Blue Ridge School Faculty

Core Faculty

CoreyPine Shane, RH (AHG), Holistic Clinical Herbalist, is Director of the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine and has been helping clients since the early 1990s by artfully blending Chinese and Western herbal traditions with a focus on local plants. As a seasoned wildcrafter, he has extensive knowledge of local plant identification as well as medicine making. He is an expert on herbal first aid, an experienced Street Medic and Wilderness First Responder.

He has taught and led plant walks across the country, including the Medicines from the Earth Symposium, International Herb Symposium, Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference, AHG Symposium, Wild Herb Weekend, Midwest Herb Fest, and the Montana Herb Gathering. He has written extensively on herbal medicine and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. CoreyPine believes that laughter is an essential part of any medicine chest, which is why he is a part of the “Wise Guy” school of healing.
Josh Fox is a plant-enthusiast with a great love for teaching.
He is a licensed acupuncturist and herbal clinician, incorporating both deep knowledge of Chinese medicine and nine years of Western herbal studies into his practice at Fox Herbs & Acupuncture.  
Josh is an experienced guide to our local abundance of plant food and medicine and regularly offers plant walks, workshops, and weekend retreats integrating physical and spiritual healing. 
When he's not working with plants, you might find him dancing, stilt-walking, or singing songs. 
Jamie Sparks is the Founder and Director of Herban Farmacy, Asheville's first Community Supported Herbalism (herbal CSA). She is also a massage therapist, offering therapeutic body work with herb-infused oils created and blended with her own hands. Jamie teaches programs to adults and children at herb schools, public schools, and various earth skills gatherings in the southeastern part of the country. She has also volunteered her time as an herbalist at the Ithaca Free Clinic and offered first aid and medical support at various gatherings. Jamie's herbal journey began with an ethnobotany class in 1995. She was reminded of our deep connections with the earth, and from that point on wanted to continue to be constantly reminded of that connection, as well as spread that wisdom. She continued to deepen her knowledge about the magic of plants as she earned a BS in Plant Biology at Ohio University, apprenticed with Juliet Blankespoor, studied at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, and worked with 7Song of the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine and the Ithaca Free Clinic. She continues to be awestruck by the plants of Southern Appalachia and is happy to call this region home. See www.herbanfarmacy.org for more on herbal shares in the CSH and educational opportunities.
Asia Suler is a writer, teacher, energy worker, and herbalist who lives amongst her gardens and large apothecary in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC.
She is the creator and concoctress of One Willow Apothecaries, an Appalachian-grown company that offers lovingly handcrafted medicines.
Asia teaches at gatherings across the country and is blessed to work with people and plants, spirit and stones.
​You can learn more about her healing practice and herbal medicines at www.onewillowapothecaries.com.
Marc Williams is an ethnobotanist. He has studied the connection between plants and people intensively while learning to employ botanicals for food, medicine, and beauty. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. He has spent over fifteen years working at a multitude of restaurants and various farms and has travelled throughout 24 countries in North/Central America and Europe. Marc has taught hundreds of people about the marvelous world of plants, people, and the interface between them. His greatest hope is that this information may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation. Learn more about Marc's Botany Everyday group at botanyeveryday.com.

