Rose with David Winston

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I’m thrilled to have David Winston back on the show! Like his last episode, which featured nettles, this episode is absolutely packed with knowledge and wisdom from David’s 55 years of experience. (Speaking of his incredible storehouse of herbal know-how, if you’d like to study with David, he’s enrolling students now! You can get the details in the section below.)

David’s love of rose really shines through in this episode, and he shares so many ways to work with this wonderful plant! 

As a listener, you also have access to David’s recipe for Uplift Tea Blend, as well as his recipe for Rose Petal and Holy Basil Infused Honey. The free, downloadable and printable recipe card for these can be found in the section below.

When might you turn to rose for medicine? Here are just a few instances when the lovely rose can be helpful:

► When you’re grieving. As David says, “Roses are astonishing not only as a mood elevator, but for broken hearts.” 

► As a tonic for your cardiovascular system

► To help quell gut inflammation and heal a leaky gut

But in all of these cases, you need to know which roses are medicinally effective…and which aren’t. Tune in to the entire episode for all the details!

By the end of this episode, you’ll know:

► What to look for (and what to avoid!) when selecting roses to use for medicine

► Nine herbal preparations you can use when working with rose petals, hips, and roots

► The people and conditions that can especially benefit from rose’s gifts

►The importance of gut health to your overall health

► The intriguing way rose is used in traditional Persian medicine

► The key difference between herbal and pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories (and why that matters for your health)

► and so much more…

For those of you who don’t know David, he’s an Herbalist and Ethnobotanist with 55 years of training in Chinese, Western/Eclectic and Southeastern herbal traditions. He has been in clinical practice for 48 years and is an herbal consultant to physicians, herbalists and researchers throughout the USA, Europe and Canada. David is the founder/director of the Herbal Therapeutics Research Library and the dean of David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies, a two-year training program in clinical herbal medicine. He is an internationally known lecturer and frequently teaches at medical schools, professional symposia and herb conferences. He is the president of Herbalist & Alchemist, Inc. a manufacturer that produces herbal products that blend the art and science of the world’s great herbal traditions.

In addition, David is a founding/professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, and he is on the American Botanical Council and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Advisory Boards.

He’s the author of many books including the co-author of Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief.

David has taught thousands of herbalists around the world and is the recipient of many notable and prestigious awards and fellowships.

I’m thrilled to share our conversation with you today.


  • 01:11 - Introduction to David Winston
  • 03:38 - An unexpected award and the joys of herbal community
  • 09:24 - Why David loves rose
  • 22:54 - Uplift Tea Blend
  • 28:11 - Making tea with aromatic plants
  • 29:10 - The rose variety David wants to find
  • 31:38 - Roses in Persian medicine
  • 35:22 - Roses to help moderate inflammation
  • 39:25 - Health  benefits of rose hips
  • 54:08 - Opportunities to study with David
  • 1:06:07 - How herbs instill hope in David
  • 1:14:46 - Herbal Tidbit

Get Your Free Recipe!

This is an uplifting tea that acts as a mood elevator, antidepressant, digestion enhancer, and helps to relieve stress and systemic inflammation.


  • 1 part fragrant Rose petals (organic) - antidepressant, helps broken hearts
  • 2 parts Lemon Balm - mood elevator, anxiolytic, carminative
  • 1 part Mimosa Flowers - antidepressant, anti-inflammatory
  • 1 part Holy Basil - mild adaptogen, anxiolytic, antidepressant, carminative
  • 1/2 part Orange Peel - carminative, relieves stress
  • 1/2 part Damiana - mild antidepressant, enhances libido, carminative
  • 3-4 Saffron stigmas - antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic


  1. Grind the herbs coarsely in a spice grinder. Mix well. Store in a labeled, airtight container in a cool, dark, dry location.
  2. Take 1-2 tsp of the ground herbs, put in an infuser in a teacup, pour 8 oz. boiling water over the herbs, cover and let steep for 20-30 minutes. Add 1 tsp of honey or better yet, Rose Petal and Holy Basil Infused Honey, if desired. Strain and enjoy.


Uplift Tea Blend Recipe

Yes! I want my beautifully illustrated recipe card!

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Connect with David

  • Website | David Winston's Center for Herbal Studies
  • David’s Herbal Products | Herbalist & Alchemist
  • Twitter| @davidwinston
  • Do you want to learn more from David? The enrollment period for his 2024-2026  foundational program is happening NOW! Class starts in September and there are prerequisites (plus an admissions process), so don’t delay if you’re interested. If you are feeling called to be a clinical herbalist or you want really in-depth knowledge about how to work with plants and people, then I know David’s course will be amazing! Get all the details here and use the code 1324RF when you apply.

Transcript of the 'Rose with David Winston' Video

Rosalee de la Forêt:
Hello and welcome to the Herbs with Rosalee Podcast, a show exploring how herbs heal as
medicine, as food and through nature connection. I’m your host, Rosalee de la Forêt. I created
this Channel to share trusted herbal wisdom so that you can get the best results when
relying on herbs for your health. I love offering up practical knowledge to help you dive deeper
into the world of medicinal plants and seasonal living.

Each episode of the Herbs with Rosalee Podcast is shared on YouTube, as well as your favorite
podcast app. Also, to get my best herbal tips as well as fun bonuses, be sure to sign up for my weekly herbal newsletter below.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Okay, grab your cup of tea and let’s dive in.

I’m thrilled to have David back on the show. Like his last episode which featured nettles, this episode is absolutely packed with knowledge and wisdom from David’s 55 years of experience. There were times when I wanted to grab a notebook during this interview and this is one episode you may want to listen to twice or more.

For those of you who don’t already know him, David Winston is a distinguished herbalist and ethnobotanist with over five decades of expertise in Chinese, Western/Eclectic and Southeastern herbal traditions. With 47 years of clinical practice, he serves as a trusted herbal consultant to healthcare professionals and researchers across the globe. As a founder and director of the Herbal Therapeutics Research Library and dean of David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies, he spearheads a prestigious two-year training program in clinical herbal medicine.

Renowned for his captivating lectures, David is a sought-after speaker at medical schools, professional symposia and herb conferences worldwide. He presides over Herbalist & Alchemist, Inc., a leading manufacturer renowned for blending the art and science of herbal traditions into its products.

A prominent figure in the herbal community, David is a founding member of the American Herbalist Guild and contributes extensively to botanical literature. His publications include Saw Palmetto for Men & Women, Herbal Therapeutics and Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.

Recognized for his contributions, David has received prestigious awards including the AHPA Herbal Insight Award and the Natural Products Association Clinician Award. In 2019, he was honored with an honorary doctorate degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, reflecting his profound impact on herbal medicine and education.

Welcome back to the show, David!

David Winston:

Thank you so much. I am so excited to be with you again.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Me too.

