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Articles by Michael Vertolli, RH

Goldenseal is excellent for treating diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and diverticulitis

Goldenseal Herb Clears Inflammation and Infection

12:37 pm August 30, 2016

Goldenseal is a plant that was once very common in the deciduous woodlands of eastern North America. It is a Carolinian species that primarily grows south of the Great Lakes, but it was once common in the forests of southern Ontario. It is primarily... Read more »

Calendula Officinalis is an herb available in ointment form, suitable for treating wounds

Herbal Essentials for Outdoor Living

03:28 pm June 6, 2016

Now that the warm weather is here, most of us will be spending a lot more time outdoors playing, working or just hanging around. All of this outdoor activity is not without its perils. Cuts and scrapes, bites and stings, bruises and strains,... Read more »

Many herbs have antiviral properties (shown here: sage, oregano, curcumin, and cinnamon bark)

Boost Your Immunity to the Coming Plagues

12:05 pm March 1, 2016

The spread of the Zika virus, which is capturing headlines around the world, has reignited fear of a potential viral pandemic. Zika is a mosquito-borne virus. One reason for concern is that several related species of mosquitoes which carry this... Read more »

Many aromatic spices, including oregano, not only aid digestion but are antimicrobial as well

Winterize Your Immune System

05:29 pm December 3, 2015

When clients ask me what they can do to avoid respiratory infections during the winter months, they are often surprised that the first thing I recommend is a good probiotic supplement. Probiotics have been an integral part of my protocol for... Read more »

Bitter herbs taken in the spring support the liver cleansing process

The Benefits of Bitters

03:45 pm April 29, 2015

It’s been a long cold winter in this part of the world – apparently the coldest on record for many parts of Ontario and Quebec! As much as I love all of our seasons, winter included, it’s great that things have finally warmed up to seasonal... Read more »

Antiviral herbs, along with immune stimulants, help in treatment of viral infections like influenza

Surviving and Thriving in a World Full of Viruses

03:47 pm November 4, 2014

The recent Ebola outbreak has brought the issue of a potential viral pandemic back into the public’s awareness. As scary as Ebola is, the likelihood of a global pandemic is relatively low because it’s a slowly mutating virus and not easily... Read more »

Spring! Time to clear out gunk and establish new, healthier habits (shown here: beet & carrot juice)

Spring Cleansing for Weight Loss and Rejuvenation

02:32 pm May 5, 2014

Now that spring is here, it's great to be able to finally peel off all those layers and get out there to feel the sun and wind on our skin. People in our society tend to spend a lot of time sheltered from Nature in artificial environments.... Read more »

Thyme and oregano are very effective herbs for coughs and other lung conditions

A HERBALIST’S FAVOURITE HOME REMEDIES

04:21 pm December 9, 2013

Most people who use herbs and other natural remedies have certain favourites that they rely on when needed. However, one place often overlooked as a source of healing remedies is the kitchen cupboard. It’s good to know what healing tools we have... Read more »

Yarrow can be used topically for conditions like varicose veins and hemorrhoids,

YARROW MEDICINE

01:54 pm July 1, 2013

During the summer of 1984, some friends and I were invited to the cottage of a friend in Muskoka. While there I took advantage of the opportunity to identify plants that were in flower on the property. Two of the plants happened to be herbs that I... Read more »

Healthy fats and oils are important for improving blood sugar balance

Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally

12:32 pm April 1, 2013

There are many chronic health issues that can result from our tendency to overindulge – whether in too much of the same thing or in things that just aren’t good for us. It doesn’t help that our economic system is all about figuring out innovative... Read more »

One good immune stimulant is elecampane root (pictured) which also supports the respiratory system

Strengthen Your Defences

12:43 pm December 1, 2012

In these modern times, a number of diseases seem to be on the increase, and many of the infectious diseases which we had considered to be more or less wiped out are starting to come back again. These include bubonic plague, pneumonic plague,... Read more »

Lavender is an aromatic herb that has a mild tonic influence on the female reproductive system

Uterine Fibroids and PCOS

02:40 pm May 29, 2015

One of the unfortunate realities of life in the 21st century is the increase in occurrence of chronic diseases. The increasing levels of stress associated with our modern lifestyle and environmental toxicity can impact our lives in many significant... Read more »