Adjunct Faculty

Janet Kent is an herbalist, educator, gardener and writer.  
The child of two naturalists, Janet grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, learning the amazing diversity of regional wild flowers at an early age.   She began studying the medicinal uses of plants when she moved to a rich Appalachian cove high in the mountains of Madison county, North Carolina twelve years ago.  She lives there in her hand-built mud/straw home where she and her partner Dave Meesters maintain an ever growing herbal apothecary and medicinal & native plant nursery, Medicine County Herbs.  
They also host a full immersion residential herbal apprenticeship program, The Terra Sylva school, each summer.  Janet views herbal medicine as a means of reconnecting to the long tradition of herbalism in rural Appalachia and as a way to empower people to take their heath into their own hands.  
In recent years, she has focused on herbal approaches to mental health and self-published a book, Ease Your Mind: Herbs for Mental Health in 2014.  She believes in teaching others to grow, harvest and make their own medicine, thus making holistic health accessible to everyone.
Dave Meesters grew up in Miami, Florida and attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, He moved to Asheville, North Carolina in the winter of 1998. In 2003, his formal herbal training began with an apprenticeship with our very own CoreyPine Shane at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, and since then his experience has included organizing and staffing a free clinic in New Orleans in the months after hurricane Katrina, and starting and practicing at a free clinic in Asheville’s homeless day shelter.  Dave has plans to be involved with another herbal free or low-cost clinic in the future, but until then he sees clients privately and provides free care to the mountain folks in his rural Appalachian neighborhood, most of whom would rather see an herbalist than a doctor.
Dave sees herbalism as a way to provide a more appropriate, accessible, pleasurable, and effective form of health care than the dominant model, and as a means to bond and integrate ourselves with plants, the garden, and the wilds.  His herbalism is wedded to a life-long resistance to capitalism and the forces of domination and alienation, especially domination of and alienation from Nature.  His practice and his teaching reflect a deep evolving holism attained by listening to, honoring, embracing, and collaborating with the whole of Nature, and by his study of the threads connecting holistic physiology, energetics, ecology, gardening, systems theory, magic, alchemy and permaculture.
Lorna Mauney-Brodek is a traveling herbalist, apotheker, wildcrafter, and teacher. Growing up "Americana,” her health practices reflect the diverse influences of these lands, blending western European medical herbalism, traditional Chinese five phase, Ayurveda, eclectic 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, a clinical internship at the Blue Ridge School, and has continued study with Patricia Howell. She believes health care is a fundamental human right and provides free earth-based care at the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic and the Herbalista Free Clinic (aka the Herb Bus), a mobile clinic she founded in 2012.
Mimi Hernandez, MS, RH (AHG) comes from a background as a clinical herbalist, educator, and ethnobotanist. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the American Herbalists Guild and formerly held the position of Coordinator of the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical studies at Frostburg State University. With roots in Asheville, NC, Mimi mentors community and clinical herbalists through One World Healing Community network and her formulas are featured through Mortar and Pestle Apothecary. Mimi's courses balance scientific understanding with traditional reverence and intuitive awareness, and she draws upon her rich ethnic background & the Granny healers in her life. Aside from her Latin American Grandmothers, her important mentors have included James Duke, Rocio Alarcon, and Simon Mills. Mimi believes that the handing down of plant wisdom is essential, and it is her life's work to advocate for traditional and professional herbal pathways while building cultural bridges of understanding.
Katie Vie  teaches the aromatherapy classes at BRSHM. She has enjoyed teaching aromatherapy, self care and massage therapy techniques in and around Asheville for many years.  Katie is a seasoned massage therapist, and the creator and master blender of River Island Apothecary, a small batch all-botanical line of body care that includes her signature Archetype Anointing Oils. ​

Katie blends & teaches from her apothecary studio, and is an educational resource for people wishing to learn Aromatherapy through an artistic lens. She lives in a pristine forest where she takes long walks with her dog, and sits by bold creeks that sing to her. www.katievie.com
Vishnu Dass is an Ayurvedic practitioner and herbalist and the owner and director of Blue Lotus Ayurveda in Asheville, NC. He received his training under the guidance of Dr. Vasant Lad and is a graduate of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM. Having served on the board of directors for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, he remains an honorary lifetime practitioner member. He teaches extensively on Ayurveda and Yoga philosophy for schools of clinical herbalism as well as Yoga retreat centers and teacher training programs. His knowledge in both Eastern and Western herbal traditions combined with 14 years of clinical practice comes together in his practical and inspiring book, Ayurvedic Herbology East & West.
 ​Karen Savage Shane, of Eye Thrive, has been a practicing clinician (Iridology, Bio-Optic Holography, Homeopathy) since 2006 and dreamt of being a healer since she was a child, making potions in her backyard. Her practice is currently located in West Asheville, NC and via Skype, and she teaches classes nationally. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Health and certifications in Bio-Optic Holography™ and Transformational Homeopathy.  She has worked closely with Robert Tennyson Stevens and Dr. Rudolph Ballentine, her mentors.  In addition, she has held an active volunteer role in Earthaven Ecovillage's Care Team since 2007, providing free first aid, herbal care, and overseeing long-term care organization of community members in need. Karen is also a home-school mother and wife. Her healing practice specializes in wholistic transformative client sessions and classes, as well as minimally invasive/maximally effective choices and practices. She thrives on realistically empowering clients and students to live to their fullest and feel their best. To learn more about her healing practice, Eye Thrive, visit her website, Bio-OpticHolography.com.
Rebecca Vann is the Administrator for the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine and has been working with plant medicine for over 15 years. Rebecca also teaches various classes at BRSHM:  Current Good Manufacturing Practices for herbal medicine businesses, Elixers and Cordials, and Herbal Medicine for Mothers and Children.  She recently founded Skyland Botanical Business Consulting, in partnership with US Botanical Safety Laboratory ,offering comprehensive cGMP services for natural products producers looking to comply with current federal regulations. Rebecca lives at Sacred Mountain Sanctuary with her two children,  where she practices biodynamic agriculture and beekeeping. 

