Since 1992, Karin has worked as a holistic health care practitioner who teaches and has a private practice that includes herbal healing, nutrition, energy skills, Acutonics, plant spirit medicine, and advanced massage. She earned her diploma as Master Herbalist and Iridologist from the Self Heal School, UK with later certification as a Reiki practitioner and Yoga Instructor. Karin is passionate about inspiring others to take care of “their piece of the planet” and revitalize their relationship with nature using sustainable wellness practices. She has written many articles about herbs and nature and is the author of Botanical Body Care: Herbs and Natural Healing for Your Whole body, a book that combines basic physiology with herbal healing, cleansing and nutrition. An advocate of community health and education, Karin was a co-host of the bi-monthly radio show Holistic Health Perspectives on kzyx.org for nine years and is still part of Corners of the Mouth worker-owned collective health food store where she serves as a nutritional consultant and formulates personal tea blends. Karin is a co-founder and active member of The Mendocino County Herb Guild (www.mendocinoherbguild.com) and her professional affiliations include the American Herbalist Association, American Herbalist Guild, United Plant Savers, and the American Botanical Council. She enjoys exploring the outdoors, gardening, singing, dancing and writing poetry.
Everything I know I learned from nature – whether from my surrounding environment, my own inner nature, and body, or the natural world of the unseen. Plants and animals have voices, and I was fortunate enough to recognize them from a young age. I have had many special experiences in nature that continue to strengthen my awe and faith in it.
I grew up with a deep appreciation for plants because I always spent time outdoors – as I grew up in it, it grew through me and helped me connect with my own nature. My parents always cared for plants, grew flowers, trees and a vegetable garden and they taught me how to care for plants too. My German grandmother, who regularly used common herbs to treat her aches and pains and our colds and scrapes, was a strong influence on me and I became curious about the property of herbs.
Later in high school, I teamed up with a friend who grew some medicinal plants and we made teas and bath sachets for our track and cross-country teams. As a competitive runner, I was interested in nutrition, became a vegetarian and stopped using any pharmaceutical medication to treat common illness. Recovering from a few injuries taught me much about the power of the body to heal and natural ways we can support it.
In college, my housemate (a horticulture major) and I spent time in the countryside of Corvallis Oregon gathering wild foods and herbs from which we made food and teas. Working at a Co-op, steeped me in the world of organics and health food stores, which in the USA, serving as an interface for herbal education. During this time, I earned a BS in zoology/animal behavior and minor in cultural anthropology (Native American emphasis), which gave me a strong background in physiology and ecology. After a couple of years as an interning animal behaviorist, I went to graduate school at Arizona State University to earn an MS in zoology/animal behavior. While there, I taught physiology and biology labs, where I gained experience explaining how the body works and the intricacies of biological systems to students. My graduate research involved plant-animal relationships (ecology of red squirrels on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona) and I presented breakthrough information on the nutritional ecology of squirrels at the ABS (Animal Behavioral Society) meetings in New York 1990.
Shortly after graduation, I lost all my belongings in a fire and such big life changes kept me in Santa Barbara California working as a naturalist and wildlife biologist, while I pursued classes in massage and advanced healing arts. I went on to teach massage and energy skills and set up my own massage practice. My clients began to ask me for herbal advice, so I felt it was time to learn more and moved to the UK to study herbal medicine and iridology at the Selfheal School – a Dr. Christopher based school of natural healing. When I returned to the USA, I worked with one of my teachers, Dr. Schulze for one of his herbal crusades before setting up my own massage and herbal practice in Santa Barbara. I taught the first western herb classes offered by the Santa Barbara City College adult education program, and one of those classes, Botanical Body Care, eventually inspired my book.
The partnership between plants and people is amazing and sometimes unpredictable, and it is this mystery of the unpredictable that science has difficulty with. Each day invites us to deepen our plant-people-partnership, improve our awareness about the natural world and understand the spirit of nature that is always teaching us how to live in balance and health with all of life.