I spent my early years in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. When I was 5, my family settled in State College, PA. That was a magical and formative place and time for me—we had a sandbox my dad made out of big oak logs, swings hung between two maple trees, and acres of forest to explore. My mother loved to garden and our yard was filled with mountain laurel, lady's slippers, and violets she collected from the forest. We knew all the names of the plants, trees, birds, and animals, and to me, they were like my extended family. We moved to California when I was 12, and I got acquainted with a whole new botanical, animal and avian clan.
In my 20s, I taught Montessori preschool and kindergarden. My 30s and 40s were focused on raising my children: daughter Shawn, 28, is an organic farmer and CSA owner in Ojai; daughter Lauren, 22, is studying at Wilderness Awareness School near Seattle; and son Eric, 19, who started his freshman year at the University of Denver on August 31!
Now I’m turning my attention to my third career, combining nutrition, herbalism, SoulCollage®, and “Inner Permaculture.” I am a certified Permaculture designer, Natural Chef, SoulCollage® Facillitator, Level 1 Subtle Energy Healer with Luminous Body, currently studying Radical Forgivness coaching, and herbalism with East West. I got my inspiration for my new “company” on an herb walk with Candis Cantin at this year's seminar as she spoke to us about the importance of teaching people about living a “tonic” life, a life that supports health and vitality of body, mind and spirit, and have been working on "The Tonic Life" business concept and website. When not doing all that, I enjoy gardening, beekeeping, hiking, sewing and quilting, and reading.
I started with East West last August, after seeing Michael Tierra give a presentation at a Santa Cruz Reskilling Expo on “Your Local Botanical Pharmacy.” What an awesome way to reclaim personal power for our health, I thought, by knowing how to cultivate healing and wellness with the plants that grow where we live!
When I first signed up for East West, I would read the bios of the students of the month, I was sure I would never be student of the month cause I didn't think I was “accomplished” enough. Now that I've been in the program for a while, I know so much more about what an amazing community we have here in East West -- it is such an open-hearted, inclusive, encouraging, and inspiring group of people at all levels on the path of herbalism! I am proud to be part of it!
I was lucky to grow up in a beautiful area just outside Copenhagen, near the sea and close to forests and parks. It feels like my interest in herbs and natural medicine have been with me my whole life. I have many memories from my childhood involving herbs, making nasty witch-potions, homemade perfume, and collecting and pressing pretty flowers. Later on I discovered some books about natural healing in the library that made a big impression on me, and resulted in many simple brews and medicated oils.
Then I began swimming, soon as a competition swimmer with as many as 12 practices a week, which left little space for anything else besides school. I was told that I had a lot of talent and could go far, and I think those words kept me doing it for much longer than I should. I learned a lot about myself and my body though, and I enjoyed the pleasure of being in top shape for many years. I made it to the national team and the European Championships in 2007, and after that all joy of swimming had been sucked out of me.
A new life opened for me when I stopped swimming. I became friends with a totally new group of people, that really helped me reconnect with something I had forgotten for a long time.
To make a long story short, my family, a few friends and myself underwent some kind of shift in our values and perspective in the last five years. My parents sold their house and bought a small farm about an hour south of Copenhagen. We now live together: me, my boyfriend and my brother in one house, and my parents in the other. We all have a strong drive to become as self-sufficient and independent from “the system” as possible. We now grow our own vegetables, have 14 chickens, two pigs, a dog and two cats. I love living in the country and never looked back since. Besides herbs, I'm interested in metaphysics and philosophy, and I've recently dipped my toes into dance as a spiritual practice. I love music, travelling, walks in nature, and being with my loved ones.
I started growing some herbs in my garden when we moved in, and soon my interest in herbal medicine was reignited. I searched for information anywhere on herbs and their uses, but it was frustrating with all the contradictions. I wanted a deeper understanding and that is when I stumbled upon the East West school. It was exactly what I dreamed of, and much more. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to be a student here. Even though it sometimes has been tough with the language barrier, I feel like I'm finally getting most of it. I attended my first seminar in April, and that really boosted both my confidence and learning, but it also made me completely positive that I am on the right path. I enrolled in July 2012 and I'm currently working on the last lessons on the foundation track, and it seems like my excitement and passion about herbal medicine grows bigger and bigger the more I learn.
Honestly, my biggest dream is to live in a small self-sufficient community, and have a practice there. But until then I dream of starting up a small practice, gaining much more experience, and maybe teach others at one point. I work as a swim coach for children and I would love to do workshops or herb walks for children and teens.
I was born and raised in Olympia Washington, and lived in Seattle until 2009. I currently live in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with my husband, his two boys and our golden retriever. I was fortunate to grow up with a mother who was very interested on the effects of diet on health and behavior. As a long distance runner during high school my interest in nutrition grew. I also began researching food and cooking meals for my diabetic father believing insulin alone was not the solution to treating his condition. I moved to Seattle after high school and graduated from Seattle Pacific University with Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Dietetics.
