Study with the best
Don Ollsin- Modern and Traditional Herbalist.
Don Ollsin’s love for natural foods is what first led him to study herbs. The passion he found in studying herbs and their therapeutic values is what made him continue. As with most passions, Don’s cannot be contained, and he willingly shares his unbridled love for herbs with anyone who wants to learn.
Don cares about helping people. He owned Self-Heal Herbs, an herbal retail store, clinic, and dispensary. He made herbal medicine, tinctures, tincture formulas, tea blends, oils, and salves for the store. These products allowed him to help treat thousands of clients.
Education is also important to Don. Nancy Turner, a professor of ethnobotany, is just one of many people with whom Don studied. Nancy Turner had the following to say about Don:
“Don is a positive, enthusiastic and energetic advocate of herbal healing, who lives his own beliefs and is an inspiration to many people including myself. His ongoing “Herbal Healing Programs” are enjoyed and respected by all those who participate in them. He has been and continues to be a positive force in the lives of many people.”
Don combined his passions for education and herbs to teach others about herbs, and has taught herbal classes at University of Victoria, Bastyr University, and Royal Roads University. He created an herbal training program called the “Herbal Healing Journey,” and has developed a distance education program for aspiring herbalists.
Don is serving a Shamanic/Herbal Apprenticeship with Ellen White, a coast Salish Elder. Ellen White not only saw Don as a student, but also as a teacher. Ellen White had the following to say about Don’s teachings:
“The recipient of Don Ollsin’s teachings would have a better life as they would understand their inner strength. He would not only be teaching them herbs and their usefulness but also about inner strength, energy, and being a whole human. I have seen Don Ollsin turn students around to very calm, vibrant, understanding people. They were able to find their self-esteem. I know some of them are still working in the field of helping others from what they have learned from Don Ollsin Through knowing Don and working with him for all these years I would recommend him to be instructor in herbal medicines and self-help.”
Community is important to Don. He wants community involvement and knowledge in growing and caring for herbs. He wants communities to use more herbal remedies in their treatment of illnesses. Not only that, but also he wants those remedies to come from within the community. It is through something such as growing a community herbal garden that individuals inside a community become a true community, and not only a group of individuals in one environment.
History of Don Ollsin, Master Herbalist
Don Ollsin is a pioneering educator and leading practitioner in the field of herbal medicine. His story begins in 1969 when, working in Vancouver’s Golden Lotus Restaurant as one of B.C.’s first vegetarian chefs, his inherent love of natural food drew him to the study of herbs and their therapeutic value. At this time he began to apprentice under the noted American herbal authority Dr. John Christopher with whom he studied the science and art of herbalism. Wanting to work directly in the natural health field, he moved to Victoria, B.C. in 1972 and opened Sawan Natural Foods, which included Victoria’s first herbal dispensary.
In 1976, Don began to study through the Emerson Institute of Herbal Studies. That same year he decided to devote all his energies to promoting the value of herbal medicine and opened Self Heal Herbs in Victoria, a retail store and information resource centre which helped to set the guidelines for quality herbal medicine and education. Don received his Master Herbalist’s degree from the Emerson Institute and soon after began teaching classes on herbs and healing, eventually broadening his activities to include lecturing and giving workshops with noted authors and teachers. Don is a founder, past president and active member of the Modern and Tradtional Herbalist Guild.
As a professional herbalist with a practical orientation, Don believes in seeing results. His knowledge of what works comes from his years of experience in treating the widest range of conditions among his thousands of clients. In 1987, Don began to offer an intensive herbal training program called the Herbal Healing Journey and also developed a home study program. In the fall of 1996 Don began teaching at the Division of Continuing Studies of the University of Victoria, where he created the course entitled “Western and Local Herbs for Healing.”
Don believes that herbs have a place in today’s evolving health care system. He would like to see more herbal education in the public schools, in colleges and in universities. He wants to see more people learning about herbs grown in their local area and how to work with them with care and respect. He envisions the development of community-based herbal medicine in which the majority of the medicinal herbs used are grown and produced by the communities they serve.
Don is the author of the Pathways To Healing, A Guide to Ayurveda, Herbs, Dreamdody and Shamanism. It has been chosen by Time/Life One Spirit Book Club. It is used as the textbook for the Herbal Healing Journeys. In January of 1998 he began the Practical (Earth-based) Herbalist Program at Langara College in Vancouver. He has also has taught herbal classes at the University of Victoria, Bastyr University and Royal Roads University. In 2000 he became a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. In 2001 he began teaching the Practical & Consultant Herbalist Program at Langara College.
My story – Don Ollsin
1969 – I began working at the Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. where we served herb teas and I purchased my 1st herb book, Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss. I still have it.
1970 – Dr. Christopher, Master Herbalist and formative force in establishing herbalism in N.A. came into my life and I started my study of herbs and Iridology. It was there I also began studying native teachings, wildcrafting and local herbs with Norma Meyers. James Green, author of The Male Herbal: the Definitive Health Care Book for Men & Boys and The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual was also involved with us at that time as Norma and James were friends.
1971 – I opened Sawan Natural Foods and Herbs in Victoria, B.C. We carried an extensive selection of herbs along with natural foods.I enrolled in Emerson Institute of Herbology, Toronto, Ontario to further my herbal studies through correspondence. I successfully completed the course a few years later.