David Winston:

I had such a great time last time that I couldn’t wait to come back.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I’m so excited. You have been my happy thought all week and ever since you said last time that you’d be willing to come back again, I’ve been anticipating this. I’m so excited to talk about rose, but before we get there—so, last time when you talked about nettles, which was and has been one of our most popular episodes ever, you talked about how you got into herbs and told your story. I recommend that people listen to this episode first and then go check out that episode if you haven’t already. Instead of starting in the past like we did last time, I thought today we could start in the present. I’d love to hear what’s going on in your herbal life these days, David.

David Winston:

Well, I think for me, I guess one of the significant things is that I just got back from California and there’s a huge trade show—trade shows are not my idea of a great time—called “Natural Products Expo West.” I wasn’t planning to go this year even though I had been asked to be one of the leaders for the herb walk and everything, but then I got a call from my dear friend, Mark Blumenthal about a month ago and it was really funny. He says to me, “Are you coming out to Expo?” and I said, “No, I’m not coming this year.” He goes, “That’s too bad.” I said, “Why?” He says, “They give out awards every year.” He says, “We were hoping that you would introduce somebody who’s getting an award.” I said, “Really? Who did you want me to introduce?” He kind of hemmed and hawed and finally said, “You’re getting the award.” I said, “Well…” He says, “But you can just send a video and we’ll play that when you get the award.” I thought about it and said, here they are honoring and acknowledging the 55 years that I’ve been learning about and spreading the word about herbal medicine. I just felt that I had to go, so I booked a ticket and flew out to Anaheim.

It was really lovely. I got to see lots of good friends in the herbal community. There are lots of people there who are outside of the herbal community and the business community, more or less, but it was just lovely to have that. It’s not like there’s a lot of awards or acknowledgments in the herbal world. I’ll just tell a quick little story that I said in my “acceptance” speech. When I first started studying herbal medicine in 1969, there were so few herbalists. It was really lonely and for a very, very long time. I was wrong about this but I thought I was the only herbalist on the East Coast. For a long time, I just did—the only people I knew who are herbalists were all in the West Coast, nobody here. There were people, but they were mostly either within their own ethnic or world communities and they weren’t well-known outside of those areas.

Anyway, to me, creating herbal community, which is what that award was about, was really vital because for myself as a young herbalist, #1, I wanted to learn more and it’s hard to learn more in a vacuum. Number two, I was excited. I wanted to share it with people. There was no one to share with. Usually, I’d start talking about herbs and people’s eyes would glaze over, so to me it was really exciting.

Last year, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Herbalists Guild, which is made up almost 90%+ of former students of mine, have decided to do an herb day event which is in May. They asked me if I’d be participating, be keynote speaker. I said, “Absolutely! I’d be happy to.” Anyway, they worked really hard. They put it all together. It was held in a wonderful place called, “Well-Sweep Herb Farm” in Port Murray, New Jersey. We were hoping a couple of hundred people would show up. Over 2,000 people showed up. As far as we know, it is the single biggest herb day event that has taken place anywhere. As I wandered around this place filled with former and current students, medical professionals, farmers, kids, herb enthusiasts, parents and just all these people, I just had this incredible feeling like these are my people. It was so wonderful. That is the kind of community that I dreamt of all those years ago and to see it manifest is just amazing.

Of course, it’s not like our work is done. We have lots more to do. We need to spread the word much further, but to see it go from an event like that 30 years ago, if you’re lucky, 60 people would have showed up. Over 2,000--that was exciting. Getting the award was exciting, but to me what’s most exciting is that herbs are no longer something that is so far out in left field that when somebody say to you, “What are you doing?” and you say you’re an herbalist, most people they’ll look at you, “You’re like Echinacea?” I used to get these phone calls from people that say, “What’s this herb Eckychineckia?” I don’t get those calls anymore. Yes, we have a lot more to do, but it’s really exciting to see in 50+ years how far we have come to bringing herbs back as part of mainstream culture rather than something that was only done in various ethnic communities or rural communities, or by a bunch of us who are hippies back in the late 1960’s . That to me is just incredibly exciting.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I love both of those stories. Congrats on the award. What an incredible herb day event–2,000 people.

David Winston:

Over 2,000.  We’re doing it again this year.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Lovely! Wow! That’s so wonderful. Shall we dive into rose? I know this is a very special plant for you. It’s one that I know of with your very famous Grief Relief formula, so I think of you with rose as well. I’m excited to hear all you have to share about rose, David.

David Winston:

I think I could talk about rose for quite a while. I think one of the things I said last time when I was on about nettles, one of the things I love about nettles is the fact that from one plant you get three different medicines. You’ve got the leaf which does multiple things. You’ve got the root which does different things. You have the seed which does still different things. That to me is wonderful. Roses, similarly, although they are for the most part, not really species except for the multiflora rose here, which are highly invasive, they also provide us with multiple medicines from the same plant. Of course, most people know about the rose petals, which we will talk about. Of course, we have the rose hips, which again, most people are aware of. Even the roots of roses have some activity although they are certainly not as spectacular. The rose root is spectacular as the other parts of the plant.

I love roses, but when I say I love roses, I’m not talking about those plastic things in the grocery store. I am talking about real roses. Yes, they were living plants, but when you smell them, most of them except for the pink ones—they have a vague odor—but all the rest of them don’t smell like anything. When I’m talking about roses, I’m talking about fragrant roses. Whether we are talking about the damask rose, the cabbage rose, the apothecary rose, the beach rose, when it is flowering, if you stick your nose in there—and you actually don’t even have to get very close because the fragrant roses are just incredible, a sort of symphony of odor—when you smell them, you know as long as it is unsprayed and it’s natural unsprayed rose, that rose is going to be amazing medicine. The medicine doesn’t start when you ingest it. The medicine starts when you look at it from afar and it’s gorgeous. Roses, not only did it start blooming here relatively early, but they were the last things looming here in the autumn. I have roses where I go out in the morning and they’ve been frosted. There’s the rose petal with little bits of ice all around it. They just don’t give up.

For me, roses, one, the medicine starts in looking at them. They’re gorgeous. Number two, the medicine is inhaling them whether we are doing rose essential oil or rose otto or attar of rose, which is really the same thing, whether you’re using it in that way or you’re just stopping and smelling the roses. That’s an old saying, “Stop and smell the roses.”  Unfortunately or fortunately, I always stop and smell the roses, but the sad part is probably more than 60% or 70% of the time, they have no odor. If you’re going to plant roses, plant the fragrant ones that are a joy and a blessing just to literally be near. They are incredible. They are so uplifting. There are dozens of amazing clinical studies on using rose essential oil both orally, topically, as aroma therapy and having a myriad of uses. We’ll talk about the flowers. We’ll talk about the rose hips. We’ll talk about the roots. To me, rose is, again, is just exciting.

