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, 2014My Journey

Cynthia Sumner


In my early 20’s when I was in my first years of marriage, with a brand new baby, I had the blessing of learning about The School of Natural Healing. My husband faced some health issues from living out of the country; I had health issues from eating mostly dead food my whole life and emotional trauma from a dysfunctional home. And on top of everything I worried about how to take care of my baby when she had fevers and earaches.


I had a very touching and real experience as I listened and watched some of the teachings from Dr. Christopher. From the top of my head, through my body, down to my toes, I felt a surge of energy, almost a voice that told me I would be mentored and educated through the School of Natural Healing and one day teach and consult individuals to heal. As I studied, experienced and opened my heart and mind truths flowed to me. I knew that I had a gift and responsibility to support and educate individuals to heal physically so they could heal emotionally and spiritually.

I was able to use what I learned to help my husband heal, myself heal physically and emotionally and to build a foundation of confidence to know what my baby needed and how to take care of her. How wonderful it felt to be self-sufficient. Knowledge is power!

With my second pregnancy I began to miscarry at 3 months. I read all I could and prayed. I was impressed to use specific herbs and to eat a strict healthy diet. It was easy to do because I knew it was for this spirit that needed to come to earth. I delivered that baby boy full term, the doctor told me my son was a miracle baby and that he really didn’t think he had any chance of making it. The same problems happened with my last 2 pregnancies and both were delivered full term healthy and strong! I know my knowledge of the body and what it needs allowed my three sons to grow strong inside me and to bless this world with their presence. What a blessing it has been not only for my family in so many ways, too many to share here, but for hundreds of my clients now. I have watched client after client heal from tumors, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, infertility, depression, anxiety, excess weight, skin problems and more. More importantly, and usually surprising to my clients, is the clarity, confidence, self- love, success, renewal in relationships with spouse, kids, parents, co-workers and best of all God. Clarity allows us to see the opportunities that have always been there or to attract opportunities to us. Joy, purpose and a desire to help others is the result of finding balance.


If you are interested in support on your journey to finding balance, support that is in accordance with the teachings of Dr. Christopher, click on this link:


 My coaching includes:

-Monthly one on one consultation with me and an Emotional Health Coach

-Weekly Group calls, Short Videos, Audios and Simple Worksheets to motivate and educate

-Weekly Accountability through email

-Personalized Nutritional Guide, Recipes, Shopping List Guide and much more!


Need new healthy recipes? Visit my website for my Happy. Healthy. Clean. Living recipe book, with over 200 wholesome and raw, delicious 


Thank you Dr. John R. Christopher and his son David Christopher, for this life changing education!! If you have been thinking about signing up for any courses from The School of Natural Healing I am here to urge you to do it! Even if it’s just for yourself, it will be one of the best investments you ever make. Here is a quick link to the school’s courses:

Cynthia Sumner is a Master Herbalist graduate of the School of Natural Healing. She is also a Wholistic Health Coach, Herbal Nutritionist and speaker. You can contact her through her website above or by calling 801.369.1235

January 31st, 2014Digestive Fire

Dr. Christopher taught that to combat constipation and keep your bowels healthy, exercise is an essential part. On page 34 of Dr. Christopher’s Guide to Colon Health, he states:


The exercises that are of the greatest value in cases of constipation are those which bring into strong action the muscles of the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are generally weak and relaxed, and the intra-abdominal pressure is consequently low.

By appropriate exercise the weak muscles may be strengthened, the intra-abdominal pressure may be raised and the colon may be thus enabled to contract with sufficient impetus to expel it contents. 


I recently learned of a great exercise that will build the digestive fire, strengthen the abdominal muscles and keep your bowels moving. It is an Ayurveda technique called Agnisar Dhouti. In Sanskrit, agni means fire and dhouti means “to cleanse”. This technique only takes a minute or two a day and the benefits are great.  It creates purification of the bowels by increasing the movement of air in the fire region of the middle abdomen. It is a pumping action of the abdomen which is much like blowing into the firebox to intensify the combustion of the fire.


This technique is best done on an empty stomach early in the morning and ideally after the bowels have been emptied. A good goal is to strive for 30 pumps per round and to do 3 rounds.


So here is how to do it:


1-Stand with your legs slightly apart and knees bent. You may place your hands on your knees to support your torso. Your back should be straight and abdominal muscles relaxed.

2-Inhale deeply through your nose.

3-Exhale through your mouth, keeping your head slightly bent forward. Looking at your stomach.

4-Pull your stomach in and upwards.

5-Hold your breath and flap your abdomen back and forth (pull/relax; pull/relax) 10-12 times or as many times as you can while holding your breath, working up to the 30.

6-Release your stomach and inhale deeply. This is one round.

