2021 Symposium Speakers

Our 2021 Online Symposium Experience features an array of herbalists sharing their clinical wisdom and emphasizing practical information drawn from their own experiences as practitioners.

You may notice that our Symposium features lots of speakers that are new to you.  AHG is committed to presenting new voices along with seasoned speakers as a path towards greater diversity. Together they will expand your practical knowledge, tools, and skills as an herbalist.

To read more about the topics presented by each speaker listed below, click on the topic link below the bio.

This list also includes speakers offering webinars as part of our Pre-Symposium Intensive Webinars and Post-Symposium Intensive Webinar Series: Trauma-Informed Herbalism in Practice

Ann Armbrecht

Ann Armbrecht is a writer and anthropologist (PhD, Harvard 1995) whose work explores the relationships between humans and the earth, most recently through her work with plants and plant medicine. She is the director of the Sustainable Herbs Program and co-producer of the documentary 'Numen: the Nature of Plants'. Her book, 'The Business of Botanicals: Exploring the Healing Promise of Plant Medicines in a Global Industry', was published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2021.

Gina Badger

Gina Badger (she/they) is an energetic clinical herbalist. Through their practice, Long Spell, Gina crafts whole-plant remedies to nurture healing relationships between people, land, and spirit. They have trained with Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes at the Blue Otter School, at the Wild Seed School of Herbal Studies and at Emery Herbals. Gina is a white settler of Norman, Huguenot, and Anglo-Saxon ancestry practicing on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations (Vancouver, Canada).

Jessica Baker

Jessica Baker is an author, acupuncturist, herbalist, and educator. Her passion for all medicinal plants is reflected in her formulations, private practice and classes on cannabis, herbalism, and Chinese medicine. Jessica teaches at The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism and online. Having many years experience as a clinician, Jessica is a talented formulator, understanding the importance of plant synergy and energetics.

Steve Blake

Steve Blake, MH, RH (AHG) is a doctor of science in nutritional biochemistry. He is Director of Nutritional Neuroscience at the Maui Memory Clinic and research director at the Neuroscience Nutrition Foundation. He just published a clinical study in the Journal of Brain Sciences on reversing dementia. He has presented grand rounds at many hospitals. He authored 16 major works on the effects of nutrition on health, including Nutrients for Memory.

Chanchal Cabrera

Chanchal is a medical herbalist with 35 years of clinical practice. She runs a private herbal medicine clinic with a specialty in holistic oncology, and offers a monthly student training clinic that provides free health services to the community. Chanchal is also a certified Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) practitioner, a certified Master Gardener and a certified Horticulture Therapist. Chanchal lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she and her husband manage Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden, a seven acre internationally registered botanic garden specializing in food and medicine plants, and where they host apprenticeships in sustainable food production and herbal medicine. The farm also hosts Gardens without Borders, a federally registered not-for-profit society established to run the botanic garden and provide horticulture therapy.

Vivienne Campbell

Vivienne Campbell, BSc (Hons) MNIMH, qualified as an herbalist in 2003 and runs a clinic in Ireland. She teaches herbal medicine, wild food foraging, and natural cosmetic-making for the general public as well as CPD classes for professionals. She teaches worldwide via her online video courses. She is currently writing a book for Aeon titled ‘The Clinical Herbalist's Guide to Helping People Through Trauma, Distress & Bereavement’ based on her clinical work in this area.

Leslie Chaison

Leslie Chaison runs People's Medicine Project, a health justice organization focusing on increasing access to herbalism and alternative healthcare. She is a community and clinical herbalist who has worked with many clients in recovery from substance use, extreme mental health states, and trauma. She believes passionately that access to empowering healthcare options (especially herbs!) and culturally traditional medicine is crucial to community healing and self determination.

Keren Dolan

Dr. Keren Dolan, DCN, CNS, LDN, RH(AHG), FACN, is an AHG board member and adjunct faculty in the Nutrition and Herbal Medicine Department at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals in the areas of nutrition and integrative medicine. Dr. Dolan has been in clinical practice in Northern Virginia since 2007, specializing in functional nutrition with an emphasis on western clinical herbalism and holistic aromatherapy. Her passions lie in teaching and empowering her clients by cultivating their self-awareness and educating them about self-care through the many dimensions of health.

