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!
My parents introduced me to herbs and alternative healing at a young age. We grew vegetables and herbs at our Northeastern country retreat to use at home in the city. My amazingly adept parents guided my education on how to grow, harvest, and use the produce for healing, health, and well-being in several family cultural mind, body, and spiritual traditions.
This early education inspired my desire to learn more about healing which resulted in my pursuit of degrees in psychology and nursing. My undergraduate degree is in psychology and anthropological holistic health which I used to study cultural-based health practices. I earned two master's degrees in psychology, and due to my work in HIV and infectious disease, I completed another master's degree and licensure as a nurse practitioner, and earned a doctorate in nursing. When I found the East West School of Herbology, I realized this was a vehicle for achieving my goal to integrate herbology into my psychotherapy and nursing practice.
I currently use my skills working as a holistic-based psychotherapist, entrepreneur, nurse practitioner, faculty at the local university, and as a researcher in psychology and the use of complementary medicine. I continue to explore and experiment with growing healing botanicals and their use in chronic mental illness, illness prevention, psychological well-being, and healing from chronic and acute illness.
My husband helped me transform my gardens into a healing sanctuary to share with family and friends that embody our cultural traditions. With the assistance of my three magnificent daughters, I am finally achieving one of my many life goals to open a holistic health practice and have a local storefront that specializes in herbal preparation and holistic products for the mind, body, and spirit. You are invited to visit our website, www.myenchantedleaf.com for more information as we prepare for the opening of our storefront in Denver, Colo. Namaste.
I've always loved the magic of Nature. It all began with growing up hiking and surfing the Northern California mountains and coastline. On most nights my dog, Turk, and I would head to the hills to see what nature may have in store for us. We'd return home with a sack full of plants, rocks, seashells and many critters.
I was probably about eight years old when I put up my first 'tinctures' in water. I was always fascinated with the mysterious alchemy of plants, natural healing and spiritual traditions of other cultures. It helped that I grew up in a family that exposed me to Eastern philosophies and healing traditions.
In college I pursued a degree in transpersonal psychology and gerontology while continuing a side line of delving into holistic studies. This eventually led me to co-create a holistic services business, Golden Tree Holistic, with my partner of 12 years.
On New Year's Eve 2009, I enrolled in the in Professional East West Course. I graduated May 2012. I've gained more than I ever imagined, through the support and curriculum provided, to add to my skill set in helping others on their paths to healing.
In addition to operating Golden Tree Holistic, I'm creating Community Herbs Wellness Center with fellow graduate, Nicole MacDonald, exploring mentorship toward membership to the AHG, completing certification for Medical QiGong and Auricular Therapy, all the while furthering my studies in herbal therapy and functional medicine. I also volunteer as director of a community garden for a local spiritual organization.
I love to paint and sculpt and I enjoy hiking, qigong, making medicine, gardening, permaculture, and tending to the 'girls' - my backyard chickens, pictured above: Summer, Sugarpie, Honeypie, and Lemon Balm (who, by the way, is cool & spicy), and my beautiful, white kitty, Angel.
I feel a deep sense of gratitude for this school and its curriculum. Michael and Lesley have created a wonderful, supportive environment for developing herbalists. The teachers are outstanding and the students and extended East West family... amazing. I'm deeply grateful to share this journey with all of you.
Growing up in Austria, I was surrounded by herbs and, more importantly, people who knew how to use them. We never saw a doctor except for compulsory school check-ups; instead, we were treated naturally - with herbs, items from the kitchen and the occasional use of homoeopathy.
That’s very much how I have been raising my three children for the past 20 years. We’ve seen everything from scarlet fever and chicken pox to whooping cough and impetigo... even the swine flu. We lived in London for 12 years and it was there I was asked to conduct workshops for mothers on how to treat children simply and naturally when everybody around them was popping antibiotics like they were M&Ms. I loved the enthusiasm parents showed for the likes of the “onion sock,” the “curd wrap” (around the chest, not for lunch!) and the “sea salt and eucalyptus tipi” – much more fun than Paracetamol!
So I decided to leave my days in advertising behind and formalise my education in alternative medicine. After reading Biomedicine at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London, I did a diploma in Naturopathy and the Professional Diploma in Ear Acupuncture. I had a small, but successful mobile practice which focused on pregnancy, childbirth and children and continued teaching people to overcome minor ailments “despite their doctor.”
In 2010, we relocated to Singapore and I had to look elsewhere to continue my education. I enrolled in the East West course in January 2011 and am planning to graduate next May with the most amazing bunch of fellow students!
After that I plan to continue my work with women and children. I am hoping to train as a doula and apply my knowledge of herbs and acupuncture that way. As we like living in and experiencing other cultures and will continue our Nomadic lifestyle, I am faced with varying degrees of acceptance of the practice of alternative medicine. I will have to be very creative about how I apply my knowledge and passion!
My other passion in life is food. I share the recipes I concoct in my own kitchen on www.thepassionatecook.com and have been a contributing writer for cookbooks or magazines like National Geographic around the world.