Monday, May 2, 2016

Herbalism Consultation with Melissa D. Sylvan, Clinical Herbalist and Holistic Guide

"Everything is subject to change and therefore in motion...
one cannot bid the winds and waves to cease, 
but one can learn to navigate treacherous currents 
by conducting themselves in harmony 
with the prevailing processes of transformation
 - and thus weather the storms of life."
 - I Ching

So, you're interested in working together to improve your well-being...
Body ~ Mind ~ Spirit

I began the study and practice of Herbalism in 1993 and have been seeing clients broadly since 2008.  I am a graduate of East West School of Planetary Herbology 
I welcome you to become my client - to partner together in the pursuit of your well-being.
I offer custom herbal formulary along with consultation, education, guidance, and support. Let me tell you what this entails, and about my background and philosophy
to see if we are a good match. 
Together, we will get to the root of your concern(s).  I don't just deal with the branches, the symptoms - I get to the root.  For instance, headaches, insomnia, digestive issues, menstrual cramps, etc. [insert what is troubling YOU here], all have many possible reasons they may be happening.  You need to get to the root, determine the reason and address it by choosing the right herbs for the job, to truly do deep, lasting Herbalism work.  This is where my many years of study and practice with both the plants and the states of the human body come in.  I will take the time, and I have the understanding, to SEE your body and then formulate specifically for you.  There is no one-size-fits-all answer to health issues; that is not how I practice.  I offer you something more.

By addressing the root, returning the body to balance, the symptoms go away.  As an example, if you have a headache, I won't just give you a pain killer, I will ascertain *why* you are having headaches and address that.  By addressing the root with the right combination of herbs and diet, the headaches go away for good.  It may take some time, and during this time, I'll make sure you have symptom relief.  Having headaches, and many other "common" ailments, is not normal or healthy.  Contact me and we can get to the bottom of your concerns today, to restore your well-being on a deep and lasting level. I will work with you when you're at your wit's end and have not gotten the help you need anywhere else, and this if often the case as many come to Herbalism as a last resort, but it's much better that you come sooner, if possible.  Generally the longer you have been unwell, the longer it takes to get back on track.  I also work preventatively; there is no health concern too small.  Or large for that matter; I will consult with you on *any* health concern, acute or chronic - and any age from infant into the 100s.

I need to state right off that I do not work with people taking certain/most pharmaceuticals.  I make exceptions for a few things like thyroid hormones, inhalers, birth control, insulin for type 1 Diabetics, etc.... contact me if you are not sure.  I realize this rules many out and I apologize. This is because pharmaceuticals have many side effects, contraindications, and interactions and it is not my area of expertise. In this litigious society, I do not want the liability of working with someone also taking pharmaceuticals, as unfortunately the herbs and Herbalist are often the one to get the blame regardless. If you and your doctor have decided you want to transition off pharmaceuticals; I am willing to work alongside both you and your doctor in the transition, but I cannot legally recommend or oversee anyone stopping pharmaceuticals, otherwise...

I will work together with you on any situation.
Many possibilities are opened up in our lives 
by working with herbs. 

What would you like to address today? 

To become my Herbalism Client, 
I will need from you:

Once I have all of these, we will begin. 

Feedback from Clients, here.

I am an LGBTQA+ and ENM Aware practitioner.



To begin, you will fill out my intake, which is an extensive questionaire – this is so that I can “know” you, know your specific body/mind, your specific ecosystem, and its interaction with the greater ecosystem that surrounds you. I see each person as an individual, with your own constitution and current state of balance/imbalance. I look at the whole as everything is connected, nothing separate. Each detail influences the big picture.

Once I have your intake and have reviewed it, we will communicate via email or skype to clarify details, then I will spend some time immersed in a focus on you and your current dynamics to determine the course of action and create a formula, then we will connect again for consultation. This will include education/recommendations on lifestyle and diet and a custom herbal formula which I will ship to you; the custom herbal formula is included free (a $50-100 value). Usually I create decoction formulas as this is a strong and powerful way to ingest herbs. Being able to customize to this degree means the formula is very specific to YOU, here now. Sometimes I utilize infusion formulas and/or tinctures, and as needed, external applications. I have about 250 herbs available in my apothecary for decoctions and other formulary and also make a product line, Ravenwind Botanica.

