Pacific School of Herbal Medicine Masthead

"Do not say ‘In my experience' until you have been in practice at least ten years. Even then, use the term sparingly or not at all."
Author unknown

Queen Anne's Lace against the sky (daucus sp.)

Queen Anne's Lace (daucus sp.)

About the Teachers

Teaching Staff: All our teachers are actively working as healthcare practitioners, as well as being experienced wildcrafters, and community health organizers. Our current teachers all have been practicing medicine for at least nineteen years. Our teachers, coming from diverse backgrounds, practicing and teaching in a variety of styles and modalities, are known in their fields for their ability to demonstrate, facilitate and inspire clinical excellence. Classes are never taught by practitioners with less than ten years of clinical work, nor are they ever taught by students. We honor the traditions of medicine by giving students the richness, depth, and breadth of experience that only dedicated and seasoned clinicians can impart.


Susan Claypool is a midwife who has been attending birth at home since 1983 and is the mother of two. She is well known for her ability to demonstrate and facilitate clinical excellence. She has caught babies birthing head first, face first, butt first, feet first, and two at a time. She was suspended from kindergarten in 1959 for drawing sperm and ovum in the sandbox for the benefit of her peers. She has been a midwifery educator since 1993, and provides counseling to women and families, and consultations to birth professionals.

Nam Singh is a practitioner of traditional Taoist health sciences as well as an accomplished chef, and a specialist in cooking with Chinese herbs. He has collaborated on the well received book Between Heaven and Earth, a Guide to Chinese Medicine. Mr. Singh was one of the chefs at the famed San Francisco Monsoon restaurant. He has been practicing and teaching in Northern California for twenty years and has taught at Sonoma State University, California School of Herbal Studies, the Pacific School of Naturopathic Medicine, Antioch West University, and the College of Marin. Nam Singh is a graduate of the Tai Pei Institute of Traditional Pharmacology and the Tai Pei College of Acupuncture, Taiwan, Republic of China.

Iyalode (Kathi) Kinney was fortunate enough to study plant medicine, plant craft and gardening with elders in her family and other black women in surrounding areas and abroad. She grew up picking herbs in the open spaces of Bay Area. She has degree in Ornamental Horticulture. She continued to learn and remember how to bring people and plants together in harmony from the people of various cultures traveling in the Peace Corps and living abroad in Africa, Australia, the Amazon, Quito, Ecuador, and Mexico. She has been a "guerrilla gardener" transforming vacant lots in the East Bay into edible/medicinal gardens for various communities. She has been Lead Composting and Gardening Educator at SLUG, Garden Coordinator in West Oakland for EBUG, taught composting and gardening at public schools, and is building an edible schoolyard with youth at West Oakland Community School. She works with BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency) where her classroom is the 59th Street garden in Oakland, a living/learning laboratory, where the main focus is on inspiring the disenfranchised to remember/learn how to grow their own food, herbs (medicinal, culinary, aromatic, economic), native plants, and to bring wildlife to the garden, etc...

Óscar Roberto Álvarez, Analyst in Communication and Cultural Behavior, and Director of Spanish Fluency Programs (SFP), has a twenty-year international teaching background in both public and private universities. He offers instruction in Spanish language and culture to non-Hispanic professionals. He also writes a column: Global Views for Mainichi newspaper (the oldest Japanese daily) and for International Press Japan Co. In 1985, Óscar Roberto Álvarez began his teaching career at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico. Since 1996, he has offered Spanish language and culture seminars at the University of California (Berkeley and San Francisco), Samuel Merritt School of Nursing, Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Children's Hospital Oakland.

