Northwest herbal Resource Guide
Recently someone asked me what books I would recommend for learning about studying the local medicinal plants of the Pacific Northwest. I jotted down some notes and that got me to thinking about the larger subject of how the Northwest has become a main hub for the study of herbalism.
I started studying herbalism in the late 80′s and early 90′s when I attended the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Back then there were very few resources for budding herbalists. Today, there are numerous teachers, schools, writers, authors, bloggers, practitioners and medicine makers who live in the Northwest and in the last decade a number of conferences and schools have sprouted up to honor this amazing renaissance in herbal study.
If you are someone who is interested in studying herbalism or simply wants a good comprehensive overview of herbalism in the Pacific Northwest, I decided to compile a partial list that hopefully grows over the years. I am sure I missed many things so please feel free to drop me a line and I will try and include more to this page.
I have divided the list into a number of categories. They are
2- Plant Picture Books
4- NW Plant Medicine
7- Medicine Makers: Individuals, Stores, Companies, Aromatherapy
The best and most comprehensive botanical book of the PNW was written by Hitchcock and Cronquist and is called the Flora of the Pacific Northwest. This was the book that I worked with when I was college and in jobs after school many years ago. This is a very detailed book of the thousands of species of flowering plants, rushes and grasses found here and is an essential book for correct botanical research and identification.
There is a smaller botanical book that I recommend by Gilkey and Dennis known as the Handbook of Northwestern Plants. There are far fewer plants in this volume but it covers most of the well known plants and weighs about a pound less if you need to take a book out into the field with you.
NW Plant Picture Books:
Then there are a number of picture books that I recommend for identifying plants. This is very useful for those of us who are only amateur botanists and need some help with identification. Picture guides should not be used as definitive manuals for collecting any medicinal plants but they can be very helpful as shorthand.
Perhaps the best picture guide would be Pojar’s Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. “Features 794 species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, mosses, ferns, aquatics, and lichens found along the coast and mountains from Alaska to the Northern California border.”
I would also recommend Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner….”Featuring more than 1240 stunning color photographs, this comprehensive field guide will remain a trusted, authoritative trailside reference for years to come. It describes and illustrates 1220 commonly encountered species, both native and nonnative, including perennials, annuals, and shrubs.”
Turner and Kulmann’s Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest is also nice and compact and covers identifying 568 species of woody NW plants.
Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest. Eugene N. Kozloff. Yes its not just plants but it has nice big pictures and a great deal of information on the ecology of the NorthWest as well.
Cascade-Olympic Natural History. Daniel Matthews. Just to throw in one of the many books on the natural history of the area, this one is an excellent examination of the area’s flora and fauna.
Trees to Know in Oregon: Yup. Just like it sounds.
There are a number of books about local Northwest ethnobotany. The first two listed here are written by Nancy Turner, famed Canadian ethnobotanist. About Nancy:
“Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist whose research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others. She is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in western Canada.
Nancy has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for over 40 years, collaborating with Indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments. Her interests also include the roles of plants and animals in narratives, ceremonies, language and belief systems.”
Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America by Nancy Turner. If you ever thought that NorthWest Coast native people did not use agriculture, this book may change your perceptions. Turner talks about how First peoples tended and wove with the land to ensure abundant harvests of food.
Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples. by Nancy Turner. Fantastic book that details how coastal nations use local plants for food and medicine.
Native American Ethnobotany. Just an extraordinary resource that details the use of North American plants as medicines, tools and for sacred purposes by Native nations throughout North America. A great deal of information on NW native use of plant medicines is contained here.
Ethnobotany of Western Washington: The knowledge and Use of Indigenous Plants by Native Americans. Erna Gunther. This is a classic. Erna was a colleague of my Dad’s at the anthropology department at the University of Washington Back in the 50′s and 60′s, the UW Anthro department was a center for studying Northwest native traditions. This book details the native use of local plants for food, clothing, medicine and ceremony.
The People of Cascadia- Pacific Northwest Native American History. Man this is just an amazing book and I highly recommend it. Heidi Bohan also illustrates this book and it is just packed with information about native Northwest use of plants with special focus on the unique contributions of different native nations.
NW Plant Medicine Books:
Well this is embarrassing. There is really only one good comprehensive herbal medicine book about the plants of the NW and that is Michael Moore’s book seen below. Moore passed away in 2009 after devoting much of his life to teaching and writing about the medicinal use of plants throughout much of the West and SouthWest. His work continues to influence and shape most of the herbalists after him.
Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Michael Moore (d. 2009) and illustrated by Mimi Kamp. This is the premier book for studying plant medicines found in our local bioregion. Covering medicinal plants from the California coast all the way to Alaska, Michael Moore wrote the seminal book on west coast herbal medicine in a way that is easily accessible and often very entertaining.
And yes there are foraging books. These are not in depth about the medicinal virtues of plants but often contain a lot of important botanical, ethnographical and nutritional information. Here are a few I like.
Northwest Foraging Doug Benoliel. This is one of the oldest Northwest foraging books (from ’74) with not much medicinal info and not much on sustainability but a very straightforward book with recipes and nutritional information.
Pacific Northwest Foraging: Dougal Deur. The best one out there in my mind. This book details how to sustainably forage NW plants and shares insights from his conversations with native peoples about working with local plants responsibly. Great pictures and loads of information.
The Forager’s Harvest: a Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants. Samuel Thayer. Thayer writes in detail about a number of plants from the NorthWest here and considers ethical and sustainable harvesting practices.
Pacific Feast. Jennifer Hahn.
This is a sampling of websites by Northwest herbalists that have articles and blogs that contribute to a greater understanding of herbalism.
Michael Moore’s page.: Fantastic site of one of the most beloved and knowledgable herbalists (died 2009) with just an enormous amount of detail that is free. Medicinal plant videos, illustrations, monographs, formulas, links to many British and American botanical medicine guides.
This includes “The SWSBM continues to offer distance learning programs that represent Michael Moore’s herbal wisdom and the unique knowledge he accumulated during three decades of teaching and a lifetime of studying medicinal plants.”
Ryan Drum: Waldron Island, Wa. “Drum studied Herbal Medicine with Ella Birzneck, founder of Dominion Herbal College in British Columbia for 12 years, and taught at their summer seminars for 35 years. He has been an adjunct faculty at Bastyr University since 1984, and he lectures at major herbal conferences and herbal schools.”
Lara Pacheco Seed and Thistle. Portland, OR. ”Lara Pacheco grew up on the Atlantic beaches of Virginia. Most of her early memories of childhood involved staring out the window during school and eating wild onions on the playground. In college she studied Anthropology and traveled throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, and India, and constantly found herself fascinated by the loose threads of traditional knowledge throughout the world. Intent on investigating and documenting traditional environmental knowledge, Lara had a moment of realization when she decided to learn these very skills that had been the focus of her academic pursuits. Lara wanted to be an active participant in the preservation and propagation of traditional knowledge, the knowledge of the plants and the earth. As a Latina, she also wanted to be a part of the accumulated awareness that her ancestors had gained in relation to illness and herbal medicine.”
NWIC Traditional Plants and Foods Program: Olympia, Wa. An extension of the Northwest Indian College, this is a deeply important site that addresses issues such as food sovereignty, traditional foods and bioregional plant medicine.
“We call the plants the First People. They were the first created in our oral tradition before the animals, before the fish, before the birds, and their duty was to hold the earth together and live their life as a teaching for those who would be created in the future.
The plants left many things to us as human beings. They left the ones who would be our food, they left the ones that would be our medicine, they left the ones that would be our building material, they left the ones that would be our basketry material, they left the ones that would be the scent and fragrance of the sacred in this universe, they left beauty and they dressed the earth. The earth was bare before the plant people were created.”
Herb Rally: Mason Hutchinson, Springfield, OR. A great site that lists herbal resources, events and monographs. Check it out.
Sean Donahue: Green Man Ramblings: Portland, OR. “Sean’s primary teachers have been the wild and feral plants growing in the forests, fields, and swamps around him. He has trusted his own health to the plants since they first began helping him begin to heal the asthma he struggled with since childhood. As a practitioner he looks to plants as allies in helping people remember their own beauty, strength and power and in guiding them to health. As a teacher, he encourages students to build their own deep, personal relationship with the plants around them grounded in the experience of their own senses and their own hearts. He identifies deeply with the traditions of the edge dwellers Ð those who live in the places where the human and wild meet, bridging the worlds. For Sean, magic, medicine, and poetry are all expressions of a deep connection to the living Earth, and personal, cultural, and ecological healing are inextricably linked. He is currently working on his first book, a guide to plants for the underworld journey.”