When I think about roses, one, they had been used in medicine for thousands of years. They are especially important in traditional Persian medicine or traditional Iranian medicine, i.e. Unani-Tibb, of which they are in some ways the same, in some ways slightly different. They’ve been used in that tradition forever. They also have some history of use in Chinese medicine, in Ayurveda, but traditional Persian medicine seems to be where they have really reached their pinnacle.

For me, rose petals, what I like to do with them—I do a lot of things with them—I like to dry them and use them in teas. I also make tinctures out of them. You can make a tincture out of the fresh petals or the dry petals. Fresh tincturing is a little trickier because you have to account for all the water in there. Fresh rose petals have about 92% water, so you have to account for that to make sure your alcohol percentage in the tincture doesn’t drop too low, in which case it won’t preserve it and it can get mold. You can make rose petal glycerites. You can make rose syrups out of the rose petals. There are just so many ways that you can prepare them.

What I will say though is that when you ingest them, the really fragrant roses, it’s a little bit like ingesting perfume. They can be so perfumy that it’s almost like I can’t drink it. What I will say to people when you use them as tea, generally speaking, I wouldn’t do an entire cup of rose petal tea. I think it really mixes well with a lot of other herbs, so you use a little bit of rose petals with everything else to make something that tastes absolutely delicious. It mixes really nicely with your chai herbs, with cinnamon. If you like licorice… so with licorice, fennel or aniseed and it’s just absolutely delightful. It can be drunk as a calming nervine. Rose petals act as a nervine, which means it’s a nerve tonic. It’s not sedating, but it is gently calming.

Again, we talked about inhaling them. It acts as an antidepressant, so does ingesting them. Roses, for me, are a phenomenal antidepressant, especially for people who are depressed and have a broken heart. We hear all the time that it’s not an actual phenomenon, but it is. In fact, there’s even something in medicine called the “broken heart syndrome.” Many of us, our listeners, have seen something like this. You have somebody—I can think of a dear friend of mine, who was a naturopathic physician and an amazing herbalist as well. His name was Bill Mitchell. Bill was vital, brilliant and just one of the most amazing people. Sadly, his son passed away and he died the next day. That’s a broken heart. The reality is that this is real whether somebody has been married 50 years and one partner dies, and the next one dies within a few months even though they were relatively healthy, that’s a broken heart. Roses are astonishing not only as a mood elevator, but for broken hearts.

I find them especially useful for people who are sensitive. These are people who are easily affected by—and I’m not talking about necessarily the type of oversensitivity you might see with somebody who, for instance, get easily affected by too strong sense or the weather. I’m talking about people who emotionally are just very sensitive. They tend to be very empathic. They tend to feel other people’s pain. They tend to feel very deeply when something happens, whether it’s out in the world or within their life. For those people, I think roses are astonishing.

As you mentioned earlier, the Grief Relief formula--that’s a formula that the plants told me. I didn’t invent it. The plants told me about the formula. It’s mimosa or albizia bark along with hawthorn berries and flowers, and organic, fragrant rose petals. I use that formula, again, for broken hearts. I use it for chronic grief. I use it for what I call “stagnant depression.” If you look in the DSM-5, which is the directory of psychiatric diseases, there’s no category called “stagnant depression,” and that’s because I coined the term. It’s not like I made up the depression. Depression is real. It’s just there was no real term for it. 

With stagnant depression is situational depression, which virtually, all of us experience at some time in our lives. Something bad happens and we feel bad. That’s normal, but most people given some time, it could be six months, a year, a year and a half. There’s no, “Six months is up. You should get along with your life.” Most people within a certain amount of time, it’s not like you forget what happened, but time is one of the great healers and most people go back to their life. They manage to find their way back into their life. The pain is still there. It’s just you’re at a greater distance from it and you can function and go on with your life, and hopefully find joy, love and happiness. But some people get stuck and that trauma becomes like the sun. They become like a planet orbiting that event. They don’t have the strength to escape the gravitational pull of that trauma. That is stagnant depression. It can last not just for months, it can last for decades. It can last for a lifetime. Yes, you see there’s overlap with PTSD, for sure, except that this tends to not be focused so much on reinstatement of fear memories as with PTSD as reinstatement of grief and depression. That combination is absolutely wonderful.

I also use another combination for children who are experiencing intense grief and that I use lemon balm with mimosa flowers, which are nice but much milder than the bark and organic rose petals. That is a lovely formula I use especially for children who are grieving, who had some type of horrible trauma in their life. Sadly, around the world today, we see so many children both here and abroad, who are suffering unspeakable traumas that no child should ever have to experience, but sadly, they do. I don’t use these kinds of things, for instance, initially when somebody is experiencing at least normal grief. Because, actually, I believe grief is a normal process. It is a way of pushing us to grow, but at a certain point, most people—and I’m not talking about children now—but most adults feel they want to move on. They want to move beyond the grief, and for me that’s the time when I use that.

In Herbalist & Alchemist, we make a bunch of adaptogen formulas. [Crosstalk] In our Women’s Adapt, we have herbs like shatavari, which a lot of people know of as a wonderful trophorestorative to the female reproductive system and a probable adaptogen. We have red ginseng which a lot of people will say, “Red ginseng? That’s a man’s herb.” First of all, there’s no such thing as men’s herbs or women’s herbs. They work for all genders, but there’s a whole bunch of studies over the last 10 years showing red ginseng has very significant benefits for women, cardiac benefits, antidepressant benefits, benefits enhancing libido, etc. One of the other herbs in there is rose petals even though it is not an adaptogen, again, I just find that it works so well, especially for people who feel deeply. It’s not like one gender or the other, whatever. It feels more deeply than another, but for people who do feel deeply and are easily affected by the difficulties in the world around us, the difficulties in their life, interpersonal challenges, I just find it to be a wonderful thing. Those are just a few of the things about rose petals on an emotional level, but they work beyond that as well. 

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I want to hear about that and I also want to mention the recipes that you have shared with us because you’ve brought up one--a formula that’s part of one which is the “uplift tea blend.” In here, you have rose petals, lemon balm, the mimosa flowers like you mentioned, and then some additional ones like holy basil, orange peel, damiana and even saffron too. What a beautiful tea blend.

David Winston:

That is one I like to give to people who aren’t necessarily depressed, although I will say it works pretty nicely for seasonal affective disorder as well but I don’t want to dwell on it too much. I just think that we are living in a time where we are overwhelmed, whether it be social media, whether it be television, whether it be the last four years of COVID, all those sorts of things. Sometimes life seems too much, so for people who are just feeling the sense of unease, of feeling perhaps slight sense of hopelessness, of mild depression, this kind of tea blend is just a lovely thing that you can drink on a daily basis that just uplifts you. It is profoundly anti-inflammatory. It has a mood-elevating quality. It enhances sleep quality. I don’t know. Who do you know that couldn’t use that?

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I’m already like, “I think I have all these ingredients. I’m going to put that together.”