Adam Seller, school director, is an herbalist of Hungarian-American descent with twenty two years experience providing health care professionally, twenty of them practicing herbal medicine, working as a client advocate, wildcrafting, making medicines, teaching people about plants outdoors and community health organizing. He still makes house calls. His clinical work emphasizes a constitutional approach based in western physiology, and a client centered harm reduction model of care. His long standing association with public health clinics has brought a much needed public health perspective to the field of herbal medicine through his work as a teacher and therapist. He subscribes to the radical notion that women are people: feminism. He has been a visiting lecturer of Physiology at The Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences and has been on staff at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. He has taught at UC Berkeley, UCSF Medical School, Harm Reduction Coalition, Department of Public Health in San Francisco, Breitenbush Herb Retreat, New College of California, the S.F. Public School district, Northwest Herbal Faire, Ohlone Center of Herbal Studies, the Ecology Center, San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, Scarlet Sage Herb Company, the Berkeley Free Clinic, the Rainbow Grocery Collective, Strybing Arboretum and in wild places up and down the west coast. He has published in Nosh, Mudflap, and 3 Dollar Bill and has done consulting for numerous periodicals including Mother Jones, Time, Newsweek, and E Magazine. He studied herbal medicine at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine with Michael Moore, and with Jane Bothwell, Rosemary Gladstar, and Cascade Andersen-Geller. The greater part of his unofficial education came through working closely with community and public health workers in the San Francisco Bay area. He can often be found staring at weeds in vacant lots.

Other teachers in the past have included Collette Gardner, Marilee Bigelow, Michael Moore, and Kevin Spelman.

Teacher Requirements and Application to Teach

Dear Prospective Teacher,

Thank you for inquiring about teaching at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine. Below you will find our requirements for consideration to teach at the Pacific School.

These guidelines have been developed to serve the clients that our students will someday serve. They were developed by speaking with students, successful practitioners, and clients. Our primary goal is to train students to become clinical herbalists. To meet this goal we only consider teachers who are experienced practitioners, and who are currently in practice. All beginning level classes are taught by practitioners qualified to supervise advanced student clinic.

Our clinical training program's strength, effectiveness and success in training herbalists to provide healthcare is because our teachers actually practice what they teach. We ask that our instructors teach only from their experience as practitioners not from book or journal knowledge independent of their own clinical work and experience. The students already know how to read and are best served by the richness of experience you have gained as a practitioner.

Please keep in mind the requirements below are minimum requirements for consideration, but we do make exceptions for the exceptional (please be modest.)

Please circle what applies to you and include your years of experience.

  1. At least ten years of experience in clinical level practice as an herbalist continuous to date. (Clinical practice meaning work as a primary health care provider on an ongoing basis. The following do not count as clinical experience as a primary care provider for consideration here: giving advice in a retail or wholesale setting; giving casual advice to friends, family, or students; working in or supervising student clinic; writing about herbal medicine, or lecturing about herbs.

    Years of experience __________

  2. At least seven years continuous to date, worked out through clinical practice, each of the following: A detailed, thorough working knowledge of California or Western States plants:

    1. European, Asian, or African plants naturalized here.

      Years of experience __________
    2. A detailed thorough working knowledge of native medicinal plants:

      Years of experience __________
    1. Species in the same genus as Eurasian or Eastern States plants.

      Years of experience __________

    2. Most importantly, medicinal plants found just here

      Years of experience __________

  3. A detailed, thorough working knowledge of western physiology, including pathophysiology and diagnostic skills.

    Years of experience __________

  4. At least one of the following: A detailed, thorough working knowledge of western physiology especially in the areas of endocrinology, immunology, neurology, and intermediary metabolism.

    Years of experience __________

  5. The above category as a basis for western physiological constitutional approach including diagnostics and therapeutics.

    Years of experience __________

  6. A detailed, thorough working knowledge of a major energetic or elemental form of constitutional medicine, i.e. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Unani Tibb, or various Native American, or African traditions. (By this we do not mean the level learned in two or three weekend workshops.)

    Years of experience __________

  7. Wildcrafting or gardening medicinal plants.

    Years of experience __________

  8. Medicine-Making

    Years of experience __________

  9. Intuitive Practice, i.e. meditation, listening to plants and dirt. You get the idea, it's a heart thing.

    Years of experience __________

  10. Knowledge of the history of herbal medicine (recommended but not required).

    Years of experience __________

  11. Experience working with diverse populations (human) - strongly recommended, but not required.

    Years of experience __________

  12. Agreement not to engage in sexual activity with students in any form, even if student-initiated.

    Please initial here to agree __________

  13. Acknowledgment that you do not have a history of repeatedly seeking out or engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with your students, even if student welcomed.

    Please initial here to acknowledge __________

  14. Agreement to teach only from your own experience as a practitioner. (Sparingly occasional references to other herbalists' work is OK.)

    Please initial here to agree __________