Enclosed please find my completed final exam for the East West Herb Course. I studied for the exam by rereading each lesson and related supplementary material. I retook each lesson exam, then compared it to the graded lesson exams returned from you. I did not use the open book method. I was thrilled to find how much more comprehension I had of the lessons on the second reading. Up until then, I was convinced that I hadn’t absorbed very much from the material. The second reading also convinced me that I’d made the right decision in choosing your course over the more singularly focused Western herbal courses. It was also very exciting to go through the test and discover that I knew more than I thought I did, as well as to be able to put together all the principles of what was covered by the lessons in trying to figure out the answer to a question, instead of just regurgitating the answer. Thank you very much for the opportunity to learn this material, and especially for the brilliant way in which it was presented. I’m excited at the prospect of what new things I’ll discover when I read the course lessons yet again! As you have said, this is just the beginning of a lifetime of herbal education. My involvement with this course over the past two years has been a wonderful experience. In addition to getting an education in herbalism, I feel that I’ve come to understand the world and human nature in a much more comprehensive and sensible way. Thank you for making this available. Kathryn Dagostino

Kathryn Dagostino

I am thoroughly enjoying Acupuncture school, and am doing very well, both scholastically and physically. I have found that the East West Course really paved the way for me in terms of familiarity with terminology and concepts.

Former Student in Acupuncture School

A recent graduate, who lived in Mexico at the time of enrollment sends us the following letters: This course has been just the right thing for me to be doing with this part of my life. It was a bit challenging to make medicines in Mexico where availability of good quality herbs was very limited, but in some ways that forced me to be creative and really start looking at the energetics of the herbs very early in the course. I entered into this study with the idea that I didn’t have to “do” anything with it once I completed it. It was my way of allowing that it might be simply something that I did just for myself. To stretch my mind, to get healthier, to have something to do. The course brought me very gently through the learning process, and took me from knowing very little to feeling like I know a piece of something very big. My interest and aptitude have developed with this study to the extent that I am considering enrolling in acupuncture school. And that to the extent that I am visiting schools this month, with the idea that I will possibly apply to attend in the Fall. Whenever I hold up this possible path next to other possible paths for my future, this is the one with juice in it for me. I want to thank you for this. I had hoped to find something to give an excited focus to my life, and this has done that. It took a lot of self-discipline to get all the way to this point, and yet because of my deal with myself at the beginning, I never felt a huge pressure. I did it because I was drawn to the knowledge. That feels really right. And the idea of taking it further to a point where I could support myself with it feels like Right Livelihood. So thank you for your part in all of that. Jane Sipe, New Mexico

Professional Herbalist Jane Sipe
Jane Sipe

The following letter was included with a student’s submission of Lessons 31 to 35 of the East West Course in December 2000: I didn’t realize how long it had been since last submitting a lesson. In December of 1997, I submitted Lesson 30. Wow, thanks for your patience! So much has been learned in that time and I know it will not all be readily reflected here in these last lessons. Much of this wait time was due to obtaining experience with the case studies needed in Lesson 33. In August 1999, I asked Dr. Tierra at the AHG Symposium if I was the longest standing enrollee. He assured me there were others also on the trail. I am really looking forward to receiving a Certificate of Completion for this course and continuing with education. I am enrolling in a course with The Institute for Educational Therapy in Cotati, California to increase my knowledge in the nutritional field. In the period since I last submitted a lesson I have been integrating what I have learned in this course. In addition to working full time in an Insurance agency, I have attended workshops and seminars related to herbal studies. I have really benefited by the audio tapes available from the symposiums, (I travel 40 minutes to work each day). I purchased the IBIS software in 1999 and have been using it for patient records and research. In addition to being registered with the state of PA for resale of herbs and related products, I have just started contributing health related articles to a new quarterly publication distributed locally. I of course enjoy the availability of the Planet Herbs forum and contributions by Bentley and reading pieces like The War on Herbs. The search for new and interesting information breaking in the health field is continuous. I just recently purchased a book from the book review list, The Atlas of Chinese Tongue Diagnosis. This is a cool tool, which I am looking forward to having the opportunity to use with patients. I am very encouraged when I look to my future in connection with the health field. This course and the additional books and courses which it has led me to, has given me a solid foundation from which to grow. The elements of energetics, and planetary approach to using the best of all systems offered has been of the utmost importance. I look forward to weaving these principles into all that I continue to learn. Thank you for the opportunity to be a recipient in the sharing of the knowledge and wisdom that this course has had to offer. Sincerely, Patricia Cornish, Bushkill, PA

