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.
Althea Wilkins became a lay herbalist before kindergarten brewing sun tea with her grandmother. Delighted by the simple teachings: “Peppermint peps you up! Chamomile calms you down,” she’s been a DIY medicine maker ever since. It fills her with excitement to join the faculty of the BRSHM teaching Western Physiology from an integrative perspective.
Althea enjoys tracing the connections between text book science and the ancient, unbelievably optimistic intelligence immanent in every human, right down to the molecules. Since 2002, she has been inspiring students in training programs for yoga, herbalism, energy work and massage to appreciate the wisdom of the body and help others do the same. Last year, her clinical practice celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the Asheville community with bodywork and movement medicine. She holds a degree in Health & Wellness and is a NC licensed, Board Certified Clinical Bodyworker advocating a subtle revolution by bringing whole systems thinking and permaculture principles into everyday life for empowered self-care. Find her at
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 for more on herbal shares in the CSH and educational opportunities.
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
​Abby Artemisia is a Botanist, Herbalist, and Professional Forager. She learned about plants playing in the woods, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business. She lives on the edge of Pisgah National Forest in the Black Mountains of North Carolina, where she founded the WANDER (Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection) School. In the school, she teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine in her Wild Apprenticeship Program and throughout the country. Her mission is to inspire reconnection with nature to empower a healthier world with many stewards.  
JJ Bloomfield is the Administrator at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, and runs the administrative office processing applications, coordinating teachers and staff, and managing all of the spinning plates that go into running BRSHM.  In Spring of 2015, she moved to the Asheville area from San Francisco where she was born and raised. 
After a seven-year career in animal welfare, she is now living in Barnardsville growing her own food and building up her Apothecary.  JJ is the founder of Red Tent Wisdom, an organization that offer's women's circles in Asheville NC at New Moon and Full Moon to cultivate community, support, wisdom, and trust. Her other passions include primitive skills, herbalism, building community, animal welfare and revolutionizing the way we exist on this beautiful planet.

Adjunct Faculty

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.
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.
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.
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
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.

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
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.