1972 – I contiued studying local herbs with Nancy Turner, Professor of Ethnobotany, UVIC, B.C. I began teaching classes on herbs and other healing modalities.
“Don is a positive, enthusiastic and energetic advocate of herbal healing, who lives his own beliefs and is an inspiration to many people including myself. His ongoing “Herbal Healing Programs” are enjoyed and respected by all those who participate in them. He has been and continues to be a positive force in the lives of many people.” Nancy Turner
1976 – I sold Sawan Natural Foods and Herbs and opened Self-Heal Herbs, an herb store, clinic and dispensary. I made all the herbal medicine, tinctures, tincture formulas, tea blends, oils & salves. We carried a selection of over 200 dried herbs as well as seeing clients privately. I later sold the store and it is still in operation.
1976 – 2001 – I joined and was a professional member of the Canadian Herbalist Association of BC.
1983 – 1986- Earth Medicine Festivals – organized large gatherings with teachers like Ellen White, Rosemary Gladstar, myself and other local teachers.
1986 – 2008- I began my Herbal Healing Journeys, a training program for budding herbalists. Over the years the following teachers have shared their wisdom with me and my students. Ryan Drum – herbs, seaweeds & wildcrafting Michael Tierra – herbs & TCM Dr. Philip Chambers – medical herbalism Nancy Turner – Ethnobotany & herbal identification Rosemary Gladstar – herbs & respect Christopher Hobbs – herbal identification plus uses Susun Weed – Wisewoman Ways Bernard Jensen – Iridology, Nutrition, Skin Brushing & Slant Board Ellen White – native use of local herbs So, if you want the focused, comprehensive and concise path to soar your herbal training I encourage you to sign up now for my program.
I have known Don Ollsin for over twenty years. I was one of the instructors for the workshops he held for his school of herbal medicine. I am eighty-five years of age and I am a practicing herbalist since I was very young. My teachers were spiritual communicators and herbalists. My teachers communicated with plants by energy and vibrations. Don Ollsin was very interested in what I was doing and he became my student over these many years. He learned a lot from me, names and usefulness of plants, but I also learned from him the English names of plant life. Native people used the energies of water and air, and Don was very interested in this. He was able to understand this in a few years and use this information. I have listened and watched him teach the students. Some of the students were coming from far away – South America, England and Africa. I liked how he explained and how he taught them. He was able to find words for me to make it easy for students to understand. In that way their retention stayed. We taught the students how to identify plants and to communicate with them and feel the vibrations from them. The students learned about air and what air carries, such as the feelings whether warm or cold from plants or dead animals, and how they can feel the feelings of them directing us. All of this can be taught to students without scaring them. We used words so it was easy for them to see and feel without actually mentioning the people who have gone a long time ago, who were the original teachers. The students learned about the use of energies, whether on land or in the sea. Therefore, they learned about the use of plants from land and from the sea. Don Ollsin has a deep understanding of these teachings and was able to teach his students in a way that they could see this and understand the teachings. While he was going to diving school it showed that he used the energies of the living and dead animals in the sea. All these years of Don Ollsin’s learning – not only from myself – should not be wasted. It should be given out to others who are interested. This old lady would be so very happy if Don Ollsin would find a way to reach more students through an academic setting for longer periods of time. His courses previously were only for nine weeks in his school. The recipient of Don Ollsin’s teachings would have a better life as they would understand their inner strength. He would not only be teaching them herbs and their usefulness but also about inner strength, energy, and being a whole human. I have seen Don Ollsin turn students around to very calm, vibrant, understanding people. They were able to find their self esteem. I know some of them are still working in the field of helping others from what they have learned from Don Ollsin Through knowing Don and working with him for all these years I would recommend him to be instructor in herbal medicines and self help. Yours truly, Ellen White Respected Elder
So, if you want the focused, comprehensive and concise path to soar your herbal training I encourage you to sign up now for my program.
1986- Dreambody (process oriented psychology) studies with Arnold & Amy Mindell, Stan Tomandl, Julie Diamond, Max Shumaker & Gary Reiss from the process oriented community in Oregon.
1986– I began my study of Ayurveda with Robbie Svoboda including constitutional assessment, tongue and pulse diagnosis. See Ayurveda Simplified for more information.
1998 – 2004- Langara College, Vancouver, B.C. accepted my course, Herbal Healing Journey – Level One – Practical Herbalist Program as a College Certified Program.
1998 – I began Level Two – Consultant Herbalist Program at Langara College, Vancouver, B.C.
1999 –I published Pathways to Healing, A Guide to Herbs, Ayurveda, Dreambody and Shamanism.
1972 – 2000- 3000 hours plus of formal herbal clinic practice & 20,000 hours plus of dispensing herbs and herbal information (conservative estimate).
2000 – Present – I continue to teach three Levels of Herbal Healing, Levels 1 & 2 Herbal Program.
2001 – Present- I became a Professional member of the American Herbalist Guild (A.H.G.).
2001 – I helped form The Modern and Traditional Herbalist Guild. The guild made formal application to the B.C. government for a College of Western Herbal Medicine and we are still waiting.
2007 – Created the original Community Herbalist Program at Pacific Rim College.
2008 – Graduate of Northwest Culinary Institute of Vancouver.
2011 – Curriculum designer and Teacher of Herbal Studies Program at Camosun College
2011– Graduate student of Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University.