Patricia Cornish

I completed my 36 lesson course the same year I graduated from the International College of TCM, Vancouver, BC. Herbs are a big body of knowledge, and really appreciated all the work Michael has put forth with his book Plantary Herbology, and the classifications. I started with the East west course and found it such a big body of knowledge, I was happy to be accepted into the college at Vancouver. I thought it would make it easier to remember.. I’m not as young as I was 20 years ago.. In fact I started all of these studies after I passed the age of 50.. (Don’t ever get in the way of a woman going thru menopause!!) When I saw the success that was possible with my living laboratory. ..(My husband) and herbs, my journey started on the route I find myself. The East West Course was a major stepping stone for me and saying Thank you is totally inadequate.

Camellia Pratt, D.TCM (Doctor of TCM from International College of TCM, Vancouver); R.Ac, Certified Iridoligist; Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner. Graduated from the East West Herb Course 1998 doc.cam.pratt@yt.sympatico.ca
Camellia Pratt, D.TCM

Graduate of the East West Herb Course 1981 and also apprenticed with Michael (3 years in clinic) including one day weekly for two years with Lesley. The East-West Program broadened my perception of herbal healing and how I view clients, health and disease processes. It took me out of the realm of practicing West Herbal Allopathic medicine into what I believe is a complete system of herbal healing. The direct clinical work gave me the experience of working with clients in a more formal manner and an effective mechanism for providing follow up care. Everything I do with herbal medicine which has included writing articles and books, teaching, researching, working with industry, and herbal politicking has been based on the desire to what is best for the client; what information do they need to know in order to use herbs both safely and effectively? How do we insure the quality of the herbal products that are available? What types of regulations or standards are needed to bring herbal medicine to the forefront of American health care? What kind of educational standards are needed for professional medical herbalists? When contemplating such issues we need to remain cognizant of how this will ultimately benefit the client and step beyond our own personal beliefs to do what is best for them. Having direct clinical experience allows you to do this.

Roy Upton, Planetary Formulas General Manager (additional bio information is posted on our bulletin board). herbal@got.net
Roy Upton, Planetary Formulas General Manager

I am a practicing herbalist and Polarity Therapist with an office and a pharmacy and regular clients. The main reason clients some to see me, is as an herbalist. The herb course has been the main training. Though I am continuing the studying on a nearly daily basis, the Chinese Diagnostic Model remains the model I use in my practice. The East West training has been invaluable and thorough. I have experience this in my continued study of Chinese herbal medicine. I have found I can read, understand and make use of just about any of the books or articles I have come across, may they be from Maciocia, Bob Flaws, Subhuti Darmananda, older texts, as well as the many other articles from varying sources in print and used by TCM practitioners. Though I suspect that it depends on how much a student puts into the course study, since it is a self study course. What you put in is what you get out. I believe the seminars are a must, as are the online classes. Though I haven’t participate in a formal mentorship program as of yet, I do have people I dialog with on a regular basis, both in Chinese medicine and Western herbal medicine. I find this dialog invaluable, not only to a particular case, but also in furthering my understanding of the often very complex issues clients find themselves with.

Bodi Meleney, EWCH
Chinese Herbalist, RPP (Registered Polarity Practitioner, Graduate of the East West Herb Course, Spring 2001)

The Herb Course provided an excellent foundation for beginning to apply my growing knowledge of the language and medicines of Chinese medicine. Even more important, the support and encouragement the Michael and Lesley continue to provide their former students, particularly in relationship to being active in the AHG is excellent, and provides yet further opportunities for students to enhance their involvement in both the professional and personal aspects of the botanical medicine community. The new and improved look of the course, including the inclusion of indexing, makes the course even more accessible than when I took it over ten years ago.

Aviva Romm, Certified Professional Midwife, Herbalist, AHG, President, American Herbalists Guild, Executive Editor, JAHG, Graduate of the East West Herb Course in 1992. Avivajill@aol.com
Aviva Romm, EWCH
Aviva Romm, American Herbalists Guild Editor

