Thomas Avery Garran has been studying herbal medicine since 1989. His original training was in Western herbalism and later in Chinese medicine. He has made a living as a professional wildcrafter, practitioner, and teacher. He is a graduate of the American School of Herbalism and holds a Masters Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Thomas is the former Chair of the Department of Herbal Medicine at the Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Honolulu, HI, and on the advisory board for the John Burns School of Medicine’s Department of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Thomas is the author of Western Herbs According to Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Practitioners Guide and Western Herbs in Chinese Medicine: Methodology & Materia Medica. He is also the author of several peer review journal articles and is a contributing author to the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.
Thomas has been living in Beijing, China since 2007 where he has been practicing and worked with several teachers. During the spring of 2011, in cooperation with the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development and the Sun Village Orphanage, Thomas (and his lovely wife) raised funds for and designed (2000+ m2) the Autumn Reine Learning Garden (嶸曉植物園), which offers children (and adults) an opportunity to interact with plants from around the world, not only learning about them but also about ecology, organic gardening, and the value of sustainable living.
Thomas has a keen interest in many other things plant related including photography. Often running to catch up with a group, Thomas has photographed plants on the Qing Hai Plateau of Western China, The Cascades and Sierra-Nevada Ranges of the Western United States, the jungles of Yunnan’s autonomous region XiShuangBanna (China), the Birkshires of Western Massachussetts (USA), the rain forests of Malaysia, Chang Bai Mountain area of Northeast China, the deserts of the Southwestern United States, the native forest ridges of the Kahana Valley, O’hau, Hawai’i and many other places. Thomas also studied ethnobotany in the graduate program at University of Hawai’i while enrolled in the undergraduate Chinese Language and Literature program. Thomas speaks English & Mandarin Chinese and can read both modern and literary Chinese. Thomas is also an avid ice hockey player and currently a frozen-water surfer (having switched to snow-boarding as a fair but passable substitute for surfing) but still dreams of getting back into the ocean and letting the swells carry him into the Tao.
Thomas would like to tip his hat to a few of his many teachers without which he could have never gotten to where he is today.
Barbara Nigel (martial arts), Michael Tierra, Christopher Hobbs, Holly Guzman, Robert Damone, Z’ev Rosenburg, Wang Ju-yi, Wu Bo-lin, Han Gui-qing, my children, and many others who have helped me in ways that you couldn’t know.
Thomas is teaching or co-teaching the following classes: