OUR TEACHERS ARE THE HEART OF THE SCHOOL

Welcome to Our Stellar Lineup of
Medicine Making Course Instructors!

We’re beaming proud to showcase this fine array of herbal teachers and medicine makers.

Juliet Blankespoor & Bia

Juliet Blankespoor

Founder • Visionary • Creative Director

Juliet is a card-carrying plant geek who channels her plant obsessions through writing, photography, and herb gardening, along with a sizable houseplant predilection. She is an ambitious entrepreneur—her earliest enterprise was a get-rich-quick-scheme involving papaya trees (a monumental flop, on all accounts). Juliet’s been sharing her passion for plants for over twenty-five years, and has owned just about every type of herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now, an herbal school. After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in botany, Juliet continued her studies by attending programs at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, the California School of Herbal Studies, and the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. Her herbal teachers and lineage include 7Song, James Snow, and the legendary herbalist Michael Moore, now an ancestor.

Juliet founded the Chestnut School in 2007 and embarked on her writing career with the Blog Castanea in 2011. After many years of teaching intensive, all-outdoor herbal programs, Juliet has finally accepted she’s a raging introvert and her teachings are best suited to the virtual sphere, including her line-up of online courses. She has steered the school’s focus toward bioregional herbalism from its onset and is now shepherding it towards holistic herbalism and social justice. Leading the school is her biggest inspiration for personal growth, and the enterprise serves as fertile ground for economic activism.

Juliet abhors chaos, injustice, and small-mindedness to the point of fist-clenching moments of potty-mouth proportions. On a good day, she exhales, unfurls her palms, and creates beauty through art and compassion. Most importantly, she wears pink on the daily as an amulet to hard-heartedness and as a rose-torch of hope for humanity. 

Her first book,  The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies, published in April of 2022. A detailed herbal reference, decadent cookbook, and garden manual all in one, The Healing Garden is an essential guide to designing the herb garden of your dreams and growing 30 of the most healing medicinal plants on the planet with time-tested organic methods. It is written for home gardeners and anyone looking to bring the therapeutic benefits of healing herbs into their garden, kitchen, and apothecary. Plus, it comes with a set of incredible bonuses that you can learn more about in the Healing Garden Gateway.

Asia Suler

Asia Suler is a writer, teacher, herbalist and energy worker who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC. She is the creator and concoctress behind One Willow Apothecaries, a small Appalachian-grown business that offers handmade and heartfelt medicine. She is also the muse behind Woolgathering & Wildcrafting, a blog detailing the potent magic of good medicine: plants and dreams, primitive skills and developing a deep connection with the land.

Asia began her journey into healing and plant-based medicine after early years of chronic pain. The experience— which pushed her into a deep search for healing, both within and without— led her to the altar of the green world, where she fell irrevocably in love with plants. She began her formal study of herbs with Juliet Blankespoor and the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and has continued to study, seek, listen and learn ever since. Asia’s work is a unique combination of western and energetic herbalism, stone medicine, earth-centered shamanism and intuitive healing. She holds a B.A. in English, Anthropology, and Native American studies from Vassar College and a Reiki Master degree. Asia teaches at schools and gatherings across the country and is blessed to work intimately with people and plants, spirit, and stones.

She is currently in the depths of working on her forthcoming book about intuition and earth-based living.

Asia teaches Medicine Making for the Herbal Immersion Program, Medicine Making Course, and Foraging Course, and she is also a recipe contributor for the Foraging Course.

Asia Suler

Introducing Our Brilliant Lineup
of Course Contributors

Our Herbal Medicine Making Course features an array of delicious food and medicine formulas and recipes as well as bonus lessons about the roots of herbalism, herbal accessibility, and traditional plant gathering practices from our guest contributors. We are thrilled to include these brilliant teachers in the course!

Brandon Ruiz

Brandon Ruiz

Brandon Ruiz is an Urban Farmer and Community Herbalist living in Charlotte, NC. He has established various gardens around the city, and runs Yucayeke Farms, a community farming and herbalism project focused on providing culturally-relevant foods and herbs to the surrounding community. His work prioritizes BIPOC, and focuses on providing easy and affordable access to medicines and educational information. His roots are in Puerto Rico, and he works with medicines from the Caribbean and Appalachia.

