Dr. Michael Tierra L.AC. OMD, AHG is one of the forerunners of the North American Natural Health movement and was amongst one of the first groups of acupuncturists to be licensed in the country. He began his herbal and natural healing studies in 1968 while living in a community in the Klamath National Forest in northern California. There he learned the wild forest plants and healing ways of the Karok and Yurok Indians.
Starting in 1970, Michael studied and apprenticed with Norma Meiers and Dr. Christopher in Vancouver, Canada, and began his Chinese medicine and acupuncture studies with Efrem Korngold, Foon Lee Wong and Mariam Lee in San Francisco.
Soon his studies channeled into practicing and teaching in San Francisco. Additionally, he began studying Ayurvedic medicine and yoga with Baba Hari Dass, which later precipitated his move to Santa Cruz, California. There in 1976 Michael started the first wholistic health school in Santa Cruz, called the Garden of Sanjivani, where he was the Director and teacher in residence.
Michael Tierra’s work spread and he began writing for numerous publications and teaching at many schools including Norma Meier’s Herb School in Vancouver, Canada, The California School of Herbology, Heartwood College, Esalen Institute, American Herbal Academy, Santa Barbara Center for Holistic Studies, Antioch University and Ojai Institute. Later he authored the nationally acclaimed herbals, The Way of Herbs, Planetary Herbology, The Natural Remedy Bible (with John Lust) and his East West Correspondence Courses in Herbology, a correspondence course in herbology and natural healing techniques.
During this time frame, Michael received his C.A. and N.D. degrees, studied Ayurvedic medicine in India for three months and Chinese medicine and herbology in China for one and a half months. He also received a distinguished achievement award for Master Herbalist from Dr. Christopher at the internationally recognized Herbal Symposium in 1979.
In 1989, he founded the American Herbalists Guild, an organization whose goal is to establish standards for the professional practice of clinical herbal medicine in the United States. He received his Oriental Medical doctor’s degree (OMD) from the San Francisco College of Acupuncture in 1987 and was part of the first group from the United States to study herbal medicine in China. He is co-founder of the American School of Botanical Medicine, lectures throughout the world and founded The East West College of Herbalism with David and Sarah Holland. The East West College of Herbalism is recognized as an accredited professional herbal college in the UK. Each year, in the spring, Michael and his wife, Lesley travel abroad to teach at the East West College.
Michael is the father of five children, including his daughter, Shasta who trained with him and has her own acupuncture and herbal practice in San Jose, California. He practices yoga, is an avid lover of the arts, especially music, a classical pianist, choral conductor and composer. In addition, he lives with and maintains a magnificent healing herb garden in Ben Lomond, California, located in the low-lying coastal mountains of Northern California adjoining Santa Cruz.
More information about Michael Tierra’s approach to herbal medicine can be found in this interview.