Health is the proper relationship between the microcosm, which is man, and the macrocosm, which is the Universe. Disease is a disruption of this relationship."
— Dr. Yeshe Donden
Blue Dragon Apothecary and Clinic is part of a growing grass-roots health care movement in the United States that wants to re-establish the use of organic, locally-grown herbal medicines to treat chronic and acute illnesses.
Drawing from ancient Asian healing practices and the Western scientific understandings of physiology and biochemistry, we develop personalized holistic healing plans for our patients. Treatment includes patient-specific advice regarding diet, types of exercise, therapeutic emotional therapies and custom-formulated herbal remedies based on in-depth intake evaluations.
Our goal is to build successful bridges between biomedicine and alternative medicine in the Pioneer Valley. The staff at Blue Dragon Apothecary and Clinic is trained in basic biomedical terminology and drug-herb interaction. We have an on-staff RN available for consultation on complex illnesses. We are comfortable with communicating to doctors and health care providers from conventional medical backgrounds. We seek to create a health care community in the Pioneer Valley based on community-care and the proper professional interaction between disparate health care backgrounds.
To Create a Model for Sustainable Medicine
During her time working in the Himalayas of Northern India, Owner Mary Friedman Ryan saw firsthand the environmental (as well as the economic and cultural) damage caused by the encroaching pharmaceutical industry. She believes that healing the relationship between humans and their environment is an integral part of healing. Here at Blue Dragon, we work with local and domestic farmers growing herbs that establish diverse ecological flora, benefitting the earth. Our remedies are non-toxic and take into consideration the carbon footprint of our healing.
To Foster Patient Education
Blue Dragon is a teaching clinic that aims to have patients that never come back. Treatment involves knowing yourself and what works for your constitutional type. We also teach you about the herbs we prescribe, why we prescribe them and what they treat. Eventually, our goal is that each person who comes to our apothecary develops a small apothecary at home, to treat themselves and their loved ones. Throughout the year we offer courses in winter immunity, comfort and sleep remedies, the herbs for colds and flu, digestive health and emergency home medicine.
To Promote Healthy Lifestyles
At Blue Dragon, we've learned that the key to health is lifestyle. Lifestyle is a choice and we have the power to control our thoughts and actions. The thoughts we think are imprinted in our bodies. The air we breathe and the amount of exercise we do, affects our organs, and even our mental health. We help our clients to take their health into their own hands, through right diet, exercise, thought and attitude. Treatment involves understanding one's constitution, what foods suit it, and how to build an everyday life experience that encourages health.
Consultation by Appointment
Imagine this...You go home after your Blue Dragon consultation with a bag of organic dried plants, flowers and roots, all designed to fit your exact constitution and symptoms. At home, you put the kettle on. You take out a few tablespoons of, say, forsythia, gardenia and hibiscus flowers, mixed with plantain, dandelion and mint. You take these beautiful plants and place them in your small zen teapot. You pour boiling water over them, and let them steep. You then strain them into a cup and mix with honey. You've helped yourself. You've re-established your relationship with the earth and its plant medicines. It is good for you and good for the earth.
Low-Income Walk-In Consultation
On Fridays, Blue Dragon opens its doors to people who cannot afford the time to make an appointment and often are only free on weekends. Jade Alicandro offers walk-in consultations, educating people in the herbs they need to overcome acute and chronic illnesses. The cost is $25.00.
Community Support Groups
Among our favorite pastimes is putting together groups of patients with similar challenges: cancer support, anxiety support, mental health support and death and dying support. When people gather together with a common aim to address their challenges, community is built and social support ensues. Our support groups run on an as-needed basis.
Efficacy research has shown that the root of the hydrangea plant, used for centuries in Chinese medicine, reduces autoimmune disease pathology (Science 2009). Mary Friedman Ryan specializes in the use of Chinese herbal medicine to address autoimmune disease holistically, with no side effects. She mentors with Michael Tierra, OMD, Lic Ac, in California, who for over thirty years has practiced herbal medicine and has brought many autoimmune patients to health.
