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Wild Medicine Conference
2024 Presenters & Bios
Workshops & Descriptions 

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David Winston, RH

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Phyllis D. Light, MS, RH

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Matthew Wood, MS

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Lisa Bedner, RN, RH

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Dr. Rao Mentreddy

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Leah Larabell

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Jesse Akozbek

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Trevor & Joanna Mann

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Michelle Rigling

2024 Special Activities
Scroll down for Workshop Listing

The Spirit of Herbal Medicine

Friday night's keynote will be offered by Phyllis D. Light & Matthew Wood + we'll be serving up Golden Milk to wrap up our evening together.

Mycelium Mingle 

Our Saturday evening special event will include a community fire, herbal elixirs created by High Garden Tea, book signing with our herbal authors, plus the opportunity to shop with several of our vendors.

"Cicadian Rhythms" Drum Circle

Yes, we said cicadas! Bring your drums and percussion instruments. We'll honor the "wild medicine" of this fascinating creature while we make our own music to add to the summer serenade. Our drum circle will take place on Saturday night after the Mycelium Mingle, weather permitting.

Finding Your Place in the Healing Community

Sunday morning's closing will feature a plenary workshop with Phyllis D. Light + giveaways and announcements about 2025.

2024 Workshops

Download Full Schedule Here

Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief

David Winston

Earth Medicines: Healing Ways of Clay, Mud, Smudges & Oils

Lisa Bedner (Tihanama Nation)

Finding Your Place in the Healing Community

Phyllis D. Light

Foraging 101: Safety, Ethics & Beyond

Jesse Akozbek

Herbal First Aid with The Green Medic

Matthew Wood

Little-Known Medicinal Plants of the Southeastern U.S.

David Winston

Medicinal Mushrooms: Fungi-Supported Health & Wellness

Michelle Rigling

Psychoactive Mushrooms: Sacred Journeys & Mystical Experiences

Michelle Rigling

Rocks and Stones in Folk Medicine

Phyllis D. Light

Scouting, Identifying & Utilizing Medicinal Trees

Jesse Akozbek

The Spirit of Herbal Medicine

Phyllis D. Light & Matthew Wood

The Wild Soul: Weaving Your Unique Mythic Medicine

Joanna and Trevor Mann

Turmeric & Wild Mountain Mint: Crop Talk with Dr. Mentreddy

Dr. Rao Mentreddy

Wild Gardening: Medicine for the Earth

Joanna and Trevor Mann

Wild Medicine Walk

David Winston & Phyllis D. Light

Wild Weeds for Wild Mucous! Plant Remedies for Allergies & Colds

Lisa Bedner (Tihanama Nation)

Workshop & Activity Descriptions 

PRE-CONFERENCE EVENTS

Wild Medicine Immersion

*Pre-Conference Intensive

Date/Time: Friday @ 9:30am

Presenter: Matthew Wood

Description: Join Matthew Wood for this unique class about Animal Medicines of the Plant World. Matthew will guide us through Bear plants such as Angelica and Burdock Root, Wolf plants such as Agrimony and Cinquefoil, Deer plants and nervines, Turtle plants like Gravel Root and Goldenrod, and Alligator plants like Teasel and Burdock Leaf. This immersive experience is not to be missed!

Special Note: This workshop is included in the pre-conference (early arrival) program.

2024 WEEKEND KEYNOTE

The Spirit of Herbal Medicine Keynote

Presenters: Matthew Wood & Phyllis D. Light

Description: Herbal Medicine is everyone's birthright. Gifted to us from Mother Nature, herbs and wild medicines are People's Medicine. Yet, we have been taught to fear plants and laugh at herbs. Many people do not know how powerful and effective (yet simple!) these folk remedies and holistic healing traditions really are. Meanwhile, Big Pharma makes more and more expensive, dangerous medicines and practitioners face threats, persecution, harassment, and censorship. Herbalists are ancient healers and there is a spirit and philosophy that underlies the medicine. In this very special presentation, Phyllis and Matthew will share the magic, spirit, and ideology of Herbal and Folk Medicine. Beyond the reminder that Plants are our teachers, we'll learn ways to keep the spirit of herbal medicine alive in both our own lives as well as within the field of holistic medicine.