If you prefer I can recommend tablets/capsules that you can order online from a company that makes these. This latter offer means it is much less custom, though still chosen specific to your situation, but it means you needn't make or drink the decoction - this is what works best for some. The decoction is what I prefer you do, you will get results faster, but it takes some time for you to make it and it often does not taste good to the average palate. I admit, being a long-time Herbalist, I love the taste of many roots, and bark, and leaves, even the bitter ones – because I have experienced the good they do!

Each consult, whether initial or follow-up, includes my answering your questions and supporting you as you go, along with monitoring the process and responding as needed.

True Herbalism is not a “take this for that” or a “one size fits all” type of practice. My understanding and what I will share with you goes deeper than that. I will get to know you and your specific situation and offer you a customized response to achieve real and lasting results for your concerns.

"You are something that the whole universe is doing, 
in the same way a wave is something the whole ocean is doing…
The real, deep down you is the whole universe, 
and it’s doing your living organism and all its behavior. 
It’s expressing it, as a singer sings a song…
We need to experience ourselves in such a way that 
we could say that our real body is not just what’s inside the skin, 
but our whole, total external environment."
Alan Watts,  'Man’s Behavior with Nature'

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Melissa's Background and Philosophy

 My Herbalism path ultimately began with my life-long fascination with the world around me, especially the natural world, as I was given free reign in the countryside and woodlands throughout my childhood, even though I wasn't raised with much direct exposure to herbs specifically. Celestial Seasonings tea was about it. I did however, become intimate with many plants, who were my childhood companions, and whom I would later utilize for health: Yarrow, Queen Anne's Lace, Dandelion, Chicory, Burdock, Plantain to name a few. I didn't get direct exposure until 1993 at the age of 19 when I serendipitously began working at a greenhouse/nursery that specialized in herbs – Blue Ridge Botanicals – growing over 200 varieties. I always held a fondness for and connection with plants, so naturally, I immediately became fascinated with these wondrous plants called herbs with spectacular smells, and lo and behold, a multitude of uses for us, including much to offer for our health.

I immersed myself at once in the vast study of Herbs, and haven't looked back. I've always been an avid reader and am heavily self-taught. I read Materia Medicas and other non-fiction for fun, and for hours a day. I've not owned a television during these decades, preferring to read on my favorite, captivating topics: Plants, Health, Philosophy.

Back in '93 I also began ingesting the herbs, taking them all the time. So much so that a boyfriend at the time called me a hypochondriac because I took medicinal herbs daily. I guess he didn't realize that not only is there such a thing as preventative care, but also that regular ingestion of various plants is very good for us – we get different nutrients, tastes, and regulating and balancing effects from them. In other words, they aren't just for when you feel really unwell, though of course they are of benefit then too. There is a spectrum that goes like this:

Food <------------------>Medicine<-------------------->Poison

What matters is the dose. Herbs run the full spectrum. Almost daily consumption, as I have done for almost 30 years, is a healthy part of life (and also super educational for me in understanding herbs). Some herbs being more food-like, are consumed in larger quantities more frequently, others more poison-like are only administered to the right person at the right time. And still others fall somewhere in the middle... Being a trained and experienced Herbalist, I can help you determine which ones are right for you in this moment...

For me, and this is something I recommend my apprentices do often, ingesting herbs is a great way to get to know them. So is growing them. I am not suggesting that you, as my Herbalism client, need to do this, unless of course you want to, but want you to know that I have done this a lot and still do; hardly a day has gone by since 1993 that I have not ingested herbs. The point being that not only is my knowledge from extensive study, but also from direct experience (either in myself or a friend or client). In addition, I have spent the majority of my career directly involved with the living plants themselves, whether that is in the wild or in the garden, or that magic place where these two meet. I've done this either gardening at home, or as an organic landscaper (my main source of income, I currently own and operate a landscaping business – Metamorphosis Plantscapes). I know many herbs intimately from seed to harvest to herbal remedy. They are quite the teachers themselves.