I have always been passionate about helping others, but didn’t experience the healing power of herbs until I was diagnosed with cancer in my early 20’s. I was fortunate to work with some amazing people in the tea and dietary supplement industry after college who were very instrumental in my healing during that time. The combination of diet and herbal treatments made a huge impact on my recovery. I hope that my own experiences will help me heal others.
For the last eight years I have worked for a food manufacturing company managing a team of R&D scientists. Two years ago it became clear to me that I needed to change my career and follow my passion. I signed up for the East West course in February 2012 and recently completed my second seminar this past May. It was encouraging to see how far I’ve come over the last year, but I know I have a lifetime of learning ahead of me. I’m excited to be an advanced student and look forward to a challenging year.
I enjoy spending time with my family, running, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, painting, cooking, making and eating fermented foods, live music and studying herbal medicine. I plan to become a professional herbalist combining my knowledge of nutrition and food science with herbal medicine. I see great opportunities for education and look forward to helping others improve their lives in my local and extended communities.
I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. I have an amazing family – my husband, 3 children and a dog. I am lucky to be so blessed with all their love and support, because without them, my experience with the East West School would not be possible.
I am passionate about helping others get to the most optimal health. I am currently a dental hygienist and have been practicing for 20 years. It is a great feeling knowing that I am helping people with their oral health but I would love to help them even more.
I started to use herbs 14 years ago when my husband and I wanted to have a family. We had tried for several months. Then my doctor told me I had endometriosis. I thought that I would never be able to have children. I went to a local health food store for help. East West graduate and teacher Nicholas Schnel l working there at the time. He was very knowledgeable and helped ease my concerns. He helped me figure out the right herbs to take, and shortly after that I got pregnant. I was convinced that natural/alternative medicine was for me to follow from that point on. I just wanted to keep learning.
I started East West School in November 2011. I have been enjoying my studies with the TCM lessons and books that come along with the program. In May 2012 after I went to the East West seminar, I started to take a class once a week at Four Winds Natural Healing Center, headed by Nicholas Schnell. Nicholas has provided me with so much helpful information to help me through the East West course. I have been so fortunate to have this opportunity and have met so many new friends.
I enjoy doing yoga, meditation, kayaking, walking, and biking. We have a cabin and love to escape to this beautiful atmosphere. We just enjoy being close to nature and getting away from our busy lives. I am hoping to fulfill my dreams of becoming an herbalist and continue to help family and friends. Hopefully someday I will have my own healing center.
My name is Joe Eckre. My friends call me Surya.
When I was in the first grade, my father took an interest in nutrition and vitamins. He had problems with his energy level and his new diet and supplements paid off for him. He was feeling much better. I was having trouble paying attention in school and my grades were low. My parents changed my diet. I said goodbye to Pop Tarts and Froot Loops and started taking vitamins. My grades went up immediately. That made a big impression on me. Later, I watched as my father avoided an impending surgery using a natural remedy. I was very lucky to have a father who was willing to look beyond the limitations of western medicine and empower himself with natural solutions.
I was fortunate to spend the latter part of my childhood in the small town of Ojai, California, where there was plenty of opportunity to hike in the local mountains which were full of healing herbs. I didn't know they were there, but the sights and smells and buzzing of the bees in those mountains was always a comfort to me. I had my first pivotal experience with herbs when I was coming down with a cold. My brother handed me a small box of Dr. Esteban's Purifying Formula. I took some of it and I was amazed I was not sick when I woke up the next day. Later, I took up identifying wildflowers in the local mountains and learned how many of the herbs I'd been reading about were those same plants. My trust in herbs and awareness of the benevolence of the earth began to grow as I spent time in those mountains. One day, while hiking with a friend of mine who was having a difficult spasmodic cough, we happened upon a stand of yerba santa. I took a leaf from the plant and told her to nibble on it. We were both amazed by how her cough stopped immediately.
In the late '80s, Michael Tierra's book, The Way of Herbs, caught my eye in the local herb store. It has always been a good reference for me and when I saw there was a school for his Planetary Herbology, I felt it could be a great opportunity to not only grow a deeper intimacy with the herbs that have been so good to me in my life, but to have the skills necessary to reach the goal of sharing this gift with others and helping them to choose the herbs that best suit who they are. I joined East West in March of 2009. This school has been a great gift in my life.
I was born and raised in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. I've always been grateful to live in this beautiful, diverse and unique area. I am surrounded by two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario), the Welland Canal, the Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Falls, lush farmland with juicy peaches and many, many vineyards! There is no shortage of hiking trails in this area as well. I live in the city with my 14 year-old son Lucan and my dog Freya, and we escape frequently to the country to hike.
