An Herbalist's Story of Walking the Earth
Allow me to introduce myself—My name is Dixie Sullivan and I’m an herbalist who is passionate about bringing a meaningful experience and knowledge of herbs into everyday life.
My background consists of herbal medicine from various schools, teachers, and philosophies, conservation & forestry, gardening, wild foraging, fermentation projects, mushroom growing, and long trips in the backcountry.
Walking through the woods and knowing the land is a big part of me— these days, it’s more the prairie I walk through. There were a lot of experiences that paved my path to becoming an herbalist and starting Shiso Wild, but the main reason I would say, is the plants themselves called me to do so.
I have always been passionate about the outdoors and health and over the years I found that I always gravitated toward jobs, organizations, or classes that took me out to the forest to learn about the natural ecology. I’ve come to realize that plants are profound and life-changing and will forever be part of my life, yay! Let me share one impactful story.
It was 2018 when I attended my very first herbal conference in Durango, Colorado called Good Medicine Confluence, and I felt invigorated and incredibly inspired by all the energy, the people and their work they were doing with plants and of course, the plant walks had special moments as well.
During one plant walk, the teacher introduced us to an herb called pedicularis, and by learning of its name, I felt drawn to it and as she explained its medicinal properties and uses, my curiosity and fascination about this particular plant peaked. I researched and found out that this plant grows abundantly in the mountains around my home and I respectfully gathered some and made a tincture of it to quell my muscle tension and anxiety. It is now a staple in my herbal pantry and a strong herbal ally. The mountains I gathered it from are the home of my ancestors, and I couldn’t help but wonder if my grandmothers used it as medicine for similar issues.
After that, I decided my herb nerd lifestyle needed guidance, structure, and refining from a respected herbal school I jived with and so I decided it was time to get out of the field and into the classroom to receive a more proper education. I participated and completed several different programs from incredible schools and people. The rest is history!
Honoring my teachers and schools:
Matthew Alf’s Midwest School of Herbal Studies Western Herbalism Course
Robyn Klein - Professor at MSU, Author, Mentor, Herbalist Extraordinaire and incredibly kind lady. She took me under her wing in a way, taking me out on plant walks and teaching me how to harvest red root and cottonwood buds.
Lisa Ganora’s Understanding Herbal Constituents and Plant Chemistry Course at Sam Coffman’s Herbal Medics Academy
Tammi Sweet’s HeartStone Herbal School
Kami McBride’s Healing Herbal Oils Class
Thomas Elpel, Author of Botany in a Day and more, Green University CEO, Botany & Foraging Course