Learn from Our Experience

Our Executive director

Thomas Avery Garran has been studying plant medicine for over 30 years. He lived in China from 2007—2023 and received his PhD in Materia Medica studies and Plant Pharmacy at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences: National Center for Materia Medica Resources and Daodi Herbs (the first non-Chinese recipient of this degree). He has a masters degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine and certificate in herbal medicine from the American School of Herbalism.

Dr. Garran is the author of 2 books on the use of Western herbs in Chinese medicine Western Herbs According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (2008) and Western Herbs in Chinese Medicine (2014). He is the translator (with annotation) of the first book on growing and processing daodi Chinese herbs Chinese Herb Cultivation (2019) and the first men’s health book published in Chinese medicine (mid-17th century) forthcoming. He is also the co-translator of a free e-book on the initial response to the covid outbreak by the Chinese medicine community in China.

Dr. Garran is the executive director of the East West School of Herbology and president of Herb Whisperer, which focuses on education, as well as agriculture and processing of medicinal plants. He now resides in Western Massachusetts where he and his wife are building an herbal sanctuary and educational center.

Thomas Avery Garran

Our Founder

Dr. Michael Tierra L.AC., O.M.D., a founder of the American Herbalists Guild, is author of numerous books on health and herbal healing including The Way of Herbs, The Natural Remedy Bible, The Way of Chinese Herbs, (Pocket Books), and Planetary Herbology.

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.

Michael Tierra

Our Co-Founder

Lesley Tierra, L.AC., Dip. Ac. NCCAOM, Dip. CH NCCAOM, RH, is a California State and nationally certified acupuncturist and herbalist. In her practice she combines acupuncture, herb and food therapies along with lifestyle and inner growth counseling. She is a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild and author of The Herbs of Life (Crossing Press, 1992), Healing With Chinese Herbs (Crossing Press, 1997, also published in India, 2016), A Kids Herb Book (R.D. Reed, 2000, also published in Japan and Estonia), Healing with the Herbs of Life (Crossing Press, 2003), and Metaphor-phosis (Balboa Press, 2012). She collaborated with Michael Tierra to produce the East West Herb Courses and co-authored with him Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Vol I & II (Lotus Press, 1998).

Lesley Tierra, L.AC., RH is a California State and nationally certified acupuncturist and herbalist. In her practice, she combines acupuncture, herb and food therapies along with lifestyle and inner growth counseling. She is a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild. Lesley is the author of The Herbs of Life, published by Crossing Press in 1992 and Healing with Chinese Herbs, also published by Crossing Press in 1997. She collaborated with Michael Tierra to produce the East West Herb Course and is its dean. She also co-authored Chinese-Planetary Herbal Diagnosis with Michael and Chinese Herbal Medicine (Lotus Press). She has also co-authored with Michael a two volume text on Chinese Herbal Medicine, published by Lotus Press. In addition she has written a special herbal for young children.

Lesley is a student of many spiritual disciplines and specially guides women on personal spiritual vision quests in the desert. In addition she is a photographer, dancer, cello student, a onetime synchronized swimmer athlete, and a mother/step-mother of five children.“Sickness and disease are in weak minds the sources of melancholy; but
that which is painful to the body, may be profitable to the soul.” —
Richard E. Burton

Lesley Tierra