My passion for herbology began about 20 years ago. It was in 1994 that I picked up a copy of The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra. It was my very first herb book. I was working in a pharmacy, as a pharmacist's assistant at the time. I became dismayed by the massive amount of prescriptions that folks were taking. It was a stressful job, very busy and the customers were sick and tired and angry. I made a decision to stay as healthy as possible and avoid the drug dependency. A co-worker's wife worked at my favourite health food store and told me they were hiring. I've been there 18 years now. I've learned a lot about the field, but found myself especially drawn to the over 50 bulk herbs we sold. I acquired more books and wanted to devour every bit of info I could.
I am a New Yorker of Mediterranean descent, convinced my herbal sorcery stems from my ancestry. I endured two major surgeries before the age of 8, leaving my inner spirit scarred and scared. My father taught me the magnetism of positivity. He lived with a progressive disease, NEVER complained, and believed in self-reliant healing. He encouraged my tenacious pursuit of herbs, yoga, gardening, acupressure, craniosacral therapy, and Reiki.
In 1993, after achieving a BS in Marketing from SDSU, I chose to visit communes, soak in hot springs and hug trees. I faced a stubborn streptococcus skin infection which was successfully treated with a tincture of echinacea and goldenseal. No antibiotics necessary! I worked at a herb and flower nursery and ultimately pioneered the development of a community organic farm in Oregon.
I discovered MY magic after an impassioned herbalist introduced me to the world of herbs in nature. After receiving remarkable feedback on my first wildcrafted salve, I recognized my purpose was to help people heal through alchemy and sharing my knowledge of alternative health.
Gypsy travels, sunshine and beaches took me to Maui. Upon arrival, I was gifted a copy of Planetary Herbology and was told it was my new Bible. I cherish this book! I worked in natural food stores as an herbal consultant and purchasing director. I am partial to the powerful formulas of Planetary Herbals.
In 1996, I launched Kaleidoscope Naturals. My entrepreneurial spirit and diligence led me on a journey of producing high quality potions. Organic Hemp and Herbal Healing Salve continues to be mycompany's best seller with loyal customers worldwide.
Since 2009 I have been establishing perennial gardens in Mendocino. There are currently at least 50 medicinal herbs on our property. In 2012, I completed a 500-hour yoga training and this year will finish introductory tai ji tuina and an apprenticeship at our community acupuncture clinic. I am also creating an innovative business plan integrating my talents of organic gardening, planetary herbalism and yoga.
I enrolled in East West in 2010 and will attend my third seminar in April. Upon completion of my coursework, I will attain my Professional Herbalist certificate. The course is comprehensive, supportive and fascinating. Thank you Michael, Lesley and East West for sharing! I am eternally grateful!
I am native of former Yugoslavia where herbal tradition has always been strong. Herbs were always part of my life, inseparably and tightly woven into the fabric of my family, traditions and customs. My earliest and most influential foundation and exposure to the herbal world was provided by my grandparents, my grandfather in particular, who spent all his professional life in the department of medicinal herbs at a local pharmaceutical company.
My Grandpa wanted me to continue the family tradition and study pharmacognosy, but I focused on medicine instead, and received my MD degree at the University of Belgrade. After completion of my internship and Board certification in general medicine, I shifted my interest toward science. I completed first a three-year postgraduate program earning a Master’s Degree in pharmacology and three years later, a PhD in neuroscience. In parallel, my employment brought me closer to the pharmaceutical world. After spending first two and a half years teaching pharmacology at the university, I accepted position in a local pharmaceutical company, spending the next 20 or so years in the corporate biopharmaceutical drug development. My postdoctoral studies and employment for US pharmaceutical company brought me permanently to USA in 1997, specifically to Southern California, where I still work and reside with my husband and our 9-year old son.
My medical and scientific education and years of work in the biopharmaceutical industry only helped me to realize that healing has many different forms and that the integration of all of these different approaches is the key to wellness. I saw that herbal medicine was a further step in maturing as a healer which I came to believe is my ultimate calling. Therefore, I joined the East West School of Planetary Herbology in August 2011 as no other school reflects better this integrative approach toward healing. I am currently pursuing my studies with East West School at the intermediate level.
I have a lifelong passion for herbs, nature and beauty that is reflected in all aspects of my life, including spiritual beliefs. I tend my herbal garden, spend time in nature as much as possible, I surround myself with fine art, books and music as well as with people, and try to help spread the awareness about the power of herbs. I also teach my son about herbs so the family tradition can go on.
Herbs teach me humility, dedication and perseverance in my service to myself and others. I hope that upon completion of my herbal studies, I will be able to continue my family legacy and legacy of my school and teachers through my own herbal practice, and thus, give back to the community all benefits of my education and experience.