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April 10, 2019

Healing Women Series • Krista Poulton

Krista is a an herbalist, educator and medicine maker. Based in Victoria on Vancouver Island she specializes in women’s reproductive health particularly with reproductive empowerment.  If you’re struggling with any kind of hormone imbalance, infertility, irregular menstrual cycle, breast imbalances (fibroadenomas, cysts, etc), adrenal fatigue, endometriosis, skin issues and you’re looking for some herbal support and guidance, Krista is your go-to.

Discover some of her favorite herbs that balance hormones, keep the liver happy,  clear estrogen, shrink breast lumps,  plus her current infusion and some herbal blends for grounding and increasing intuition.

 

 

What inspired you to become a medical herbalist?

Herbal Medicine has always been a great interest for myself and I found myself really drawn to this field after going through my own health journey with my reproductive health, dealing with symptoms of high estrogen and not being met in my needs for options for treatment. I realized that it wasn’t just my own personal experience of feeling not met but many of my friends, family and community and I wanted to offer people more options for their health.  This is what lead me to my focus in my practice in reproductive health. I found that with many of my patients their struggle with reproductive health treatment options has conventionally offered them birth control pill, hormone replacement therapy or a hysterectomy, which I personally find is not enough positive options for my patient. I found with herbs and supplements that I have been able to shift many major symptoms with my patients and given then hope and empowerment with their reproductive health.

 

What are your favorite herbs?

Paeonia lactiflora, White Peony for its gentle yet effective balancing effect on the hormone system.

Valeriana officinalis, Valerian as it is is just such a beauty to grow and make fresh medicine with.  It has a reputation for smelling like dirty socks, but I absolutely love the flavour profile. It reminds me of deep in the forest.  Valerian’s effects are also similar to the calmness and heaviness that you can get in the forest, I discuss about it ‘as putting on a moss cloak’ as it’s a grounding and protective plant.

Passiflora incarnata, Passionflower for its stunning flower and the ability to bring focus and calmness from chaos.  The stunning flowers really capture the effects of the plant by having their outer edges of the flower very chaotic but the inside of the flower is ordered and smooth.  

Avena sativa, milky oats.  This year I expanded on how much I am growing and I grew over 130 lbs of milky oats.  The process of working with this plant, harvesting, drying, packaging and preparing fresh medicine was such a beautiful experience.  Milky oats is great for fried nerves, overworked individuals, and I find this is such an important herb in our society.

 

Paeonia lactiflora (White Peony) is one of my favourite herbs for reproductive health as it is so gentle and nourishing yet very effective for balancing the hormone system.

 

What are your favorite herbs for women’s health?

Paeonia lactiflora (White Peony) is one of my favourite herbs for reproductive health as it is so gentle and nourishing yet very effective for balancing the hormone system, modulating estrogen, increasing progesterone and lower androgens (testosterone).   Specifically used for normalizing ovarian function such as with infertility, balancing progesterone by encouraging ovulation, lower prolactin levels which can cause amenorrhea (no cycle for 3 months or longer), and used to lower androgens (testosterone) in combination with Licorice in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

What are some less commonly discussed herbs that you wish more people used?

This is a hard question for me, as I often feel the opposite.  We need to be careful about some of our herbs that we use due to endangerment of the plant, growth patterns of the plant, environmental impacts, social impacts, oil and gas usage, etc.  I am a strong advocate for ethical herbal medicine, and discuss often with my students these issues.

Personally, I find Paeonia is such an under used herb in terms of reproductive health. Often times practitioners will offer Vitex agnus-castus, Chastetree as their go to reproductive health herb but I am very careful about this plant as I have seen individuals have negative side-effects from Chastetree.  Often times people are taking Chastetree for the wrong indications, I only use Chastetree to increase progesterone, for tender breasts and to lower prolactin, or I see individuals taking it for a very long time without seeing any results. However the reason I am very careful about this herb is I have seen individuals have very low moods from taking Chastetree, where they don’t even feel like themselves anymore. I have de-prescribed Chastetree often and in those cases I have seen the mood rise and their connection to themselves shift within the week. It’s a very strong herb that needs to be used wisely.

 

What are the best way to consume herbs: tinctures, capsules, or infusions?

The best form to take herbal medicine really depends on the herb. Some of our herbal constituents, the chemical makeup of the plant that delivers the health benefits, are best extracted in alcohol, water, or oil.  I often find tinctures, alcohol extracted preparations, are the easiest for my patients to take for compliance, as there is no preparation required to consume. However with tinctures, some individuals find the alcohol difficult to take or are unable to consume alcohol. Tea infusions I personally find has the least compliance with taking  regularly everyday as the patient needs to prepare the medicine. I also like giving capsules, however only 2-3 herbs can go into the capsule itself, so for many of my patients that are on 10 herbs, taking 9 capsules 3x/day is not very agreeable to them. Additionally, with capsules as it is just dried herb the individual needs to extract out the medicine, therefore they need to have a good digestion system to break down the capsule and herb and absorb the medicine into their system.

 

Do you have a favorite infusion recipe?

I drink so much herbal tea that its very hard for me to answer this but I would say the simple Holy Basil and Rose combination is my favourite. This tea is delicious plus holy basil is a wonderful adaptogen with a flavour profile similar to spicy green tea, with the rose as a flower component to lighten the experience and to harmonize.

