I am a professionally trained Clinical Herbalist practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism and Ayurvedic Herbalism. In fact, I’m the first woman Herbalist practicing in Nebraska and registered with the American Herbalist Guild.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Professional Herbalist graduate of the East West School of Planetary Herbology, Santa Cruz, California. The East West School offers the only program in the U.S. that teaches Planetary Herbology, a unique approach to herbal medicine which integrates plants and diagnostic tools from the three major healing traditions of the world. The school is led by alternative health pioneer and American Herbalist Guild founder Dr. Michael Tierra, O.M.D., and clinical herbalist/ acupuncturist Lesley Tierra, L.Ac., AHG. Since its founding in 1980, the East West School has graduated the largest number of leaders in the herbal industry.
I trained intensively during my four-year Herbal Apprenticeship with Nicholas Schnell, RH (AHG), LMNT, at the Four Winds Natural Healing Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
I am a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild (AHG), the only organization in the United States that offers certification for professional, clinical herbalists. The mission of the AHG is to encourage well-trained, ethical professional practitioners who offer high quality herbal care.
Just between us, I never set out to make a career of herbal medicine. Until 10 years ago, the only herbs I knew about were flavoring my favorite spaghetti sauce and mixed into cookie recipes. It never occurred to me that my kitchen spice rack might be chock full of healthy, natural medicine. That was before a July afternoon visit to the doctor changed everything.
In 2003, I was lying in an oncologist’s exam room, recovering from a needle biopsy. All I could think about was how unfair it was that I was only 40 and facing breast cancer. While I was on the phone crying to my girlfriend, she said, “Why don’t you go see my naturopathic doctor? He’s helped everyone in my family, and he might have some ideas for you.”
A few weeks after my first appointment, my chronic stomach pain and fibromyalgia symptoms were 80% better, ‘side effects’ of the natural supplements he gave me. I even maintained my weight through the chemo treatments and never developed an infection or serious side effect.
A few months later, I started seeing a counselor to help me cope with the stress of chemotherapy and radiation. She made what seemed like a strange suggestion at the time – stop eating ‘white’. What she meant was eliminate grains that had all the fiber removed (usually referred to as processed food), and cut out sugary food as much as I could.
“What does food have to do with feeling stressed?”, I wondered. But I followed her instructions anyway [which included a few simple supplements from the health food store], and I went from feeling exhausted nearly all day, every day, to having a radically higher energy level in a short 2-3 weeks. Plus, I could finally sleep without much pain and say ‘yes’ to ordinary activities that were once too strenuous and exhausting, like gardening and college classes.
Regaining my strength with herbs and diet changes had a profound impact on my choice to become a professional herbalist. I suspected there was something my physicians didn’t understand about health and healing, and it was time for me to find out. I read every book I could find and started looking for work that would let me immerse myself in holistic healing on the job.
That’s how I ended up at a busy, Midwest herbal clinic.
Today, the two main reasons I’m an herbalist are:
- I want people to have access to the safety and gentleness of herbal medicine.
- I prefer the ‘whole person’ approach it offers. Holistic healing allows us to reclaim the ability to be involved in our healthcare choices by reminding us that food, exercise, relationships, and the countless personal decisions we make every day are the keys to true, lasting health. Herbal medicine is here when you get out of balance, to remind your body of its innate ability to heal.
“Start your healing with herbal medicine, and write a new story for yourself.”