These fields of Horticulture and Herbalism may seem to not be that related, but actually they are completely related for me because I see the garden and the human body with a similar mindset. When care-taking either I look for places of balance/imbalance. I nourish the terrain to feed the branches/body. I look at the whole, not taking one part out and considering it separate, as nothing is truly separate in our world. I look for the root of any problems I see, rather than just putting a patch on the symptoms; I attempt to get at the cause and rectify things there – for good. I aim to create an ecosystem, whether it is a garden or body, that is healthy and vibrant throughout. The body and life itself, has an amazing, innate healing force within it. I attempt to support this and, as my Herbalism client, to support you, in having this flourish.

Since my early Herbalist years I have helped myself, those closest to me, and my cats with herbs. In 2008 I began seeing clients broadly as a Clinical Herbalist. That same year, I began my study of TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, by starting the professional course at East West School of Planetary Herbology. I wish I had begun this sooner because TCM is profound. I am thankful at least that I discovered Eastern philosophy in my early teenage years (I spent my free time at the library); it really spoke to me and I read everything on that topic I could get my hands on – it guided my life. This early immersion in Eastern philosophy laid a good foundation of understanding when I finally began my study of TCM. I am enamored with this thousands-of-years-old tradition of diagnostics, herbal energetics, and formulary. It has added much to my Herbalism and is a large part of how I practice now. I utilize herbs from many traditions, including some from Ayurveda, but my understanding of the body and the plants is largely orchestrated from TCM and Western traditions.

There have been two times over these decades that I did not do Horticulture for a living. Well make that three, I did a brief stint as a florist, but other than that being art, it is not too related to Herbalism. I managed a health food store, Valley Farms Natural Foods, for a couple years. This was back in the late 90s when you couldn't find health food, or supplements, or herbs, at the grocery store. It was a good experience because I got to see that area of Herbalism where the focus is largely on “active constituents” and, on the other hand, self-help. I am all for people taking their health into their own hands and think it's a very important undertaking – one that I fully support, but I am disillusioned with the idea of an herb only having one active constituent. Herbs work together, again as a whole, often synergistically, and are naturally interactive with the human body. Taking one thing out and concentrating it makes it more like a drug, more likely to have side effects – and also patent-able and profitable, wink wink. Herbs taken “in context,” meaning in their whole form, don't confuse the body. You practically eliminate side effects when the right herb(s) are taken for the right person at the right time and in the right combination.  Formulas are more than the sum of their parts.  The custom formula I will make for you will be specifically tailored to YOU.

I understand that people need to make a living, myself included, but I am not in this for monetary profit; I am in it for health: yours, mine, the whole world... I do my part by doing what I can in my immediate environment, whether that is with people, places, plants. I am wary of profit being a motive in science and health, with drugs and other patent-able things being what gets funded, while something simple, but miraculous, that you can grow in your yard, gets ignored, or worse, denigrated. I prefer to look to long-standing, deep tradition and direct, intimate experience for my understanding. I do consider science in my understanding, but only after determining if it's actually valid – something that I took an entire class on in college, scientific validity that is, along with taking statistics to understand the math behind it. Both classes were required for my major. I have a B.S. in Psychology; graduated with honors in 1995, and minored in Philosophy and Environmental Science.  I find the link between emotions and health a strong one with each feeding the other in a mutual feedback loop.  Herbs can be very helpful in improving emotional situations too.

I also spent a couple years working as a librarian and research assistant at a private, rare plant book library, Oak Spring Garden Library. During this time I was blessed with the opportunity to put my eyes and hands on books that were created (literally hand-written and drawn on vellum) when the “New World” was being explored including some actual copies of the first Western Herbals, including Culpeper, Gerard, and many more. I assisted with research and editing of a book that was begun while I worked there:  'An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbs and Herbals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries; A Selection of the Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon.'