David Winston:

I have a gallon jar that I keep. I make it usually once a year. I have a gallon jar. I blend it all up and everything. I try to keep things like rose petals and things like that. I try to keep as whole as possible. I separate them from the flower, but I try to keep them as whole as possible because they lose those aromatic qualities relatively quickly unless they’re stored properly. I like to keep them in a dark area that tends to be on the cool side tightly stoppered, and that way the tea is available anytime I want it. If I have company, I make people tea and everybody is, “This is really interesting. I’ve never tasted anything quite like that before.” It’s just a lovely blend.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Yes, it is. For anyone who wants to download the recipe card for this recipe, you can do so above this transcript. We have a beautifully illustrated recipe card for you. Do you want to talk about your other recipe now? Do you want to save it?

David Winston:

Remind me.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

It’s rose petal and holy basil infused honey.

David Winston:

Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes. With this—and I’m just suggesting that you could sweeten the tea blend that we just talked about with this. This kind of adds to it. Some people like to take fresh herbs and put them in honey. The problem with that is, at least theoretically—I’ve never heard of a case of this but I’ve read that it’s, at least, theoretically possible that if you happen to have something like botulism and you put it in honey, because honey is anaerobic, it could actually grow.

Because of that, just to prevent anything like that and because I don’t really want to cook the honey, what I do is I take dried holy basil. I dry it and it’s freshly dried, and freshly dried rose petals, and basically, take a jar. Let’s say the jar is a 16oz jar. Maybe I’ll put this much of the holy basil and rose petals in there. I grind them up and I just cover it with honey, and then I put it on a warming tray. I do that usually for a week to two weeks and everyday I shake it up a little bit. After two weeks, I strain it out. Granted, it takes a little bit of time and you don’t want to use too fine a strainer because it will never go through. Honey is very viscous. What I actually use is a colander. Basically, I put a bowl under the colander. I pour it in. I let it slowly drip down until all the herb that or at least most of it. Anything left is tiny particles. I don’t care about that. I put it back into the original jar and it takes on the odor and chemistry of the roses and the holy basil. It’s delicious and it gives you additional medicinal benefits. Granted, honeys are not going to be as strong as a tincture or even a glycerite, but they still add activity. Again, you get that incredible fragrance and aroma.

Don’t think that when you’re making a cup of tea—now, if you’re making a cup of—let’s say you’re making a cup of nettles tea. You can breathe in the steam, but you’re not going to smell very much. At most, it smells slightly green. When you are making tea, especially something that’s aromatic, yes, it’s nice to put it in a teapot or put a plate on top of the cup so that all those volatile oils don’t wind up all over your house. You actually want to ingest them. But what I’ll do is when I’m done letting it steep, I take the plate off the cup and I just sit there and I inhale the steam. Think of it as primitive aromatherapy. It is absolutely lovely. If you take some of that honey and you stir it in, inhale the steam because you’re going to get all those lovely rose notes. You’re going to get the holy basil notes.

I will say in addition, one other thing. Some years ago, I was teaching in the UK. I’m trying to remember where I was. I was in the Kew Gardens, which I love, by the way. I was up somewhere by Oxford. There was this amazing herb garden that I was teaching in. They had this extensive rose garden. As I was wandering around, literally, from plant to plant smelling each one, I came across one of the most magnificent smelling roses I have ever smelled in my life. The petals were pink and yellow combination. When you smelled it, it smelled like roses with a hint of cinnamon. It was astonishing! I don’t know the name of the breed of roses. If somebody knows, I’d love to know. I want to grow these. Can you imagine doing it with that? It would be astonishing.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

That sounds lovely. Thank you for both of those recipes. Rose petal honey is, hands down, my favorite herbal preparation. I make so much of it. I gift it. I also love holy basil honey. I’ve never combined the two, so I’m doing that this year for sure. 

David Winston:

They work really nicely together. Now, of course, there are different varieties of holy basil. I actually prefer the holy basil. There’s a wild holy basil, which I don’t generally use. I prefer the one—one has reddish leaves and one has green leaves. I actually think the one with green leaves taste a little nicer. I should also just mention to people, a lot of what people think as holy basil in the United States isn’t. A lot of it is African basil, which is being sold as “temperate tulsi.” It’s lovely and it has some activity as a carminative, but unfortunately, there’s no evidence that that has any similarity of activity to holy basil. That will be like saying garden basil is the same as holy basil, which most certainly is not. People need to be aware that if you’ve got a basil in your garden and you live in a temperate zone and it comes back on its own every year, that’s the African basil, the temperate tulsi, not actual rama or vana tulsi.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Thank you for that. Last year, I grew all the varieties. It was very fun to see the differences, taste them, smell them.

David Winston:

They’re really quite different. They really are.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

You had mentioned about rose petals. You are hinting that there was some more that you had to share about rose petals.

David Winston:

There is. In traditional Persian medicine, rose petals are also seen as both a liver and cardiac tonic. In Persian medicine—and one of the cool things—I mean, granted I’m not super fond politically of the government of Iran. The people there I think would like freedom, but one cool thing about Iran probably because of embargoes, is that they are now the world’s center for herbal research. More herbal research is published coming out of Iran than any other country. When I say “herbal research,” I’m talking about stuff that’s relevant to us as herbalists, meaning, they are using teas, tinctures and things like that rather than a lot of the Chinese studies which are using isolated extracts of one chemical from a plant or they’re using herbal extracts as injectables. I’m an herbalist. We don’t do that kind of stuff. It’s really relevant research. There’s all this wonderful research out of Iran showing that rose petals are a mild hepatoprotective herb. They can protect against things like acetaminophen toxicity.

You go back to Ibn Sina. Americans know him as “Avicenna,” but his name is Ibn Sina. He’s talking about using roses for helping with inflammation of the liver with hepatitis, with hepatomegaly which is enlarged liver. The history of using it that way goes way back. He also talks about using it as a cardiac remedy. This is one of the things that I think is really interesting because in Chinese medicine, the heart stores shen. If you’re reading a lot of books, the translation of “shen” will be something like “spirit.” While that’s legitimate, when most Americans hear the word spirit, they’re thinking of something like your soul. That’s not what is meant by spirit. If you looked at a child who is really full of vigor and alive, that’s the spirit of a child. That is shen. Shen is consciousness. Shen is the mind. Somebody who has disturbed shen, that will be depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD behaviors – those are all disturbed shen.

In Chinese medicine, the heart is both the Western physiological heart that is a pump that moves our blood, but it also stores shen. What’s really cool about all of this is in the last 30 years, in the West, we have come to understand that the heart also has endocrine function. Everything the Chinese say about the heart, we now understand that they’re—again, we talk about broken heart syndrome. We know about things like stress-induced hypertension, white coat syndrome where stress affects our blood pressure. Stress can worsen angina. Stress can worsen congestive heart failure. Serious stress can cause heart damage. This idea that the heart and the mind are separate is a bit of a fallacy.

