I am a second generation herbalist. My grandparents are to blame for putting me on this herbalist path...ha..ha. Grandpa wildcrafted medicinal herbs in the forest. His cough syrup formula with various medicinal herbs, rock candy, distilled water and whiskey was shaken twice a day for 2 months in mason jars. Mom wasn't too happy about the whiskey...lol, but the formulation was quite effective.
When I began studying Shaolin martial arts in 1989, my sifu trained me in various Chinese herbals, decoctions, liniments, and teas. Horrid tasting, but they worked very effectively. I learned formulas and introduced to sound frequency healing, breathing and other forms of energetics. After returning to the states from living in China, I moved from Illinois to Seattle, Washington, where I attended graduate school and worked for Microsoft.
Seattle, Washington was a naturopathic, and herbalist's dream place. Bastyr University and Brenneke School of massage. I enrolled in the herbal science program and matriculated Brenneke massage school also. Rigorous coursework: anatomy & physiology, organic chemistry, botanical identification, pharmacopeia, pharmacognosy, herbal preparations and manufacturing, herb gardening. End of the second year into the program tragedy struck. My hand was left a charred mess from pyrotechnics exploding in my hand. Doctors slated me for skin grafting and loss of feeling was inevitable.
One of my herbology teachers who was a renown herbalist, Rowan, from England told me, "Don't let them touch your hand. I know of a herbal preparation that will help your hand." Okay, I admit I was skeptical at first because of the level of damage to my hand was extreme, but I trusted him. For several months I walked around campus with my hand wrapped in a stinky, itchy moist herbal poultice. When the hand was revealed you could not tell which hand had been charred. I asked him where did he learn that formula, I had not heard or seen it anywhere in our course studies. He told me it was from Dr. Christopher formula, a legendary master herbalist.
MA, CPC, ELI-MP, MHNH
As my advisor he honestly shared with me another herbalist route that would provide more opportunities. Yes, you guessed it, I was doing three programs simultaneously as then also did the The Dr. Christopher School of Natural Healing herbal program. The rest is history as as I received an herbalist certification from Dr. Christophers school. I combined everything I learned from grandpa, grandma, Shaolin monks, Bastyr curriculum, Dr. Christopher. Then I worked several years for Tierney at her herbal apothecary, and gleaned her teachings from Michael Moore. Going back to my childhood roots, I had to grow things. I then launched a herbal farm and manufacturing and licensure for massage therapist while working for a software company. (Yeah, I like to stay busy!)
There's more to the story but come to some of the workshops and get the rest of the story about herbs and my brush with prostate issues at 38, asthma regulation, healing after being run over by a car, dealing with excruciating pain...and how I ended up in North Carolina for a year, teaching herbal classes for community college. Travel to New Zealand and Australia and now in California.
What have I learned over the years?, No matter what the piece of paper with letters, titles and accolades say, we are all infants when it comes to understanding what the plants have to show and teach us. I am always humbled and enjoy learning from every herbalist out there. The student becomes the teacher and the teacher the student. Each herbalist must develop a personal affinity with the herbs she or he uses.