Clinical Faculty

Katie Swedrock, ND, earned her Naturopathic degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona after completing a bachelor or science in biology with a minor in chemistry from the State University of New York at Geneseo. After graduation from medical school, she completed a year residency and practiced as a primary care physician in the state of Arizona.  She has started and run a successful health advising business in Miami, Fl and now continues to consult in Asheville.  She has been teaching in the field of alternative medicine for over 10 years and is currently on faculty of two other universities. 
Rae Swersey, CH-Advanced Certified Herbalist, is a community herbalist currently in private practice in Asheville, NC. They studied at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, The North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, and in a clinical mentorship with Mary Barnes and Sandi Ford. From there, they have co-founded the Sassafras Community Health Collective and the Denver Community Health Collective Clinic. These collectives have created a multitude of community projects including a Drop-In Herbal Medicine Clinic at AHOPE and the Asheville Health Collective Resource Guide. Rae's passion lies in providing inclusive, comprehensive, and accessible health care. For them, herbalism is about healing their community from the inside out through a social justice lens. In their practice, they have a focus on LGBTQQIA, activists and organizers, and under-served populations. Their personal practice is named Take Care Herbals. To follow their blog, learn more, or contact them visit takecareherbals.wordpress.com
Joel Wind Fox Boyle is a Certified Clinical Herbalist certified through the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism. He has completed courses in Native American healing through The Good Medicine Society, worked as an herbal extraction technician for Gaia Herbs, and is an avid organic farmer and gardener. He currently teaches classes and plant walks as an educator for Chimney Rock Park and works with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Western North Carolina Alliance, Botanical Gardens at UNC Asheville, and United Plant Savers. Joel also teaches programs for the Firefly Gathering, AB Tech, and Warren Wilson College, and he is a regular instructor for the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism and the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine. Joel has been running Wind Fox Herbal in Black Mountain since 2007, which has specialized in helping individuals recover from "incurable" diseases. Wind Fox Herbal is currently researching methods to make herbal extracts more potent and effective.
Shannon Simpson is a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate with more than ten years of experience in the mental health and alternative health fields. She uses a body/mind approach incorporating body awareness skills in her practice and focuses on releasing patterns stored in the body’s memory. She incorporates Somatic Experiencing, Attachment work, Mindfulness practices, and Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy to bring back physical and emotional health and wholeness. Shannon has also studied as an herbalist and intuitive healer and has been growing and wild-crafting medicinal herbs for many years in Asheville. She loves teaching and sharing her knowledge with others. Recently, she has blended her passion for sustainable farming and therapy into a garden therapy program to support people in developing a deeper connection with themselves, nature, and the community.

Pine's Herbals Staff

Anna Claire Lotti is a Holistic Clinical Herbalist living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, by way of the beaches of South Carolina. In addition to serving as the Production Manager of Pine’s Herbals, Anna Claire also works as the Special Projects Coordinator with the American Herbalists Guild, and operates her own clinical herbal practice out of Alchemy Asheville, located in the heart of town.  You can follow her herbal musings and check out her own herbal collections at Dancing Sage Apothecary. In her free time, Anna Claire can often be found tending to her organic garden, exploring new hiking trails, dreaming up recipes in her kitchen, and spending time with her husband and their 2 dogs, Bella and Lexi.
Casey Larkin grew up in the woods of Western Massachusetts, steeped in herbal medicine from childhood. He was raised with holistic medicine in the home and spent every spare moment as a child, exploring the woods and plant life that grew abundantly around him. After working for several years in the Natural Products Industry, Casey formally begin his herbal study in 2014, at the CommonWealth Center for Herbal Medicine, in Boston, MA. Awakened by the field of Herbal Medicine, he relocated to NC in 2015, to apprentice at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine. Upon graduating the program, Casey accepted a position with Pine's Herbals. And is currently continuing his education in the Advanced Clinical Program. He is actively working toward his goal of practicing as a Clinical Herbalist.