Michael Tierra was my mentor for approximately 1.5 years outside of my course studies, through 400 patient hours of clinical practice. This was an extremely rewarding piece of my education, and one I highly recommend for students who are serious about becoming good practitioners of herbal medicine. I feel the mentoring boosted my knowledge and confidence, and brought together “loose ends” in my training. It gave me the discipline needed to keep good files on my clients and to move in a logical progression using Traditional Chinese Medicine methodology. I presently see approximately 20 people per month for both herbal consults and massage work. Without the course, I doubt I would have had the confidence in my abilities to go out and open an office on my own. What drew me to East – West was the uniqueness of the course. It is comprehensive and includes Chinese, Ayurvedic and western herbs and principles. I had already learned much TCM theory, and had some knowledge of western herbs, but this course brought together all the loose ends of my learning and solidified my commitment to helping people by means of botanical medicines. As a mother and a woman who spends her time in a bustling variety of work-related activities, I especially looked forward each year to the week-long seminar held deep in the Redwood forest. It was a magical and restful time for me, even though it was challenging for my mind. The comraderie between the herbalists, the patience and sensitivity of the teachers, great food and serene surroundings are all blessings I still hold dear and will never forget. May my words enhance an already exceptional program.

Jill Ruttenberg, practicing clinical herbalist, a massage therapist certified in Shiatsu and Swedish massage, a freelance writer and yoga instructor. Graduated from East West School of Herbology in 2000. rembox@aol.com
Jill Ruttenberg
Jill Ruttenberg, Clinical Herbalist

I am presently in private clinical practice (office in my home). My main therapy modality is botanical medicines, and the East West Course has been foundational in developing my ability to use Chinese (and some Ayurvedic) herbs in my practice. Also, the assessment techniques (Oriental Diagnosis) have also broadened my scope of perception and observation relative to understanding and treating the health/illness concerns of my patients. I believe that the East West Herb Course has played a significant role on rounding out my abilities as both a healer and an herbal medicine practitioner. I am currently completing the case study requirement for Lesson 33. I also had the good fortune to spend a week with Michael and Lesley during one of their annual seminars in California, which left me with many pleasant and indelible memories (and lots of useful knowledge). As I have introduced more of Chinese/Ayurvedic herbs/philosophies into my practice, it has become apparent that people are really intrigued by the perspectives and approaches of these two forms of traditional medicine. I can’t tell how many times I have heard “Oooos”, Ahhhs” and “Wows” after doing a history intake on someone and follow that with a tongue diagnosis that almost invariably reveals many of the things that were discussed in the patients history.

Howard Silvestre, Registered Herbalist AHG, CCCH, AP hbsilvestre@powercom.net
Howard Silvestre, Registered Herbalist AHG, CCCH, AP

I am a professional clinical herbalist, who has recently founded my own herbal clinic and herb pharmacy. It is called Four Winds Natural Healing Center and Herbal Dispensary. I do traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, European, Eclectic, Native American, and Western herbalism. I also incorporate some Kanpo and rainforest based practices. I have a full on site Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic herbal pharmacy. Most all the western herb I hand harvest in the wild and make into medicine by hand. I also practice clinical nutrition and traditional Chinese food therapy. I also do some accessory Chinese and Native American healing practices such as tuina, moxa, auricular therapy, pipe ceremonies, etc. I am also in the process of starting an herb school for the general public and a separate program for training health care practitioners. I feel the East West Herb Course has provided me an EXCELLENT foundation and has fostered deep, deep understanding of herbalism. After exploring every herbal studies program, I feel the East West School is simply the best for people who are looking to learn Planetary Herbology. It is the only school to adequately train people in all the world’s herbal traditions. There is a magical, alchemical process that takes place where you begin to embody the confidence, knowledge, and true understanding of herbal medicine. It should be strongly noted that the East West Course attracts some of the most creative, innovative, and brilliant minds in the nation. The course work itself is sheer brilliance and elegance. Michael has shown the way to integrate all the world’s healing systems, while retaining their uniqueness also. It is a belief I was pursing my whole life, but Michael guided me to putting all the pieces together. It is with great pride that I worked 3 years through the course. All the while is was as though Michael and Lesley are standing over your shoulder, grooming you, and guiding you ever so subtly. For me, there was some kind of really special spiritual presence connected with the course. The credibility of graduating from the program also has great respect nation wide. I have not walked into a health food store or met an herbalist who wasn’t familiar with Michael Tierra. It adds a great deal of credibility when people find out you have studied with him in California. Also, the East West Seminars are completely and absolutely AMAZING. Each year I have attended, it only gets better. I have formed life long friendships with fellow students each year. Many of us are now reflecting on our wonderful transformations after calling each other “colleagues”. I assure you, you will never meet a more extraordinary group than those guided to the seminars each year. The class work itself is intense, and takes months to completely absorb. Then there is the food, amazing. The atmosphere fosters healing, nurturing, learning, and friendships as the giant redwoods open up to share and guide your experiences. Lets not forget about the school staff itself, which is amazing. Michael, one of the torch bearers of herbal medicine who has led America out of its herbal dark ages into the new herbal renaissance. His insight, truthfulness, and inspired writing is unparalleled in herbalism. Lesley is a shining ray of light and hope who spreads her herbal knowledge with all who ask. A powerful medicine women herself. Jill, the school secretary, is a true angel who is pure delight to talk to and converse with (on the phone or in person). Michael and Lesley’s apprentices are uniquely diverse, inspirational, and extremely knowledgable. The herb school prepared me to become a full fledged practicing professional herbalist. I highly recommend the course to anyone who is self motivated and wants to truly understand the lost art of herbalism. Take advantage of the weekly chat rooms with Susan Kramer, she is an excellent herbalist. Attend all the East West Seminars, they will change your life and create a world wide network of herbal friends. Remember that anything is whatever you make of it. If you passionately pursue the coursework, you are far ahead of students who enroll in other on site alternative medicine programs but lack the heart and passion for herbs. Put all your heart and soul into your homework! Students need to remember that they can ask any questions when they mail in their homework. Take advantage of the opportunity! My lifelong visions are now being realized, as my herbal practice is up and running.