I have studied with many Herbalists and TCM practitioners over the years including Michael and Lesley Tierra, Brendan Kelly, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Harriet Beinfield, Efrem Korngold, 7Song, Kathleen Maier, Phyllis D. Light, Benjamin Zappin, Thomas Easley, Christopher Hobbs, Sean Donahue, Jim McDonald, Paul Bergner, Kiki Geary, Guido Mase, Roy Upton, Miles Coleman, Susan Kramer, Matthew Wood, David Winston, and more... I've read the books and articles of so many others... a few whose work I am especially fond of are Kiva Rose, Lonny Jarrett,  and Heiner Fruehauf. Perhaps I will study with them someday, but have given up flying, so that limits me.  I am a member of the American Herbalist Guild.

I've spent most of my working years working for myself. In my first business, began in 1997, Serenity Gardens, I grew and sold potted organic herbs and perennials, herbal wreaths, and fresh bouquets at Farmer's Markets. My current business, Metamorphosis Plantscapes & Artworks, LLC, began in 2006; in this I offer Landscaping, Art, and Herbalism. Another aspect of my arts that I offer to the public are collage workshops and one-on-one sessions, Renew and Release: Collage as aTool for Transformation. I also work intimately with another lover of plants, the honeybee. I have been a natural, treatment-free beekeeper since 2007.  I achieved black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 2008, have completed Reiki level I training, and otherwise work on an energetic level with various internal practices personally.  I am a long-time meditator and dabble with (not trained) Yoga, Chi Nei Tsang, Qigong, Shiatsu, Shamanic Journeying, Shadowwork, Somatic practice, and the like on a regular basis.

I am a 'Wounded Healer' having experienced severe trauma which I worked through.
 In addition, I am Lyme-literate, having been initiated into the understanding of living with dis-ease when I acquired Lyme in 2011. I was very sick and it took years to resolve,.  Admittedly I do not feel confident that Lyme is not a lifelong relationship with a bacteria we can only hope to keep in dormancy.  Nonetheless I am better now and have been well for years.  Both of these experiences mixed with my long-time practice of Eastern philosophy to create in me a well-spring of compassion which I mix with my knowledge, experience, and determination to be of service to you and your well-being on your life path.

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."
 - Hippocrates

Intake and Consent Form

Copy/Paste this into an email.  It helps if you bold your answers or something like that.


We both understand that only a physician (MD) can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medicines for illness or disease. As an herbalist, and not a medical doctor, I neither diagnose nor treat disease but recommend herbs, dietary, lifestyle and other modalities to help the body-mind to achieve optimal physical and emotional well-being. Any mention to named diseases is referenced as a part of the overall assessment and condition of the client.

I understand that the human body has the innate power to heal itself. Without this power to self-heal, even the most advanced medications and surgical procedures would ultimately fail. The role of the herbalist in this healing process is to consider the client as a whole person and to make suggestions in lifestyle, diet, and supplementation of herbs and/or vitamins to foster an increased state of balance and health with the intention of optimizing the body's self-healing capabilities.

As appropriate and necessary, I encourage and advise clients to seek professional medical advice regarding any illness or disease they are suffering from. Background health information can aid in the process of a holistic, herbal program and therefore can be shared at the time of the herbal consultation. Any concerns about your health and supplementation with herbs or diet should be done in consultation with your doctor. This consultation with me is not a substitute for that.

I am disclosing any pharmaceuticals I may be taking and will update Melissa if this changes over the time she is consulting with me.

Please sign below once you have read and understood and agree with the above statement:

Name (print)___________________________________________________

Date: ___________________

(How to add a signature in gmail).

Intake Form
Please provide the following information.  Every detail can be a clue to your entire picture, any information you give me is helpful even if you don’t see how it could be.
Everything is confidential.
There is no need to repeat yourself while filling out this form, but do add at the end anything else you can share that hasn‘t been mentioned.

Name                            Date

Telephone                        Email
Skype name if applicable
Gender                        Date of birth
Height and weight                    Occupation
Marital status                    Nearest relative
Children (include ages)

Emergency contact (name and phone#)
Primary Care physician (name and phone#)

Rate your commitment to healing on a scale of 1-10: 

Are you okay with a Decoction and/or Infusion as your formula (this is included free with your consultation), or do you prefer a Tablet/Capsule?  (If you prefer the latter, I will make recommendations of what you can purchase online).