Note: The keynote is included in all registration types.

2024 WEEKEND WORKSHOPS

Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief

Presenter: David Winston

Description: In our modern world we live incredibly busy and stress filled lives. Chronic stress and the resultant elevation of stress hormones such as cortisol have been shown to be an initiator and cofactor for much of our chronic degenerative disease. In addition to stress reduction techniques, healthy relationships, a good diet and adequate sleep, another important method for reducing stress and enhancing well-being is the use of adaptogenic herbs. In this class we discuss the definition of adaptogens, what is and is not an adaptogen, how these herbs work, the rational and effective clinical use of the different adaptogenic herbs, the unique qualities of each herb and how they can improve cognitive function, restore immune and endocrine balance and promote increased mental and physical well being. We will also discuss companion herbs used with adaptogens such as nervines, nootropics and restorative tonics.

Earth Medicines: Healing Ways of Clay, Mud, Smudges & Oils

Presenter: Lisa Bedner

Description: Join Medicine Woman and Healer of the Tihanama, Lisa Bedner, for a very special class exploring the traditional healing ways of clay, mud, smudges and oils. Learn the art of grounding from the outside in! This rarely offered class will offer an insight into a unique sector of earth medicines.

Foraging 101: Safety, Ethics & Beyond

Presenter: Jesse Akozbek

Description: Foraging is one of the most important skills a person can learn and is an incredibly rewarding way to connect and deepen our relationship with nature. However, at the beginning, it can seem daunting. You might worry about eating the wrong thing or taking too much. For many, these questions keep them from taking the first step. In this class, Jesse will tell you what it means to be a forager. He will show you how to do it safely and responsibly as well as break down the skill into four fundamental components so you’ll know exactly what you need to start your journey!

Herbal First Aid with The Green Medic

Presenter: Matthew Wood

DescriptionThere are times when a person must go to the doctor for acute or chronic conditions, but there are many times when we can take care of ourselves and family at home or in the field. Did you know that you can aid the majority of common accidents naturally, with herbs? Many of these herbs are easy to find, growing nearby! In this class, Matthew Wood, The Green Medic, will teach participants which herbs to use for a variety of first aid conditions and how to confidently apply them. And of course, there will be stories and time for questions!

Little-Known Medicinal Plants of the Southeastern U.S.

Presenter: David Winston

Description: Many common medicinal plants from the Southeastern U.S were first used by Native Peoples and then adopted by the Thomsonian, Physiomedicalist and Eclectic Physicians. Today we still use Black Cohosh, American Ginseng, Goldenseal and Saw Palmetto. Many people might assume that all of the valuable plants of this region are well known and if they are no longer used, it simply means they are not useful. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many effective herbal medicines that are still frequently used in southern folk medicine or by Native Tribes or that have been introduced from other parts of the world that are virtually unknown outside of this region.  Shrub Yellow Root, Kudzu, Cross Vine, Cucumber Magnolia, Flowering Dogwood, Saw Brier, Mimosa and Peach leaf are just a few of the amazing medicines we will discuss and learn to use in this detailed class.

Medicinal Mushrooms: Fungi-Supported Health & Wellness

Presenter: Michelle Rigling

Description: This workshop will start with an overview of medicinal mushroom basics, such as common medicinal mushrooms identification tips, their medicinal properties, and DIY preparations. Michelle will share some cooking tips and recipes as well. Then we will explore how specific mushrooms can support physical, mental, and emotional wellness. A few topics we will cover include:

  • Immune system support 

  • Brain health and nootropic mushrooms

  • Mushrooms in Alzheimer's research

  • Fungi-supported cancer recovery

  • Quality, sourcing and dosing 

Psychoactive Mushrooms: Sacred Journeys & Mystical Experiences

Presenter: Michelle Rigling

Description: Artifacts and cave paintings suggest that humans have been interacting with mushrooms for spiritual purposes for over 12,000 years. In this workshop we will discuss mushrooms in ritual and ceremony, both past and present. We will look at the differences between certain mushrooms found in rituals (such as Amanita muscaria, Psilocybe cubensis, and specific Ganoderma (Reishi) species) as well as topics like mushroom essences, microdosing, sacred journeys, safety, dosage, and integration. Michelle will share insights from her experiences as a Guide, Trip Sitter, and Integration Counselor as well as review recently published information from clinical trials. There will be time for questions plus information about legal considerations and resources for future learning. 

