How did you first become interested in herbal medicine?
My interest in herbal medicine dates back to when I was
13 years old. I had a spiritual calling due to my own health challenges
and began studying on my own at a time when there were no herbal
schools or other avenues for study. I started out by reading my mom’s
books—Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss, The Herb Book by John Lust and
all of Bernard Jensen’s works. I began experimenting with dried herbs
purchased at a local health food store. I had no fear at all! I just
followed my intuition. Several of my extended family members were
willing guinea pigs for my concoctions. This is not surprising as my
great great grandmother Zoe was a known French Canadian herbalist and
midwife. It must have been genetic memory. From that time on I have
made the study of herbs and natural healing my life’s work.
One of the points David tries to make when addressing
laymen is not to think of herbs allopathically i.e. St. Johns wort
as “the” depression herb, Echinacea as “the” immune support herb. Do
you find that blending emphasis on diet as well as herbs helps your
clients understand that holistic view of the synergy of herbal
formulas more readily?
Absolutely! The foundations of health are good
nutrition, sleep, exercise, mindfulness and management of stress. I
have always approached my clients from this holistic perspective. I
see herbs as secondary to these other important aspects of a healthy
lifestyle. In my practice, I rely on herbs to support digestion to
facilitate proper nutrition, adaptogens to help with stress
management, and herbs for sleep, mood and immune support.
Inflammation is a driving factor in all chronic illness so I attend
to the body’s ability to heal by incorporating an anti-inflammatory
diet as well as supplements and herbs for decreasing inflammation.
Tell us about your training and how the different modalities you have studied work together.
I have a background in botany and ecology at the
undergraduate level which has allowed me to really see and
experience plants in one specific way, and this has allowed me to be
very effective at teaching plant identification to my students. My
master’s degree is in nutrition, specifically the functional
medicine perspective, so I have a depth of understanding of how
nutrients work in the body, the importance of gut health, how to
interpret blood work etc. I have also studied TCM and Ayurveda,
which allows me to see the body from an entirely different
perspective. In David’s program he brings all of these modalities
together, so I could really relate to the way David teaches. There
is the idea of putting on different "hats" and taking them off as
needed in order to see something clearly. All of these models are
useful ways of looking at human health, which ultimately is a
mystery unfolding before us. It is important to be humble in the
face of this mystery and to use all of the tools at one’s disposal
to be a good practitioner. I am always learning. Staying open to new
ideas and different ways of knowing is essential in today’s