Please list all medications, including herbs and vitamins you are presently taking, or therapies you are presently undergoing:

Have you ever undergone herbal therapy before?
Do you generally respond well to medical treatments, medicines, therapies, etc.?

PRIMARY COMPLAINT -- (Describe your symptoms to the best of your ability, how you experience the problem):

When did you first notice it?

What circumstances preceded it?

How long has is been occurring?

What do you think is causing it?

When and under what circumstances does it seem to improve/get worse?

Have you seen anyone else for this condition?
If so, when and by whom, and what did you do?

SECONDARY COMPLAINTS --- (List any other symptoms you are experiencing regardless of whether it seems related to your primary complaint):

When did you first notice them?

How long have they been occurring?

When and under what circumstances do they seem to improve/get worse?

Have you seen anyone else for this condition?
If so, when and by whom, and what did you do?

Medical History (List allergies and all past illnesses, injuries and operations):

Medical History of Relatives (Briefly):

Grandparents, Parents, Aunts/Uncles, Siblings, Children
Blood Type?

Ancestry? (What part of the world your parents/grandparents lived):

Current health of parents/siblings?

Check if you have experienced any of the following conditions:
 If you have in the past, use a P, if recently use an R, if frequently also include an F.
low, soft voice
hoarse voice
any infectious diseases?  if so what, when?

prolapse of uterus, bladder, kidneys, stomach, anus, vagina - describe:
bearing down sensation in abdomen
sensation of tightness or distention around ribs or chest
feelings of heaviness, pressure, or oppression - where?
lump in the throat
hard, relatively immobile masses, where?
soft, palpable lumps, where?
cysts and fibroids
lumps in neck, groin, breast, or flank - where?
swelling of organs, describe:
bloody nose
large loss of bright red blood
burning sensations, where?
mouth and tongue ulcers
stuffy or runny nose w/ clear-watery mucus
stuffy or runny nose w/ yellow mucus
chills, describe:
fever, describe:
swollen tonsils
exhausted spirit
difficulty in swallowing
tight neck and shoulders
difficult speech      
paralysis, where?
contraction of scrotum or shrinking of vagina
falling hair
premature graying of hair
premature aging
brittle bones
weakness of lower back
thin body
desire to have abdomen massaged
Low Body Temp.
Heart Problems
Kidney Stones
Hepatitis (specify A, B, C & dates)
Carcinoma, describe:
Sinus infections
Enlarged Lymph nodes
Frequent colds and flus
Thyroid Problems, describe:
Glandular problems, describe:
Genital sores
Other, describe:

For people with vaginas:
birth control?  if so, what kind and how long?
If menstruating:
 What is the length of your menstrual cycle?
 What is the length of your menses itself?
 Do you ever experience PMS tension, irritability?

 Cramping? If so when? Describe.

 Clotting, describe? Light flow? Excessive flow?  Color?

 Is it ever delayed?  Is it regular?  Do you ever skip a menses?

 Swollen breasts/bloating before menses?

Describe any other discharges…………     Do you have itching, dryness? etc.

Uterine bleeding? 
List the dates and years of any children you have birthed and if they were normal delivery:

If menopausal, please list symptoms experienced:

For people with penises:
penile discharge:
pain/swelling in testicles?
blood in semen?
genital pain/itching?
nocturnal emissions?

How would you describe your energy level?
High ___________ Low ___________ Up and down ____________
Lethargy?      Lassitude with no desire to move?      Fatigue? 
Physical weakness?        Mental listlessness/exhaustion?
Lack of desire to talk?
Desire to lie down?
Full of nervous energy?

Describe your appetite and digestion.
Do you get gas and/or bloated?
Slow, gurgling, always/never hungry…

Any belching, sour regurgitation, reflux?
Sleepy after eating?
Any major loss of weight or weight gain?
Stomach  pain, fullness, stuffiness?
Churning or pulsing feeling?
Nausea?          Vomiting?
Dryness in mouth or throat?
Bitter, Sweet, or other taste in mouth?       Foul breath?
Lack of sensation of taste?
Cold sensations in abdomen?

How would you describe your sex drive?
High __________Low ___________ Up and down ____________Excessive?
Impotence or Frigidity?
Sterility or Infertility?
Premature Ejaculation?           Little Sperm?