Geo Edwards

Geo Edwards is an educator and healing artist whose practice encompasses herbalism, urban farming, community acupuncture, and the creative arts. He is creator of Nu Healing Arts Garden, a teaching garden, and owner of Nu Grain & Pestle, an herb apothecary currently based in Maryland that sells value added products and herbal teas, tinctures, extracts, and oil infusions. Beyond his healing arts practice, Geo also maintains a studio art practice and teaches art, creative writing, and literature to homeschoolers internationally. He often facilitates plant walks and workshops on numerous topics related to ecology, the five elements, herb cultivation, self-care, and art therapy.

Ashley Litecky Elenbaas

Ashley began her studies of plant medicines growing up in the forests of Maryland. Her formal study began in 1997 at UNC-Asheville, where she studied environmental science and she gained her early herbal experience working on herb farms across the world. Ashley holds an M.Sc. in Clinical Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (2008) and is a Registered Herbalist and board member of the AHG. Ashley maintains a clinical practice and teaches regular herb classes online.

Jennifer Lynch Fitzgerald

Jen Lynch Fitzgerald, LAc, MSOM, practices acupuncture and herbal medicine that combines Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism, and Ayurveda traditions in a rural community in Northeast Georgia. Her background in literature and psychology brings personal transformation and growth based on narrative to her practice offerings. Jen also teaches QiGong, Yoga, and Food as Medicine.

Camille Freeman

Camille Freeman, LDN, RH (AHG), has been in practice as an herbalist/nutritionist since 2003 with a focus on fertility and reproductive health. She runs Monday Mentoring, a community of practice for herbalists, and offers private mentoring for highly trained herbalists who need help with complicated cases and/or with building and growing their practices. Camille is a professor at MUIH, where she teaches physiology and pathophysiology. She holds a doctorate in clinical nutrition from MUIH, as well as a BA in English from Rice University, an MS in Herbal Medicine from MUIH, and an MS in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University.

Charles Garcia

Charles Garcia began his training as an herbalist and healer at age four with his mother, Marth Navarro Garcia, in the central valley of California. Currently he runs a free clinic and teaches in Richmond, California.

Atava Garcia Swiecicki

Atava’s healing work is guided by her Polish, Mexican, Hungarian, and Diné ancestors. She is an herbalist, healer, and teacher who is dedicated to supporting people to reconnect with their ancestral medicine for healing and resilience. She is the founder of the Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk, and Indigenous Medicine in Huichin Ohlone territory (Oakland, CA) and is currently finishing her first book called 'The Curanderx Toolkit'.

Anna Gilbert-Muhammad

Anna Gilbert-Muhammad currently serves as the Equity Director and Food Access/Webinar Coordinator for NOFA/Mass. Mrs. Muhammad graduated from NOFA/Mass’s Beginner Farmer Program in 2015 and began working with the organization in 2016. Anna is a market gardener and works the Youth Leader Carbon Farming Program at Home City Housing, the Open Pantry Community Garden Project, and smaller projects in the Boston Area. 

Patricia Kyritsi Howell

Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG), is director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies in the mountains of North Georgia, and co-owner of Wild Crete Travel, a tour company specializing in small group tours focused on herbs and traditional foods of the Greek island of Crete.

Dana Hutchinson

Dana Hutchinson, RH (AHG), owns her own private clinical herbalism practice called the Wildflower Clinic in Denver, CO. Dana is extensively trained in western clinical herbalism, advanced botanical formulation, traditional chinese medicine including tongue, pulse, and nail assesment, and energetic emotional therapy modalities including qigong, flower essence therapy, and guided herbal meditation. She specializes in autoimmunity, infertility, and hormonal imbalances.

Carolyn Jones

Carolyn Jones is a writer, herbalist, certified aromatherapist, and licensed New York State Chaplain. She is a member of the American Herbalists Guild and studies the medicinal and therapeutic use of plants at the Matthew Wood School of Herbalism. Carolyn produces the webinar 'The Healing Project: Pandemic Series' and is the author of "Pick Up Your Bed and Walk: A Self-Care Guide to Improved Health and Incantations".

K.P. Khalsa

Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Yogaraj (Ayurveda), A.D., D.N.-C, R.H., has over 45 years of experience in holistic medicine, and is one of the foremost natural healing experts in North America. Khalsa is President Emeritus of the American Herbalists Guild, director emeritus of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and is a respected teacher, writer, and lecturer. Khalsa is a state certified dietitian-nutritionist, a nationally registered herbalist, and a nationally certified massage therapist. As the author of over 3,000 published health articles, K.P. Khalsa has written or edited 30 books on a variety of health topics, including major works on massage, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and physiology.

