Alumni Series

Alumni Series: Dana Aronson

Each month we catch up with an alumni of the Berkeley Herbal Center long term programs.

This month’s article is a spotlight on Dana Aronson! She graduated from the BHC program, went through both clinical years offered at the school, and used the school as a launching pad for a myriad of herbal projects.

We connected with Dana and learned more about her love of the outdoors, her decision to start herb school, and all of the new things she’s been focusing on since she graduated!

How Dana Found Herbalism

Growing up in Santa Cruz, I was surrounded by nature. Where the ocean meets the dense green forest, I had many different small eco systems at my finger tips to explore.

Since I was a little girl, my father instilled the love for the great outdoors in me. We would camp under the stars, take camping trips throughout the spring and summer months, and would explore the great outdoors. To see mother earth living and breathing was fascinating to me. The critters, the waters, the moss, fungi, birds and insects, all captivated my heart. I knew there had to be more than meets the eye.

In 2012 I relocated to Oakland to finish my degree in American Sign Language and while I was in school, I got hired at an herb shop.
I had no knowledge, but the owners accepted me with open arms and fully supported my research when it was quiet in the shop. After seeing my own shift in my physical and emotional state using herbs, then chatting with people who were experiencing similar things, I was hooked! After a few years of working, traveling, and school, I saved up enough money to put myself through herb school—the Berkeley Herbal Center.

Dana as an Apprentice

At BHC, I went through the apprenticeship program and I couldn’t have been happier with my choice! I had different teachers with many different experiences that they all shared openly. I was really thankful for all the different lenses to look through with herbalism.
As much as I loved all parts of the program, I really found myself flourishing in the hands on learning through plant meditations, herb walks and the camping trips. I couldn’t get enough of them! It was a way to learn that I had never experienced. I got to see the plants in their natural habitat.
At the trips we were able to ID plants, learn their surroundings, find what plants were growing near, touch them, smell them, sit with them, and of course, learn the medicinal properties. It was spectacular!
After graduating the program in 2016, I went through the 2 year clinical internship at BHC low cost community clinic. Through that experience, I felt held, guided through my mishaps, and supported to trust my instinct
Overall, I felt that my internship at BHC made me trust my skills, my knowledge, and helped my hone in my scope of what I wanted to offer.

BHC was a Launching Platform for Dana

Since finishing the BHC programs, I have been busy in the herbal world! I started my own product line, offering workshops and I have a small clinical practice through my brand, Wild Kin Botanicals.
I was able to team up with other herbalists from MASHH (Medicine for All Seeking Health and Healing)  in creating mobile herbal first aid pop up clinics. These mobile clinics are where my heart is, we have offered them where natural disasters have hit, at protests, and other gatherings.
In January of 2019, myself along with another herbalist by the name of Lisa SF, started a herbal wound care clinic on the streets of West Oakland. We teamed up with a non-profit organization and registered needle exchange by the name of Punks With Lunch, to offer wound care alongside their set up. We mainly saw unhoused folks that used substances. We worked with a wide range of ailments, but mainly offered open abscess support. This support was all herbal care!! The clinic is still thriving today!
You can follow Dana on Instagram @_wildkin and check out her shop at wildkinbotanicals.com
Interested in being part of our Alumni Series? Send an email to info@berkeleyherbalcenter.org!