I love roses, especially not only for just this psychological phenomenon of a broken heart, but again, as a tonic to the heart, to the blood vessels, to the capillaries. Hearts are—roses, hearts maybe too—but roses are full of flavonoids and polyphenols which are anti-inflammatory and help inhibit atherosclerosis. That tea that we talked about before with the saffron, the lemon balm and the mimosa flowers also inhibits atherosclerosis. It’s anti-inflammatory. Just drinking something like that on a daily basis can have benefits, far-ranging benefits well beyond just these psychological benefits of roses.

I would also say, in addition to that, it can help heal gastric irritation and loss of intestinal epithelial barrier function, which many of our listeners know of as “leaky gut syndrome.” It actually can help heal the intestinal epithelial barrier. We now know that so much illness is related to a loss of epithelial barrier function in the gut. We go back to our healthy intestinal microbiome, a healthy enteric brain or the gut brain, and epithelial barrier function. When that epithelial barrier is damaged, which can come from liver disease, excessive antibiotic use, gut dysbiosis, COVID, any number of things that can cause that, it allows proteins that are supposed to be excreted to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. We also know that, for instance, the gut strongly affects the mind. Gut inflammation triggers neuroinflammation and gut inflammation increases anxiety. It increases depression. It increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Gut inflammation increases the risk of heart disease. These things are all related and rose petals have a benefit for all of them.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

What an amazing plant, huh?

David Winston:


Rosalee de la Forêt:

And then it smells so pretty too. Humans are just so attracted to them. We just can’t get enough of them and you can see why. They have so many benefits on so many different levels.

David Winston:

It’s true.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

That’s just the petals.

David Winston:

Yes! I’ll just give you a couple more little things about the petals.

Rosalee de la Forêt:


David Winston:

We talked about the petals helping to relieve gastric inflammation and irritation, and that includes gastritis, gastric ulcers, leaky gut. The petals also heal the buccal mucous membranes. A rose petal tea as a mouthwash can help heal things like canker sores, “aphthous stomatitis.” It can help with gum disease. It also has antibacterial activity. Rose petals are interesting in that they have some astringency and a demulcent quality all at the same time. They’re both moistening and drying at the same time. There are not a lot of herbs that do that, but that means they tonify mucous membranes, but at the same time, they don’t dry them out. You can use rose petals as a gargle for sore throats. One of my favorite gargles for sore throats is rose petal and sage. Just common garden sage and rose petals is phenomenal for sore throats. You can use rose petals. You can make a buffered saline eye wash out of dried organic rose petals and use it as an eye wash for conjunctivitis. You can take a fresh rose petal and just moisten it with a little bit of water. Let’s say you have a cut, a scrape or a bug bite. Just stick it on there as long as you don’t have hairy arms like I do. Stick it right on your skin, it’ll dry on your skin and make a bandage.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

All of it.

David Winston:

So, time to talk about rose hips?

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Rose hips! Alright. Thank you, rose petals.

David Winston:

I want to make sure that we give rose hips their due. When it comes to rose hips, some of the species that we talk about before--the apothecary rose, the cabbage rose, the damask rose, those are known for their flowers. Any rose hip that is big enough can be used. You talk about the multiflora rose. They have these tiny little rose hips and if you really wanted to bother, you could gather them, but it’s a lot of work for not much rose hip. The rosa canina, the dog rose, has a rose hip that’s about so big. Hopefully you can see that. The beach rose has the biggest rose hip I have ever seen, the wild beach roses. Those are about the size—I’ve seen them as big as that. They’re pretty large. I prefer to gather rose hips that are from the species that have the large hips. You want to gather them when they are fully ripe, which means they are red. Not orange, but fully red.

Now, one of the misnomers that people have about rose hips is they’re really rich in Vitamin C. Everybody knows that. The only problem is that’s not really true. They do contain some Vitamin C. There’s no doubt about that. I’ll ask a class, I’ll say, “If we had 8 oz. of rose hip powder, you’ve taken and ground them up. You never lost anything by doing this, so all the Vitamin C is still there. If you have 8 oz. of the powdered rose hip, how much Vitamin C do you think is in there?” People go, “A thousand milligrams,” “500 mg.” Fifty. There’s some Vitamin C. It’s true, but 50 mg is not hugely rich amount of Vitamin C. Acerola cherries have more. Camu camu berries have much more.

The thing is that the benefit of rose hips isn’t just because of Vitamin C. It’s because of flavonoids. Rose hips are really rich in a whole range of flavonoids and polyphenols, especially what are called “OPCs” or “oligomeric proanthocyanidins.” OPCs are also known as PCOs, “procyanidin oligomers.” For some reason, in chemistry, almost everything seems to have at least two names. I’m not quite sure why that might be, but it seems to be true. Here again, the beach roses, the dog rose, in Europe, the cinnamon rose, which isn’t the one I was talking about although maybe it’s a cultivar of that one. All have really large rose hips which are the ones I prefer. They’re rich in flavonoids.

Flavonoids--there are two words we tend to use when we talk about flavonoids. Everybody says they are, 1. antioxidant, and, 2. anti-inflammatory. The problem with both of those terms is that neither one of them means what we think they mean. For instance, when we say “antioxidant,” they quench free radicals. To some degree that is correct, but the reality is if antioxidants quench free radicals to the degree that we think they do, they’d actually be in some ways harmful because you need a certain level of these reactive oxygen and nitrogen species to trigger your own natural production of superoxide dismutase and reduced catalase and glutathione in the mitochondria. It turns out that one of the things that these “antioxidants” are doing is they’re actually up-regulating genes called the “antioxidant response element.” When these genes are up-regulated, it causes a reduction in inflammation throughout the entire body. In many ways, they are more antioxidants than they are—excuse me—more anti-inflammatory than they are antioxidant.

But then we have the problem with the word “anti-inflammatory.” There are anti-inflammatories that are pharmaceuticals and there are anti-inflammatories that are herbs, and they don’t do quite the same thing. The assumption is that they work the same way. There’s a reason that herbal anti-inflammatories don’t cause all sorts of problems like so many pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories do, to the point where many of them that they have to be taken off the market because of the damage. We need a certain level of inflammation in our bodies for our bodies to function.  If you totally shut down that process, it becomes problematic. The cool thing about herbal anti-inflammatories is they shut down part of the process, not the whole process so they don’t cause the secondary problems that many pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories do. So, rose hips are—I’ll use air quotes—anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

There are numerous human clinical trials showing rose hips—and this can be taken as a tea. It can be taken as a syrup. They can be taken ground up and powdered and put into capsules—have a systemic anti-inflammatory effect which helps with everything from osteoarthritis. Human studies showing it had basically down-regulated inflammation and pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis, people with back pain. We talk about before the rose petals being useful for helping to inhibit atherosclerosis. Rose hips can do that as well. They have this systemic anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect that basically, what we know is that virtually every disease that we are heir to as we age – hypertension, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, etc., are all inflammatory-mediated disease, inflammation-mediated diseases.

