by: Jo Franks, M.H.

This time of year you will find pomegranates in most grocery stores. There are a lot of interesting facts about this amazing fruit, which dates back thousands of years. The plant is a native of Persia and in the 18th century Spanish sailors introduced the plant to the southern United States. They have long been a symbol of prosperity and abundance. In Greek history it is considered good luck to smash a pomegranate on the ground at weddings and New Year’s. It is said that the number of seeds that fall out of the fruit, will be the number of children the married couple will have.


The Latin name for pomegranate (Punica granatum) means seeded apple. It is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, namely punicalagin. Studies have shown that this is effective in preventing platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots. It is also high in other polyphenols, tannins, quercitin, and anthocyanins which offer heart health and anti-cancer benefits. Pomegranates can also be beneficial for arthritis, increasing oxygen levels to the heart, heart disease, many types of cancer, diarrhea, and mental and emotional health.


Not only is the fruit delicious, very nutrient dense and full of anti-oxidants, but there are parts of the whole plant that are beneficial medicinally. The root bark has been used as a remedy for all kinds of parasites, including tapeworms. The fruit rind and flowers can be made into a tea for a sore throat. If the rind is dried and powdered, it can be used as a tooth powder for brushing the teeth.


We always recommend eating foods in their wholesome form. Enjoy the season of pomegranates! From all of us at The School of Natural Healing, have a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Jo Francks is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing. She is also a Holistic Iridologist and Quantum Touch practitioner. 


For further study: 

June 30th, 2014Sceletium tortuosum

Mishelle Knuteson


Sceletium tortuosum commonly called Kanna is a small succulent groundcover plant from South Africa. As early as 1662 natives would harvest this plant, bury it to ferment it and then dry it. Once dried it was eaten, smoked, made into a tea or snuffed to reap its wonderful mood modifying~mind enhancing effects. Today this herb has been proven to be safe and effective in balancing the brain and nervous system which seems to relieve symptoms of depression.


The mood enhancing properties of Sceletium are primarily due to a group of alkaloids, notably mesembrine, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. These compounds interact with receptors in the brain, enhancing the production of dopamine, which is our primary inner pleasure chemical, and prolonging the activity of serotonin, a critically important mood compound. When ingested, Sceletium enhances the feeling of tremendous well-being, heightened awareness, mental alertness and a keen-mindedness that is quite pronounced. Any potentially harmful effects of oxalic acid compounds that are naturally found in the plant are reported to be alleviated by physically crushing the plant, fermenting and drying before use.


These feel good effects and terrific mental stimulation properties appear to make Sceletium a first-rate anti-depressant and anti-anxiety aid. People with low mental energy, mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety disorder could potentially be helped by its use. In one study of the effects of Sceletium reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the main alkaloids of the plant demonstrated the capacity to extend the activity of serotonin. This activity, known as SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibition, is essentially how pharmaceutical antidepressant drugs work. The difference with Sceletium is that it is a multi-compound plant. It is not chemically based and does not appear to demonstrate comparable hazardous side effects of the pharmaceutical antidepressants. Side effects can include gastrointestinal disorders, loss of sex drive, insomnia and exacerbated depression.


The recommended dosage is to start low then build if needed, one or two capsules a day. My son’s girlfriend is weaning from her medication to a more natural way and she is taking one capsule of Sceletium along with 3 capsules of Dr. Christopher’s MindTrac formula a day and seeing great results. The herbs should be taken after a meal because Sceletium can cause headaches and nausea if taken on an empty stomach.


In its long history of use, no significant adverse effects of Sceletium have been noted. This makes Sceletium a worthy candidate for consideration in cases of depression and anxiety.


Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

June 30th, 2014What Causes Autism?

David Christopher MH


Although Autism is multi-faceted and there are no easy answers, I have always believed answers can be found in observing large populations to determine which groups are subject to a disease and in which groups it does not occur. Looking at the entire population of the world we can observe that Autism was non-existent or so rare that it was not observed until the 1930’s. The observations of those living in that time-frame was that a small segment of society was subject to autistic children and that was the segment of society that were wealthy and well educated. In the 1940’s the demographic changed and autistic children were being born into middle class families. Then in the 1950’s poor people were subjected to their children developing Autism. In the 1970’s the rate of autism in children was 1 in 2000. By the 90’s the rate had grown to 1 in 1000 and today 1 in 60 children develop autism. The Geneticists inform us that it cannot be genetically caused, it would be impossible to spread that rapidly. It must be something that we are doing as a society! So again let us observe our society and see if there is a segment of our community that is not subject to having autistic offspring. There was.


