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.
I never planned to become an herbalist. Though I spent much of my childhood mashing up plants in my backyard (and unknowingly smearing poke on my little sister while pretending to make medicine... an herbal experiment she'll never let me live down!), my wildest dream was to become an actress. Off I went to NYU where I earned my BFA in Drama. I was on my way to fulfilling my lifelong dream, but something was missing.
In my second week of college, the 9/11 attacks shook my new city to the core. Deep down, I wondered what use it was to spend my life performing. Would this really make a difference in the world? I believed in the power of art, self-expression, and the magic of storytelling. It had saved my life by giving me a safe outlet for things I couldn't express any other way --but that deep soul work of an actor-creator wasn't what I saw when I took a hard look at the reality of a career in the entertainment industry.
I began to study community-based performance and took off down a new path of telling the stories of people from all walks of life. I became certified as a massage therapist with the intention of using that income to support my theater work. Working with pregnant teens in foster care, homeless and formerly homeless activists in the Bronx, and receiving a fellowship to create my first solo play in India, and becoming a member of Alternate ROOTS, I felt like I'd finally found my path. When I landed my dream massage job at one of D.C.'s top physical therapy clinics, I was on top of the world. Everything was working out. Then, I got sick. Really sick.
"Uninsurable" because of my extensive history of autoimmune illness, I very nearly died from a severe bout of ulcerative colitis because I couldn't get medical care. I vowed that I'd never let myself be that vulnerable again. I wanted to do something not only to help myself but also to empower other people who were being left behind by our broken medical system. I knew in my bones that herbal medicine was the missing piece. I enrolled at East West in 2008 and never looked back.
Now, my life has come full-circle. Healing and creativity are deeply connected in my personal life and in my practice. I create original theater and work with herbal & massage clients through my practice in Washington, D.C. Currently, I'm teaching my first online course focusing on women's health and have found that incorporating creativity and soul work into the program has made as big a difference for the women as the herbal and lifestyle knowledge.
As we create from our deepest selves, it challenges us and opens up more of our soul's wounds for healing. And as we tend those wounds, whether they're physical illnesses or cultural soul sickness, we create more space and possibilities to bring forth what we are here on this planet to bring forth. The task ahead of us is immense. We need the plants, the traditional wisdom, our own intuition, and all of our creative abilities & compassion if we are to tend the Earth and our communities so that we may all thrive and live harmoniously. Thank you to everyone at East West for stewarding this traditional knowledge and for always keeping song, creativity, and joy at the center of the process.
I grew up in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York and spent my summers outdoors (whether I was in the Adirondacks, at the pool or beach, at day camp playing in the lake or running around in the woods). I have always loved being outside; I grew up talking to the plants and animals around me. Both sides of my family have deep connections to the Earth: long-time dairy farmers on one side, and horticulturists on the other. I didn't know exactly what I wanted “to do” with my life; all I knew was that I wanted to help people and feel like I was making a difference in the world.
I went to art school to become a printmaker, and then got my Master’s in art education. At the end of my first year of teaching, I realized that this was not the way I wanted to make a difference! I still continue to make art for myself, and I am an avid cook and baker (especially French macarons!) My art website is: http://www.pamelacshaw.com
I discovered Michael Tierra’s The Way of Herbs almost 10 years ago and self-treated several issues successfully, to my astonishment. It came with a bookmark for East West, and every time I opened The Way of Herbs, that bookmark was always in view. After four years of working as an executive/personal assistant and personal chef in Manhattan, plus repeat visits to Michael and Lesley’s blog (and the East West website), I decided it was time to take the leap and finally enroll! Since my start at East West in September 2011, my life has been filled with a great new purpose.
I have yet to decide what I want to “do” with this education, but I know that I am in the right place. I know that I would like to heal as many people as are willing, to empower them to take charge of their own health, and to infuse them with enthusiasm and excitement. Whether this takes form through teaching others, doing clinical work, or creating a product line, only time will tell.
I started studying herbs while in graduate school at Western Carolina University located in the North Carolina Appalachian mountains. I was fascinated by the knowledge that the locals shared on plant medicine and plants as food. My first herb book was Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible. I started playing around with cayenne pepper, goldenseal, peppermint and various other simples. When I became pregnant, I bought Susan Weed’s Herbal for The Childbearing Year, which was invaluable. I read about herbs and used them at home for 16 years before starting the East West School of Planetary Herbology program.
In August 2009, after nine years in corporate America, I lost my job due to economy problems. My best friend convinced me it was time to follow my passion. I enrolled in East West in October 2009 and began studying the moment my books arrived. By the time the May seminar rolled around, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the program, so I did not go to the seminar. I got another full-time job and kept studying. I attended the seminar in 2011 and was inspired. I attended the seminar in 2012 and was not only inspired more deeply than before, but was empowered and saw my path unfolding in front of me. I began making plans on the plane trip home. Within a month I had created Emerald Coast Herbalist, LLC and had scheduled herbal medicine making classes at a local café. The classes were well received and I have been asked to continue teaching weekly classes each month. I have eight case studies that have developed from these classes and the word seems to be spreading. I have a DIY website that needs work but is up and running: www.emeraldcoastherbalist.com. I have recently been asked to write an article for an online magazine about herbs and vitamins to help people stay healthy through the holidays.
I will be at the 2013 seminar ready to graduate and will be working toward acceptance into the American Herbalists Guild as a Registered Herbalist. I will continue teaching and may expand to the local community college. Clinical herbalism will be part-time for now. I hope to be able to do it full-time one day, but if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is to let the universe deliver what it will. I love sharing my knowledge and feel it is VERY important to let people know there are alternatives available.
In my (rare) free time I garden, go camping, hiking and go the beach. I go back to the mountains three or four times a year – a magical place full of beautiful and bountiful herbs. I love making medicine and have a closet full of ‘stuff’ I have made over the last three years. Enrolling in East West was one of the best decisions I have ever made... Thanks universe!