If you take rose hips, for instance, on a daily basis or you take hibiscus on a daily basis or you take blueberries or whatever, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to get these things. What it does mean is you reduce your chance that you’ll get these things. There are some things between genetics and the environment we live in, if you are a smoker or any number of other things unhealthy habits, it certainly increases your risk. Anything that you can do on a daily basis—by the way, you don’t need to do the same one. Today it could be blueberries. Tomorrow it could raspberries. The next day could be rose hips or green tea, spices like rosemary, sage and thyme. The idea is the more you use these things in your diet on a regular basis, it reduces the risk of all of those diseases. Again, it’s not a guarantee. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever get them, but it reduces the risk. If you do get them, it may also reduce the severity of them as well, so we really want to encourage people to consume these things whether it’s rose hips or any of these other things on a regular basis.

Rose hips also, in Chinese medicine, do something else that’s as interesting. They astringe a leaky jing. Now, you know what they say – they don’t mean a thing if you don’t got the jing. In Chinese medicine, jing is the life force. Jing is stored in the kidney. In men, a leaky jing is associated with either premature ejaculation or urinary dribbling that occurs usually with benign prostatic hyperplasia as men age. In women, a leaky jing is associated with frequent urination or having non-specific vaginal discharge. They can’t culture anything. By the way, you have sort of two jing, but also fecal incontinence would be leaky jing. You don’t want to be jing-free. You need your life force, your energy and rose hips are used to astringe a leaky jing, which means they can be used for urinary frequency, urinary dribbling, benign prostatic hyperplasia in men. They just are wonderful. Studies have also shown that regular consumption of rose hips as a tea helps prevent UTIs because one of the things it does is it acidifies the urine. Alkaline urine-- interestingly enough, women tend to have more alkaline urine than men, and vegetarians and vegans have more alkaline urine. An alkaline urine, you’re more likely to get E. coli infections which is the most common cause of UTIs. So simply… everybody knows about cranberry, but the reality is rose hips have a similar effect and basically, acidifying the urine and helping to prevent urinary tract infections.

Rose hips are remarkable. Not everybody loves the sourness of rose hips. Personally, I prefer sour to sweet. When I was a little kid, I used to like eating lemons until my uncle who was my dentist, told me my teeth were going to be destroyed so I stopped doing that, but I’ve always enjoyed. I love hibiscus tea. I like rose hips tea, things like that. If you’re not a huge fan of that sour flavor, it combines with other things really well depending on your flavor profile. For instance, if you had somebody who had chronic UTI, you could mix that, those rose hips, with something like nettle leaf. You can mix that with something like  if there’s urinary irritation, a little bit of marshmallow, something like that, which would reduce that sourness and still be a useful substance for helping to prevent those kinds of problems.

Lastly, I would also mention that rose hips are not strongly astringent because of that sourness and all those fruit acids in the polyphenols. It also is really useful for things like mild diarrhea or people who just have poorly formed stools. It can be very useful there as well. Rose hips are just astonishing.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

They are. They are some of my favorite. Like you said, there are so many different ways to enjoy them. I’ve taken the powder and baked it into baked goods.

David Winston:

How did that work? I’ve never tried that.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

It works really great! I had to experiment with it a bit to get the right proportions. I can send you a recipe of a rose hip spice cake that I came up with. It’s delicious. I know that you don’t like the fresh herbs and honey and I get that. I still do it though and I love fresh rose hips in honey. You have to take the seeds out. It’s quite delicious. I’m with you on those big rose hips too. My local native rose hips are just so tiny that it’s not worth it, but when you find the big plum size ones, it’s so good. 

David Winston:

Let me just add one thing to that. When people are going to do rose hips, because the seeds--there is actually oil in those seeds that is really wonderful moisturizing oil, but you can’t extract it. It’s chemically-extracted. It can’t be extracted by pressing it. We’re not going to go there, but when you take the seeds out inside are these tiny, little hairs, if you’re going to cut them—what I usually do is I cut them in half with a knife and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and little hairs. I’m just going to warn you all: wear gloves, wear a mask and wear goggles because if those little hairs get into your cornea, it will ulcerate. If they get up your nose and in your mouth, it will ulcerate. If they get in your hands, everywhere there’s little hairs get in, you’ll develop sores. It’s not pleasant. I will say that if you buy rose hips where they’ve already de-hulled them and taken the seeds out, it’s a lot easier.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I often talk about that, my lazy herbalist ways. I love those getting them cut like that. Those are so fun to rehydrate. You rehydrate those and you can eat them by the bushel, really. Thank you so much for mentioning about the irritating hairs. That is very important.

David Winston:

I learned the hard way.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

It sounds like you’re speaking from experience.

David Winston:

Let me just finish up by just mentioning that if you do happen to have the floribunda rose, which is a horrible weedy plant, unfortunately, it’s super aggressive. It’s really thorny, tiny, tiny little rose hips. The flowers are tiny. It was originally brought into US. It’s what they call the “living fence” or “living hedge”. Well, it worked, except it takes over, especially in woodlands and fields and choked out everything else. When you take those plants, if you’re weeding them, hold them out by the roots and then cut the roots off, wash them, cut them into pieces and dry them. Rose roots—this is from any rose but I wouldn’t dig up by a rose that I wanted—but these weedy roses, dig them up, use the roots and it basically is a good, moderate-acting astringent. I don’t use astringents a lot, but topically, for a cut or a scrape. As part of a formula for something like diarrhea, short-term use they can be useful. Even that weedy rose, there’s something positive you can get out of it and that would be the root.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Interesting. Thank you so much for sharing so much about rose. I know people have been busily scribbling down notes because that was just so much. I love your love of rose shines through, David. That really comes through. I’m really excited to talk about your next enrollment for your course and I want to hear about it. I have questions already on my brain, but I will let you just begin for people who are like, “This is amazing! I would love to study more with David.” How do they do that? 

David Winston:

My program is called the “David Winston Center for Herbal Studies.” The basic program is a two-year program. It meets weekly, one evening a week for two years. There’s a few weeks off here and there, scattered throughout the two years. This upcoming program will be the 45th and 46th year of the two-year program. We have had thousands of students go through the program. I’d say about half of my students are already medical professionals. We get physicians, veterinarians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, dentists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. The other half of my students are people who have been self-studying herbal medicine on their own usually or maybe they’ve taken multiple classes here or there whether introductory classes.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve started getting people who are really high-level clinical herbalists, who are my colleagues taking my program. I’m like, “This is not designed–but we focus in on things that are not often taught in many other programs.” One of those is something you do as well, and that’s energetics. Understanding energetics, not just from a TCM model or an Ayurvedic model, but from a Western model of how to understand energetics so that you can take herbs and create a formula that is a tailored sort of clothing that fits the person you are treating. This gives you the ability to stop treating diseases and treat people. I guarantee you the results you’re going to get when you treat a specific person is way better than the results you get if you are treating generic depression. That’s what we do. It’s a wonderful program. There are several other teachers including myself.

