Jon Oleson, Western Herbalist (CH), Flower Essence Clinician, Plant Communication Guide
I started down my current path following a spiritual healing crisis. After graduating college (BA) in Middle East Studies and Arabic, I found lucrative employment with the National Security Agency (NSA) as a translator. The final two years of this post-collegiate endeavor was spent in and out of Iraq, where I worked as a private contract interpreter for US liaisons on military bases. One day I reached a breaking point. My heart hurt. I met depression for the first time in my life. I was mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. Time was ripe for change.
In my younger years I spent much of my free time in the Great Outdoors. I am grateful to my father for the appreciation he taught for just being immersed in wild places. My most vivid memories are the scent of the desert Sagebrush after a rain, sweet pine resin floating on the crisp fall breeze, and putrid marsh mud bubbling beneath my boots. That connection early on was transformative in my curiosities and passions later in life. Remembering the clarity and calm that I always felt amongst the plants, and my persistent curiosity for getting to know my local plant community, I left my home in Salt Lake City to study Clinical Herbalism at the North American Institute for Medical Herbalism (Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism) in Boulder, CO.
Two years later, my life was completely transformed. My diet transitioned from vegan to paleo-ish. I experienced profound physical and emotional healing. Life was (and continues to be) exciting, inspiring, and purposeful. Most of all, I gained a broader linguistic perspective and expanded my community to include all beings. Having studied language I realized that the way plants heal is through interpersonal communication. In our culture this often happens on a subconscious level since we’re not given tools to interact. Acting as an interpreter I began working to reconnect my human community with the plant allies by focusing on the heart as a primary mode of consciousness. This role fills me with deep love and passion, and I’ve come to view it as a spiritual purpose in life.
Jahwei Chen-Graf, B.Nat (SCU)
Clinical Herbalist and Naturopath
Jahwei’s immersion in the world of medicinal herbs began over 20 years ago in the Swiss Alps where she spent her summers wild-crafting with her mother-in-law, Rosanna, a folk herbalist. Glorious hours were passed in the mountains harvesting plants and later turning them into teas, syrups, ointments and tinctures. Jahwei tested out these traditional herbal remedies on her family and friends and when they reported improvement she was pleasantly surprised at the power of these simple plant medicines. What’s more, she discovered that just being outside- in nature, connecting with the plants is powerful medicine in itself.
With her interest in natural medicine ignited, she decided to formalize her education by completing a Bachelor of Naturopathy Degree from Southern Cross University (Australia) in 2007. Her main herbal teacher during those four years was Dr. Sue Evans who encouraged her not to be a “brown bottle herbalist’ but to go out and form relationships with the actual plants by tasting, growing, wild-crafting and directly experiencing. After graduation, she completed her naturopathic internship at Ruth Trickey’s Melbourne Holistic Health Group and practiced as a naturopath in Byron Bay specializing in Women and Children’s Health.
Since she moved to Nevada City she has continued to learn and be inspired by local herbalists, mentors and the plants themselves. Between 2011-2016 she completed herbal apprenticeships with Kathi Keville, Candis Cantin and Dr. Christopher Hobbs. Since 2012 she has worked behind the counter at HAALo offering her services as a community herbalist, homeopath and teacher.
Jahwei maintains a private practice as a clinical herbalist, naturopath and holistic nutritionist and enjoys helping people reach optimal health by stimulating their own vital force to heal and minimizing any obstacles to cure. She loves teaching and is grateful for the opportunity to learn from her clients and students alike. Her approach is heart-centered, practical and seeks to incorporate wisdom from both traditional and scientific systems of medicine.
As well as being a wife and mother of three beautiful children, Jahwei is an avid wild-crafter, herbal educator, organic gardener, medicine maker, food lover, world traveler and creator of Remedy Garden Botanicals.
MJ (Mary Jo) Beaupre, CCH, CNC
Clinical Herbalist, specializing in Woman’s Health, Western Herbs and Nutrition, with extensive knowledge of the history of herbal use, herbal manufacture, marketing, and distribution; Specialist in manufacturing herbal products including tinctures, infusions, lotions and salves and other commonly used products; Knowledge of plant medicine & care techniques and organic propagation; Understanding of traditional naturopathy, alternative medicine practices, nutrition, and herbal health applications; Excellent herbal marketing skills with hands-on experience in herbal retail and inventory. MJ is a Certified Clinical Herbalist (CCH) and a Certified Nutrition Counselor (CNC), with over 2,000 hours of training in all stages of the Herbal process.
After spending 25 years in Corporate America MJ decided there was something more to life than sitting in an office cubicle - she decided to get out and help people help themselves. No matter what walk of life, everyone matters. Having always been interested in Health and Nutrition, even when doing and eating things that were not healthy, in 2008 was given the opportunity to start over and follow her true life path of Herbalism and Complimentary Life Style modalities. This journey started in the rolling hills and fast pace of New Jersey to the beautiful deserts of Arizona, the mountains of Colorado and now to the majestic forestry of Northern California. Each step of the way has been a learning experience that will never be forgotten. There is never a wrong time to start on your path, better late than never.
