold & Flu Remedies

Ongoing–available exclusively at Kolya Naturals Apothecary from October -February. Visit for dates.


Medicine Making (Part 2)

So now that your medicines are all in labelled jars (organized ever so neatly on your counters—right???;)), you’ve recorded each batch in your medicine making book, and you’ve been faithfully shaking them regularly, now what?

In Medicine Making Part 2, we cover pressing, straining, filtering, bottling, and most importantly of all, tasting our plant medicine.

Here we get into the nitty gritty mechanics of separating plant or “mark” from menstruum—aka how to get our boozy green slush out of the jar and transformed into a polished finished remedy in a nice amber bottle. How long should our tinctures sit before they are ready? What materials will we need? Is there any equipment that can be helpful?

Once we’ve covered all the bases, it’s time to taste the medicine we made in “Medicine Making Part 1”. Tasting is an important part of herbal medicine-it’s important to understand the energetic nature of the plant you are working with. Is it warming? Cooling? Bitter? Sweet? Astringent? How does that feel in our bodies & what information does this give us about a plant’s constituents? How might we apply this in terms of who we use these herbs for?

Also fun: take home a couple of the finished medicines to add to your home herbal medicine cabinet.

The Deets:

Date: Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 6:30-8:30 pm
Investment: $50.00

Location: Highlands Herb Garden Kitchen

To Register: e-mail:


Plant Medicine Making with Abrah Arneson, CHT, RH (Part 1)

*Thanks for your interest but the workshop is now full!*

Date: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
Time: 1-4pm
Location: Kukui Fountainhead Retreat
51006 Range Road 263
Spruce Grove, AB

Investment: $65.00

Instructor: Abrah Arneson, CHT, RH

By request, Abrah has agreed to share her mad medicine skills for a small group (max 10) the next time she is in town. Yay!

This afternoon is a great opportunity to learn from a skilled medicine maker who prepared all of her own medicines over the 10 years she practiced out of her Red Deer clinic (& now continues at the Dharma Centre in ON)–from fresh and dried plant material. This lady knows her stuff.:)

Making medicine is a skill and an art and can be confusing initially when starting out (the menstruums!! The math!!!) Let’s clear up any confusion and be playful and creative with how we can formulate for our clients & our families.

Once again, we will be covering:
– Choosing & using different menstruums (why use glycerine vs. vinegar vs. alcohol? What pulls which properties?)
-Making medicines with said different menstruums- we will do standardized alcohol tinctures at different percentages, a glycerite, an acetate, possibly an oxymel too–to be finalized but rest assured we are cooking up some fun stuff for you!

What to bring: yourselves, notebook & pen—the usual! If you have any medicine making questions that you wish you could ask Abrah, now is the time in the context of our class. All supplies will be provided.

*I will be hosting a Part 2 to this workshop covering pressing, filtering, bottling, and above all, tasting. Stay tuned for a date in late August/early September.-DJ


Herbs For Health & Resiliency in YEG (offered at the Edmonton Resilience Festival)

*Sold Out! Thanks to everyone for attending. *

Date: Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Location: Boyle Street Plaza

Tickets: Eventbrite ticket sales are now closed.

Want to learn about plants we can use for health? And perhaps how they can contribute to our community’s resiliency? Let’s talk herbs!

On a virtual plantwalk, we will be covering 10-15 plants that can either be easily cultivated or foraged here in Edmonton.

Their criteria: commonly found, hardy to (or easily overwintered in) our urban Zone 3b and have multiple medicinal properties.

Whether they have useful applications in first aid situations or multiple medicinal properties, we will cover the benefits of growing, foraging, or encouraging them in our neighbourhoods and how best to use them. I will have some live plant specimens on hand for ID purposes. I will also demo how to easily prepare a couple of herbal preparations, such as a tea blend from herbs that can we can grow in YEG and an herbal vinegar.

Looking forward to seeing you there!