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An Interview with herbalist Karen Effenberger

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karen-effenbergerI developed the ChopSaver formula through personal research and a lot of trial and error. I also consulted with a friend who happens to know a lot about the power of herbs. Herbalist Karen Effenberger (www.kareneffenberger.com) has a Masters in Social Work and has studied with several master herbalists and healers over the past 22 years.

ChopSaver contains six herbs known for their ability to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and reduce pain. Recently, I asked Karen her some questions about herbs and how they are used.

DG – Let’s begin with the basic question…What is an herb (as opposed to something that is just a plant, flower or weed) and what is an herbalist?

Karen – Herbs are plants with leaves, seeds or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine or perfume. An herbalist is a person who practices healing with the use of herbs.

DG – How did you become interested in this profession?

Karen – As a teenager, I studied vitamins and minerals because I had aches and pains that the doctors could not explain. Taking supplements as well as changing my diet made a big difference in how I felt. As an adult, I was referred to an herbalist to continue to improve my health. At the time, I did not know much about herbs. Herbs have vitamins, minerals and enzymes in them, so for medicinal reasons, it is easier for the body to utilize and absorb the herb rather than just a single mineral or vitamin. My health improved and I started studying with several master herbalists. Initially, this study was for my benefit and interest, but it soon led to helping others heal with the use of herbs.

DG – What can herbs be safely used for?*

Karen – Herbs have been used by all cultures for 1,000’s of years. Herbs are listed in the bible for their healing properties. I believe herbs can be used to improve all body systems including digestion, elimination, immune, nervous, muscular/structural, respiratory and circulatory systems. Herbs are food and when you give the body the food it needs, it can heal itself.

DG – Have you seen an increase in either consumer growth or consumer awareness of the herbal industry?

Karen – The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world’s population or 4 billion people use herbal medicines for some of their health care. Thirty percent of the US population uses herbal remedies each year. In the past 10 years, the use of herbal supplements has grown over 380%.

DG – What education is needed for an herbalist and do you need to be certified?

Karen – When looking for an herbalist, make sure they are competent and have been trained or certified. There are lots of certification and training courses available today. Recommendations by peers or clients can be helpful to find the right herbalist for you.

DG – Do you have a favorite “go-to” herb for its therapeutic value?

Karen – I don’t have a favorite herb. I chose herbs depending on the physical ailment.

DG – We know many pharmaceuticals trace their origins to herbal remedies. What would you say to someone who doubts their effectiveness? 

Karen – Herbs work and are most effective if you are taking the correct one for your body and the correct dosage. There are numerous herbs that can help each physical condition. If you try one and it doesn’t work, then try another. Remember that herbs are dried and put in a capsule and you will probably need more than one capsule for most conditions. Herbs do not have the same potency as medicines. Muscle testing is a method of testing that I use to determine the correct herb for the individual and the correct dosage. I have found it to be very accurate. Over the years, many of my clients have told me they notice a difference as soon as they take the herbs I recommend. Many of these same clients were taking other supplements without seeing any differences in their health. Taking the right herb does make a difference.

DG – Thanks Karen for the great insight!

(* Always consult with a medical specialist or certified practitioner before taking any supplement or pill.)