We have two one-year programs which meet monthly for people who are graduates of the two-year program – the graduate program and the therapeutics program. For people who really want to become clinicians and take it to that next level. This program is designed to be a basic education for somebody who is moving in the direction of becoming a clinical herbalist. If somebody wants to be an herb grower, that’s great, but this is not the program for them. Yes, we talk about—there are classes on medicine making, but the focus isn’t medicine making but we certainly want you to know how to make a tincture, etc. If you’re interested in folklore and things like that, that’s fantastic, but we don’t do a lot of that. This is, really, the focus is clinical herbal medicine, differential diagnosis, energetics and materia medica, materia medica, materia medica.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I love it.

David Winston:

The eclectics, they’re—the allopaths back in the 1800’s used to say the eclectics were materia medica mad. I’m materia medica mad. We teach almost 300 plants in exquisite detail. Some people say, “Why do you need to know so many plants?” To give an example, if you have somebody who comes to you and says they are having a headache and it feels like somebody is stabbing them with an ice pick. As soon as I hear those words, I know what herb that person needs, at least one of them, and it’s called “sweet melilot,” melilotus albus or melilotus officinalis. The Eclectics’ specific indications are pain that is sharp and stabbing and I’d combine that probably with some St. John’s wort, maybe some ligusticum, “chuanxiong,” the Chinese herb. If the pain is peripheral, hands and feet, prickly ash. The idea is you get to know these plants on a level that goes beyond what’s in most books and it helps you to really start looking at how to treat the person.

You can have 10 people diagnosed with depression. They’re not 10 depressions. They are 10 unique people. There is GI-based depression, hepatic depression, blood sugar induced, dysregulation induced depression, old age depression, inflammation induced depression, cardiac depression, thyroid induced depression, and the list keeps going on. If you just try to treat it as a single entity, which unfortunately, orthodox medicine tends to do and you give somebody an SRRI or an SNRI, when you look at the clinical studies, what percentage of people actually respond to this medicines? The answer is about 40%, 33% respond to placebo so that means those medications are about 7% more effective than placebo, although if you add in some of the unpublished studies that a guy got a hold of a few years ago, they actually don’t perform all that much better than placebo.

So, if somebody is taking this medicine and it works for them, that’s fantastic. Keep doing it. But if you’re one of those people that’s taking those medications and it didn’t work for you, part of the problem might be is that they don’t touch what’s going on for you. If you have somebody with a thyroid induced depression or a cardiac induced depression or GI induced depression, unless you deal with that underlying issue which is leaky gut or GI inflammation or hypothyroidism or a heart damage, your depression is not actually going to get better. That’s our focus.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

It sounds so exciting. Do people have to move to New Jersey in order to-

David Winston:

No. We have classes online and so we have students all over the world. As I said, this will be the 45th and 46th year. For the first 20 years, it was in person. I had people driving for a five-hour class. I had people driving to New Jersey because I was in New Jersey then. I’m in Pennsylvania now. I had people driving from West Virginia, Virginia-Massachusetts. We’re talking four to six-hour drives to take a five-hour class. I thought they were crazy, but they thought it was worth it. Now, it’s online. There are a few live classes that we do, mostly herb walks and things like that, but—and if somebody wants to come for those, they’re welcome to do so—but they’re also recorded. The beauty of it is that all of it is recorded. Let’s say you’re in your second year and you think, “You know what? I still don’t feel like I really got that TCM module,” you can go back and watch it. It really is quite wonderful. We have quarterly meet and greets where students come on and we just talk. It’s much more social. It’s just a wonderful community. We try to match these students up, so if there are other people in their area–we had one group. They were in Chicago. They are all in Chicago and they would get together every week and do class together, their own study group and everything. It’s just wonderful. It’s this amazing community of people.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I love that, David. I think clinical training is just so important. I did my own clinical training and I was a clinician for a while. Even though I’m not anymore, I’m so grateful for it because, like you said, you’re going to have so many different interests in herbalism. There’s something about the clinical herbalism where it’s the rubber meets the road. It’s no longer theoretical. It’s not like, “Lemon balm is good for digestion.” You really learn how to work with plants, how to formulate them, how to dose them, how to work with people, how to figure out when things go wrong, all of that. It just takes that theoretical into super practical where you really get to work with the plants and see how amazing they are.

David Winston:

It’s true.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

We will put all of the information about how to sign up for the program in the show notes. What is the time frame for this? I know you’re interviewing. You’re accepting applications and then you’ll enroll. What’s the time frame?

David Winston:

I started interviewing two weeks ago. I’ll be interviewing probably through August. We only take a certain number of students. It’s funny people say to me, “What are you looking for in a student?” What I tell people is there are four things that I really think are important to me:

1. That the person is passionate about herbs, herbal medicine and/or healthcare. That’s #1;

2. I look for people who understand the meaning of the word commitment, because it’s a two-year commitment and if somebody takes a seat, once we start we can’t replace them. I guarantee there were several people who wanted to be in the class who might not have gotten in;

3. I look for people who have a good background. What does that mean? We have all sorts of students. I have medical doctors who know way more about medicine that I’ll ever know, but know very little about herbal medicine? We have other people, as I said before, we have people who are world-class herbalists taking this class who are phenomenal. You know the reality is? I don’t care how much you know. This is for everybody, myself included: No matter how much you know, it is a fraction of what there is to know. I am so grateful. I learn from my students all the time. Hopefully, they’re learning more from me but sometimes I’m not sure about that;

4. The fourth thing I’m looking for is people who are open minded. The reason for that is if you already decided what is true and what you believe, there’s not a lot of room for new things. I want people who are willing to consider—I always tell my students, “Listen, keep an open mind. Consider that everything you know is subject to change. It doesn’t mean it will. Some things you’ll just get more sure of as you go along because you’ll just see it over and over again.”

Other things, sometimes we’ve been taught something—I remember I redid my paper on migraines about five years ago. I redo all my classes and papers about every two years. About five or six years ago, when I was redoing the class, of course, in order to redo it, you have to look what’s the new research. The new research was suggesting that the model that I had been taught and every medical doctor had been taught, and probably every herbalist had been taught for decades of how migraines occur was wrong. I could have sat there and said, “No, no, no. This is right,” but what it did is allow me to open my mind and say, “This is totally different than what I was taught.” What we find out is that it explained why sometimes the treatment protocols didn’t work, and now that we are using this new model, I see that the results that we get are superior than what we used to get before. So, keeping an open mind. There are no sacred cows. Yes, some people believe in this or believe in that. Fine. I don’t argue with success, but keep an open mind because that means you’re still open to the possibility of learning. Hopefully, each and every one of us will be learning until our last breath.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

I love all of those. The last one just seems like a great thing for us all to aspire to. We’re going to loop all the information on how to get more information. The sign up in the show notes will make it easy for you to find there. David, you’ve been so generous with your time. I’m so appreciative. Before you go, I have one last question for you and that question is, “How do herbs instill hope in you?”