Oregano works to attack viruses directly while also acting as an immune stimulant

The Best Herbs & Vitamins

02:35 pm October 1, 2011

A major health concern that has come to the forefront in the last decade is the evolution of new varieties of viruses. It is believed that some of these viruses could potentially contribute to epidemics that would be life-threatening to some... Read more »

Red clover assists the body in removing waste products and toxins from fluids and tissues

Red Clover

02:25 pm June 1, 2011

Late spring is an amazing time of year. Here in Ontario, June tends to be our greenest month, when the fields and forests have a lushness that almost resembles that of a tropical climate. Spring is also the time of year when I get a new group of... Read more »

Herbs for Cold and Flu

04:45 pm November 1, 2002

One of the great things about living in Ontario is the opportunity to experience the yearly cycle of the seasons. With winter on its way, I’m looking forward to sitting in the woods after the first snow fall and enjoying the incredible silence... Read more »

SPRING DETOX

04:23 pm March 1, 2003

I predict that the major challenge of the 21st century is not going to be the economy or terrorism. Rather, it will become increasingly apparent that our greatest challenge will be how eight billion or more people can live on this planet without... Read more »

UTERINE FIBROIDS

01:21 pm June 1, 2003

In the increasingly toxic and stressful world of the 21st century, the occurance of many chronic health conditions continues to rise. The negative elements of our modern lifestyle and environment can impact our body in many important ways.

Of... Read more »

HAWTHORN HERBAL FEATURE

12:35 pm July 1, 2003

In a temperate climate, summer is traditionally a time when we spend more time outdoors and are more active. For many people, it’s also a season when they try to initiate some kind of exercise program. A good exercise program is an essential... Read more »

ANGELICA

01:48 pm October 1, 2003

Anyone who likes to spend time in nature comes to appreciate the amazing diversity of life on this planet. Although every living thing has its own unique beauty and purpose, sometimes we come across something that really jumps out at us and demands... Read more »

HERBS FOR IMMUNITY

04:19 pm November 1, 2003

In the last couple of years there has been increasing concern about the potential for epidemics of new infectious diseases. Looking back on the last year of SARS, West Nile Virus and mad cow disease, we can see that the danger is real. Due to the... Read more »

CLEAVERS

01:47 pm March 1, 2004

March is an important time of transition in Ontario. Winter is finally beginning to wind down and spring is just around the corner. Most of us have long forgotten that it was quite warm until just before Christmas. Winter seems like it has been... Read more »

HELP FOR THE THYROID

03:52 pm May 1, 2004

Many of our body functions are controlled by hormones. These are one of several classes of substances that allow the different parts of our body to communicate with each other. Most hormones are produced by endocrine glands which release hormones... Read more »

COMFREY

05:02 pm July 1, 2004

When European settlers came to Canada, out of necessity they often carried few possessions. So they could only bring what was most dear to them. Once they arrived, most of them had to become farmers, if they weren’t already. Knowing that there... Read more »

MARVELLOUS MILKWEED

01:42 pm September 1, 2004

When we take a walk in the open fields in July in most parts of Ontario, sooner or later we are going to find that the air is filled with a strong sweet aroma that is quite amazing, although it can be overpowering at times. A quick search is... Read more »

Coltsfoot - Friendly Neighbourhood Herb

01:37 pm May 1, 2005

It’s late March and I’m in front of my computer working on an early draft of this article. Periodically my eyes get tired of staring at the screen and I look out the window to give them a rest. Outside, winter is starting to retreat. March has... Read more »

The Role of Herbs in Treating Cancer

03:48 pm July 1, 2005

Of all of the afflictions that plague humankind, there is none that is associated with greater fear than cancer. No matter how strong-willed or optimistic we are, there is always a part of us that interprets the diagnosis of cancer as a death... Read more »

Goldenseal

02:03 pm September 1, 2005

As an herbalist, I am painfully aware of how important it is that the herbs I use and recommend are harvested and grown in an ecologically sound manner, both to ensure that they are available for future generations and out of respect for the... Read more »

