Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism: Our Story

Over 20 Years of Teaching Herbal Medicine…

…Based on Over 1,000 Years of Wisdom

Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, Asheville’s pioneer and most innovative herbal medicine school, was founded by Peggy Ellis in 1991. Originally known as the N.C. School of Natural Healing, Ellis designed the herbal studies curriculum using experience from her Certification in Herbalism from Rosemary Gladstar (California School of Herbal Studies, 1985) as well as subsequent clinical practice. Her husband, Craig Ellis, developed and launched programs in energy healing and massage therapy. Together they maintained medicinal gardens and Ellis also kept a private herbal practice for over a decade.

In 2001, in response to a deep calling to follow their spirit path to the Himalayas, Peggy and Craig Ellis sold their healing programs. Theresa Wilkes purchased the massage therapy and energy healing programs under the original school name of N.C. School of Natural Healing.

Ceara Foley, a graduate of Peggy Ellis’ herbal medicine program and a close friend of Ellis, purchased the herbal medicine school. Hiring more staff and faculty, inviting guest instructors from a rich background of cultures and holistic healing experiences, and strengthening an expanded curriculum, Foley renamed the school as the N.C. School of Holistic Herbalism.

As the school grew, it promoted engaging individual workshops, herb walks, wild foods classes, a mycology focus, special topics in plant ally spirituality and herbal medicine history, practitioners in energy and herbal healing, and established a robust apothecary. It became clear that the school was deeply entwined with the native area in which it thrived. As part of a renewed commitment to personal health and a celebration of the bioregion, the school was renamed as the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism in 2007.  This renaming ceremony also distinguished the school from similarly-named local programs established by Wilkes.

Today, ASHH is proud to be known as the oldest herbal studies school in the Southeast. With deep appreciation for feedback from class attendees, students, and our wonderful community members, we seek opportunities to fine tune our herbal healing and medicine making classes and healing services, as well as strengthen our certification courses. We aim to always give back to the area from which we borrow, providing good quality medicine and knowledge based on centuries of wisdom and experience.

After attending ASHH, many of our graduates have established successful natural medicine, skincare, aromatherapy, and consulting businesses, as well as comprise faculty at other local herbal studies schools.