Interview: Maia Toll

Clinical Herbalist, Educator, Natural Products Store Owner

How did your interest in herbal medicine begin?

Like many in this field, I got sick and the medical world didn’t know what to do with me. Luckily I had an open minded doctor and she started me on a path of exploration with herbs and alternative therapies.

Tell us about the Herbiary and the Market.

Herbiary was opened as a resource for my clients and students who couldn’t find the products I was recommending locally. It began as a very small (7ft x 14ft with a bathroom!) shop and expanded rapidly. Since I never intended to be a shopkeeper (let alone run multiple shops— and we will soon be opening a new one in Asheville NC), I was thrilled when my husband took over the retail end of our operations leaving me free to return to teaching and working with clients.

How do you use your herbal training in your work?

My client work has evolved into what I think of as herbally supported lifecoaching. I was finding that if I simply took the clinical route, the people I worked with weren’t able to make lasting changes. By working more deeply on larger life issues, I have seen huge improvements in health and happiness.

I also teach two online programs: Witch Camp and Sage School. David was really against me using the word “witch.” But it’s a term (along with the B beginning rhyming word) that many women who are interested in the green world have had to contend with. I have made it my mission to make women’s wisdom mainstream which means doing a little language reclamation. Plus, there is something about combining witch with camp that has infused fun and some silliness into an online program, which is not easy to do!

Both WC and SS combine herbal knowledge with seasonal wisdom to help people lead more grounded, connected, well-rounded lives.


How has David Winston’s training impacted you?

Three things from studying with David have impacted me in a daily way:

  • the first, and perhaps the most important, is what I took away from David’s teachings on Cherokee medicine. While this was a small part of his course, the philosophical impact of thinking about an illness as being larger than an individual, of expanding family and rippling out to the community, has transformed the way I work.
  • the efficacy of my herbal choices has increased tremendously since adding in the basic energetics of hot/cold, wet/dry that I learned from David. I teach this to all my students now—its a vital piece of the herbal puzzle.
  • finally, my materia medica is huge thanks to David. While I think there is great benefit to using locally grown herbs, I also can have a tremendous amount of fun using the energetics of the landscape where an herb originates (for instance purposely choosing an herb from India because it is acclimated to heat).