A UPI reporter, Dan Olmsted, searched for autistic Amish children in an area of Lancaster
County in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Statistically he should have found 130 cases of Autism, instead he found none. Statisticians could attribute it to using horse and buggies instead of cars or a total rejection of electricity coming from the Grid or any number of connections. However, included in the Amish rejecting our technological society, was their wholehearted rejection of vaccines. The only difference between this community and the rest of the population, that is valid, is the rejection of our mass immunization program. The Health Department went door to door convincing this community to vaccinate their children, which they did. Now we find Autism occurring in the Amish community.


In the1930’s, only rich, informed parents could afford the vaccines, their children first suffered autism. When vaccines became more affordable the middle class vaccinated and then Autism plagued them. When Government paid for the vaccines, everyone, including the poor, was subject to Autism. The Health Department convinced the Amish to vaccinate their children and now all segments of society can suffer this prevalent disease.


Individually we can become more informed; we can reject these vaccines for our children and avoid this modern day plague. All States have exemptions, you should use them.


To learn more may I suggest the excellent book Make an Informed Vaccine Decision by Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH


David Christopher is a Master Herbalist and the director of The School of Natural Healing. He also co-hosts the popular radio show “A Healthier You” and is a popular international teacher and lecturer. 

April 8th, 2014Hope For Depression

-Mishelle Knuteson M.H.


I have been alarmed at the rate that people are taking their own lives. It just seems so much more common these days than I have ever noticed before. It saddens me a great deal. I know the toll that challenges can take in my own life and those that suffer from mental or emotional disorders may not have the knowledge or skills to cope when faced with difficult situations in their life. I am a proponent of positive thinking, yet I understand these mental and emotional maladies can create a hole deep within us that is debilitating and extremely hard for some to escape from.


To assist and help those around us with these tendencies, it is important that we are aware of changes in their behavior and appearance and respond quickly. Notice body language - are their shoulders slumped over more than usual, are they not taking care of their hygiene or nutrition or just shutting down, are they isolating themselves, are they using language such as, “I can’t take this anymore,”  or  ”they would be better off without me,” etc.

People can get so discouraged and lost. If we can pick up on these subtle changes mentioned above, it can allow more of an opportunity to assist and help. People struggling with depression need to know that they belong to someone or something bigger than themselves. They need to be aware that people care about them. They need to understand that they have a support system and that there is a place and purpose for them. Don’t assume that they know how important they are to you, tell them frequently. Further, tell them specifically how they support you.

Creating a plan for life gives hope and direction. Understanding that hope is never lost and miracles do occur can propel someone forward in the difficult moments. It is vital that people have something to look forward to in the future and to have a purpose for each day. This helps to bring the hope it takes to endure through the difficult times. Writing each day helps a person express and get things out that may be locked inside. Writing about hopes, future plans and people that are important can elicit self-encouragement and keep the purpose of life alive. Just the simple act of smiling will change a person’s energetic make up in the moment.  Expressions of gratitude for the simple things found in daily life can change a person’s outlook - even if it is just expressing gratitude that you can breath and your heart is beating. Fatigue is often a catalyst to more serious problems so make sure there is a plan for rest, relaxation and replenishing. If we do not take the time to be well, we will most certainly be given the time to be ill.

Believe it or not, intestinal issues are closely related to mental issues. Research has been done that demonstrates a direct connection between the “gut/brain axis”, so adding probiotics to a daily regime may almost act as an antidepressant in many of these situations. Approximately 80-90% of the human body’s total serotonin is located in the alimentary canal (gut). Gut health once again proves to be an important center in overall health. People with behavioral and physiological illnesses need to be conscious of getting a diet rich in nutrients from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Some of Dr. Christopher formulas that may assist are Vitalherbs for nutrition, Soothing Digestion to help the alimentary canal, MindTrac to feed the brain and St John’s Wort as a mood booster. I recently learned of an herb called Sceletium tortuosum, commonly called Kanna, that may also help as a booster. I will introduce you to that herb in my next newsletter.