Robyn Klein

Robyn first started on the path of herbalism in 1980. Her primary teacher was Michael Moore (class of 1995). Known for her fascination with the literature of medical botany, Robyn also works for a design consultancy, Biomimicry 3.8, with a team of very clever biologists. That work has allowed her to research the survival strategies employed by living organisms. This includes the bioactivity and mechanism of action of medicinal plants and their mutualistic networks. Robyn is an educator and medical botanist (M.S., 2004) and encourages the growth of medicinal plants.

Shabina Lafleur-Gangji

Shabina Lafleur-Gangji is an herbalist who has been involved in healing justice work and movements for liberation for the last decade. She is the co-founder of Seed, Soil and Spirit School of Herbal Medicine and works to support the reclamation of traditional healing sciences. Shabina is a graduate of the Living Earth School of Herbalism, the School of Ayurveda and Panchakarma in Kerala, and Humber College's Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Program. She has studied alongside herbalists such as Dr. Nadine Ijaz, Janette Cormier, and Scott Reid and cultivated medicinal herbs for the last decade.

Arline Kaweah Lemeshewsky

Arline Kaweah Lemeshewsky, LCSW, is a licensed clinical trauma therapist, bioregional herbalist, advocate, multicultural Indigenous two-spirit healer, and field researcher. Her upbringing is in folk herbalism from Asian, Southern U.S. and American Indian traditions. She is a graduate of JoAnn Sanchez’s 750-hour Western Herbalism degree program through the Southwest Institute for Healing Arts. She is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker and has been specializing in trauma for 30 years. Arline has 40 years experience as a Native ceremonial healer and teacher, as well as extensive training and experience with non-culturally-specific (core shamanic) ways of healing, specializing in trauma/soul retrieval and plant/human cooperation.

Richard Mandelbaum

Richard Mandelbaum, RH (AHG), has been practicing as an herbalist for over 20 years, with a background in both Chinese and Western herbal traditions and a passion for our native, local plants. He is co-founder and co-director of the ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism in New York City and is on the faculty at David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies. Richard was a board member of the American Herbalists Guild from 2012-2018, serving as Secretary and as chair of the Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Richard embraces herbalism as an affirmation of our biome and planet, and is also active in issues related to sustainability, social justice, and fair trade.

Samuel MarTinez

Samuel MarTinez is a MSW whose mother (medicine woman and oral historian) rooted her to 40,000 years of native resiliency. Her teaching/healing remedies became her traditional healing praxis, a healing response to post generational traumatic oppression caused by American Holocaust. People dislocados - uprooted and disconnected survivors - need to be re-rooted, by re-membering who they really are. For 47 years, as a social (justice) worker, she has progressively refined this approach by integrating Paulo Freire's pedagogy of the oppressed, innate resiliency, and factors of change research, confirming that 'la cultura cura - culture heals'.

Ryn Midura

Ryn has been practicing and teaching herbalism since 2011. He and Katja Swift are co-founders of the CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, hosts of the Holistic Herbalism Podcast, and authors of the book 'Herbal Medicine for Beginners'. His primary areas of interest include herbs as enablers for healthy habits, 'lowest common denominator' herbal energetics, dreaming as an avenue for healing, and the areas of intersection between herbalism and movement practices.

Quai Nystrom

Quai Nystrom (they/them) is an herbalist and psychotherapist who has been working with trauma since 2002 and aromatherapy and herbalism since 2012. Quai’s therapeutic training spans somatic interventions, neurobiological aspects of trauma, and relationship repairs for survivors. Through their herbalism practice, Quai has discovered how to adapt an intake form to address concerns trauma survivors often have when providing personal, body-based and lifestyle information, resulting in an interaction in which engagement with the herbalist becomes a source of healing and joy for trauma survivors.

Danny O'Rawe

Danny O’Rawe, ND MSc (Herbal Medicine) FIRH, is an herbalist, aromatherapist, and naturopath from Ireland who has been working in the field of natural medicines for more than 30 years. He is a Fellow and former president of the Irish Register of Herbalists, Ireland’s premier association for professional practitioners. He is Registered Naturopath specializing in Nutrition and a member of the General Naturopathic Council in the UK. He is also a member of the American Herbalist Guild and runs an advanced three year Apprenticeship in Belfast.