Renee Davis: Goldroot Botanical Medicine. Olympia, Wa. “Renee Davis MA RH(AHG) is a clinical herbalist, researcher, and educator in botanical and mycological medicine. She is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, operates Goldroot Botanical Medicine, and works for a medicinal mushroom company in Washington state. She is currently a premedical student at the University of Washington. Previously, she was a clinical herbalist at the Olympia Free Herbal Clinic for 5 years and an Associate Scholar with the Center for World Indigenous Studies.”
Elise Krohn: Wild Foods and Medicine. Olympia, Wa. “Elise Krohn is passionate about her relationship with plants. As an herbalist and native foods specialist she empowers others in gathering and using wild foods and medicines. Her 17 years of experience includes medicine making, clinical practice, developing tribal community gardens, creating curricula and teaching.”
Rosalee de la Foret Methow Valley, Wa. “For over a decade my calling has been helping people to radically change their health using herbs and other natural remedies. Through this I have helped hundreds of clients reclaim their health and have taught thousands of herbal students in online courses and intensive retreats. I am the Education Director for LearningHerbs, one of the most innovative herbal companies of our time, and am a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild RH (AHG). “
Matthew Wood: : Portland, Or “Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist since 1982. In a period when many authors and lecturers are merely “arm chair herbalists” who offer theories and opinions based on book learning, and others have turned to the exotic traditions of India or China, he has been an active practitioner of traditional Western herbalism. He has helped tens of thousands of clients over the years, with many difficult health problems. While Matthew believes in the virtue of many other healing modalities, he has always been inspired to learn, preserve, and practice the tradition of herbal medicine descending to us from our European, Anglo-American, and Native American heritage.
Paul Bergner : Portland, Or. “Paul Bergner has studied and practiced natural medicine since 1973, with formal training 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 the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. He has published the Medical Herbalism journal since 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.”
Lydia Bartholow Portland, Or. “I am an an educator, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, herbalist, writer, and organizer. I am currently working on my doctorate at Oregon Health Science University. I focus my practice on mental wellness and radical public health. My past and current roles in providing care include an emphasis on harm reduction, trauma-informed care and health justice. I’m often asked to speak or teach about the physiology of trauma and oppression, or about the physiology of health disparities. But I also teach classes on herbalism, nutrition, harm reduction, motivational interviewing, and addiction.”
EagleSong Gardener: Monroe, Wa. ”I enjoy watching Nature unfurl her beautiful cloak, as people, plants, animals and seasons constantly change around me. Herbs and I have grown close over time; I cherish how they reveal more of me to me each day. I savor food that shares the same region, rain, earth and sky that I do, somehow it just tastes familiar in a deep way. Do you know what I mean? Walking in the countryside listening to birdsong gladdens my heart and strengthens my legs, when I sing with them magic happens. I enjoy sharing stories and hands-on skills with others celebrating and offering sustenance to spirit, people, plants, animals and earth everywhere.”
Julie Charette Nunn, Crow’s Daughter. Whidbey Island, Wa. ”Within this website, you will find nourishing and healing products, wise woman teaching in shamanic herbalism as well as writings to inspire your journey of peace and power. Welcome, dear lovers of the green, welcome.”
Carol Trasatto Olympia, Wa. ”I have been studying and practicing the plant arts for 35 years now, and it is still as inspiring and fulfilling a path as ever. Through my own healing journey and through maintaining a holistic wellness counseling practice for 20 years, I carry confidence in the power of skillful plant medicine to help liberate the mind and body toward deep, profound healing. The more intimate we become with our plant allies, the more our capacity for wonder and aliveness expands—opening our hearts to the sacred nature of all.?”
Wild Food Adventures John Kallas, Portland, OR. “Provides expertise in wild edible plants and foraging through workshops, expeditions, teaching events, presentations, outdoor guiding, and outfitting anywhere in North America. Technical advising, curriculum development, and custom research services are also available. Emphasis is on the past, present, and future uses of wild edible plants and other foragables. We also offer publications: the Wild Food Adventurer newsletter, a national periodical on wild foods. The Wild Food Primer, a guide to studying wild foods. And a bookstore complete with reviews of the best books available.”