Rocks and Stones in Folk Medicine

Presenter: Phyllis D. Light

Description: Amethyst, Aquamarine, Diamond, Quartz, Tourmaline, Jasper, and Opals are just some of the gemstones in the Southeast. Rocks and stones were often used in folk medicine as healing aids or protection. Some uses were very practical - heated stones placed over areas of cold for example. Other uses were more spiritual such as using petrified wood to protect the healer from taking on the illness of the sick person. Join Phyllis as she discusses a few of the folk uses of stones and rocks based on traditional folk medicine of the Southeast.

Scouting, Identifying & Utilizing Medicinal Trees

Presenter: Jesse Akozbek

Description: Trees provide us with a diverse set of medicinal compounds that can be found and gathered year-round. However, for many, distinguishing trees from one another is a difficult task. For others, they are concerned about the sustainability of using trees for medicine. In this class, Jesse is going to make tree identification simple and approachable! He’ll also explain the many ways that trees can be gathered and used sustainably. By the end of the class, you’ll know key details for identifying any tree, plus the history of use of several iconic medicinal trees in the Southeast.

The Wild Soul: Weaving Your Unique Mythic Medicine

Presenters: Joanna and Trevor Mann

Description: When living through the feeling sense, our natural curiosities draw us to the wild medicines we need which in turn points us to the medicine we can then offer to the world. Humans co-evolved with natural environments and these systems contain all we need to live in wholeness. By attuning your senses to the wild, you allow yourself to come into relationship with the medicine your being needs for balance. As that medicine brings you into wholeness, you are able to find the unique medicine to offer to the world. In this class we will look at practices that help move us into the feeling sense, look at archetypal patterns, and discuss how these medicines have begun to work with and through us towards greater healing for all.

Turmeric & Wild Mountain Mint: Crop Talk with Dr. Mentreddy

Presenter: Dr. Rao Mentreddy

Description: AAMU professor, Dr. Rao Mentreddy, has been researching turmeric for over 15 years. Perceiving a need for robust, adapted turmeric varieties that combine high rhizome yield with high curcumin content, his research team evaluated a wide range of turmeric germplasm obtained from Vietnam and succeeded in developing five varieties for commercial production in Alabama and Georgia. He will be sharing information about these fascinating findings and well as discussing Gold Milk, a medicinal beverage popularly prepared by Indians to control cough, cold, and chest congestion, as well as a few other ailments. In addition, he will be sharing research and personal experiences with Virginia mountain mint (Pyncnanthemuc virginianum), a medicinal mint that grows wild in Alabama!

Wild Gardening: Medicine for the Earth

Presenters: Joanna and Trevor Mann

Description: In permaculture style farming we hold the belief that you can't improve on natural systems. Farming that tries to dominate nature is proving itself to be a self-defeating paradigm. Whether you believe nature was intelligently created or has refined itself through millions of years of evolution, there is an intelligence behind the patterns of nature that cannot be outwitted. This is why, in regenerative farming practices, we seek to piggyback off of the intelligence of these natural patterns. In this class, we will look at the permaculture framework, patterns of nature, and regenerative practices that allow your garden to be more than just medicine for your body, but to also nourish the soils of mother earth.

Wild Medicine Walk

Presenters: Phyllis D. Light & David Winston

Description: Wander with Phyllis and David and learn to identify medicinal plants, herbs, and trees growing this time of year. We will learn tips on harvesting and making medicine as well as uncommon uses for some of our favorites. Conference herb walks are so much fun and you won't want to miss this one with two of our most experienced herbalists!

Wild Weeds for Wild Mucous! Plant Remedies for Allergies & Colds

Presenter: Lisa Bedner (Tihanama Nation)

So you have wild mucous? Is it an allergy? Infection? Cold? Many people in the Southeast have mucous overload. Let's learn what your mucous can tell you.  We'll also discuss which Native and naturalized herbs and weeds can be eaten or made into medicine to prevent and decrease the wild mucous! 

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