I have been studying plants, people and herbal medicine for over 20 years now. My interest first started as a youngster with a fascination for things natural, beginning with astronomy, moving into herpetology and later into plants and medicine. And all of this in the suburbs of Long Island, NY
In my twenties, I began studying herbal medicine's many aspects more throroughly, including botany (an abiding love here), plants as medicine (materia medica), physiology, medicine making, wildcrafting, clinical work, and the like.
To further elucidate my herbal education, I attended the California School of Herbal Studies with Rosemary Gladstar in 1983 and later the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine with Michael Moore in 1994 and 1995. Along the way I went to as many herbal conferences as possible (sliding my way in through work exchange in the early years). There I would listen to the many opinions and teaching styles of the herbalists speaking. A vibrant education in many respects.
One of the reasons I have been involved in herbal medicine for all these years are the teachers, students, peers and friends I meet in this community. Many open-minded, critical thinkers who are a pleasure and learning experience to be around.
The plants themselves are one of my favorite aspects of herbal medicine. Spending time traveling and meeting as many plants as possible is one of the great parts of being an herbalist. Seeing and gathering the plants we use as medicine makes herbalism unique, and offers a direct and ancient relationship we have with our medicine. They are beautiful down to their anthers and stigmas.
I currently teach at many schools and conferences throughout the United States, which gives me the opportunity to see the varied ways that herbal knowledge is passed on. I am honored to be a part of passing this information along.
I see being an herbalist as a political path, meaning a way to encourage community, and change some of the status quo, especially the ways medicine is currently practiced. I feel that being herbalists we can be a great boon to our communities, whether just among our friends, the towns we live in, or wherever we are and whomever we are talking to. The art of being able to assess people's health difficulties, and to then help them with plants we have gathered or better yet, plants they have gathered and processed into medicine, is a beautiful thing. I feel this knowledge helps with healing in ways beyond just the gross physical healing process. Knowing that we can help ourselves and those around us with at least some of our physical tribulations, can increase our connection to the world of people and nature. And this is knowledge and skill we can pass on freely to the people we meet.
Working in an NDI clinic in Nicaragua 2010
Taking digital photos of plants has become a favored pastime (much to the consternation of friends walking with me), and it is a gratifying to finally have a place to display them, here on this website.
Ithaca Free Clinic
I am a herbal practitioner and Director of Holistic Medicine at the Ithaca Free Clinic. It is deeply satisfying to be a part of this clinic. Working here has allowed me to be a part of something I wholeheartedly believe in,free medicine. And in the long-run to slowly work towards a true integrative model of health care, here and elsewhere. For more about the Ithaca Free Clinic, please see under 'Free Clinic'.
Me and a Toad in the mid-1960's
Northeast School of Botanical Medicine
I have been creating, teaching and directing The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine for 13 years. It is something I value doing. It allows me the opportunity to teach the herbal information that I have gleaned over the years, and a chance to share my passion for plants, herbal medicine and community. It is also a learning experience for myself as new people constantly enter my life with what they have learned on their journey's. It is a pleasure to see people start to heartily wrap their minds and hands around the intricacies of herbal medicine and I am thankful to be a part of their path.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that whichever way you head, that you see and feel the beauty of the plants around you
Preparing Echinacea purpurea leis