An experienced clinical herbalist will give helpful tips on fighting the flu and boosting immunities Thursday at ARTS/West.

Caty Crabb, director of the Appalachian Ohio School of Herbal Medicine, will give a workshop on how herbs can stimulate and strengthen immune systems. Topics discussed will include the physiology of the immune system, which herbs to use for immune purposes and special tricks for children and those with autoimmune diseases. Crabb will give a presentation and have herbs on hand for people to taste.

For the last several months, Crabb has given monthly workshops on how herbs can be beneficial to different organ systems and parts of the body. The herbs are usually added as a liquid to water and ingested but are sometimes taken through teas or other methods.

If You Go:

What: Herbs and Immune Health

When: 6 p.m., Thursday

Where: ARTS/West, 132 W. State St.

Admission: $20-30

“There are … all different kinds of ways of making medicine from plants,” Crabb said.

Crabb said 2018 is a particularly good year to learn about the boost herbs can give to immune systems because of the especially nasty flu virus. Although hospitalizations due to the flu have decreased in Ohio in recent weeks, the level is still elevated. Last week, there were nearly 1,100 flu-related hospitalizations in the state, with 56 in southeast Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Crabb said drugstore-bought medicines often treat cold and flu symptoms but fall short of boosting overall immune health. Herbal medicine, however, can treat symptoms without causing many side effects and strengthen immunities to prevent future illnesses.

“I hope people go away from (the workshop) feeling like they understand more about the immune system and how to keep themselves healthy — how to help their family and community and themselves,” Crabb said.

Hannah Stewart, an Ohio University graduate, is an apprentice to Crabb and also teaches classes through the Appalachian Ohio School of Herbal Medicine. Stewart first encountered herbal medicine at workshop hosted by Community Food Initiatives during her junior year at OU.

“After that I was just hooked,” she said. “I went home feeling like this is something that I need to learn more about, and this is something that I need to be doing in my life.”

Since then, Stewart has apprenticed with two herbalists including Crabb. As Crabb’s co-worker, she teaches classes on how to make herbal medicines at home and helps with the logistics of planning workshops and marketing them on social media.

“(Crabb) just has an encyclopedic knowledge of medicinal herbs and their uses,” Stewart said.  “She has more than a decade of clinical experience using them, so she has seen firsthand … how effective these plants can be. She is just an incredible resource for our community and it is a huge privilege, I think, that she teaches these classes.”

Stewart also mentioned how pertinent the immunities workshop will be this year due to the flu virus. She said herbal medicine can be notably helpful in making one’s body less susceptible to illness.

“Herbal medicine is accessible to anyone,” she said. “It’s a way that you can take the reins of your own health, and it can be a real source of empowerment for people.”


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