Get to Know Us
Albuquerque Herbalism is proud to feature classes with a range of perspectives informed by the varied professional backgrounds of our instructors. What we have in common is deep connection to our beloved Southwestern landscape. Read more about our approach to herbal education here.
Founder; Series Courses, Herbal Products Making Courses
Dara Saville is the founder of Albuquerque Herbalism and the Executive Director of the Yerba Mansa Project, a nonprofit organization. Her work involves teaching herbalists, organizing the community to undertake native medicinal plant restoration on public lands, writing, and fostering a renewed land connection through public events and field trips.
Dara is the author of her first book through the University of New Mexico Press, The Ecology of Herbal Medicine: A Guide to Plants and Living Landscapes of the American Southwest and a contributing author to several herbal compendium books. She is a long-time columnist for Plant Healer Quarterly where she writes on a variety of botanical topics including environmental issues concerning medicinal plants and is also an instructor in UNM’s Holistic Health Program. Dara has an MS in Geography and Environmental Studies from UNM and is also a graduate of Tieraona Low Dog’s Foundations of Herbal Medicine program.
Constitution & Energetics + Hydrosols & Distillates + Fermentation Courses
Donna has had a love of plants and nature since her youth, foraging briar leaves, admiring club mosses and orchids of the New England woods. She is ever grateful to her nature science teacher as a child. Violets and lemon balm in her grandmother’s garden and foraging wild mushrooms with her Aunt in Ireland are formative experiences. She has learned from a number of herbal teachers, programs, practitioners and a walkabout apprenticeship in the Sandia Mountains. She also studied at Albuquerque Herbalism in the Advanced Program.
Other pursuits have combined herbal activism and education through a weekly herbal radio program featuring folkways and herb talk along with many guest speakers.
She has gained great knowledge through the varied and often under radar experiences of working in herbal retail settings for the past number of years. She currently lives in the Chihuhuan desert in Las Cruces, New Mexico where she helps run the Wellness Department at a local Co-op. Her favorite strategy, while perusing the herb and supplement aisles, is to inspire people by educating about simple, accessible lifestyle supports. Offering ideas for tea blends and recipes. You will find her there doing what she loves and sharing that enthusiasm in her community herbal classes that she is offering at the Mountain View Market Co-op.
She can be contacted for classes and offerings at email@example.com
Anna Marija Helt
Medicinal Mushroom + Aromatherapy + Chronic Inflammation Courses
Dr. Anna Marija Helt is an herbalist and microbiologist in Durango, Colorado. Before falling in love with all things plant, she researched cancer development and pathogenic viruses for a dozen years as a research scientist. After career burnout hit, she switched to running a motorcycle cafe in San Francisco while studying western herbalism, aromatherapy, and a smidgen of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Upon moving to Colorado, Marija became a full time botanical geek, clinical practitioner, and writer. She incorporates weeds, only the most abundant native plants, mushrooms, and aromatics as her allies. Her continuing goal is to help clients to reach their greatest health and to introduce botanical medicine to folks who are not already on the bandwagon. Her approach involves a deep study of herbal traditions combined with a critical evaluation of botanical research science.
Through Osadha Natural Health, Marija works one on one with clients to help them achieve their health goals. She also teaches classes and workshops on a wide range of topics in natural health and biological science, as well as working one on one with students wanting a more personalized education plan.
Atava Garcia Swiecicki
Mexican Traditional Medicine/Curanderismo
Atava Garcia Swiecicki, MA, RH (AHG) is guided by her dreams and her Mexican, Polish, Hungarian and Diné ancestors. She studied Feminist Studies at Stanford University and received her master’s degree in the Indigenous Mind Program at Naropa University Oakland. Atava has studied healing arts extensively for over thirty years and has been mentored by herbalists, curanderas and traditional knowledge keepers. She works as a clinical herbalist and teacher and is dedicated to remembering the healing traditions of her ancestors and supporting others to reconnect with their ancestral medicine. She also loves helping people build relationships with plants, whom she considers some of our greatest teachers and healers. Atava is the founder of the Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk and Indigenous Medicine on Ohlone territory in Oakland, CA. She’s currently living in Tewa Pueblo territory in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she finished writing her first book called The Curanderx Toolkit: Reclaiming Ancestral Latinx Plant Medicine and Rituals for Healing.
Herbal Cocktails + Medicinal Gardening
Asha Canalos is an artist, landscape designer, environmental justice advocate, and writer, with over 25 years’ experience professionally gardening and farming. She has a passion for community-building, knowledge-sharing, and for protection of our ecological systems and more-than-human allies. Asha received her BA in Visual Arts from Antioch College, and a dual degree MFA and MS at The Pratt Institute. Most recently, she has been a regular Visiting Artist with The Land Arts of the American West program at The University of New Mexico, and a guest instructor in the Art & Ecology program, also at UNM.
A decade of environmental and community activism has taught Asha how critically important it is to establish healthy foundations of self-care and resilience-building. For her, this includes connectivity to plants as healing allies and teachers, and a determination to inject joy into her work, through playfulness, creativity, humor, and deep engagement with community. Asha believes in the power of collaboration and communication to breathe life into a new and better world.
This year, Asha is launching a small business featuring an herbal products line and limited edition art posters, prints, and stationery, with a dedicated portion of profits going to grassroots environmental justice campaigns across the country. You can follow Asha’s projects at her website, www.ashacanalos.com.
About Our Team
We offer a variety of classes, including one-day topics as well as in-depth series courses. Making herbal education accessible through affordable classes, community partnerships, native plant restoration and increasing the health and well-being of our human community via connection to the common wild and cultivated plants of our local area is our goal.
Natural Strategies for Autoimmunity & Chronic Inflammation
“I thought this was a very informative class and would really like to learn more of what you know…There was so much information to take in and I am so appreciative of you forwarding on to us the wonderfully detailed notes. If you have the class again I know several other people that…wish they had taken the class. I never met anybody who gets autoimmunity the way you do. Again, thank you so much.”
“Just wanted to say first of all I have really enjoyed your class….you have SUCH good positive energy about you! Looking forward to class in May and I have started dreaming/planning my herb garden this year. Cannot wait to start working with these “beings” myself and really getting to know them on a level I never realized was even possible. I have really started looking at and moving in the world very differently on hikes etc since becoming your student.”
Advanced Herbalists Group
“I had been wanting to e-mail you and just say how amazing your medicine is…. I used the cough tincture combo and it got rid of my sore throat and prevented a cough like never before for me. I just wanted to compliment you on your medicine making and say I am a believer more then I was before which I didn’t think possible!”