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz is a native Arizonan, living in one of the most edible and medicinal landscapes in the world. Following her family’s lineage, Felicia began training as a curandera (medicine woman) in her early twenties, working in cafes and coffee shops to make ends meet. Eventually Felicia would find success as an award-winning restaurateur, and later join over twenty-five years of Indigenous healing practices with food as medicine.

Recognized for her work with Indigenous foodways and decolonizing wellness, Felicia is passionate about sharing food + lifestyle as medicine across many platforms. Her book Earth Medicines: Ancestral Wisdom, Healing Recipes, and Wellness Rituals from a Curandera, has received praise from industry leaders including Padma Lakshmi, Dana Cowin, and Julia Turshen. Felicia’s work has been featured in Spirituality & Health, Forbes, Bon Appétit, and several other media outlets including The Original Americans episode on Padma Lakshmi’s Taste The Nation (Hulu). Felicia presents frequently around the country on traditional healing practices, culinary medicine, holistic wellness, and Native American food sovereignty for nonprofits, universities, and museums–including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz
Jade Shutes

Jade Shutes

Jade is the director and founder of The School for Aromatic Studies. Her school is internationally respected for providing balanced, progressive and inspiring education that is cultivating a new generation of aromatherapists. She has been sharing her love of the aromatic world for over twenty-five years through her numerous online programs as well as in person classes throughout the country. Jade is the author of the textbook Aromatherapy for Bodyworkers.  She served for many years as the president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy Association. Jade enjoys gardening, spending time with her son, reading and researching, making her own medicine from both herbs and essential oils, and just being outside in the natural world.

Dr. Jus Crea Giammarino

Dr. Jus Crea Giammarino

Raised with her Penobscot culture and Native American spiritual practices, Dr. Jus Crea Giammarino realized the healing powers of nature at a young age.  She received a Certificate in Herbal Therapeutics and attended the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies.  She received a Bachelor of Science from UMass, Amherst in ‘Ethnobotany and Holistic Health’, graduating magna cum laude from the Honors College.  Here she also received a Certificate in Native American Studies as well as completing premedical coursework.  She went on to receive a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the University of Bridgeport, College of Naturopathic Medicine graduating at the top of her class earning the award for ‘Academic Excellence in Naturopathic Medicine’.  She completed an advanced externship in pediatrics, women’s health, and family medicine as well as receiving advanced training in Sankaran Homeopathy.  She became an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Hospital in Bronx, NY and a certified practitioner in WTS Therapy.

Jus Crea has lectured extensively on Native American Herbology and leads ethnobotanical tours.  She teaches Native American cultures, histories, and traditions.  Previously she taught Nutrition at Springfield College and was a primary care physician in Brattleboro, VT.  Currently, Dr. Giammarino practices Naturopathic Medicine in Springfield, MA treating people of all ages. Visit her website for more information.

Khamé Abayé

Khamé Abayé’s love for naychur began as a child when she was the frequent helper with her mother’s plant sanctuary, which afforded her the opportunity to gain generational enlightenment and hands-on experience. As she grew, so did the sanctuary and her exposure and care for numerous plant species. While venturing into the world of adulthood, her wisdom of herbal healing and love for gardening continued to bloom.

In 2016, Khamé founded NAYCHURSLOVE LTD. CO., to offer bulk herbs, proprietary formulas, and life-centering tools. Khamé currently has an ongoing self-developed program known as an Herbal Integration Module to assist clients in rectifying bodily diseases and issues. She continues to serve with joy and gladness, spreading her love for naychur all over the world.  www.naychurslove.global

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Lara Pacheco

Lara Pacheco (they/them/she/her) is a Taíno, Latinx mamita that believes part of our collective liberation is accessed through decolonizing ourselves and weaving into the web of ancestral medicine.  Lara directly works through this realm with plants, fungi, puppets, music, and dance.  When not caring for their family, land, and creatures, Lara runs Atabey Medicine of Seed and Thistle Apothecary, an educational resource that centers Queer, Trans, and Gender fluid Black and Indigenous voices within herbalism.  In connection with their Taino roots, Lara is a behike training with the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle and also a Qi gong student with the Ling Gui International Healing Qigong School, and a student with POCA Tech Liberation Acupuncture program to further help bring access to care to everyone.