How would you describe your elimination?
Bowel Movements: Are they regular (daily) _____________________
Consistency and color: ______________________________________
Loose?  Dry?  Watery?  Constipation?

Color: light brown, pale yellow, green, dark, white, red, black?
Do they float or sink? __________ Mucus in the stools? ___________
Do you ever have to strain? Any pain? Any blood?

Undigested food in stools?
Is your stool more like balls or tubes? (If tubes, pencil, thumb, or bigger)
Any smell?

Urine: Is your urinary frequency more than 6x/day or less than 4x/day?
Is it scanty?     copious?       turbid?          Do you have urgency?
Weak stream?       Dripping?                      Incontinence?
Color __________Odor ______________ Other ____________________
Any pain with urination? Any trends toward UTIs?  Any burning?

Stopping mid-stream?                   Sand in urine?        Retention?
Dribbling?                Difficult urination?                        Blood?
Do you experience night time urination? Number of times/night?

How would you describe your sleep?

Do you dream?  Any recurring dreams?  Is your sleep disturbed by dreams?

Nocturnal emissions?       With or without dreams?

If you have insomnia, do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?  Any particular time you seem to be awake?  Floating in and out of sleep?

How would you describe your sweating?

Hot flashes?         Night sweats?         Oily?                           Damp skin?
Any lack of sweating when appropriate to sweat?
In the afternoon?

How is your memory, concentration, focus?

Mental restlessness?
Uneasiness?  Agitation?  Fidgety?

How would you describe the stress level in your life? (scale 1 to 10, 10 being worst)



How about headaches or dizziness (even occasionally)?


Onset and pain type (dull ache, sharp pain, throbbing, pulling, heavy)

Scale of 1-10? Frequency per day/week/month?
What makes it better/worse?
Feelings of heat in face?
Facial pain? Numbness or tingling?

Anything happening with your mouth, teeth, gums? (now or in the past)

dry tongue?  loose teeth?  burning sensations?  etc.

Any coughing? (When, what type, frequency, productive or non-productive)

Mucus?  Color, amount, thickness?              Dry?  Thin?  Watery?      

Blood?   Itchy throat?   Pain?

Wheezing?      Asthma?
Difficulty inhaling?
Shallow breathing?
Shortness of breath on exertion?
Difficulty breathing when lying down?
Rapid and weak breathing?

Do you ever feel your heart beating?

Describe Skin/Complexion….
Dry, rough, cracked?
Puffy?              Swelling?
Red?        Flushed?       
Eruptions?      with fluid?    describe.
Pale?        Bright or dull?            Pasty?
Edema?      where?
Superficially red or flushed nose?
Varicose veins?
Blood spots under skin?
Lips?  color? pale, blue, dark red?  dry?

Nails?  color?  yellow, purple?    dry?  brittle?  thick?

blurry vision?
floaters or black spots?
bad night vision?
eyes looking in different directions?

Any other pain? Where? (scale 1 to 10, 10 being worst)
Since when?
Frequency per day/week/month?
Does the pain feel better/worse if you rub or press it or do you not want it touched?
What makes it better/worse? heat?  cold? 
Body aches?
Does pain change in severity or location?

Fixed, stabbing, or boring pain?
Sore lower back?
Sore throat?        chronic?    at night?

With your four limbs:
Difficulty walking?
Feeling of swelling?
Feeling of heaviness?
Muscle aches?
Joint pain?
Hot/cold/itchy hands & feet?

Do you have an unusual susceptibility to heat or cold?
If hot, then morning or afternoon?
Prefer hot or cold (warm cozy room or one with a breeze)?

What temperature do you prefer in terms of climate and foods?
Favorite season?
Do you fear cold?
Have an aversion to heat?
Crave cold foods and drinks?  
Desire warm liquids?
Sensations of heat anywhere?
Feelings of coldness?           in the back?

What is (are) the predominant emotion(s) you experience?  Fearful or anxious?  Worry or overthinking?  Down or depressed?  Frustrated or angry?  Sadness or grief?  Joyful or content?  Irritable?, Agitated?,  etc.