7-Breath normally until you feel rested and repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds


Some of the benefits of Agnisar Dhouti are stimulating the immune system, improving digestion, strengthening the abdominal organs such as the spleen, kidneys, liver and intestines. Plus it provides relief from chronic constipation. Little effort, big benefits! Give it a try and build the fire!


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.

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.

Jo Francks MH

In the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman there are many references to foods that help prevent cancer and other diseases. Following are some quotes from the book.


Pg. 5; High protein diet (and diets rich in animal products and low in fruits and unrefined carbohydrates) are likely to significantly increase a person’s risk of colon cancer. Scientific studies show a clear and strong relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder and prostate with low fruit consumption.


Pg. 35; Fruit consumption has been shown in numerous studies to offer our strongest protection against certain cancers, especially oral and esophageal, lung, prostate, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer.


Pg. 55; Observational studies around the world continue to find that the risk of colorectal cancer is lower among populations with high intakes of fruits and vegetables and that the risk changes on adoption of a different diet.


Pg. 62; Raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas. This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.

Pg. 80; The major cause of all diseases afflicting Americans today is a produce-deficient diet. On any given day, no fruit whatsoever passes the lips of half of all Americans.

Pg. 90; Vegetable and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.

Pg. 160; many diets have people afraid to eat healthful fresh fruits because they contain carbohydrates. Fruit consumption, however, shows powerful dose-response association with a reduction in heart disease, cancer and all-cause mortality.

Pg. 226; a high intake of refined grains in the diet is linked to common cancers. A high intake of fruits has the opposite effect. Fruits protect powerfully against cancer.


There are many diets that don’t allow any fruits to be eaten. Some of those diets are anti-cancer diets. Others are weight loss diets. The research I have done points to fresh fruits and vegetables to be the main foods that help prevent cancer and other major illnesses. In order to overcome illness and disease it is suggested that 80 percent of the calories eaten come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Any patient of Dr. Christopher’s who had an incurable illness was put on a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and when they followed that diet most of them got well. Hopefully our readers are enjoying the abundance of the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season with the intention of having excellent health and vitality.

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

Alice Gowans, MH

My first introduction to Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), also known as Holy Basil or Sacred Basil, came while attending the Master Herbalist Certification Seminar at the School of Natural Healing in 2012. My sister and I took advantage of the herb garden outside the School in the morning and at lunch, exploring the collection of plants there. We came upon one we did not recognize; it appeared to be of the mint family, had an intriguing spicy scent and nice little blossoms. David Christopher told us it was Tulsi, and I scribbled the name down in my notebook in the middle of my chemistry lecture notes to remind me to investigate it later. Thus began my captivation with this nice little herb.


I came to discover that Tulsi has been appreciated for centuries in Ayurveda for its many beneficial effects. Its historic uses are many, and include reducing inflammation, lowering fevers and cholesterol, enhancing periodontal health, preventing and easing insect stings and bites, lowering and normalizing high blood pressure, as well as being antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral. As with our other medicinal herbs, its effects are obtained by using the herb in its natural state, its properties being lost when its compounds are isolated or extracted.

According to Rosemary Gladstar in Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide (Storey Publishing,

2012) Tulsi has more than 3,000 years of recorded medicinal use. It is classified in Ayurveda as an herb that “nourishes a person’s growth to perfect health and promotes long life. The daily use of this herb is believed to help maintain the balance of chakras, or energy centers in the body, and to bring out the goodness, virtue, and joy in humans.” Given the state of the world today, perhaps we should encourage everyone the world over to keep a pot of Tulsi growing in the kitchen.

I find its use as an adaptogen intriguing. Adaptogenic herbs help boost the body’s vitality, aiding it to adapt to and defend against the effects of environmental stress. David Hoffman tells us in Medical Herbalism (Healing Arts Press, 2003) that adaptogens “do not block the stress response, but instead smooth out the associated highs and lows”. I like the idea of normalizing the response rather than blocking it, achieving results through a gentle action which is a quality common to many of our favorite herbs. Given the stress most people seem to find themselves facing today, including an adaptogen in their routines would seem beneficial. Tulsi fits the bill, and is a surprisingly tasty option. I have started including Tulsi in my everyday tea blend, and have found it to be quite refreshing in a blend used for iced tea. I would be inclined to include it in my tea just for the taste.

Tulsi is also said to increase the body’s efficient use of oxygen, supplying antioxidants and other nutrients including vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, zinc and chlorophyll. It contains no stimulants and yet is considered a general vitalizer, increasing physical endurance, enhancing stamina, boosting the immune system and sharpening memory.

Tulsi has definitely found a place among my list of favorite herbs, and I hope more people will familiarize themselves with this spicy little powerhouse.


Alice Gowans is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing and a Reiki Master, and currently practices in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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