What are your herbal recommendations for breast health?

Best recommendation for breast health would be to get professionally assessed once a year to check for any changes.  Otherwise for non-cancerous lumps I love using Castor Oil infused with Poke Root and this would also be the time I would use Chastetree (but still watch the low mood!).

 
 
 
 

Estrogen Clearing Herbs

Rosemary + Schizandra

 

Why is the liver so important when it comes to hormonal balance? How might a congested liver lead to breast imbalances and what are your favorite herbs for a healthy liver?
The liver is our processing center for all of our neurotransmitters, toxins and hormones. Processing the hormones for either recycling into the system or to excrete via the vowels or the bladder. If the liver is congested or not functioning properly this can lead to an imbalance of hormones.  With hormonal balance, we need to address multiple systems that affect hormones, such as herbs that affects the communication between the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian system, herbs that affect tissue specificity to the ovaries such as phytoestrogens, liver supporting herbs to assist with recycling and clearing, and digestive antimicrobials to ensure that the hormone once processed does not get recycled in the intestine via an enzyme being produced by negative gut bacteria.
My favourite herb to keep the liver functioning healthy is Milk Thistle as it is so gentle, however for estrogen clearance I typically use a combination of Rosemary and Schizandra. High estrogen can present itself in the system as breast tenderness, heavy menstruation, clots, and cramping.  Typically because of our load of endocrine disrupting chemicals called xenoestrogens in the system from cleaning chemicals, plastics and cosmetics that mimic estrogen in the system, it is so important that we are clearing this type of estrogen from the system.

 

What does listening to your intuition look like? Are there any herbs that support intuition?

Listening to my intuition is a physical experience that lives in my gut.  Sometimes it is a flutter that I need to go another direction or it’s a flutter to take a leap and go for something.  I find that the more grounded we can be the more we are able to listen to our intuition. There are lots of amazing grounding herbs, really anything that is bitter and a nervine, but my favourite combination is Verbena, Wood Betony with Rose.

 

Grounding Infusion For Intuition

Verbena, Wood Betony + Rose

 

 

 

What’s one of the best things you’ve done for your health? One of the worse?

Manage stress and let stress take a hold of me.  It is so easy in this society to overwork yourself and I can easily fall into this pattern as I always have so many ideas in my head that I would like to implement.  Now that I have a more balanced work/home life I am able to get more concrete things done and enjoy myself more.

Who inspires you?

Aviva Romm is my inspiration!  She is a midwife, herbalist and MD, who is very active in the wider community with books, podcasts, blog, and active practice.  I had a great pleasure to meet Aviva Romm in 2014 at a Women’s Health Conference.

 

What advice would you give to women who might be struggling with their health?

To seek multiple health care providers to really understand your symptoms and your options.  Read reputable resources, ask questions, and know that this is your body and you get to make the decisions about your body.

How do you manage stress?

Piano, yoga and the outdoors!  I found that if I wasn’t taking care of myself everyday that stress would mount, and that this additional stress wasn’t good for myself, and for my patients. I wasn’t able to be the best that I can be. So I introduced some non-herbally related activities into my everyday life to help find the balance.

How do you celebrate yourself?

I celebrate myself by taking those moments for self-care and self-love. It might be a herbal bath with rose, or a massage.  I also try to celebrate my victories with family and friends. Celebration of who we are is so important to be a confident human being!

 

Celebration of who we are is so important to be a confident human being.

 

Favorite piece of advice/wisdom you’ve ever received?

I had a herbal mentor, Colleen Emery, once tell me that everything you do for your business should impact 7 areas of your life.  I have really taken this to heart and use this motto for life as well, that everything I am doing with my practice, my teaching, my art should be impacting multiple aspects of my life, and I have extended this advice to others as well.  So when I create new content for my classes, I think about other communities I could be offering this information to, how I can use this new information in my everyday life

 

 

What resources on herbs would you recommend? 

I am such a fan of Aviva Romm, she is such an inspiration with the work she has done and continues to do.  Her education in itself is very impressive, she is a Midwife, Herbalist and now a MD. She has many great books available both for practitioners and for the general public, as well as great resources online including a wonderful blog at www.avivaromm.com and podcast Natural MD Radio.

I also love Lara Briden for her work in reproductive health www.larabriden.com

If you could leave the reader with one thing, what would it be?

To be empowered with their reproductive health! Many of my patients have sought me out desperate for more options than birth control pill, hormonal therapy or hysterectomy, and by offering them options with their health and utilizing cycle-tracking to track symptoms and progress they leave feeling empowered. I hope that this knowledge I am sharing with my patients and in my community will trickle down to the next generation; that more individuals will learn about their cycles and feel empowered not disempowered.

Krista makes almost all of her tinctures either from herbs that she grows, or from dried herb that she sources.

 

Krista’s Offerings

Work with Krista

If you’re struggling with reproductive health issues and are interested in an herbal approach, learn more and book a session with Krista here. Krista’s sessions are available to women globally, however her herbal tinctures can only be shipped within Canada.

Online Courses

Krista has a variety of courses online available:

 

Shop

Krista has a variety of tea blends, herbal vaginal steam packages and birthing packages  available.There is something for every woman for every phase of her life.

 

Connect with Krista

 

Healing Women Series • Krista Poulton

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