Columbines School

  • News & Events:

    Our Instructors and Staff:

    Howie Brounstein has taught botany, herbalism, and wildcrafting extensively for decades, including at such herbal establishments as the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. He is the co-owner and a primary instructor of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and has a clinical practice in Eugene, Oregon. He is well known for his brilliant in depth teaching style and his passionate love of plants.

    Leah Kays Leah is a 2006 graduate of Columbines School of Botanical Studies and has been involved with the school since. She is an herbalist, botanist, and bartender from Portland, Oregon who has moved from a substitute teacher to a full time Columbines instructor.

  • Columbines School of Botanical Studies

    Instructor Bio

    Howie Brounstein – Herbalist/Botanist


    Columbines and Wizardry Herbs, Inc.

    • Self-employed
    • Founder of an herbal products business and ran all aspects of it.
    • 1982 to 2006

    Howie was the owner and co-founder of Columbines and Wizardry Herbs, Inc., a manufacturer of quality wildcrafted herbal products. This intentionally small sized business supplied high quality bioregional herbs to the local community.

    Columbines School of Botanical Studies

    • Self-employed
    • Primary teacher and designer of course curriculum for a two plus year program.
    • 1984 to date

    The Columbines School of Botanical Studies offers a unique educational program ranging from entry level lectures in community herbalism to a two plus year program including botany, ecology, wildcrafting, plant pharmacy, physiology, pathophysiology, and clinical herbalism. Operating for over twenty-five years, we specialize in field programs where the majority of the classes are outside with the plants for a truly ’hands on’ experience.

    Herbal Clinic

    • Eugene, Oregon
    • Private herbal practice
    • Primary herbal practitioner
    • Low cost, community oriented, teaching clinic
    • Student interns and NDs gain practical clinic hours
    • Intern roundtable discussions
    • 2003? to date in this form as an intern teaching clinic

    Although the clinic handles many community needs, it specializes in chronic fatigue syndrome and seizure disorders.

    Southwest School of Botanical Medicine

    • Bisbee, Arizona
    • Five month residency program run by Michael Moore and Donna Chesner
    • Primary herbal practitioner
    • Physiology for the Herbalist and Wildcrafting Ethics, 32 hours
    • January – February, 1999 – 2006
    • SWSBM Distance Learning Program: Herbal Therapeutics: These DVDs contain my Physiology for the Herbalist class as taught at SWSBM.

    Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plant Research

    • Self-employed
    • Location and documentation of new populations of protected plants. Plant sighting reports are submitted to the Oregon Natural Heritage Program’s database in Portland, Oregon.
    • 1994 – date

    Howie has submitted many new sighting reports for the threatened Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. estesii, Estes’ Artemisia. This genetically unique endemic plant was previously known from only one site, and his work valuable contributes to the causes of conservation and evolutionary science. Native Plant Society of Oregon published Howie’s article, “Estes’ Artemisia” in the 1996 issue of its yearly publication Kalmiopsis.

    Isla Magdalena Reserva Biologica

    • Santiago, Chile
    • Botanist in an international team of scientists gathered by Fundacion Lahuen, a Chilean environmental organization. I identified plants as part of a rapid biological assessment for an experimental ecological reserve, Isla Magdalena Reserva Biologica, a remote island off the coast of Patagonia.
    • February to March 1995, February to March 1996

    Dr. Dick Noble, MD Herbalist

    • Portland, Oregon
    • Clinic hours with Dr. Noble
    • Private clinic specializing in alternative treatments for chronic fatigue
    • ? – 1999?

    Although I learned protocols clinical skills for chronic illness from Dr. Noble, I primarily learned how to teach clinic to interns.

    Central Oregon Plant Show

    • Central Oregon Environmental Center
    • Bend, Oregon
    • Coordinator and botanist of the Central Oregon Plant Show, sponsored by the US Forest Service and the Native Plant Society of Oregon.
    • 1994 – 1998

    Hundreds of live plants from various ecosystems are displayed and identified. This show attracts both professional and amateur plant enthusiasts from around the state.

    Healing Hands School of Holistic Health

    • Escondido and Laguna Hills, California
    • Guest Teacher
    • 1997 – ?

    Herbs for the Massage Practice: 26 hour course on the art of incorporating herbalism into a massage practice. I taught this class twice a year, in spring and fall, on and off for many years.

    Botanical Survey for a Wildlife Corridor

    • San Diego County, California
    • September 2005
    • Documented botanical uniqueness over a three year period

    Selected List of Teaching Engagements Include:

    • Breitenbush Herbalists’ Conference, Detroit, Oregon, September 1997: Seminars on ethical wildcrafting and plant walks.
    • Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, Bisbee, Arizona, March 1998: Teaching 6 hours of a variety of topics for Michael Moore’s students.
    • Pacific NW Herbal Symposium, Wilsonville, Oregon, May 1998: Seminars on ethical wildcrafting and plant walks.
    • Breitenbush Herbalists’ Conference, Detroit, Oregon, September 1999: Wildcrafting Drop Dosage Medicinals and Herbal Smoking Mixtures.
    • Northwest Herb Fest, Pleasant Hill, Oregon 2005: Nervines: Beyond St. John’s Wort, Plant Walks.
    • American Herbalists Guild Symposium, Portland, Oregon, 2005: Affecting Lifestyle Changes in Chronic Illness and Urban Plant Walk.
    • Breitenbush Herbalists’ Conference, Detroit, Oregon, September 2007: GI Tract Protocol Plant Walk, Herbal Smoking Mixtures, and Three Nervines: Pedicularis, Valeriana, Scutellaria.
    • Northwest Herb Fest, Pleasant Hill, Oregon 2007, 2009: Plant Walks.
    • Breitenbush Herbalists’ Conference, Detroit, Oregon, September 2008: Affecting Lifestyle Changes in Chronic Illness and Teaching Plant Walk (with Steven Yeager).

    List of Publications:

    Kalmiopsis: Journal of the Native Plant Society of Oregon

    Healing Currents Journal

    Talking Leaves: A Global Journal of Spiritual Ecology/Activism

    Other Publications

    • Herbal Smoking Mixtures, self-published, 1995, 34pp
    • Rapid Biological Assessment of Isla Magdelena Ecological Reserve Region XI, Chile, February 1995, 35pp: submitted to Fundación Lahuen and the Chilean Department of Ecology.

    Other Information:

    List of references available on request.

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