Kathy Abascal, BS, JD, Herbalist RH (AHG)
I graduated with a degree in neurobiology with a minor in
biochemistry and French from the University of California at Berkeley.
After graduation, I worked on numerous clinical research studies and
helped conduct physician peer reviews at a local hospital. When that work
no longer challenged me, the doctors I worked with recommended that I
apply to medical school.
In retrospect, I should have followed their advice but instead completely switched directions and got a Juris
Doctor from Hastings College of law in San Francisco. I worked as a research attorney at the California Court of
Appeal for a number of years and then went into private practice specializing in complex consumer litigation.
While a delegate to the State Bar Conference of Delegates, I drafted a law requiring California attorneys to file
pleadings on recycled paper and allowing them to use unbleached rather than pristine white paper. My
proposal was voted down at the conference but the Sierra Club subsequently adopted the proposal and the
law was enacted. As time passed, the California courts became more conservative and less receptive to
litigation on behalf of consumers, and I once again found myself looking for a new direction.
After a year long sabbatical, I realized that I needed to be involved in some aspect of health care. I had always
been interested in medicinal plants, and when I learned that Michael Moore had a botanical medicine school, I
moved to New Mexico to complete his program. After graduating, I practiced for a year and then went through
his program again, this time in Bisbee, Arizona. Michael had a voluminous knowledge of both the traditional
uses and the science of herbs. I loved being out in the field with him gathering plants, making medicines, and
learning how to use them. I especially loved learning about the desert plants. Thanks to Michael, I came to
have a deep respect for traditional plant knowledge, the Eclectics, and the value of using whole plants as
While in Bisbee, I met Eric Yarnell, then a recent graduate of Bastyr University who was working with Silena
Heron, an herbalist and naturopathic physician in Sedona. Eric and I began working together on some projects
and found that we complemented each other well. We have co-authored several textbooks on botanical
medicine and co-author articles on botanical medicine for each issue of Alternative & Complementary
Therapies and a number of other journals. We also taught an Intensive Seminar in Botanical Medicine with Dr.
James A. Duke in Maryland for five years, and worked together on a research study to learn how the use of
fresh or dried plant material and various extraction methods affects the constituent profile of the medicine.
Eventually, I moved from New Mexico to Vashon Island, Washington. Over the decades since studying
biochemistry in college, I have followed research in biochemistry and nutrition. Over time I expanded my herbal
practice to include a nutritional program that I developed to improve my own health and weight issues. I began
teaching the TQI Diet in 2007 and am consistently inspired by the fabulous results and changes I see in my