David Winston:

As I alluded to earlier, the world we’re living in right now—I’m old enough to remember. I’m sure we have listeners who don’t remember this. When I was a little kid, we used to have nuclear bomb drills in school. We used to have to go under our desks and tuck our head between our legs, like that was going to protect us if somebody dropped a nuclear bomb. It was pretty stressful. We were little kids. What do we know? But it was definitely scary. We’re not doing that anymore, but if we look around the world we live in, it is a pretty challenging place. There’s a lot going on whether we are talking about the environment, whether we are talking about politics, whether we are talking about social justice, whether we are talking about poverty, the list of war, the list of the injustices, the traumas and the difficulties, is long. I can see and I’ve talked to a lot of people, especially younger people who feel in a sense like, “I don’t want to have kids. I don’t want to bring children into the world that is so difficult, where things seem so dire.”

For me, this time of year I find it interesting because it kind of goes along with Easter. I’m not Christian, but that whole Easter aspect of renewal. This time of year, for me, as an herbalist, is about renewal. Two or three weeks ago, the helleborus started blooming, then the crocuses started blooming. Now, my magnolias are blooming. The forsythias are blooming. The corn speedwell is blooming. The world is coming alive again. Our mother, the Earth, is coming alive again after a long sleep.

I think of all these plants and trees as my friends. I have these incredible relationships with them that I’ve had for 50+ years. For me, it’s a joyous time but it is also an uplifting time. It’s a time when I look at these plants and I think they haven’t given up. They’re still going to grow. They’re still going to bloom. They’re still bringing beauty into the world. They are still creating healing medicines for us, for the animals. They are still taking carbon dioxide and creating oxygen for us to breathe. I use them as a model.

There is a keynote talk that I’ve done several times that I call “lessons the plants have taught me.” One of the things that the plants have taught me is a sense of perseverance, tenacity, hope, renewal and these are all things that I learn from different sources, but certainly from the plants themselves because they are wonderful teachers. They help to show us there is a way to be in the world. The beauty of it is, is that with all the challenges, I actually think that if we embrace herbal medicine, first off, the reality is orthodox medicine in the West is absolutely unsustainable. We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world yet when it comes to life expectancy, infant mortality and all sorts of other rankings, we are far below almost every other developed country. In many cases, countries that are considered undeveloped have better statistics than we do.

Number one, I think herbal medicine, if we truly embrace it we’re not replacing if you need an appendectomy or if you need brain surgery. We can’t do that. The reality is, if somebody has a UTI, don’t come in antibiotic. Use herbs first. Not only is there a much less impact environmentally by using herbs, especially if they are organically grown than using a pharmaceutical, which in many cases requires tremendous amounts of technology, energy, petrochemicals and things like that, but I think it could help create a sustainable practice of medicine not only here in the US but around the world, where we use the best of both. I also think that healthier people, people who are healthy not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, hopefully will make better decisions.

If you develop a relationship with these plants and realize how special they are, and that we are so dependent on them—they’re not, for the most part, very dependent on us except maybe domesticated corn—but we are dependent upon them. If we develop our appreciation for these plants and recognize how sacred they are, how special they are, how giving they are of their healing gifts, then maybe we’ll start to not only respect them, but respect this planet that they grow on and need to survive, that ultimately, we need to survive. I still have hope that we can create a better world for us all.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Thank you so much, David. It’s been truly an honor to have you back. You can come back anytime. I absolutely love this. I’m just deeply appreciative and thank you for those beautiful words too.

David Winston:

You’re so welcome, Rosalee. It is such a pleasure. It’s true. I do know another herb or two.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Okay, you heard it here, everybody. He’s coming back. Thanks again, David.

David Winston:

Thank you. It’s a real pleasure.

Rosalee de la Forêt:

Thanks for being here. Don’t forget to download your beautifully illustrated recipe card above this transcript. Also sign up for my weekly newsletter, which is the best way to stay in touch with me, below.

You can learn more about David’s two-year herbal program here and use the code 1324RF when you apply.

You can also purchase herbal supplements from Herbalist & Alchemist at

If you’d like more herbal episodes to come your way, then one of the best ways to support this podcast is by subscribing on YouTube or your favorite podcast app. I also love to see your comments whether they’re on the YouTube Channel, at the bottom of this page or if you simply hit “Reply” to my Wednesday email. I read every comment that comes in and I share especially nice ones with our guests. I look forward to hearing your herbal thoughts on this interview and rose.

I deeply believe that this world needs more herbalists and plant-centered folks and I’m so glad that you’re here as part of this herbal community.

Also, a big round of thanks to the people all over the world who make this podcast happen week to week. Nicole Paull is the Project Manager who oversees the whole operation from guest outreach, to writing show notes, to actually uploading each episode and so many other things I don’t even know. She really holds this whole thing together.

Francesca is our fabulous video and audio editor. She not only makes listening more pleasant. She also adds beauty to the YouTube videos with plant images and video overlays. Tatiana Rusakova is the botanical illustrator who creates gorgeous plant and recipe illustrations for us. I love them. I know that you do too. Kristy edits the recipe cards and then Jenny creates them as well as the thumbnail images for YouTube. Michele is the tech wizard behind the scenes and Karin is our Student Services Coordinator and Customer Support. For those of you who like to read along, Jennifer is who creates the transcripts each week. Xavier, my handsome French husband, is the cameraman and website IT guy. It takes an herbal village to make it all happen including you.

Okay, you’ve lasted to the very end of the show which means you get a gold star and this herbal tidbit:

In interviewing David this time and last time, I realize I’ve really studied a lot with him over the years but mainly through one off classes, like through conferences, that sort of thing. I really love the way he teaches. It’s like this fire hose of important knowledge that’s just firmly rooted in his love of the plants. As I mentioned in this episode, I’ve already done many years of clinical training, both a four-year school and then post-training with a mentor. I loved it all and even still, now, I’m seriously considering David’s program as well. I haven’t made a firm decision yet. I’m making no promises, but it’s been really fun to think about. I’m really excited about the idea of it. If you’re feeling called to be a clinical herbalist or you really want in-depth knowledge about how to work with plants and people, I know David’s course will be amazing. Who knows? I might see you there. Again, information about the course can be found here and use the code 1324RF when you apply.

Have a beautiful day.

Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Healand co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.  

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