Teachers of the 'Herbal' Earth

Because mentoring via apprenticeship is the foundations of herbalism and its various paths of study I wanted to know, who are my teachers?

These teachers aren't a way to the knowledge, or, even to the understanding. I can figure out the basics. 

When I go to study with my mentor(s), my teacher(s), I'm after their wisdom - and right now that means seeing how they transfer knowledge into a vision.

Vision: Affordable, Accessible Healthcare

  • Spending 2 days learning from 7Song in Gainesville, FL was enough to understand that making true impact using the verity of plants rather than their mysticism and mystery is what this great teacher is all about. He explains/says important knowledge factors 3 different ways in his lectures and includes the etymologies of the scientific names that he absolutely also includes. When trying to learn, these teaching tools are supremely helpful and absolutely appreciated.
  •  Self professed cynical, critical and clinical teaching. His specialty is herbal first aid, especially at festivals, but his main work is in free clinics. His school is a tool to fund efforts at the Ithaca Free Clinic where he is the director of complementary and alternative
    medicine. That means low-cost, high-impact treatment paradigms created by a network of healers from different traditions (conventional and alternative medicine) for real people.
  • From extensive handouts on his school's website (The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine) to Free Skool Class Creation (check out Making Herbal Medicines for Individual Constitutions) his insistence that the knowledge he's distilled be free and accessible is incredible. His no-bullshit practical nature strikes my perfect balance of subversive incorporation - and not in a way that attracts the festival pipedreamers - though that exists too.

  • Says himself that he cancels out Matt Wood with an entirely different set of principls. hmmm.

  • He loves homemade chocolate pudding and black tea with lots of half and half. 
There I am with the great Medical Plantist 7Song (Gainesville, FL 2/6/13)

Dr. Jill Stansbury, ND
  • Phew, I'm psyched to see Dr. Jill Stansbury at upcoming Medicines of the Earth. In fact, this short 10-minute video where she throws down about Botanical Immune Modulators and Adaptogens might just have made me click that :BUY: button for that conference. It's awesome how a few minutes with someone are enough to make you want to spend TONS of time with them. I'm a love at first sight kinda gal. and I love how this one spends time researching and doing in the real world rather than on  her website
  •  She is one of the people that you will have access to as part of medicinecrow.com -AND- Chair of the Botanical Medicine Department of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR.  I wonder if she would hand me her syllabi in exchange for a hug...
  • Dr. Jill has cut down on her teaching hours to explore medicines in Peru. Here she is, holding a Peruvian remedy...

Kiva Rose 

Alan Muskat
--> Vision:  Public Wild Foods Education Programs
A huge part of herbalism is knowing how to forage in an ecologically sound way. Where to go, what to look for, what to look out for. When to pick, when NOT to pick - how to step lightly and how to educate others about it too. 

Another huge part of herbalism is this: my boy Hippocrates is reputed to have said/wrote way wayyyy back in the Age of Pericles that your food is your medicine, your medicine is your food.

Alan Muskat's Public Wild Foods Education Programs including No Taste Like Home and Afikomen allow aspiring plant/herb-whatever-ists to put their money where their mouth is. You better read Alan Muskat's biography because you're in for a real pun-filled treat of all treats. 

And that, is, by investing in the fruits of the earth. Knowledge, not ownership. Alan's programs are based in Asheville, NC. The goal of Afikomen is to teach every child in the United States how to safely harvest the ten most common local wild foods by 2030. WHAT A VISION. 

Stephen Harrod Buhner
They say he is an Earth poet and the award-winning author of fifteen books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine. His medicine blessing came from a father practicing in rural Indiana since 1911. With links to Michael Moore, Rosemary Gladstar and Susan Weed on Stephen's website we see that he is, indeed, a vital cog in the herbal unfolding, with a literary bent. Oh to be in the matrix when I could download all his writings into my brain. 

Dr. Michael Tierra, O.M.D.
Vision: Global Approach via Uniting Constitutional Worldviews
Dr. Michael Tierra runs East West School of Planetary Herbology with wife Lesley. Michael at one time co-taught a class with Michael Moore about the integration of Chinese and Ayurvedic constitutional worldviews incorporating western physiology. This seems to be his forte, a self-described 'global' approach.
  • Originally a classical musician/composer in Los Angeles
  • Uses word "HERBOLOGY" rather than "HERBALISM" or "MEDICAL BOTANY" 
  • The subheadings on his school's website are SO on point with where my mind is at. As far as advertising goes, I am the target market for those quick concepts like, for example: 
    • "There is no shortcut to mastery" 
    • "Learn from the best. Become the best" 
  • "Advocates a diet of 40-60% whole grains, 20-30% vegetables, 10% legumes, 5% sea vegetables and 10% pleasure foods, such as dairy products. Whole grains are the key to health and survival, and macrobiotics is an excellent system to study and explore." (http://bit.ly/doX9nn)