Nicholas Schnell, Clinical Herbalist, Nutritionist, RD, LMNT. Founder of Four Winds Natural Healing Center and Herbal Dispensary. Graduate of the East West Course June 2002. spiritbear4@msn.com
Herbalist Nicholas Schnell
Nicholas Schnell, Clinical Herbalist, Nutritionist, RD, LMNT

I have a private practice in Austin, Texas focusing mainly on the practice of Oriental Medicine. I have a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine and hold Diplomate status in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology with the NCCAOM. I feel that the Professional Herbalist course was an incredible learning experience. I recommend it highly. The course material is clear and cogent and Jill is an angel to talk to and answer questions. I cannot imagine any course offering a more comprehensive study of true Planetary Herbalism. I cannot thank Michael and Lesley Tierra enough for creating such a beautiful and complete course. The integration of Eastern and Western herbal traditions is a critical work in progress and it is our responsibility as herbalists to passionately strive toward this goal; this spirit is alive and well in the pages of the East West Course. Namaste and please feel free to email.

Craig Williams, EWCH
Craig Williams, L.Ac., Clinical Herbalist AHG

Jill, I am enclosing lessons 31-35. In finishing up these last lessons, I found it was really a very iterative process. I was working on the essays (not the test parts) interchangeably as I was integrating all that I have been learning. I really enjoyed these last lessons the most of all in the course. They really challenged me to apply and think about what I have been learning. But mostly, they helped me realize how deeply I have internalized what I’ve learned in this process. It has been an incredible journey. My unending thanks to you, Lesley, Michael and Ben for facilitating this journey. I am very much looking forward to seeing you in April. Take good care! http://michelecollinsherbalist.com/

Michele Collins Vergara, RH (AHG), MPH, East West Herb School Graduate
Michelle Collins

Dear Michael and Lesley, I don’t expect you to remember me these days, but I began my studies with you in 1984 and loved your course. I got as far as the completion of the certificate level. Then, deciding I wanted to make it my career, I had to take on a new course in Australia with a diploma recognized here. Although recognized, courses here are no where near the content or enjoyment your course provides. I had to tell you that. After all these years I have gone back to your lessons and am loving them all over again. I’ve done many courses in-between, but always return to yours. Is is so interesting, with information from experienced souls such as yourselves. I had to thank you so much for be my first teachers and my best. With the changes in the world and in our lives today, I’m happy to have you as my teachers and look forward to being part of your course again. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Carol Haerse, NSW, Australia

I’ve briefly mentioned this to Michael, but it bears repeating:  what you and Michael have accomplished with the school and your books in the world of herbal medicine is seminal.  Overtime I’ve come to realize that the comprehensive, in depth traditional healing concepts and techniques provided by the East West School is somewhat rare in the new paradigm of herbal medicine teachings.  In some instances herbs are used as drugs, ie use this for that.  The term formulation is used without much understanding of how and why.  So much of what’s offered out there is bits and pieces of this and that without the whole being the sum of its parts.  I see this at seminars where new natural products and “protocols” are bottled and promoted in an attempt to profit from the burgeoning health care market.  Quite honestly, I don’t think I could help people with that type of understanding.  It’s the root, branch and whole person rhythm that works.  The little that I can accomplish in the total scheme of things is because of what I’ve learned from both of you.  This has been a real highlight in my life.

K. Stacey. May 2010