Program Director


Jo Powell has always had an affinity for plants, animals and nature.  She has been exploring herbalism and holism for over twenty five years.  Jo attended in-depth residency programs at both the California School of Herbal Studies and the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.  She has a BS degree in Gender Studies emphasizing public & women's health as well as mind-body medicine.  She is also an Oregon State University trained master gardener.  Jo’s teaching skills are enhanced by over two decades of eclectic experiences including traveling the west and the world, working as a natural foods chef and managing a prominent herb store.

Jo believes that most often no singular system of medicine can address all of one's health needs and is dedicated to the integration of botanical and complementary medicine into a comprehensive health care regimen for all.  Aside from utilizing scientific research she firmly believes in the synthesis of intuition and intention into her practice.

She is a candid person with a healthy sense of humor and is balanced by a streak of pragmatism. Empowered by international and traditional systems of medicine as well as earth-centered spirituality she encourages her students & clients to unite mind and body in a realistic and holistic approach to wellness.

Jo has lectured locally and nationally including Portland, Chemeketa and Lane Community Colleges, K-BOO FM Radio station, Wildflowers on Hawthorne, Blue Iris School, Australasian College of Health Sciences, The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, The Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium, The Breitenbush Herbal Conference, The Herb Shoppe, The Montana Herb Gathering, The International Integrative Educational Institute and The Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.  Upon special request she remains available for private & professional consultations, guest lecturing and tutoring.  Most recently Jo has joined the teaching staff at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine as a distance learning mentor and consultant to the school’s administration. 


Past, Present and Future Guest Lecturers


From season to season and year to year various guests join us to share their expertise, here is a partial list of our colleagues.


Laura Altvater has a BS in botany, several years experience in high end nursery work, loves to garden especially with medicinal plants and is owner of Mostly Medicinals, a company founded to meet the growing demand for live medicinal plants in the marketplace.


Felicia Ferruzza LAc. lives in Portland, Oregon and is passionate about Herbal 

Medicine. She is owner of Mano Verde Herbals, a local, integrative, family owned and operated business combining Western and Eastern Herbs. She is a graduate

of The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and also studied at The National

College of Natural Medicine where she managed the Classical Chinese Herbal Medicinary for 5 years. She is trained in Chinese and Western Herbs as well as

the Medical Qigong program at NCNM. She has also apprenticed with Chinese Medicine Doctors, Diet Therapists and Western Herbalists over the past ten years. Check out manoverdeherbals for more information and upcoming events.


Colette Gardiner is an herbalist with 25 years of experience teaching about the green world.  She has a background in clinical herbalism, horticulture, women's health, as well as an intense interest in all plants.  She is the owner of Blue Iris Botanicals, director of Blue Iris School of Herbal Studies, and has been a featured writer for We' Moon Almanac and other periodicals. She is a member of Portland's Black Cross Health Collective and also works with ritual and tarot as a way to facilitate change.


Kris Hill has studied with botanist Robyn Klein and at the SWSBM.  She has been working with plants for more than a decade.  Proprietor of Hill Botanical a small herb shop in Bozeman, Montana, Kris offers her line of natural products including salves and herbal tea blends.  Kris has taught herbal adult education classes as well as native Montana medicinal plant identification, and has been involved in the landscaping industry by designing and planting native medicinal gardens.  Being a mom has been a motivating factor for her interest in the art of herbal medicine making and she is committed to patient compliance.  "If the people like the taste they will take their medicine," says Kris.  Kris is also co-coordinator of The Montana Herb Gathering.


Gradey Procter has spent the past several years studying the flora of Oregon 's forests and wildcrafting medicinal plants for his friends and family. He studied at

the Columbines School of Botanical Studies.  He is also a board member and volunteer with Bark, an environmental group which works to protect the forests

of Mount Hood from commercial logging. When not in the forest he can be found working in his garden.


J.J. Pursell ND, LAc. having always had a fascination with traditional healing J.J. began her education in medicine as a child while growing up on her Dad’s flower farm. The interest took root and after college she pursued self-study in aromatherapy, acupressure, and energetic medicine. She moved to Bellingham, WA where she earned her certification in Herbalism focusing on Plant Spirit Medicine with mentor Linda Quintana. This led to the pursuit of graduate studies and she has recently obtained a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Medicine and masters in Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. In September of 2005 she opened The Herb Shoppe, to provide Portland with organic herbs and serve as a resource for traditional medicine education.


Dr. Vikki Wetle RN, MA, EdD is an author of 4 books on health care and 60 videos on medical terminology, anatomy and physiology and has taught health care for 30 years. She is an advocate of complementary health care, blending western medicine with traditional healing from all sources.


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