A 2010 graduate of the Western Herbalism program at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) in Tempe, AZ, MJ discovered the wonders of making medicine and natural body products, which she has an affinity and has become quite the Medicine Maker and teacher. After moving to the Boulder area and graduating with honors in 2012, from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism Clinical Program (NAIMH), she opened her own private practice as a Certified Clinical Herbalist (CCH), helping clients and began developing her own line of body products and herbal remedies.
Catie Pazandak Winters, CCH, CN
Certified Clinical Herbalist and Nutritionist, having graduated with honors from a two year clinical program in 2010 at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (NAIMH) in Boulder, Colorado. She has continued her more formal studies with Aviva Romm through the Botanical Medicine for Women program. From 2011 through 2016 she volunteered at HAALo (Health Alternatives for All Locals) (www.haalo.org) as a community herbalist, helping many people with a wide array of health issues. These years were a pivotal part of her continuing education and integration into the community. She has maintained a small practice in the Nevada City area since 2010. Harvesting Vitality, her Herbal Honey Elixir company (www.harvestingvitality.org) , was born in 2011 and has evolved into a very sweet medicinal offering to the community and beyond. She is also the new owner of Truly Healthy Clean Protein Powder (www.iamtrulyhealthy.com), a local business born to a functional nutritionist in Nevada City.
Catie came to find herbal medicine as her true life calling only after her studies in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies and her Graduate work, specializing in food and garden-based sustainability education. Her love for global adventures brought her to live and learn in many unique communities around the world. Whether through her work in ecological education, ethnographic research and travels or simply through her own deep connection with the natural world, she has always sought to understand the unique connection people have with plants, particularly medicinal plants. Upon the completion of her graduate program in Education, she made her way to Colorado to study with Paul Bergner at NAIMH and has been joyfully traveling the road of herbal medicine ever since.
Catie is a vitalist at heart, yearning to understand and help others to discover and work with the deepest roots of imbalance, whether they be emotional, physical or spiritual, or all three, as is often the case. She loves to teach, not only to share what she has learned from the plants and so many wonderful human teachers, but for all the learning and growth that it brings to her.
Originally from Vermont, Catie now lives with her husband and son in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada, alongside the Yuba River in Northern California, just outside of Nevada City.
Heather Luna, Clinical Herbalist
Acorn School of Herbal Medicine Director
A Clinical Herbalist, Clinical Nutritionist, and resident of Nevada County since her teens, Heather Luna is a graduate of the John Woolman School, the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, and the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. Her teachings are rooted in both medical and folk herbalism. Her passion for Nature has guided her in a practice of herbs, nutrition, bodywork, and the body/mind/spirit phenomenon for the past 20 years.
Trained in various Western and Earth Centered traditions, Heather's understanding of herbal medicine is drawn from the wisdom of the Earth and the knowledge passed down from herbal teachers before. Heather weaves the spiritual and scientific aspects of herbalism into a wealth of information that is steeped in wisdom. Private sessions with Heather offer appropriate guidance in herbal and nutritional counseling, specific dietary programs, coaching through food allergies, connecting with plant and animal allies, therapeutic and uterine massage, vaginal steams, foot bathing, flower essences, relaxation techniques, plant brushings, bee venom therapy and a wide variety of custom herbal preparations.
Heather teaches full time at the Acorn School and also operates the Nevada City Herb & Tea Co which specializes in delicious tasting herbal tea blends. She has instructed classes in Western Herbalism in the Sierra Foothills for more than a decade. A lifelong student, mother, beekeeper, massage therapist, and plant medicine whisperer, Heather hunts inspiration and cooks it up in service to inspire others. Her free time is spent gathering plants, making herbal medicines, walking in the woods, enjoying the Yuba River, and spending time with her amazing daughter and her dog. Heather specializes in teaching how to properly "self-care" and nourish oneself to good health through herbs, nutrition, rest, bodywork and the art of simple living close to nature.
Paul Bergner, Medical Herbalist, Clinical Nutritionist
Paul Bergner has studied and practiced natural medicine since 1973, with formal studies in naturopathy, medical herbalism, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, flower essences, yoga therapy, and bodywork, including undergraduate studies in pre-medicine and psychology, and 50 semester hours of doctoral level medical studies at National College of Naturopathic Medicine. He has edited the Medical Herbalism journal since its founding in 1989, and has written seven books on medical herbalism, nutrition, Chinese medicine, ethnobotany, and naturopathic medicine. He has also edited periodicals on clinical nutrition and naturopathic medicine.
Paul directed the clinical herbalism programs at Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies and the NAIMH for eighteen years, training more than 230 certified clinical herbalists in an 1100 or more hour education that culminates in an eight-month internship program. He is currently on the regular and clinical faculties of the Colorado School for Clinical Herbalism in Boulder, CO, and the School for Traditional Western Herbalism in Portland, OR. He has been adjunct faculty in nutrition at Naropa University, visiting faculty in nutrition and pathophysiology at the Tai Sophia Institute, and nutrition faculty at the Seven Bowls school of nutrition. In addition to directing the NAIMH, he teaches herbal materia medica and therapeutics, clinical nutrition, basic medical sciences, clinical skills, medical history and philosophy, and nature studies.