Immune stimulants such as elecampane produce a rapid short-term increase in immune function

ABCs of Immunity

03:39 pm December 1, 2005

One of the more interesting developments of the early 21st century is that our health care system claims to have embraced preventive medicine. Apparently, if we want to stay healthy all we have to do is quit smoking, lose weight, wash our hands a... Read more »

Cholesterol Cure

03:45 pm February 1, 2006

During the recent election campaign the various party proposals on health care clearly indicated that none of the parties have the remotest idea how to save and improve the delivery of health care in Canada. Whether it be to hire more doctors,... Read more »

Thyroid Therapy

12:45 pm March 1, 2006

Stress is something that we have learned to accept in modern Western society. It has become a way of life. For example, the technologies that are supposed to make our lives easier are actually accelerating our stress load. It began with answering... Read more »

English Thyme

01:04 pm May 1, 2006

I have often written about how some of the most incredible healing herbs grow right under our feet. Knowledge of these herbs is sometimes lost or forgotten because the popularity of herbs in our consumerist society is largely market-driven. There... Read more »

Healthy Weight Loss

02:13 pm June 1, 2006

I am often asked what I believe to be the most important recommendations for achieving, maintaining and optimizing our overall level of health and well-being. Although this is a very complex question and any answer will inevitably be a gross... Read more »

Sun Savvy

04:29 pm July 1, 2006

Summer is a great time of year. Days are long, everything is growing and changing at an incredible rate, and the sun is shining. This is when we spend a lot more time out in the fresh air and sunshine.

In Europe back in the Middle Ages, fresh... Read more »

Herbs for the Mind

02:29 pm September 1, 2006

September is a great time of year. Summer is winding down and fall is around the corner. The worst of the midsummer heat, humidity and smog has passed, as have most of the biting insects. It's a great time of year for a long hike in the woods or... Read more »

Echinacea Revisited

05:25 pm October 1, 2006

October is a month when I spend as much time as I can roaming through the wild spaces. It's the last opportunity that I have to see most of my plant and animal friends before their long winter sleep. From late October through November, after the... Read more »

Anti-Inflammatory Herbs, Nutrients, & Lifestyle Changes

05:14 pm December 1, 2006

Governments and proponents of mainstream medicine never seem to tire of telling us every couple of years how (thanks to them) the average lifespan of Canadians is continuing to increase. Apparently, the odds are that those of us alive today will... Read more »

Prescription for a Healthy Liver

04:53 pm March 1, 2007

March is a time of transition. The days are getting longer and winter is gradually giving way to spring. The spring equinox, which this year in our time zone occurs on March 20 at 7:08 pm (the calendars say March 21 because the equinox is at... Read more »

Heavenly Horsetail

04:48 pm April 1, 2007

I enjoy every season, but as a student of nature and a herbalist I have to admit I love spring the most – observing the gradual return of birds that flew south for the winter, and watching all of my plant friends awaken from their winter slumber... Read more »

Summer First Aid

01:37 pm May 1, 2007

Now that the warm weather is here most of us will be spending more time outdoors, playing, working or just hanging around. All of this outdoor activity is not without its perils. Cuts and scrapes, bites and stings, bruises and strains, sunburn;... Read more »

Red Raspberry

03:29 pm June 1, 2007

June is an amazing month in Ontario. It tends to be the time of year when everything is incredibly lush and at its greenest. Life radiates intensely, no matter where we look. As an herbalist, this is when harvesting herbs goes into high gear. The... Read more »

Back to School Immune Boosting for Kids

02:25 pm September 1, 2007

Now that the summer holidays are over, many parents are concerned about colds, flu and various other “germs” that their children will be exposed to during the school year.