Jim McDonald
    • A self-taught Michigan herbalist who says that "a plant’s scent is its language. Its color communicates. In its flavor it speaks to us; not in our language, but in its." (Blessed Bitters)
    • Like Ed Smith, his personal website is a bit rough (to my advertising-trained eye) yet contains wellsprings of information. 
    • Rosemary Gladstar said of Jim is "a marvelous teacher, very insightful, brilliant, deep and in tune with the plants from the heart." (quote from his website, resume section)   
    • His Master Herbal Article Index just made me almost poop my pants I am so excited! Good thing I decided to self-study for awhile.

Herbalist Jim McDonald

Michael Pilarski 
This man founded "Friends of the Trees". He is a farmer, educator and author who has devoted his life to studying and teaching how people can live sustainably on this Earth. He has extensive experience in organic farming, seed collecting, wildcrafting medicinal herbs, plant propagation, horticulture, teaching, and international networking. Michael has personally worked with over 1,000 species of plants. He founded Friends of the Trees Society in 1978 and has authored many books on forestry, agriculture, agroforestry and ethnobotany. Michael has been involved in the permaculture movement since 1981 as a writer, teacher and networker. He has taught over 20 full Permaculture Design Courses in the USA and abroad.

Dr. James (Jim) Duke
There's Dr. Duke with his feet in Urtica dioica (Stinging Nettles)
And there's his head in the mullein

Paul Bergner

Mark Blumenthal
  • Founded the American Botanical Council (ABC; Austin, TX) in 1983 
  • Also founded HerbalGram.

Susun Weed
  • Green Blessings, you have now discovered the founding mother of the Wise Woman tradition. Absolute opposite of the teacher above (though he might self-identify opposing forces with Matt Wood). Anyway, Ms. Weed is all about radiating the goddess. Here's Susun Weed's online herbal mentorship options:
  • I am sure she is great, but in the beginnings of an herbal study, her website and available (free) information is not quite as accessible as needed by a busy little worker bee like myself. Susun is more like for when you've reached queen bee status. 
  • That being said, it's nice to treat myself to a little queen status as a worker...Using Susun's YouTube channel, Herbal Healing Wise Woman Way, discover the lovely resonance of her deep voice as she'll tell you many tales, like Aldimoor, the wise woman who lives in the elder tree, who you must talk to about wanting to use her medicine to honor THAT the tradition of harvesting the elder, be it flower or berry. You can also subscribe to Susun Weed's Brief Herbal ezine with the first introductory (and FREE) level of membership. 


David Winston, RH
  • Maintains what seems to be the most thorough clinical herbalism training (the stuff that comes after initial 101-type classes and trainings) at David Winston's Center for Herbal Studies. The pre-requisite is college-level anatomy and physiology. [ps does online training at <> count?]The Center offers a 2-year program focusing on clinically useful medical applications of herbs from a wide base spaning all major world traditions (Native American, Ayurvedic, European, TCM -Traditional Chinese Medicine)
  • p.s. Susan Marynowski (Casa Ma, Gainesville FL, Feb. '13 recommends D.Winston, 7Song or Kiva Rose) and comes out of the Rosemary Gladstar/Susun Weed lineage - which probably even includes Ann Wigmore -as my UNDERSTANDING of natural self-health includes, absolutely, all the foods we eat as well as the herbs we take

Rosemary Gladstar
  • The Bono of her craft and a doyen of American herbalism, Rosemary is the Founder of United Plant Savers (1994) and the California School of Herbal Studies (1978) where she taught for many years alongside Christopher Hobbs. You can't go into studying herbs for 14 minutes without seeing her name. Also, you can't go to ANYTHING herbal without brushing elbows with one of her lineage. 
  • Now, she runs Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center & UpS Botanical Sanctuary in Barre, VT. 500 acres protected by this woman's vision. ALSO, she co-founded Traditional Medicinals tea company (now David Hoffman is the only one I recognize on the team). Something about that website, and its disconnect from her, makes me think it was bought out...Because Rosemary, you are the Deepak Chopra of the herbal world and I thank you for the force that you are.