Rash behavior?
Uncontrolled laughing or crying?
Moodiness?  Mood swings?
Inappropriate anger?        Outbursts?
Nervous tension?
Subdued, quiet manner?
Lack of courage and initiative?
Jumpy/ easily startled?

Are you content with your life? Home? Work? Social? Other?

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

Please describe any emotional issues you have in terms of your family, work and social relationships:

Have you had any traumatic life experiences such as rape, incest, abuse, divorce, family deaths, alcoholism, mental illness, other?  describe:

What special ambitions or desires do you have?

Do you use alcohol, cigarettes, cola, sugar, coffee, marijuana, cocaine or any other recreational drug? (specify frequency and quantity):

Would you consider yourself to have a sugar, caffeine, nicotine or drug addiction?

Do you have a strong preference for, or aversion to, any foods or drinks? (specify):

What particular diet or nutritional program do you follow? (Example: vegetarian, macrobiotic, meat & potatoes, etc.)

How would you describe your appetite?

Do you generally cook your own food?

Where do you shop for your food?

Please describe your general diet:





Do you have thirst without desire to drink?        Or lack of thirst?
Hobbies and special interests: 

Physical activities you engage in:

Spiritual activities you engage in:

Mental activities you engage in:

Please add anything you would like to...

Please include a photo of your tongue and any other relevant photos, for instance if you have a skin issue or injury, show me that, etc.

Decoction - How to

Mix 1/7th of mixture in 3-4 cups of water, bring to boil with lid, turn down to simmer
for 30-40 minutes with lid, strain, keep marc (strained herbs) to re-use once.
Drink throughout day (or 1/3 3x/day), hot or room temperature, not on ice.
Infusion: IF you have this part to add, add in 1/7th of mixture for last 10 minutes of cook time.

Be sure to mix up formula since it settles so that you are getting a true mix of the herbs.

A glass pot is ideal, second best is enamel or stainless steel - do not use other metals. I find it easiest to use a pot with a pour spout on the edge (or you could strain it into a large measuring cup - these usually have pour spouts). A wire mesh strainer works well for the non-powder ingredients. If there is only a little powder, you can just let it settle to the bottom after straining and then pour off leaving the powder in the bottom to re-use or discard depending on the day.

If there are a lot of powdered herbs in your blend, you need not concern yourself with straining completely the first day; you want to re-use this powder in your second decoction. On the second day, after decocting, use a coffee filter or the like and squeeze out all liquid (to drink) before discarding marc. It is okay (but not needed) to drink the powder (though maybe not pleasant).

This is a two week supply since you use the herbs twice. You should re-use the
herbs the next day (same directions) or you can just repeat immediately after making first
batch and then mix the two results together, half the liquid and use for two
days. Discard marc after simmering twice. This re-using is done because the first decoction extracts the more volatile constituents (which get destroyed through a longer decoction), while the second decoction is for constituents harder to extract.

If you do not drink all of your daily amount, just have it the next day. It will keep in the fridge up to 4 days, same with the marc (so you could make a double batch at once). If you need to keep it for longer freeze it. Make sure to get it to at least room temperature before drinking. If you skip a day or days, just continue when you can.

Otherwise, keep me posted of any physical changes (for instance headaches, changes in bowel, sweating, stomach pain, etc.) Any symptoms you might experience with taking the formula are very telling and are part of determining what is imbalanced; any unpleasant reactions can be remedied. Let me know when you get close to finished with your present batch and we can discuss where you are at and I’ll reformulate and get another batch ready.

I start with a 2 week supply so that we can see how you respond; this tells me more about your body’s state and I may want to tweak the formula for your next 2 week batch. As you change, your formula often changes too.

This is an example of what your two week batch of decoction will look like.

A tongue picture at each 2 week interval is of great help. Natural light is best and generally cell phones do not take the most accurate picture. Also get a picture of the underside of your tongue.

***Keep unused dry herbs sealed air tight, out of direct light, and away from heat sources.***

Payment Options

Initial Herbalism Consulation - $215
(save $100 off the $315 rate for filling out the intake yourself, see below)
Includes Intake receipt and analysis, clarification discussions, Consultation including Lifestyle and Dietary Recommendations and Protocol with Follow-up Consultations for two weeks after your receipt of your Custom Formula (2 weeks worth of herbs, a $50-100 value), which are included free and shipped to you. I also include recommended acupressure points, when applicable, that you can use to improve your situation.

