Every month we interview a Berkeley Herbal Center Alumni about becoming an herbalist!
This month we connected with Sharon Bargil! Between publishing her book, teaching groups at medical centers, and giving private consultations at her practice, Sharon took the time to share her journey through school with us!
Here’s her story, in her own words.
My journey with herbs began in my 30’s.
I was born and raised in Israel.
In my 30’s, I moved with my husband and first born to the East Bay. This gave me a great opportunity to leave my background in computer science and let my self immerse in 2 things that I always loved: nature & cooking.
Over the following 10 years I gave birth to 3 more children (total of 4) and somehow manage to incorporate extensive studies in wholistic nutrition and herbal medicine. I loved it!
For me these were 2 completing modalities, and 2 things that I am most passionate about.
Finding Herbal School(s)
My studies in herbal medicine began at the CCNH. After completing the CCNH programs I felt I just want to study more and extend my knowledge so I was lucky enough to take 2 years with Pam Fischer at, what was then called, Ohlone Center for Herbal Studies!
From BHC, I studied with Christopher Hobbs and other herbalists in California. I also studied at the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) and at the Center of Mind Body Medicine (CMBM). These other modalities on top of my nutrition education enabled to create a broader framework that I felt comfortable working with.
I think my herbal career took a significant turn after my volunteer work at the Herbal Clinic for Low Income Women with Cancer in Berkeley. Working with cancer patients pushed me to focus on herbal medicine in Oncology setting. I decided to extend the knowledge of using herbal medicine in oncology setting and started studying with Donald Yance in Oregon to get a deeper understanding – this provided me with everything I needed to grow to the next phase in my life.
In 2009, after 12 years in the USA, I moved back to Israel – my homeland.
Back in Israel
With my background, I was able to start working in one of the 3 major medical centers in Israel – Belinson Hospital. The hospital just opened an “integrative oncology unit”.
This unit is dedicated to supporting cancer patients with acupuncture, yoga, shiatsu, mind body medicine, naturopathy and herbal medicine. It is the only hospital I know of in Israel (and in the USA) that prescribes herbal medicine to oncology patients. I worked there for 8 years giving patients nutritional consultation and prescribing herbal medicine. It was a very meaningful work, both personally and professionally. It allowed my to extend my knowledge regarding supporting cancer patients with herbal medicine and also taught me a lot about working in an integrative setting with other professionals – Oncologists, nurses, radiologists, surgeons and other integrative medicine providers.
I learned to get an understanding of the “whole picture” and how to support a patient with different modalities.
Sharon’s Current Project
By the end of 2017 I left Belinson in order to pursue another passion I had – to share the knowledge I gathered with more people.
It took almost 3 years of extensive work, and in May 2020 I published my book: 90% Healthy – Eating and Cooking for Great Health!
The book incorporates an informative framework with practical tools. A lot of information regarding the philosophy and research in the field of integrative oncology with more than 100 recipes that focus on local, healthy, easy to prepare dishes. There is a lot of information regarding current research of different compounds in foods and herbs and how to use them to reduce cancer risk, support treatments outcome and slow down disease progression.
The book was published in Hebrew in May 2020 , and over the past 4 months I sold my first edition – 2,000 copies. One of my goals for 2021 is to translate this book to English.
I keep working in my private practice: giving private consultations, lecturing to groups and several medical centers regarding using researched based nutrition and herbal medicine in oncology setting (these days mostly on Zoom).