There are natural solutions that are healing for the body and not just a bandaid. There is always hope of a better and brighter future. The School of Natural Healing is here for you, to help educate and bring healing through knowledge and truth. We are the ones that can assist our loved ones who may feel so desperate.


Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

-Tara Pierce H

Irish Moss is not actually a moss but a seaweed, strongly alkaline and rich in iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. It is a highly nutritious plant which feeds the bones, brain, liver, flesh and lymphatic system. It contains a large amount of mucilage and sulfur compounds making it a great aid in the treatment  of chronic bronchial and intestinal problems. It is soothing in cases of arthritis, irritation of the bladder and kidneys, as well as chronic diarrhea and dysentery. In cases of dropsy it aids in the removal of excess fluid in the tissues and is used for colds as well as relief of dry coughs. Poultices of the moss have been successfully used on abscesses, burns and bruises.

Traditionally it was gathered for both food and medicine. It is still commonly used in cooking and food preparation as thickening and stabilizing agents. You will find it added to dairy products such as ice cream, yogurt and pudding as well as nut and rice milks and as a flavoring agent and clarifier in the brewing of beer. The herb is used as a suspension agent in toothpastes and is used commercially in hand lotions and various creams.


Although carrageenans (molecules extracted from the moss) were introduced on an industrial scale in the 1930’s, they were first used in China around 600 B.C. and in Ireland around 400 A.D. Known in Ireland as Carrageen Moss, it is commonly boiled in milk and strained, before sugar and other flavorings such as vanilla, cinnamon, brandy, or whisky are added. The end-product is a kind of jelly similar to pannacotta, tapioca, or blancmange.


Dr. Christopher included Irish moss in the Thyroid Maintenance Formula due to the organic iodine which is an excellent part of nourishing the thyroid gland. Together with kelp, watercress, mullein, parsley, nettle, marshmallow and sheep sorrel, this combination helps to support a healthy metabolism. Used as a tonic this formula will ease fatigue, muscle weakness, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and irregular menstrual periods.

Tara Pierce is a Certified Herbalist and Master Herbalist Student at The School of Natural Healing.

January 27th, 2014Living Gratefully

Mishelle Knuteson M.H.


November seems to help people focus more on gratitude. In fact, I would say that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of the reflection on things I am thankful for and being with family. Although, to have a joy filled and successful life, we should be focused on gratitude every day, not just at Thanksgiving. I heard a quote by leader and mentor Tim Kelly, “To live a joyful life you must become an expert at gratitude.”

The people that I reflect on that emanate a joyful spirit, frequently express gratitude and often during the most challenging circumstances. Dr. John R. Christopher is one among many that I recognize as an expert at gratitude.  His son David Christopher expressed in the book, An Herbal Legacy of Courage, “My father’s abiding happiness seems even more exceptional when I reflect on all the reasons he had to be unhappy…yet I cannot erase from my mind’s eye the gentle kindness of my father’s perpetual smile.”  As a student of the School of Natural Healing, I hear the gratitude expressed often throughout his lectures.

One of my favorite books states, He who receives all things with thankfulness will be made glorious and the things of this earth will be added unto him, even a hundred fold and more. Receiving all things with thankfulness and gratitude can be challenging at times unless we train ourselves to be an expert at gratitude.

I have learned a tool that I want to share with you that has helped me along the path in changing my focus to gratitude. Much of being grateful is a mind game - training our minds to see and focus on that bigger picture. Our minds are divided, the left side of the brain is more logical and the right side is more creative. So to create more harmony and change, these two sides of the brain need to connect. The tool I learned is to feed the left side of the brain first so that the right side will open and create more.

The left side of the brain loves facts and figures, so one thing we can do to satisfy this side of the brain is to give it a list of things we are grateful for so it can see concrete evidence. By creating a gratitude list, a long list that keeps growing, we give the evidence that stimulates the left brain. It can see how much is there which allows the right side of the brain to kick in and create even more, opening up much larger vision and focus.

