FacultyMeet the teachers that make this school possible.
Joe Hollis has been cultivating medicine in his herb terraces, hand-hewn dwellings, and teachings for over four decades. He is one of the pioneers of Chinese medicinal herb cultivation in the U.S., and continues extensive annual trials of seeds obtained by exchange with a network of botanical gardens. Dedicated to preserving native medicinals through the development of cultivation techniques since 1972, his home of Mountain Gardens in Burnsville, NC is the largest collection of medicinal herbs in the eastern U.S., and is a major source for herb seeds and plants, both retail and wholesale.
Michelle grew up gardening in middle Tennessee, and was lucky enough to have a grandfather who led her on adventures such as wild mushroom hunting and making dandelion wine. The peach doesn’t fall far from the tree! Her formal herbal studies include a masters degree in Chinese medicine from Daoist Traditions and studies at the Chestnut School, both in Asheville. She currently manages the herbal apothecary and treats patients at Appalachian Acupuncture near downtown Johnson City. Her dream is to nourish the herbalist and herb growers community in east TN, and to create a network enabling clinics to be stocked with medicinal herbs grown by local farmers.
Dr. McDowell is a specialist in the plant family Rubiaceae and is an associate professor at Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU), teaching plant biology and systematics. He serves as curator of the John C. Warden Herbarium and as Director of the ETSU Arboretum. Employed at ETSU since 1998, his studies focuses on taxonomy (scientific naming and classification) and phylogeny (evolutionary relationships) within plant families. His career also included a year and a half with the Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History as a field botanist. He will be sharing his time teaching the fundamentals of Taxonomy and Morphology and we could not be more excited!
Julia Thie, L.Ac.
Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, Julia has had a love affair with the plant world since childhood. Master Gardener and formally trained in both eastern and western plant medicines, she brings her bio-medical knowledge and blends it with a historical understanding.
Julia holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Performance from Southern Connecticut State University with a concentration in Nutrition. After working in the wellness industry field for over a decade, she completed a four-year Masters Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles where she was introduced to the Herbal Energetic structure of categorization and use. She is the owner of Julia Thie – Acupuncture & Wellness Coaching and will be sharing her knowledge of Herbal Energetics with HERBalalchia students with great delight!
Seth McLaughlin is a Family Nurse Practitioner, board certified Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse, licensed massage therapist, and herbalist. His herbal studies started in childhood learning traditional folkloric use of herbs from his grandmother and mother. Seth worked for 13 years in an integrative medicine pharmacy, Mac’s Medicine Mart, where he specialized in preventing herb-drug interactions and compounding. Later, he studied Traditional Maya Medicine in Western Belize and Eastern Guatemala as an apprentice under the tutelage of Rosita Arvigo. His practice, Ageless Integrative Medicine, incorporates the best of modern allopathic medicine with traditional herbal approaches.
Amanda River Fern Bryant
Amanda grew up under the arms of a great grandmother Live Oak in south Louisiana. Since then she has been enchanted by the magic and wonder of the plant nation. Amanda studied horticulture at the University of Georgia, massage at the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga, herbalism at Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism, and natural spirituality from Rainbow Eagle and Sarah Bicknell. She continues to be a student and strongly believes that healing for ourselves and the earth comes with connection, gratitude, and love for the natural world. Amanda currently has a private practice as a licensed massage therapist and herbalist in Johnson City, TN.
Sumitra grew up in the food industry and spent over 20 years as a chef, sommelier, cheese monger, shamanic herbalist , and healer.
After many journeys around the world and into the interior, she embarked on the path of chado (way of tea) and it changed her life.
She is now a tea monk living in the mountains of Western NC and owner of Panther Moon Tea Co. in Asheville, NC. Panther Moon Tea Co. was born out of a love of fine tea and a desire to create happiness in the world. Sumitra offers a purveyor of luxury teas from the high mountains of China and Taiwan that are traditionally handcrafted by expert tea masters and free of pesticides.
A traditional Herbalist and a descendent of the Menominee Nation and Founder of Cindi’s Sacred Garden, has been practicing her respected Native American Traditions with our plant nation for most her life. Opening herself to being a Student with Nature, Cindi has learned “hands on” to identify many herbs during all growing seasons and has traveled around the USA to indentify many different healing plants for over 30 years. Cindi went into business full-time in 1997 and has included organic and natural mind/body/mind products through her gifted knowledge.
Cindi teaches many groups about herbs, growing, connecting and to healing oneself through our plant nation. Cindi maintains her deep connection with her Native Nation, learning and sharing with Medicine people the plant knowledge that needs to maintain oral traditions.
Rodney become an environmental activist at a young age. His involvement in forest protection and direct action became a catalyst to exploring the adventure to becoming a farmer. To truly walk his talk, Rodney started practicing what he preached and became one with the land.
He is the owner of Salamander Springs Farm in Marshall, North Carolina where he cultivates mushrooms as well as seasonal vegetables. While this takes up a lot of his time, he continues to be an activist and educator.
Rodney has conducted workshops on mushroom cultivation at the Organic Growers School, sells his mushrooms and farm crops at the Jonesborough farmers market, and sells through Madison Farms.
Vishnu Dass A.D., LMT
Vishnu Dass is an Ayurvedic Doctor level Member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association with two decades clinical experience. He is also an author, educator, yoga teacher, massage therapist and clinical herbalist. He received his Ayurvedic training under the guidance world reknown Ayurvedic physician Dr. Vasant Lad and is a graduate of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM. Vishnu is also a graduate of the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutic and the American School of Herbalism. Since 1992 he has been a student of yoga master Sri Baba Hari Dass.
Vishnu Dass is the owner and director of Blue Lotus Ayurveda, where he maintains a full-time clinical practice. He also serves as the Dean of Education and lead instructor for the Ayurvedic Wellness Consoler program at the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga in Asheville North Carolina.
Botanist, Herbalist, and Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she spent her free time climbing trees and creek wandering. This is where her love of nature began. Her love of plants had a diverse foundation from apprenticeships on organic farms on the west coast and in the Midwest, to a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Miami University and an apprenticeship in herbalism, along with owning and operating her own tea business.
After visiting Pisgah National Forest, she fell in love with the biodiversity of the southeast. Now she teaches at various venues and conferences around the country, about plant identification, the importance of native plants, and how to work with plants for food and herbal remedies.
Dr. Anthony Cavender
Anthony Cavender is a professor emeritus of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at East Tennessee State University. His research interests are medical anthropology, especially ethnomedicine, and nutritional anthropology. He has conducted research on various aspect of ethnomedicine in Zimbabwe, Ecuador, and Southern Appalachia. He is the author of, Folk Medicine in Southern Appalachia and co-editor of, A Tennessee Folklore Sampler, as well as numerous articles
Mary Lynn White
Mary Lynn is a licensed acupuncturist at White Tiger Healing Arts in Spruce Pine, NC. She “along with half the world” has degrees in Reiki, and has worked with and around Western herbs, Eastern herbs, stones, and essential oils for over 25 years. She holds no degrees in these, calling herself a “first aid household homeopath.” She enjoys gardening, cooking, and walking with her husband and their dog, Freya.