Olatokunboh Obasi

Olatokunboh Obasi, MSc, RH (AHG), CNS, is a wellness professional in herbal medicine, nutrition, and indigenous ways of practice. She is an educator/founder of Well of Indigenous Wisdom school for herbal medicine and African cosmology. She is also the Puerto Rico Coordinator for Herbalists without Borders International and the owner of Omaroti, a wellness shop for wellbeing. She is a birth doula, yoga and dance instructor, author, presenter, and healer whose devotion is to serve humanity and care-take the earth.

Tenby Owens

Tenby, RH (AHG), trained in Chinese herbal medicine and pulse diagnosis and western herbs. After eleven years of clinical practice with humans, she began focusing on herb use to address health issues of companion animals and ruminants. She owns Ariel Botanical Company to craft herb formulations. Tenby lives in Hawthorne, Wisconsin, with her spouse and several rescue companions.

Amanda Rich

Dr. Amanda Rich is associate professor of Human Services at York College of Pennsylvania and the director of the Institute for Social Healing. With a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and a doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Studies from University of Delaware, her work focuses on structural challenges faced by marginalized families, strategies they use to fight for change, healing-centered engagement, and trauma-informed care.

Sky Richarde

Sky Richarde, RH (AHG), is one of the Herbal Energetics instructors at Pacific Rim College, as well as a practicing herbalist in Victoria BC. With a special interest in dream and sleep therapies, Sky has been working on creating different herbal approaches to supporting sleep conditions and growing the understanding of what it means to dream with the intention to heal.

Gina Rivers Contla

Gina is an herbalist, formulator, and an educator. Through her work with the indomitable mushroom enthusiast, Paul Stamets, Gina has traveled internationally teaching practitioners and the public about the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. She has served as a community herbalist throughout the South and currently resides in the Southeastern Appalachian Mountains.

Amy RNielsen

Amy RNielsen has a MS Clinical Nutrition and is a classically trained chef and journeyman herbalist following traditional western paths. Their research centers the intersection of the endocannabinoid and gastrointestinal systems. Their practice grows out of personal experience, having been diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2014 where a driving focus is on evidence-based holistic disease mitigation and management in a trauma-informed compassionate setting.

Keith Robertson

Keith Robertson, MSc (Herbal Medicine) FNIMH, joined the UK National Institute of Medical Herbalists in 1990 and served as a Council Member and on their Accreditation board for many years. He co-founded Scottish School of Herbal Medicine in 1992 and has been teaching his particular energetic approach since then. He was awarded a Fellowship of the Institute for his services to herbal education. The School established a world first with its MSc and the associated and highly regarded 4-year BSc Hons degree before stepping back out of academia in 2010 and moving to the Isle of Arran to an Apprenticeship in listening to plants each year in Scotland.

Elena Roemer

Dr. Elena Roemer, L.Ac, is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. She has studied various lineages of plant medicine for over 10 years and blends together Chinese medicine, Western herbalism, and shamanic perspectives. She specializes in mental health care and practices in an integrative health clinic, alongside psychiatric prescribers and therapists offering psychedelic therapy. She is passionate about the overlap of holistic medical care and psychedelic therapy.

Emily Ruff

Emily Ruff is a community herbalist who has practiced the art and science of plant healing for fifteen years. Her studies have taken her around three continents where she has studied under healers of many traditions, including an apprenticeship under renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. She is a death doula, a Hospice volunteer, and serves in rituals at end-of-life with family and community. She serves as director of the Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary and Florida School of Holistic Living.

Tiran Sahar

Tiran (they/them) is a masters level Mental Health Counselor who specializes in co-occurring addiction stemming from trauma. They qualify as a Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor II and work with process addiction in the Pacific Northwest. Their approach with herbalism and psychotherapy is based in somatics, ecotherapy, and mindfulness. Their professional and personal 'work' is always client led, and informed by their experience being queer, multiracial, and bicultural.

Elaine Sheff

The author of several books on herbal medicine and healing, Elaine Sheff has been passionate about sharing herbal knowledge for over 30 years. Teaching workshops and at conferences both nationally and internationally, Elaine is the Co-Director of Green Path Herb School, where she strives to inspire and empower students and clients to remember their connection to the earth, the plants, and their own healing process.

Sue Sierralupe

Sue Sierralupe is the Clinic Director and Lead Herbalist at Occupy Medical, a free integrated healthcare clinic in Lane County, Oregon, since 2011. She was the Program Director for the first recorded COVID-19 Emergency Response FEMA site to use the integrated health model in the United States. Sue’s work with herbal medicine and the unhoused has won her many awards. She is the founder of the Practical Herbalist website, Real Herbalism Radio, and has authored nine books.