Kirsten Hale. AKA The Crazy Herbalist., Portland, OR. “I am a trauma informed herbalist passionate about the intersection of social justice, herbalism, trauma & magic. Trauma really sucks. It shifts us, changes us, forces us into a dance with personal and collective liberation that can feel, be and become overwhelming. Trauma survivors are some of the most creative, hard working, dedicated and passionate people I have ever met. I am so honored to connect and share what I have learned along my journey and to hold space for our mutual transformation.”
Jon Keyes: Hearthside Healing Portland, OR. I am a licensed professional counselor and herbalist with an emphasis on holistic ways of helping people suffering from mental and emotional distress. My practice is focused on helping people uncover their blocks, move through deep challenges and transform through therapy and the use of supportive herbs. I have also been specifically interested in traditional ways of treating mental illness such as depression and anxiety. In many indigenous cultures, mental illness has commonly been treated with the use of diet, herbs, ritual, prayer and sacred movement. In essence I view myself as a “folk counselor” and ally myself with the widely divergent and unique traditional ways of helping people integrate and heal from emotional distress.
Mt. Rose Herbs Blog: Eugene, Or. Great blog with lots of how-to tips. Packed with information.
Tara Rose: First Ways.com Portland Oregon. “My name is Tara Rose (formerly known as Becky Lerner) and I’m the Portland, Oregon-based blogger behind First Ways. I am that urban forager and herbalist you may have seen on the national TV shows “Brew Dogs” on Esquire Network and “Dark Rye” on Pivot Network; as well as on OPB TV in Oregon, NPR stations in Oregon and Washington, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Portland Monthly magazine, Orion magazine, Utne Reader, OPB TV, The Oregonian, and many other outlets. I’m also the contributor of the Pacific Northwest plants for the e-field guide that is Steve Brill‘s wonderful “Wild Edibles” iPhone/Android app.
“The Arctos School of Herbal and Botanical Studies seeks to connect people to the natural world and to each other. We believe that providing accessible healing knowledge within our communities is a radical and empowering act. At Arctos, our programs are intimate, with class sizes typically ranging from six to twelve students. Our community-based approach encourages students to engage in their own learning while supporting each other. Our work reflects our values of stewardship of the land, connection with the plants, and healing and justice for all people.”
“In 2005 the Cooperative Extension Office responded to requests by numerous elders and tribal health care workers who wanted more knowledge about traditional foods and medicines by creating a training program that serves Western Washington tribes. Since 2005, gatherings have been hosted by over 15 other tribes. Themes have included “Bringing Back the Harvest” at Quinault, “Spring Edibles” at Suquamish, “Creating Healing Gardens” at Skokomish, “Remedies for Arthritis and Inflammation” at Squaxin Island, and “Revitalizing Language and Traditional Plants” at Lower Elwha.”
“The Herbalist Training Program is designed for anyone who wishes to develop his or her skills as an herbalist in the Pacific Northwest bioregion. Our classes span the harvest season—from Poplar buds in the early spring to the roots of late fall. The program covers foundational herbal medicine topics while emphasizing the reawakening of a core way of knowing that encourages trust in our own senses and places authority in direct experience.”
“As a Traditional Western Herb School we study the teachings of the great sages of herbalism and holistic health that have come before us and we seek to integrate their wisdom with the best of modern ideas and research. The School of Traditional Western Herbalism offers beginner, advanced and clinical herbalist training courses. Each year can be taken individually (as stand alone courses) or together as part of the 3-year Clinical Herbalist Training Program. Our classes provide a comprehensive foundation for the beginning herbalist, as well as advanced skills needed by clinical herbal practitioners.
“The School of Evolutionary Herbalism offers integrated distance home study courses and live training programs in the art of herbalism. Our unique synthesis of Alchemy, Spagyrics, Medical Astrology, Traditional Western Herbalism, Ayurveda, and Indigenous traditions offers profound insights into the true nature of plant medicine and how it can be practiced in a way that facilitates transformational healing and the evolution of consciousness.”
Hawthorne School of Herbal Medicine: Sean Croke’s school in Olympia, Washington. Bioregional and hands on approach to herbal medicine classes.
Columbines School of Botanical Studies: Howie Brounstein, Heron Brae, Steven Yeager, Eugene, Oregon. “The Columbines School of Botanical Studies offers a unique educational program ranging from entry level lectures in community herbalism to a three year program including botany, ecology, wildcrafting, plant pharmacy, physiology, pathophysiology, and clinical herbalism. Operating for over three decades, we specialize in field programs where the majority of the classes are outside with the plants for a truly ‘hands on’ experience.”
