Core Faculty

Cheryl Fromholzer

Cheryl Fromholzer

Founder, Clinical Herbalist & Educational Director at Gathering Thyme

Cheryl is passionate about connecting people to the deep healing wisdom of the plant world. She is dedicated to the gentle and nurturing power of herbal medicine and focused on creating vibrant community health. Cheryl has been immersed in the wild world of Western herbalism and natural healthcare for over 25 years. She has studied with some of the most brilliant minds in herbal medicine and is delighted to bring many of those same voices to her community through a myriad of educational programs. The Gathering Thyme herb store, School of Western Herbalism and Holistic Practitioner Partnership were born of her desire to be of service and share her extensive herbal knowledge. Cheryl believes in each individual's innate vital force and using natural medicine to support and enhance health. She and her staff provide expert guidance, draw on a wealth of academic experience and provide the supplements and tools to help people connect to the resources they need to heal themselves. Cheryl is also the founder and creative alchemist behind North Rose Botanicals, a line of all-natural and organic skincare and botanical medicines found locally at Gathering Thyme and Good Earth Natural Foods.

Cheryl is the lead instructor for the beginning and intermediate/advanced herbal programs and offers her knowledge of a vast herbal materia medica and herbal therapeutics. She also teaches medicine-making skills and botanical cosmetics.

Judy Lieblein

Judy Lieblein

Clinical Herbalist, Shamanic Practitioner & Reiki Master

Judy Lieblein is an herbalist, shamanic practitioner, Reiki master, teacher, visionary activist, co-owner and on-staff herbalist at Gathering Thyme & owner of Sacred Rose Herbals. Completing apprenticeships in herbal medicine, plant spirit medicine, shamanic studies, pulse & tongue evaluation, vedic studies and pranic healing, Judy is dedicated to assisting and empowering all beings to align to their truth, cultivating health, well-being, independence and freedom.

For over 20 years Judy has assisted adults, children and animals in addressing their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual concerns from a holistic constitutional approach. Incorporating Eastern & Western traditional practices, she naturally combines the practical with the intuitive. While having a general practice, Judy specializes in Spiritual Emergence/Transformational processes and Plant Spirit Medicine.

Working with the plant world, Judy has seen the plants support a deepening of a person’s ability and capacity to relate to themselves and the World around them in a more conscious, loving and compassionate way which is profoundly healing to all involved. To set up a private consultation in person/by phone or to find out more about the herbal products Judy offers you can reach her by email: To view the variety of classes in Shamanic Herbalism/Plant Spirit Medicine and more Judy offers visit Gathering Thyme Events.

Judy delves deep into herbal energetics and offers shamanic ways of opening and connecting deeper to the plants.

Catherine Abby Rich

Catherine Abby Rich

Herbalist, Flower Essence Practitioner and Quantum Biofeedback Educator

Catherine Abby Rich has been an herbalist and educator for over 45 years. She trained as a folk medicine maker in the Bavarian Alps, Mexico, the U.S. and in India, where she apprenticed with the well known Ayurvedic physician, Dr. Vasant Lad. Catherine Abby was a founding member of the Marin County Farmers Market and for 23 years was their resident herbalist. Her "Combining Forces” products are wildcrafted, organic and enhanced with flower essences she personally creates. In addition, teaching local plant medicine to all ages is one of her most cherished talents, her lifetime assignment and delight.

In the year 2000, Catherine Abby began combining her herbal knowledge with the remarkable science of quantum medicine. She has become a respected practitioner of Quantum/SCIO Biofeedback, and through this medium she is able to utilize her knowledge of both ancient and modern wisdom, helping others further their quest for optimal health and well-being. For more information on Catherine Abby, see

"Abby," our herbal elder, shares her wisdom as a "folk" medicine maker and teaches us about flower essences.

Madalyn Berg

Madalyn Berg Energetic Herbalist, Artist & Herbal Educator

Madalyn Sarena Peratoner Berg is an herbalist, artist and educator. She ​graduated with high honors from ​​Oberlin College, where she received a BA in Biology and Studio Art. She spent three years as a TA at the undergraduate level and has continued to teach art, science, and herbalism to people ranging from toddlers to adults. As a teacher, Madalyn is organized, clear, and well prepared, working to teach in a way that is approachable across learning styles, and taking the time to give students the tools to make the material retainable, interesting and accessible.