Sitting in a classroom all day with a bunch of other kids provides plenty... Read more »

HERB FEATURE: Spotlight on Yellow Dock

04:36 pm November 1, 2007

Now that the fall colours have passed their peak and most of the leaves have fallen, things are going to look a little barren until everything starts growing again in April. This is a time of rest for the plant people. But it is not yet a time of... Read more »

Heal Your Thyroid Naturally

02:13 pm December 1, 2007

Canadians, like members of most Western societies, are living longer and there are those who would like us to believe that this is largely the result of the many medical advances that have taken place in last century. Although there is probably... Read more »

Adaptogen Herbs

04:15 pm March 1, 2008

Living in Ontario, by the time March comes around it can sometimes seem like winter is never going to end. I love winter and have to admit that I actually feel a bit sad when the last of the snow is melting. I couldn’t imagine living somewhere... Read more »

Hawthorn is excellent for virtually any condition of the heart, blood vessels and circulation

Hawthorn Herbal Ally for the Heart and Mind

04:41 pm May 1, 2008

Now that spring is in full swing, I am blown away by the incredible diversity of plant life that grows all around us. I remember when I was a child wandering around in the fields and woods, it seemed as if I was surrounded by a sea of green.... Read more »

Staghorn Sumac

05:22 pm July 1, 2008

One of the great things about summer is the incredible bounty of wild foods that are available. By far the most popular are the wild fruits because they are easy to recognize and taste great. In the northern temperate regions, most indigenous... Read more »

Lemon Balm is a calming herb that helps take the edge off stress and reduce emotional ups and downs

Lemon Balm

03:33 pm September 1, 2008

September is a time of transition. In the natural world, it is the transition from summer to fall. The days are getting shorter and the sun is lower in the sky. Although the last days of summer can sometimes produce some pretty hot weather, in... Read more »

Restoring Hormonal Harmony with Fertility-Friendly Herbs and Lifestyles

03:30 pm February 1, 2009

It always shocks me how many people hate winter. As a Canadian, to hate winter is to condemn ourselves to feeling miserable a good portion of the time for four to five months of the year. Personally, I love all of the seasons. Every season has... Read more »

Shepherd’s purse is one of the first members of the mustard family to flower

Spotlight on Shepherd’s Purse

12:37 pm April 1, 2009

Now that spring is here, I find it exhilarating to go for a walk each day and see all of my plant friends popping out of the ground or opening their leaves. Things happen so fast at this time of year that, if we don’t get out for a day or two, we... Read more »

Black elder flower is one of the most effective herbs for treating hay fever symptoms

Suffering From Summer Allergies? Elder Flower to the Rescue

01:33 pm June 1, 2009

June is one of my favourite months. In our part of the world, it is the month when everything is the most green and lush. This is when our temperate woodlands resemble the lushness of a tropical rainforest.

Spending time in nature is important... Read more »

An important virus-fighting herb is oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Natural Protection from H1N1

04:14 pm September 1, 2009

There has been a lot of hype in recent years about the potential for a global viral pandemic. SARS, avian flu and West Nile virus are examples from the recent past that could have had far worse consequences than what actually occurred. Now it’s... Read more »

One excellent herb used for treating prostate inflammation is Spotted Joe-Pye weed

Prostate Health: Herbs for Treating Inflammation

04:04 pm December 1, 2009

Probably the most common men’s health issue that I’m asked about in my practice is inflammation or enlargement of the prostate. Sadly, these and other kinds of reproductive conditions are on the increase with each successive generation, affecting... Read more »

Sweet clover herb (Melilotus spp.) is compatible with female reproductive formulas

Restoring Healthy Menopausal Rhythms – The Holistic Approach

01:47 pm May 1, 2010

This has been quite an unusual spring so far. It has been much sunnier and warmer than is typical for this time of year, as were February and March. In fact, this past winter was the warmest and driest on record for Ontario. On the positive side,... Read more »

Elecampane is a liver stimulant which increases the flow of bile from the liver into the intestines

Herbal Allies for Spring Liver Cleansing

01:51 pm April 1, 2010

One of the most important factors that contribute to the many health problems which we suffer from is toxicity. Our body produces its own toxins in the form of metabolic waste products. Our long term survival has required the evolution of... Read more »

Burdock reduces congestion of the liver and gallbladder and improves digestion and appetite

STURDY BURDOCK - Potent Herbal Medicine Clears Inflammation

03:40 pm October 1, 2010

Burdock root has many important medicinal uses. First and foremost, it is an excellent depurative or detoxifying herb. As a result it benefits any chronic inflammatory disease of the skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. These include acne,... Read more »