Cedar Mountain Herb School with Suzanne Jordan, Mount Vernon, Washington. “Inspires and guides students to better health through medicinal plants and health education on many levels – including diet and stress management. CMHS’s hands-on, integrated botanical programs center on wild medicinal plants and their applications.
Cascadia Botanical Institute: Eugene, OR. ”The Cascadia Botanical Institute is a collective of professional herbalists and educators offering courses in the Pacific Northwest. The school teaches a range of skills from plant identification, cultivation, medicine making, herbal chemistry, holistic healthcare, food preservation and more. Through evening lectures, weekend workshops, and single day field trips, these stand-alone opportunities allow participants to focus on material that’s most relevant to their needs in an affordable and efficient way.
The Northwest School of Botanical Studies: Humboldt, Ca. “The Northwest School for Botanical Studies® (NWSBS) offers emerging practitioners an outstanding contemporary education in the art and science of herbalism. The comprehensive curriculum covers physiology, herbal materia medica, herbal medicine making, herbal therapeutics, constitutional medicine, field identification, formulation, and clinical skills. The NWSBS is dedicated to cultivating competency in professional herbalism by continually improving the standards of education and practice. “
School of Forest Medicine: Scott Kloos. “The School of Forest Medicine provides many ways for you to deepen your relationships with the plants of the Pacific Northwest and to find your way on the green path of plant knowledge. Our classes and courses interweave direct spiritual experience with practical, hands-on participatory work. We offer you the opportunity to find and connect with your plant allies and to remember your living bond with the elemental forces of nature. Through meditation, ritual, and song you will learn to work with the spirits of the plants and with the spirits and ancestors of this land, learning to be a vessel of healing and a messenger for the teachings of the forest.”
Herb-Pharm Intern Program: We are committed to the future of herbal medicine by educating and inspiring tomorrow’s herbalists, farmers and naturopaths. Our Herbaculture Program offers a rigorous and intensive hands-on immersion into the cultivation and use of medicinal plants at our certified organic herb farms nestled in the heart of the Siskiyou Mountains in GMO-free Josephine County, Oregon.”
Medicine Makers and Sellers:
I cannot list all the amazing people who are making herbal products in the Northwest as there are too many. I have chosen to list just a sample and focus on those who have a web based business and can mail directly to you. This category can be divided up into individuals, stores, aromatherapy and larger companies.
Understory Apothecary: Sean Croke, Olympia, Wa. Amazing medicine maker and fascinating conversationalist Sean Croke puts his heart and love into his medicines. Out of Olympia, Washington you can find fresh wildcrafted herbs and tinctures. “We specialize in Pacific Northwest wildcrafted and organically grown herbs.” Also check out Sean’s work with the Olympia Community Herbal Clinic.(Was the Dandelion Seed Community Health Project.)
Ryan Drum: Waldron Island, Wa. A master herbalist and one of our beloved elders who lives in Waldron Island north of Seattle, Drum is brilliant and is a specialist in the study of seaweeds and their benefits. He sells bulk wildcrafted herbs that grow on Waldron Island and nearby.
Heartwood Herbals: Sharin Cooper, Portland, OR. A lovely medicine maker from Portland, Oregon; her tinctures are made with love and care. Selling tinctures, sprays, salts and elixirs, she is a key member of the community and offers amazing herbal treasures.
Seed and Thistle: Lara Pacecho, Portland, OR. ”I prepare herbal medicine from herbs that I organically grow or ethically harvest from the forest. Each month you will receive seasonally appropriate medicine and in a variety of ways -including tinctures, cordials, medicinal tea blends, medicinal ghee, infused healing oils, salves, vinegars and fresh herbs! The CSH is a way to support a local clinical herbalist and a step towards taking your health in your own hands!”
Spring Creek Herbs: Abigail Singer. Portland, OR. “Spring Creek Herbs is a small, Portland-based herbal medicine business started by Abigail Singer, a Community Herbalist committed to social, environmental and health justice. Abigail offers one-on-one health consultations and high-quality herbal medicine products to the Portland community.” See also her work with the Sister’s of the Road free herbal clinic.