Madalyn has lived alongside plants her whole life, and began formal herbal studies in 2010. Karyn Sanders​, Sarah Holmes​, ​Mathew Wood and Cheryl Schwartz​ are among her most influential herbal teachers​. In 2015​​ Madalyn founded The Community Medicine Cabinet, a collaborative project between Northern California Herbalists, offering education and self care products made in an ethical, sustainable, and beautiful way. She is also an herbalist on staff here at Gathering Thyme,​ ​​and a grower for the Sonoma County Herb Exchange​.

​Madalyn practices energetic herbalism and offers a trauma-informed practice. Madalyn believes that imbalances exist at the nexus of our internal and external worlds and considers the physical, emotional and spiritual in relationship with broader social, political and environmental forces acting on the body. A goal of Madalyn's practice is to empower clients, returning to them a sense of agency over their lives and their bodies. ​She is especially committed to providing herbal support​ to marginalized communities. To learn more about Madalyn, visit and

Madalyn teaches pathophysiology to our intermediate/advanced herbal students.

Kia Sanford

Kia Sanford MS

Clinical Nutritionist & Counselor

In addition to being an avid gardener and culinary adventurer, Kia Sanford holds Master’s degrees in both Human Clinical Nutrition and Marriage/Family/Child Counseling which she uses in tandem while working with clients to help them foster long term health. She has worked in the Oakland, San Leandro and San Lorenzo schools with economically challenged families and children, and taught 6th grade outdoor ed, rock climbing and backpacking to kids in the California foothills. Kia has taught nutrition and lifestyle classes and conducts individual consultations with clients all over the country. Whether challenged with cancer, recovering from surgery, changing body composition or working to prevent the onset of chronic disease, Kia firmly believes that what we eat, drink, and how we move everyday is vitally important. Kia’s love of good food, and understanding that food can be medicine, informs her positive focus on all the wonderful things we can and should be eating to create and maintain health. For more information about Kia, please visit:

Kia offers her extensive knowledge into the world of nutrition and nutritional supplements as an adjunct to a well-rounded herbal protocol.

Guest Faculty

Matthew Wood

Matthew Wood MS, RH

Internationally-Renowned Master Herbalist and Author

Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist since 1982 and is a renowned inspirational lecturer and author of several herb books including The Book of Herbal Wisdom and The Earthwise Herbal as well as his newest book (doing the happy dance!) The Earthwise Herbal Repertory. While he believes in the virtue of many other healing modalities, he has always been inspired to learn, preserve, and practice the tradition of herbal medicine descending to us from our European, Anglo-American, and Native American heritage. For more information on Matthew, see

Matthew teaches many classes and workshops here at Gathering Thyme to beginning, intermediate and advanced herbal students. We are so thrilled and delighted to have the honor of learning from one of the great herbal masters of our time.

Margi Flint

Margi Flint

Master Clinical Herbalist

Margi Flint practices in the seacoast town of Marblehead, Massachusetts and over the past forty years has become their "village herbalist." Margi has been Adjunct Professor at North Shore Community College, The Tufts University School of Medicine and currently at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Pacific Rim College in British Columbia. She lectures in Canada, Europe and the States (so far). Home is feeling comfy, the gardens are beautiful.

Margi has been working with people and herbs since she began her herbal studies in 1974. Her clinical practice evolved through continued study with admired herbalists. Influential herbalists have been Rosemary Gladstar, David Winston, Matthew Wood, Christopher Hobbs, Kate Gilday, Donald Yance, Mindy Green, Chancel Chabrera, Annie McIntyre, Jeffrey Bland, the late great William LeSassier, David Crow, Karyn Sanders and many more. For more information about Margi, please visit:

Margi offers her wisdom on "Meeting with Clients: Reading the Body" to our community of holistic practitioners who wish to broaden and deepen their diagnostic skills and techniques.

Sarah Bearden

Sarah Bearden, D.N.Med., MS, CN

Aromatherapist & Clinical Nutritionist

Sarah Bearden has been a practicing nutritionist and aromatherapist since 1996. She has taught nutrition in various adult education schools in England and America for over 20 years. She is the Director of Roots to Health, a center specializing in Holistic Health Consulting in Marin County, California. Sarah received a Diploma in Nutritional Medicine (D.N. Med.) in London, England, a Master’s of Science degree (M.S.) in Nutrition and is a Certified Nutritionist (CN) and a Certified Nutrition Consultant (CNC) in America and she is a certified Natural Foods Chef.