Mental Health Care
Mary Friedman Ryan served on the World Health Organization task force for Asian Medicine and Psychiatry, researching the efficacy of Chinese and Tibetan herbal medicine for the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. Mental health care treatment at Blue Dragon focuses on teaching clients to maintain the health of their body through the use of herbs, to practice mindfulness meditation and to learn valuable lifestyle management skills.
Mary Friedman Ryan apprenticed with the personal physician to the Dalai Lama during her PhD at Oxford University and was struck by the efficacy of Asian medicine for cancer care. She now brings to the Valley an alternative way to manage the diagnosis. Treatment focuses on the use of herbs to treat the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, dietary advice and comforting the fears associated with a cancer diagnosis. Patients are empowered in self-care and family members are educated in management of side effects and pain.
"Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides."
— Philosopher Lao Tzu
We can develop specialized care plans for patients transitioning to the end-of-life. Treatments can help to allay fears, foster peace and mindfulness, and can aid in managing pain. Mary Friedman Ryan has volunteered for hospice care throughout her career and has developed a way to train family members in care for the dying from the perspective of Tibetan Buddhist medicine. During her time in Tibet, she learned methods of herbal care for the dying and also Tibetan Buddhist meditative practices that help to ease pain and anxiety as end-of-life approaches.
In addition, she trained in the use of essential oils to ease anxiety and bring peace to anxious loved ones facing the loss of their own lives. Palliative treatment can bring inspiration and joy during the passage of a loved one to the other side.
Mary Friedman Ryan MSc, PhD, Dip. CHM
Mary Friedman Ryan graduated from Oxford University with a Masters in Human Biology and a PhD in medical anthropology. She is board certified in Chinese herbal medicine and trained in acupuncture and Asian medicine.
During her PhD, Mary Ryan apprenticed in Chinese and Tibetan herbal medicine, with various doctors, throughout the Himalayas. She became licensed in Europe to practice acupuncture and Chinese medicine in 1994. Mary has collaborated with Dr. Dadhon Jamling, personal physician to the Dalai Lama, on several efficacy research projects, treatment protocols and also a book on healing anxiety with Tibetan medicine.
She supplements her practice by collaborating with psychiatrists, medical doctors and psychologists. Her scientific background facilitates easy communication with clients' physicians. Through advanced seminars, Mary has specialized training in mental health, cancer care, death and dying, and pediatrics. She also loves to work with teens who need help with feelings of sadness, loss, depression and anxiety.
Cassidy Schlager is madly in love with plants of all kinds, although she is especially partial to the wild, unruly weeds that push up through cracks in the concrete. She has studied herbal medicine for the past nine years, and has completed courses at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine in Ithaca, New York and the Mountain Spirit School of Herbalism in Asheville, North Carolina.
Her passion for crafting plant medicines takes her from wildharvesting adventures in fields and forests to uninhibited herbal experimentation in the kitchen. These days, she is likely to be found poring over fermentation manuals, concocting medicinal tonics, or brewing up a batch of herbal beer.
Jade Alicandro Mace
Jade Alicandro is a Community Herbalist living in the hills of Western Massachusetts. She believes herbal medicine truly is the "people's medicine" and that this knowlege belongs to everyone. In her herbal practice, she focuses on self and community empowerment, local plants, simple and easy remedies, and the sharing and spreading of herbal knowledge. She also teaches classes and leads herbwalks throughout the Pioneer Valley.
Take exit 26 off I-91 North toward Greenfield Center. At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto Massachusetts 2A East. Turn right onto Crescent Street and continue onto Highland Avenue. Blue Dragon will be on your left.
Blue Dragon Apothecary and Clinic
19 Highland Avenue, Greenfield, MA 01301
413.773.3730 (call for an appointment)