Cascadia Folk Medicine: Scott Kloos. Portland, Or. Tinctures made with deep love and reverence. “All of our herbs are ethically wildcrafted or organically grown in the mountains, valleys, and gardens of the Cascadia Bioregion. They are harvested at their peak of energetic potency with the utmost care and respect and processed by hand in small batches, fresh or carefully shade dried, using USP (United States Pharmacopeia) grade, organic grain alcohol and standardized tincturing ratios to ensure the highest quality and consistency.”
Camilla Blossom Bishop: Portland, OR. ”I have a great love for nature elementals, nature spirits, plant and devic realms. I am a Flower Essence Alchemist, Certified Aromatherapist, and co-creator of The Columbia River Gorge Flower Essences and Hawaiian Creation Essences. I founded and owned a flower essence/aromatherapy products company for 14 years before moving into my current work.
Since 2000, I have co-created over 200 flower essences and other vibrational medicines including The Columbia River Gorge Flower Essences, Hawaiian Creation Essences, Earthwalker from Sedona, and the ancient teacher tree Bristlecone Pine.”
Rooted Grounds: Alexis Gandara, Portland, OR. “When sharing these moments, experiences with me or when buying any of my products you are supporting my passion, my calling to be a medicine woman . I know that I am suppose to share my experiences and teachings that the plants have gifted me, my awakenings in my journey to health and in this honor our elders and our children.
My inspiration to make this herbal line is to put something out there that I love, that I use in my home and with my family and share it with you. I want to help people rebuild a relationship with their bodies, with nature and with health. I want to share with you what I am passing down to my children and what they will pass on to theirs.”
Medicine Garden: Gradey Proctor and Sue Ellen, Portland, OR. “We firmly believe plants are our teachers and allies, providing us with knowledge, nourishment and support as medicine. Our goal at the Medicine Garden is to empower our community through plants. We do this by offering our Fresh Plant CSH (Community Supported Herbalism) and our medicinal plant nursery. In addition to the CSH and nursery we offer educational community gatherings to help us connect to the plants, our health and each other. Our small scale approach allows us to sink into the plants needs as well as our communities.”
Green Witch Apothecary: Nicole Pepper, Portland, OR. Nicole makes magical flower and animal essences, ritual bath salts and sprays with deep love and care.
Cosmophilia Herbals: Jaysen Paulsen, Portland, OR. Selling a variety of herbal tinctures, tea blends, elixirs, flower essences and sprays. Jaysen specializes on creating astrological herbal products associated with planets. Brilliant.
Organic-Unity Sajah Popham, southern Oregon.: “All of our spagyrics begin with the highest quality of starting plant material. All of the herbs we work with are either ethically wildcrafted by ourselves or other local herbalists, or are organically cultivated. We work with fresh herbs whenever possible in order to extract and preserve the vital force of the plants. The spirits of the plants are always honored during our work, from the initial prayer prior to harvesting, to the bottling, labeling and sealing- we maintain a high level of respect for the spiritual integrity of the plants and consciously infuse that into everything we do.”
Fire Rose Farms: Joyce Netishen. Olympia, Wa. Joyce was one of my main teachers in the mid-90’s. She has a busy practice and also makes amazing handcrafted herbal tinctures, flower essences, elixirs, etc. Study with her if you have the chance.
Portland Ashwaghanda Farm: Michael Hanna, Jeff Johnson. Portland, OR. ”We grow and process Ashwagandha in the Portland, Oregon area to provide it’s innumerable benefits to people working hard and in need of support. ”
Fettle: J.J. Pursell, Portland, OR. Fettle is a store located in Portland’s Hawthorne district that makes its own line of herbal tinctures and products that can be purchased on line or at their store. Fettle “offers the most vital herbal medicine available. Our job is to ensure that every product and bulk herb originates from a place of extreme integrity and that you, our customer, is truly receiving the best there is to offer in the western world of botanical medicine.”
The Herb Shoppe: Amanda Furbee, Portland Or. Located in the Mississippi neighborhood of Portland, OR, The Herb Shoppe is a store that sells a variety of high quality bulk herbs, tinctures and other products. A lovely soul with great care for the quality of the herbs at her store.
Clary Sage Herbarium: Laurie Books, Portland, OR. Recently moved to a larger location in the Alberta district, Clary Sage is a store that sells a variety of bulk herbs, tinctures, sprays, and flower essences. One of the main heart and soul centers of the Portland herbal community.