Christa Sinadinos

Christa Sinadinos has more than 25 years of expertise as a clinician, teacher, medicine maker, and gardener. She is the author of The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine (2020). As the founder and director of the Northwest School for Botanical Studies in Fieldbrook, California, she has trained hundreds of students who have become the new generation of herbalists. She maintains an extensive herbal pharmacy and medicinal herb garden.

Melanie St. Ours

Melanie St. Ours is an author and clinical herbalist specializing in women's health and mental health. Her first book, 'The Simple Guide to Natural Health', was published in 2018 and she has shared her expertise with media outlets like Reader's Digest, Vice, and Parade. Melanie trained extensively in the U.S. and at Longhua Hospital in Shanghai.

Michelle Steinberg

Michelle Grace Steinberg, M.S. is a Filmmaker and Herbalist/Nutritionist in Oakland, CA. She directed/produced Place to Breathe (2020) and Beyond Recognition (2014) with producer Robyn Bykofsky via their production company Underexposed Films. Since 2009, Michelle has worked at Street Level Health Project, a bilingual free clinic where she collaborates with community health workers, medical providers, and mental health practitioners providing culturally responsive care to uninsured immigrant communities. She won AHG’s 2015 Diversity & Equity award.

Katja Swift

Katja has been practicing and teaching herbalism for over 20 years. She and Ryn Midura are co-founders of the CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, offering a complete clinical training program. They are the hosts of the Holistic Herbalism Podcast, and authors of the book Herbal Medicine for Beginners. Katja is particularly interested in neurological and emotional health, supporting people with autoimmune and chronic illness, and mentoring herbalists who are starting practices and businesses.

Maria Vicente

Maria is a Mam Community Health Worker and Interpreter at Street Level Health Project in Oakland, CA. She is originally from Santiago Chimaltenango, Guatemala. She worked previously as a nursing assistant in the municipality of Cuilco Huehuetenango, serving the Indigenous community by offering general health consultations, vaccinations, and prenatal care counseling.

Richard Whelan

Richard has been in full-time practice as a medical herbalist in Christchurch, New Zealand since 1989. In co-operation with his friend and colleague, Paul Bergner, Richard is the Director of the Southern Institute of Medical Herbalism and has taught and written a great deal on herbs and health, including a clinically relevant constitutional system for students and practitioners of Western Medical Herbalism.

Christa Whiteman

Dr. Christa Whiteman is a chiropractor and clinical herbalist practicing in the Hudson Valley of New York and online. In her clinical practice, she endeavors to support patients with chronic illness to improve function and quality of life with nutrition and herbs. For those wanting to learn to use herbs to support their health and vitality, she offers online herbal education and herbal consultations.

Erin Wilkins

Erin Wilkins is an Asian American herbalist and Japanese acupuncturist. Her clinical work is rooted in Eastern energetic theory with over a decade of focus on raw herbal decoctions based on TCM formulas. She's the owner of Herb Folk, an herb shop and clinic in Petaluma, CA. Erin holds a Masters degree from AIMC Berkeley and remains a dedicated activist at the intersection of herbalism, racial equity, and environmental justice.

Venice Williams

Venice Williams is the Executive Director of Alice’s Garden Urban Farm. Alice’s Garden, located on the north side of Milwaukee, provides models of regenerative farming, community cultural development, and economic agricultural enterprises for the global landscape. Venice's love of cultivating plants rests in her ancestral Choctaw and African-American farming traditions. She has a widely-celebrated herbal apprentice program, guiding her community in the reclaiming and celebrating of herbal traditions. She also has been offering an Herbal Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project for the past eight years. Venice is a cultural and spiritual midwife, strongly believing she was put in Creation to help bring forth all that is good and whole in people and places, which she has been doing in Milwaukee for the past thirty-two years.

David Winston

David Winston is an herbalist and ethnobotanist with 52 years of training in Chinese, Western/Eclectic, and Southeastern herbal traditions. He has been in clinical practice for 45 years and is an herbal consultant to physicians, herbalists and researchers throughout the USA, Europe and Canada. David is the founder/director of the Herbal Therapeutics Research Library and the dean of David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies, a two-year training program in clinical herbal medicine. He is an internationally known lecturer and frequently teaches at medical schools, professional symposia, and herb conferences. He is the president of Herbalist & Alchemist, Inc. a manufacturer that produces herbal products that blend the art and science of the world’s great herbal traditions.