Sarah also has a diploma from the Tisserand Institute, in London, England in Therapeutic Aromatherapy. A practicing Aromatherapist, Sarah has also completed courses in Aromatherapy with Robert Tisserand, Gabriel Mojay, David Crow and Kurt Schnaubelt and she completed her teacher training with Andrea Butje at the Aromahead Institute School of Essential Oil Studies. Sarah is a professional member of NAHA (The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists).

For more information about Sarah, please visit:

Sarah shares her extensive wisdom in therapeutic aromatherapy and clinical nutrition, focusing on "food as medicine"

Karen Aguiar

Karen Aguiar

Herbal Educator and Medicine Maker

Karen is a medicine maker and has been making herbal and mushroom medicines since 1995. She is the organizer of the Fall Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium and was a past organizer of NCWHS for over 2 decades. She has been a staff member at California School of Herbal Studies since 1988, and teaches medicine making and medicinal mushrooms at the Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkeley, Gathering Thyme in San Rafael, Breitenbush Herbal Conference, Frontier Herbs Herbal Conference, Mushroom conferences as well as the upcoming Plant Healers 2018 Good Medicine Confluence in Colorado.

Karen shares her extensive knowledge of advanced medicine making techniques for our intermediate/advanced herbal program.

Alice Duvernell

Alice Encinas-Duvernell

Owner & Cosmetic Designer at Biophilia Botanicals

Alice is an innovative cosmetic designer and consultant who helps people from all over the world develop their own eco-friendly product lines. She has been teaching in the Bay Area for the past 9 years and has developed curriculums in the domains of botanical extraction and distillation, bee products, natural cosmetic emulsification and preserving systems, and any subject related to the amazing capacity of nature to heal us. Her formal ethno-botany studies at the Sorbonne in Paris led her to travel to South America where she first started distillation and botanical extractions. In the north east of Brazil she created an “open house” laboratory and began teaching and collaborating with indigenous cultures and university leaders in the field.

During her adulthood, she experienced sever acne and only found relief and recovery using botanicals, hydrosols, colloidal minerals and nutrients. This opened her heart to a great passion for organic cosmetology, botanical extraction techniques and foods for beauty. Alice is an enlightened plant and product educator. In her various curriculums, the student is initiated into the alchemical realm and introduced to the highest standards of self-care and product creation. Helpful tools are presented to introduce and sustain the student’s connection to nature’s untapped wonders.

Alice shares her extensive knowledge of botanical cosmetics... we are so happy to have her as a new member of our team!

Autumn Summers

Autumn Summers

Herbalist and Educator

Autumn has been involved in the herbal medicine field for over two decades. Besides a degree in anthropology specializing in ethnobotany, she trained with Christopher Hobbs and at the California School of Herbal Studies where she has been core faculty for 15 years. Her focus is on plant, seaweed and mushroom identification and uses and growing medicinal and edible plants. She is passionate about sharing this empowering knowledge with others in an enthusiastic, hands-on way.

Autumn teaches our students botanical identification and takes us on out in the woods on mushroom forays!

Donna Odierna

Donna Odierna, DrPH, MS, RH(AHG)

Public Health Researcher, Clinical Herbalist, Social Epidemiologist

Dr. Odierna's research focuses on social exclusion and health equity. She has particular interest in how research itself can function as a social determinant of health by virtue of the questions we ask, the populations we include or leave out, and the way we use the findings to develop practice guidelines and health policy. Donna studied clinical herbalism at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and public health at UC Berkeley. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health policy and health services research at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a faculty member in the UCSF Department of Clinical Pharmacy, where she teaches a course on health disparities in clinical practice. She has worked with diverse populations including indigent women in Latin America and needle exchange participants in New York and California. She maintains an independent consultancy practice, and lives in Oakland, California.

Donna teaches critical appraisal of health research to our intermediate/advanced herbal program students.

Kim LaVere

Kim LaVere

Ayurveda Lifestyle Consultant

Kim is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Consultant, Natural Foods Chef, and Personal Development Coach living in West Sonoma County, CA. Her passion for wellness stems from her own journey through self-care after facing some serious health challenges throughout her adolescence and during her ten year career in corporate retail. Her work is now dedicated to creating a multi-pronged approach to wellness that addresses the interdependence of body & mind, food & mood, partnering with executive and personal clients from around the world on their journey to fulfillment and self-care. Kim loves to combine her culinary passion with coaching and Ayurveda in her 1-on-1 programs, group workshops, and worldwide retreats. She can also be found in the kitchen at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center or the Lotus Feed Farm & Retreat Center in Occidental, CA, where she conjures up delicious meals for retreat goers using the produce harvested weekly from the properties' farms.