Radiance: Wynia Williams, Olympia, Wa. This was one of the first places that turned me on to herbal medicine when I was going to Evergreen in the early 90’s. A big, light bright store with a wide selection of bulk herbs and products. One of the centers for herbal medicine in Olympia.
The Herbalist : Tinctures, teas and bulk herbs from Seattle based store “The Herbalist”.
Mt. Rose Herbs: Eugene, OR. This is the one of the major centers of the Northwest herbal world. Since the early 90’s they have been selling a wide variety of bulk herbs and products. Mt. Rose has been focused on selling ethically wildcrafted and sustainably farmed organic herbs as well as starting the Free Herbalism Project, “an ongoing series of free community events featuring visiting herbalists.”
Pacific Botanicals Mark and Margie Wheeler, Grants Pass, OR. A larger company that sells herbs, spices and seeds.
Strictly Medicinal Seeds: Richo and Mayche Cech, Williams, OR. Medicinal plant seeds, organic and wildcrafted herbs. “We rely on a really great team of local folks to help us get the seeds and herbs out to the people, seeds nourished by our homegrown compost, pure mountain air and water, our love and our breath. We believe in what we do, and we believe in you. May you eat yummily right out of the garden, and heal yourselves always with good wholesome herbs.”
Eclectic herbs: Edward Alstat, Oregon. “Eclectic Institute was founded by naturopathic physician and registered pharmacist, Dr. Ed Alstat, within the clinic dispensary of the National School of Naturopathic Medicine in 1982.” This is a company that sells numerous herbal and fungal extracts, capsules and freeze dried powders.
Ojas naturals. Portland, OR. Alcohol and honey extracts, oils and sprays.
Golden Lotus: Oregon herbal company that works with Western, Chinese, Ayurvedic and Amazonian herbs. “Golden Lotus Botanicals was founded on the commitment to preserving herbal traditions. Drawing from the rich traditions of herbal alchemy, the empirical experience of generations of masters along with the findings of modern science, allow us to support the preservation and applications of herbal traditions. We provide herbalists and holistic practitioners with the highest quality selections of botanical compounds along with complete customization flexibility.”
Alchemical Solutions Ashland, OR. If you want to make herbal medicines its best to use high quality organic alcohol for making extracts, this is a great company. ”The idea for an organic distillery originated from our realization that herbalists often went through the trouble to obtain the highest quality ingredients as possible while having to settle for low quality, conventionally produced alcohols from corporate giants, usually only available in large quantities. Thus, in the beginning we started making our small-batch, high quality organic alcohol to support herbalists and small herbal medicine companies who desired higher quality alcohols in smaller quantities.”
Liberty Natural Products: Near Mt. Hood, Oregon. ”Liberty Natural Products is a grower, importer and wholesale distributor of over 1,200 botanical ingredients and natural products. We are proud to offer the highest quality and lowest prices from vial to drum sizes. Our company headquarters is located at the Oregon Lavender Farm, a 90 acre certified organic herb farm where we grow and distill 25 acres of lavender. “
Pharmacopia Herbals: Nome McBride, Carissa McBride, Olympia, Wa.: “Pharmacopia Herbals is proud to offer Ecologically Formulated™ products that are made from botanicals that we can grow on our farm our wild harvest in the Northwest. In some instances we collect plants from other parts of North America and Central America. While contemporary culture terrorizes the landscape with industrial logging and mass agriculture people forget that we are neglecting the medicines that grow beneath those old-growth forests and in between the rows of corn and beans. With the help of you, our customers, Pharmacopia Herbals is here to keep the spirit of Nature alive and preserve the inherent power we all have to choose natural remedies for our own self care.”
Herb Pharm: Williams, OR. Another major center for herbalism in the Northwest. This company is primarily known for selling high quality organic herbal tinctures and they are sold throughout the country.
Ring Botanicals: Jessica Ring. This is an amazing company that offers fantastic essential oils and hydrofoils distilled from her farm and land nearby. There is magic in her eyes and her medicine.
Cascadia Terroir: Erin Zvonchenko, Olympia, Wa. Another amazing essential oil company from Olympia that primarily focuses on distilling oils from local conifers. Just brilliant work.
Rosarium Blends: Catamara Rosarium. “Rosarium Blends makes their own ritual incense blends, essential oil blends, talismanic natural perfumes and Erotic Apothecary Line using the finest herbs, woods, resins and essential oils.”