Dr. Tieranora Low Dog
  • She publishes a badass resource section on her website
  • Works with Dr. Andrew Weil in Arizona

Christopher Hobbs
Holy Badass herbal prescriber database (which we know is to be used for education and NOT to jump from symptom to herb...cuz if u do that u just dumm). Christopher Hobbs taught with Rosemary Gladstar in the early days of the California School of Herbal Studies. He definitely comes off with a scholarly bent. Check out his History of Western Herbalism. You'll have to find it on the homepage because beware, the website could use a UI facelift and there is no direct URL for this great resource.

Teresa Boardwine 
    • Founded Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine & Apothecary in 1994 "to educate and empower individuals to heal themselves using herbal medicine". That school, by the way, is unlisted in the American Herbalist Guild's list of schools that I mentioned earlier in the post about my research into herbalism school. She did a field trip to Dr. James Duke's Green Farmacy Garden and that's where I got my info from that. The online materials from her school's blog and Facebook are pretty awesome. They'll keep you busy for awhile. 

David Crow
  • Whose book "In Search of the Medicine Buddha" came highly recommended. He does his good work under the umbrella
--> "Floracopeia" and MedicineCrow.org - a grassroots healthcare network. His website says that through writing, teaching, and activism, David Crow is promoting the creation of a grassroots healthcare system based on community gardens.AHHHHHHHHHH ok. That's my jam. 
  • In a symposium with the Dalai llama, David Crow says, "If we're going to have medicine in the future we have to start replanting gardens of medicine everywhere." (MedicineCrow.org Intro Video). By healthcare, in that very same video, he says that he means plant-based, non-toxic, locally available, cost-effective healthcare". As a member, he says that MedicineCrow puts the power of botanical intelligence at your fingertips. For $108/year or $10/month (each option includes 14 days for just $1) you get a bunch of stuff. HMMMMM. His vision is revival of folk medicine and that's a strong mission that can't be ignored. 
  • Though no on-site classes are offered, there is online teaching materials. I feel that the teachers he incorporates in MedicineCrow.org have a very spiritual bent - which is NOT wrong and I am not condemning that in anyway. However, my vision is a non-argumentative facts-is-facts teaching. If my patients want more spirituality they can seek it in their own separate ways. I want things that WORK without the clutter of belief, though I have ample amounts of belief and love in my heart...That's not the focus here. Those tidbits are sidenotes to be shared secretly to those that want it.

Dr. John R. Christopher

  • They say he was responsible for the herbal renaissance of the 1960's. Dr. John R. Christopher's website will tell you that this great herbalist's intention was (and is) "for everyone to have the knowledge to properly care for their own body." One of his goals was (and is) to have an Herbalist in every home, and a Master Herbalist in every community".

  • Peter Brodhead will tell you that his work was fundamental in bringing folk herbalism into modern usage, but also that Dr. John LOVED cayenne (one time in 1979 he was running late on a flight taking him to the first lecture hosted at Brighter Day in Savannah, GA. Like anyone that's been in an airport or an airplane for too long, exhaustion was overwhelming. What did Dr. Christopher do? He put a heaping teaspoon of cayenne in half a glass of water, chugged it, and gave one of the most informative and animated lectures ever witnessed by one of my great influences (Peter). 
  • His training program, The School of Natural Healing, was established in 1953. The curriculum focuses on: 
    • Preventative Nutrition
    • Eradicating the Cause of Disease
    • Healing the Body through Natural Methods
    • Education
  • If you want to find a collection of Dr. Christopher's writings (as well as HIS trusted resources) go to christopherpublications.com. Of particular interest in your pursuit of knowing and learning more about this herbalist is the book "An Herbal Legacy of Courage", a biography by Dr. Christopher's son, David W. Christopher. [sidenote, hella legacy here a la the relational revelations of David > Max Simon]
  • Like fan sites? Me too. Here's http://www.dr-christopher.info/ (where I snagged this pic)

The following teachers leave a rich legacy in the field of herbalism.
  • Cascade Anderson Geller
  • Michael Moore
  • Frank Cook 

Speakers to add from Medicines from the Earth / Southwest Conference
  • Mary Bove
  • Jerry Cott
  • Doug Elliott
  • Deborah Frances
  • Tori Hudson
  • Kathleen Maier
  • Aviva Romm 
  • CoreyPine Shane
  • Roy Upton
  • Donnie Yance (the best herbal guy for cancer) 
  • Martha Burgess
  • Ryan Drum
  • Phyllis Hogan
  • Mimi Kamp
  • Jason Miller
  • Mona Morstein
  • Kenneth Proefrock
  • JoAnn Sanchez
  • Eric Yarnell. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

let's talk