***Quite often, especially with chronic or deep-seated issues, herbs will need to be taken for months, and your formula modified along the way. Once you have done the Initial Consultation, you then go to the Follow-Up Consultation price as long as you are my regular client, even if your situation changes.

Please send me a filled out intake, a signed consent form, and a tongue picture before paying.  You do not have to do this, but if you pay and then don't follow through and request a refund, there is a $40 fee, so you will only be refunded $175.  Once you have turned in your intake and paid, there is no refund, as I will have begun my work that you are paying me for.

Initial Herbalism Consultation where we fill out intake together - $315
Same as above, but I ask you for the answers to the intake and fill it out myself.  No refunds.

Follow-up Herbalism Consultation - $115
Same as Initial Consultation, for continuing my services once you have had the Initial Consultation.
Please email me any changes from the initial intake.
You are considered follow-up if I have last seen you in the past year; if over a year has passed, it depends on the situation if you need to do an Initial, contact me. I want regular clients to be able to consult with me easily for whatever, so as long as it's not an involved, new situation and you have been seeing me over time, it will be a Follow-up.  No refunds.


I am open to barter, contact me with ideas.  Also, if you cannot afford to pay and there is no barter arrangement we can make, AND you are serious about investing in your health otherwise, we can do this...  I want my services to be available to all regardless of their ability to pay, so contact me no matter.

I don't see clients in person at this time unless I already know you personally.
These payment options are for additional in-person services for *existing* clients only:

Moxibustion (includes a general area and 4 specific points
                                                         I choose based on your intake/protocol) - $30

Gua Sha (of one body area:  usually back, neck, shoulders) $30

Cupping - $45

Ear Seeding - $45

Meditation Instruction/Guidance $30

Guided Journey - $30

If you would prefer to pay by check, contact me.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Client Reviews

"Melissa went out of her way to help me with my health issues. Her knowledge, kindness and passion is truly exceptional."

"About a year ago, I contacted Melissa with a growing health problem that I was unable to address on my own. I had fallen into a darkness, a crippling depression with bouts of severe anxiety, frequent panic attacks, and migraines. Melissa quickly responded, full of kindness, compassion, and sensitivity, recognizing the need for urgency in my call for help. Over the following months, she provided me with various decoctions, infusions, tinctures, and countless knowledgeable suggestions for dietary and lifestyle modifications. She diligently touched base with me and adjusted her treatment plan as things began to change. Together, after a few months of dedication, we were finally able to achieve a state of restored balance physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Now, almost a full year later, I’m living a more healthy and happy life than I have in a long time. I could not have achieved this wonderful state of overall health and homeostasis without Melissa, a wonderful, passionate, well-educated, and incredibly talented woman."

"I really appreciate Melissa's time and effort toward helping me find a healthy balance in my life. She took the time to see me in person and to ask extensive questions to ensure she provided me the most accurate herbs for my situation. I loved her attention to detail as well as providing me with information regarding her herbal protocol so that I learned what I was putting into my body. I am appreciative of her talents and knowledge, and recommend her to anyone that wants to find balance for healing.  Working with Melissa was a fantastic experience! "

"I sought Melissa's help for a sexual issue and a digestive issue.  Her approach was completely holistic, and involved herbal concoctions, diet education and recommendations, and also addressed issues of psychology and mindfulness.  

Both of my issues have been completely resolved, and in general I am in better health and feel better than I have in many years.  An interesting aside is that I have had zero allergies for the past 9 months, whereas before I would have allergies in the spring and fall and would take Claritin for extended periods.   Also, while I have never been prone to sickness beyond the occasional cold, I haven't even had a cold since beginning her protocol.

Melissa is knowledgeable, insightful, and dedicated to her work as a healer (a label that she is reluctant to accept).  Her protocol was not a quick fix, but rather was a pervasive reworking of some aspects of my life, and I'm much the better for it.  I recommend her highly."