House of Orpheus Marcus McCoy. “Marcus R. McCoy is the owner and perfumer behind the house of Orpheus. Marcus has dedicated years of his life to the study of the magic of scent. Marcus prides himself in creating scents that transverse liminal boundaries. He named his perfume house after Orpheus, the progenitor of the Orphic mysteries a legendary musician, poet, and prophet.”
This is a partial list of some of the best Northwest herbal conferences that have been happening annually.
Pacific Women’s Herbal Conference: “Women gathering in the Wise Woman Tradition of Healing. Join us for a gathering of women in the Cascadia foothills, swimming in a warm lake, under a full moon lunar eclipse, fire circles, delicious local food…If that is not enough, we’ll throw in experiential workshops, a talent show, massage, reiki, herbal medicine making, practical skill building, herb walks and so much more to nourish and tonify ourselves, our families, our planet.”
Breitenbush Herbal Conference: “The Breitenbush Herbal Conference is an annual gathering for herbalists and healers of all kinds. People come from all corners to celebrate and learn from some of the most inspiring teachers in our herbal community. The healing waters and ancient forests of Breitenbush provide an unforgettable setting for this gathering. Workshops, demonstrations and herb walks appeal to all levels of students. Fine handmade goods and books are available in the Herbal Marketplace. Much joy and laughter is to be shared during the Talent Show and Raffle. One can also take a hike along one of the forest trails, a meditative walk through the large labyrinth, start the morning with an energizing yoga practice or receive a healing massage after a day of soaking in the sacred springs.” This conference is held at the Breitenbush hotsprings resort in the Willamette National Forest of Oregon.
Dandelion Seed: Held at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, this is a “conference based on accessibility, empowerment, dismantling oppression, supporting community health and building herbal skills.”
NW Herb Symposium Whidbey Island, Washington late summer gathering.
Viridis Genii: “Our goal is to be the first herbal conference to offer a holistic multidisciplinary and multicultural awareness and approach to the study of plants from the perspective of magick. herbal alchemy, wortcunning, ethnobotany and the magickal use of plants, Wild crafting with spirit, Herbal Astrology, Medicine with a focus on spiritual herbal practice, Shamanry, Witchcraft, Indigenous Traditional plant wisdom, Entheogen studies and ritual practice, The role of plants in ceremonial magick traditions, Herbal Charms and Talismans, Artists whose main body of work focuses on plants, craft brewing and distilling, and much more.” Held outside of Portland near Damascus, Oregon.
Green Gathering: “The Green Gathering Herbal Conference is an annual educational event for novice and seasoned practitioners in the Pacific Northwest. We gather in the spirit of advancing knowledge, promoting a system of sustainable healthcare, and honoring the healing traditions of our bioregion. Our goal is to elevate the practice of plant medicine and make it accessible to a wider audience.”
Portland Plant Medicine Gathering: “A full weekend of workshops on community care, radical health, herbal first aid, plant magic, flower essences, medicine making, ethical wild-crafting, botanical identification, herbal gardening, and more! Together we celebrate the beauty and strength of plants, community,and our wild hearts.”
Traditional Roots Herbal Conference: “This conference is for clinicians, community herbalists and everyone interested in herbal medicine as a key component to reclaiming health. National College of Natural Medicine. Portland, Oregon. We’ll have sessions covering constitutional evaluation, herbal energetics, formulation, hands-on medicine making, gardening with medicinal plants, bioregional herbalism and wildcrafting, and botanical field applications.”
Plants Enchant: Salem, OR. “This gathering of plants, people, and songs, can be summed as: Singing Alive + herbal gathering = Plants EnChant! It is intended to develop and strengthen ‘medicine culture’ thru the healing arts of holistic education, song-sharing, life-as-ceremony, and supportive community. It recognizes ‘medicines’ as the force of nature that cures dis-ease, that takes us from being sick to being free. This event aligns more with ‘deep herbalism‘, which cultivates a relationship thru plants to the healing presence of Nature, a pro-active approach to health, and less with the ‘shallow herbalism’ of ‘take the tincture and make the symptoms go away’, a greener version of the pharmaceutical model. It recognizes plants as the greenprint of all medicines. It acknowledges plants as elders in the society of nature as it exists on planet earth, and therefore teachers to the adolescent human species.”