About Katja & Ryn

Katja Swift from CommonWealth

I came to herbalism in a very practical, thrifty way: over several years as an exchange student, I developed a love of fancy European herbal teas, but they were expensive and hard to find in the States.

It seemed to me that I should be able to make them myself, so I started searching for ways to learn. I found Rosemary Gladstar, my first teacher, and a lot more than just instructions for making tea: I found a vocation.

Almost 20 years later, I can honestly say that herbalism has saved my body, mind, and spirit.

I was introduced to herbalism by Katja: when we first met, I was intrigued by all the potions and curious jars of leaves she had stashed everywhere. She started to teach me about herbs and tea, and I fell in love – with herbs, as well as with her!

I'm one of those herbalists who didn't go out into the woods often enough as a kid, and now I'm making up for lost time. I want to help inspire others to get moving and get outside, because I've found time and time again that some of the best medicine plants have to offer is found not in a bottle or capsule or powder, but in the peace of wild places.

Ryn Midura from CommonWealth
katja and ryn perspectives

Together, we started an herb school in Boston in 2010, and got married in 2014. We’re one of the few husband & wife herbalist teams in the country, and we think that gives us a unique perspective on the plants.

Plants are like people: just as everyone’s relationship with a particular person is a little bit different, everyone’s relationship with each herb is a little different too.

Together, we have a much broader understanding - of both plants and humans - than either of us would have found on our own.

There’s more to herbalism than just the herbs...

In our journey as practitioners and teachers together, we've worked to develop a well-rounded view of herbalism that integrates modern scientific insight and traditional herbal wisdom.

It's also important to us to investigate more than just plants: we wanted to incorporate a full-circle perspective of how food, sleep, stress management, and physical movement impact health and wellness, and how they can be integrated into herbal practice to create a truly holistic view of individual health.

As we've built and facilitated herbal programs for our students, we've seen how important it is to form a strong holistic foundation – incorporating the energetic construct of how plants work in the body as well as the full spectrum of factors that affect good health.

You can learn more about this approach in our free mini-course, Four Keys to Holistic Herbalism. Find out how holistic herbalism can work for you!

danielle and arnica

As my health improves and I become more confident as an herbalist, I'm glad I stuck with the program!

I’m immensely grateful for your teaching and I’m really glad I stuck with the program.

The investment is paying off now: I’m putting that training into practice and taking care of Client Zero, which is me!

I feel confident in the tools I have to take care of myself now and I’m finding it easier to prioritize focusing on my own health. I’m excited to teach and care for others in the future, and excited that as my health improves I have more and more energy to give to my community. Many thanks to you!

~ Danielle L., 2015 Clinical Program Graduate


It isn’t true unless it’s true in your body.

You could study herbalism (or any system of healing) for years, but it’s all just theory until it works for you. That’s why we always tell our students “don’t believe anything we say, just because we said it: it isn’t true unless it’s true in your body.” Because everyone’s body is different, the right approach is what’s right for you.

Once you learn the foundations, you’ll be ready to choose the tools, methods, and herbs that fit your life best - not the specific teachings of a single "authority". Because of this, our programs are experiential in nature: as you go through each step of the process, you'll be trying out different strategies and discovering the ones that suit you best.

Our school is built on the idea that through collaboration and support, you will discover how resilient you can be!

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