Keeping this list visible, reviewing it daily and continually adding to it helps you to transform your way of seeing life through more gratitude. I want to thank you for letting me share a tool that is working for me. I’m grateful to all those that read my articles and I hope that they inspire and help you to live a more happy, healthy and fulfilled life.

Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

October 4th, 2013Memories…

Tara pierce H

For many years, a memory has been thought of as a book on the shelf in a vast library; filed neatly away with its own DDC# to be easily accessed, as a whole, when needed. We now know that each memory is a complex construction beginning with perception. With each experience, experts believe that the hippocampus and the frontal cortex analyze the various sensory inputs and decide if they are worth remembering. Each detail, such as the shape of the book, the color, the smell, the sound it makes as you flip through the pages and how you felt as you read the closing line, is connected to the others through electrical and chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. The resulting memory forms a web-like pattern of cells scattered throughout the brain. Each web is built and rebuilt and is more likely to be retained as long term memory if the information is repeated or used. That is why studying before a test is such a benefit to our final score.

When our memory becomes less effective, especially as we get older, it is not always because of a structural or organic problem but simply as a result of lack of use. Studies of nursing home populations show that when patients are given rewards and challenges they are able to make significant improvements in memory. Other risk factors for memory loss include obesity, major stress in life, anxiety and anger, all of which will eventually wreak havoc on the brain. Life can easily and often throw your lifestyle for a loop. Don’t forget to take a minute each day to listen to what you need to regain that balance.

In addition to mental stimulation, what you eat and drink and the quality of your sleep plays a powerful part in restoring good health and mental clarity. Regular physical exercise will increase blood circulation and get more oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the brain as well as Dr. Christopher’s Memory Plus Formula. It is a great way to cleanse, re-build and increase circulation to the brain.

Tara Pierce is a Certified Herbalist and Master Herbalist Student at The School of Natural Healing.

October 3rd, 2013Chaos

Mishelle Knuteson MH

I look at the lives of so many people around me and it appears that many are in or just passing through a state of chaos. I have come to understand that a chaotic period of life is where God, our divine power, is changing our compass, cleansing our lives and bringing us to a place of newness and healing. This follows along so well with the same principle that Dr. Christopher taught - cleanse, nourish and heal. This natural law not only assists us in our physical health but our mental/emotional health as well. The chaos we feel is our lack of preparedness and even surprise at what is happening in our lives. This is often uncharted territory for us and many times it takes us away from our comfort zone. Yet if we don’t move through the shift that is happening we will flat-line, we will reach a plateau that can stop us from living a fuller richer life.


The main message that I want people to understand about being in a chaotic place in life is that it is God’s way of propelling us forward. I’ve heard it called “the wind currents of God.” When you feel like your life is being dismantled in a way that no human is capable of creating or fixing, then you know it is the signature of God. He is shifting us into a place of newness by redirecting our compass. This is the time that we need to surrender and trust what is happening in the moment. Step fully into the experience and be in awe of what is happening because there isn’t much that can be done to stop it anyway. Instead of fighting it, ride through it. Look at it as a test in your life and meet it as gracefully as possible. Don’t get caught up in negativity or questioning the methods of the change. Hold no judgments about what is happening and don’t ask to see the outcomes. Give up the need to ask WHY and do not look for the understanding that simply may not be there, at least not in the moment. Just trust, be in awe of the workings of God. Trying to project ahead can make things more difficult because life is constantly changing and you just need to ride it through to see where it leads you. I’m not saying that you don’t have direction or a vision, I’m just saying don’t get caught up in the worry that things aren’t happening according to your “plan.” Have a passionate faith and trust that you are where you are right now because that is where you should be and you will get through it. Think nourishing and loving thoughts along the way. Chaos is the process of cleansing the old. Trust, thinking encouraging thoughts, and staying in a place of acceptance is the nourishment that will lead to a place of newness and healing.


So rejoice in the chaos. It is a sign that change is coming and something greater and better is on the horizon. It means that God is close and is working His plan in your life. Move through the chaos with grace. Learn what you can from the experience and trust that nourishment and healing are on the other side.


Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

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