Lorna Mauney-Brodek

Lorna Mauney-Brodek is a traveling herbalist, medicine maker, wildcrafter and teacher dedicated to promoting diversity, environmental responsibility, and social justice through herbalism. Growing up “americana,” her health practices reflect the abundantly diverse influences of these lands to blend western medical herbalism, traditional Chinese five phase, Ayurveda, and southern folk.  Early barefoot adventures in the Appalachian foothills and global wanderings with tent-packing parents led to more formal trainings in plant medicine.  She completed an herbal residency with Michael Moore at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and her clinical internship at the Blue Ridge School for Herbal Studies. Lorna is the founder and director of the Herbalista Health Network, a web of clinical services, health education, and service opportunities that provide earth-based care to underserved communities.  Lorna teaches around the country and abroad, spreading the Herb Bus method and celebrating our capacity to build community through herbalism.

Lorna teaches Materia Medica in the Herbal Immersion Program and Foraging Course, and Aromatherapy and Hydrotherapy in the Herbal Immersion Program, Medicine Making Course, and Foraging Course.

Lorna Mauney-Brodek

Lucretia VanDyke

With a journey that began as a little girl mixing herbs, clays, and mud on her grandparents’ farm, Lucretia VanDyke has been in the industry for over 20 years. She is a Holistic Educator, Speaker, Herbalist, SacredSexologist, Ceremonialist, Spiritual Light Coach, Intuitive Energetic and Reiki Practitioner, Diviner, and world traveler with over 3000 hours of training. She has studied with some of the greats minds of our time and indigenous healers. Lucretia been a holistic esthetician and practitioner for over a decade focusing on integrating indigenous healing rituals, plant spirit medicine, and meditation into modern-day practices. She brings her vivacious spirit and message of self-love in her work to inspire others to embrace their unique beauty and purpose. Her work with herbs and sacred practices honors Women’s Wholeness Medicine, grief work, sexual trauma, ancestor connection, womb healing, self-empowerment, food alchemy, and holistic skin care. You can connect with Lucretia on FacebookInstagram, and on her website.

Lucretia VanDyke
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Marc Williams

Marc Williams is an ethnobiologist. He has studied the people, plant, mushroom and microbe interconnection intensively while learning to employ botanicals and other life forms for food, medicine, and beauty in a regenerative manner. His training includes a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture with a minor in Business from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies concentrating in Sustainable Development with a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. He has spent over two decades working at a multitude of restaurants and various farms and has traveled throughout 30 countries in Central/North/South America and Europe as well as all 50 states of the USA. Marc has visited over 200 botanical gardens and research institutions during this process while taking tens of thousands of pictures of representative plants and other entities. He has taught hundreds of classes to thousands of students about the marvelous world of people and their interface with other organisms while working with over 100 organizations and particularly as a Board of Directors member of the United Plant Savers and online at the website Botany Everyday.  Marc’s greatest hope is that this effort may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation.

Meghan Gemma

Meghan is one of the Chestnut School’s primary instructors through her written lessons, and is the principal pollinator of the school’s social media community—sharing herbal and wild foods wisdom from the flowery heart of the school to an ever-wider field of herbalists, gardeners, healers, and plant lovers.

She has been in a steady relationship with the Chestnut School since 2010—as an intern and manager at the Chestnut Herb Nursery; as a plant-smitten student “back in the day” when the school’s programs were taught in the field; and later as a part the school’s woman-powered professional team. Meghan lives in the Ivy Creek watershed, just north of Asheville, North Carolina.

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Sarah Nuñez

Sarah Nuñez was born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in North Carolina. Sarah is a cultural organizer and healer, weaving storytelling, art, hierbas, and movement building throughout her work. She is one of the founders of Aflorar Herb Collective which provides herbal community care and support to organizers, activists, and nurturers across the county. Currently, a resident of Asheville, NC, she organizes around immigrant rights, racial and economic justice, and education access and success for students of the global majority. As a Ph.D. candidate in Education, her research and teaching methods use testimonials and oral histories to uncover healing practices, wisdom, and knowledge of Latinx students in the South. You can learn more about Sarah here: Aflorar Herb Collective and Sarah Nunez Consulting.

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Herbal Medicine Making Course