After publishing four issues of South Facing in 2014 I realized that I needed to take a break and get some help before continuing. To that end, I am happy to present the initial team of authors, reviewers, editors, etc. Each member of the team brings a unique skill-set and I am very happy to have them aboard. The team consists of herbalists trained in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and Western herbal medicine. We have a scholar of Chinese medical history, several published authors, owners of product companies, and people who are focused primarily on clinical work. Many of the team is trained in botany, ethnobotany, and other related disciplines. Having a multi-disciplinary team means that not only are we able to evaluate submissions from a vast array of authors, but we are also able to offer a wide breadth of experience as contributors. Please scroll down to view this outstanding team.


MeThomas Avery Garran, Herbalist, Editor-in-Chief

Thomas Avery Garran has been studying herbal medicine since 1989 and is a graduate of the American School of Herbalism as a direct student of Christopher Hobbs and Michael Tierra from 1992-96. He became licensed to practice Chinese medicine in the United States in 1996 and later attended Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, receiving his Masters of Science of Chinese Medicine degree in 1999. Thomas maintained a full-time practice in Chinese medicine from 1996 until moving to China in 2007. From 2004-2007 he taught in the Herbology Department at the Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and in 2005 became the head of the department. During that time he also served as an adviser to the John Burns School of Medicine, Department of Alternative Medicine at the University of Hawai’i.

In 2007 he began to think more about research in the field of medicinal plants, and began pursuing PhD studies in the Ethnobotany section of Department of Botany at the University of Hawai’i. This was cut short in December of 2007 when he moved to Beijing full-time. Thomas also studied Chinese language and literature at the University of Hawai’i as well as the Beijing Language and Culture University.

Since living in China he has done clinical studies with a number of Chinese medicine doctors and is currently enrolled as a PhD student in the Materia Medica department of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing. Thomas is also an adviser to the National Medicinal Plant Botanical Garden at the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development in Beijing.

Thomas and his wife founded and manage the Autumn Reine Learning Garden, an ecological garden with medicinal plants from around the world, vegetables, and flowers. Thomas offers educational programs to children from local schools, teaching students the benefits of working with (not against) nature, and simple principles of herbal medicine.

Thomas has published two books (and several articles) on the subject of integrating Western herbs into Chinese medicine, Western Herbs According to Tradition Chinese Medicine: A Practitioners Guide (2008) and Western Herbs in Chinese Medicine: Methodology & Materia Medica (2014). His work has been described as, “…the first truly authoritative work on understanding and using Western herbs based on the TCM model.” Z’ev Rosenberg, L.Ac. has said, “Thomas’ books are far and away the most advanced books on this topic.” And Eric Brand, L.Ac. has call his books, “…the best in this genre.” Thomas is currently working on his third book, an adaptation of the classic text Depeibencao (得配本草), which is a text about the use of “duiyao” (herbal combinations) in Chinese medicine.

In 2014 Thomas funded Passiflora Press (the publisher of his second book) and with that South Facing: A Journal of Medicinal Plants and their Applications, which is available free in digital format (the hardcopy is not free).

Other than his busy schedule Thomas enjoys hiking, botanizing, gardening, ice hockey, reading, and spending quiet time with his soul-mate and beloved wife.


Herman_and_Duck size adjustedNicolaas Herman Oving, CM Practitioner, Translator

Prone to an adventurous life, Nicolaas Herman Oving’s passions shift with locations and seasons. Traveling in Europe, China, and the United States he learned about different peoples and their life ways, all the while gaining a respect for their Eastern and Western knowledge traditions. Between these travels he earned a degree in sinology and studied the theory and practice of Chinese medicine.

After formally studying Chinese languages and cultures in the Netherlands and China, Nicolaas studied Chinese medicine at a private school in the Netherlands. He has practiced herbal medicine in different clinics, including one he established with a colleague. More recently, he has taken a hiatus from the clinic to devote himself to the translation of Chinese medical texts, and to grow vegetables, fruit, and medicinal plants.

Having gained notable success, Nicolaas has published translations of several key works. In 2007, he published an annotated translation of Wang Qingren’s foundational text, the Yilin gaicuo (Correcting the Errors in the Forest of Medicine). More of Nicolaas’s translations are available on the Chinese Medicine Database website. Some Dutch and English versions appeared in journals such as the European Journal of Integrated Eastern & Western Medicine and Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Acupunctuur. He is currently working on translations of two texts by Tang Zonghai (a.k.a. Tang Rongchuan; second half of 19th century): the Bencao wenda (Questions and answers on materia medica), a text discussing the way medicinal plants grow and look in relation to what they do therapeutically, and the Xuezhenglun, an influential text on blood and bleeding patterns. Another project on his desk is a translation of Wu Youke’s (a.k.a. Wu Youxing) Wenyilun (On Warm Epidemic; mid 17th century). Having done editorial work for Nigel Wiseman and Paradigm Publications, he now provides private advice regarding Chinese medical terminology to several teachers and students.

Nicolaas has taught Chinese medical terminology since the year 2000 when he wrote a course for Dutch acupuncturists. He taught that course for seven years to groups of physician-acupuncturists and practitioners of various accreditations. In 2007 he set up an online course in Chinese medical Chinese (in English), which has become one of his great pleasures. Nicolaas is currently translating two books for Passiflora Press, the Bencaowenda (本草問答) and the Wenyilun (瘟疫論). Here you can find an introduction to the Bencaowenda (本草問答).

For more information about Nicolaas, his teachings, and other current activities you can check out his website .


ShelleyShelley Ochs, Ph. D., China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China

Dr. Ochs has been teaching Chinese Medicine at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies since 2008. She is also an instructor in the International Institute, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Her current research focuses on the role of culture and religion in the early formation of Chinese medical theory and practice. Her clinical training includes an M.S. in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Bilingual Program of the American College of Traditional Chinese medicine in San Francisco, and traditional apprenticeship training with senior acupuncturist Dr. Wang juyi in Beijing. Dr. Ochs is presently collaborating on a book project, an Illustrated History of Traditional Medicine in China, and regularly writes articles on Chinese medicine for both academic and clinical journals.


Todd CaldecottTodd Caldecott, Herbalist

Todd Caldecott is a medical herbalist and practitioner of Ayurveda, with 19 years of clinical experience. He graduated from the Coastal Mountain College (1996) and continued his studies at the Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam in India (1997). He is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild (1997), the former clinical director of Wild Rose College (2001-04), and is an experienced consultant in the field of non-timber forest products and the natural products industry. Todd is author of the textbook Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life (2006) and Food As Medicine (2011), and is editor of Ayurveda In Nepal (2009), written by Vaidya Mana Bajra Bajracharya of Kathmandu. Todd maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver, and is director of the Dogwood School of Botanical Medicine which provides both distance learning and mentorship training in Ayurveda and herbal medicine.


Trevor EriksonTrevor Erikson, Dr. TCM

Trevor Erikson, Dr. TCM, started his studies in herbal medicine in 1990, first with western herbalism under the tutelage of Dr. Terri Willard at Wild Rose herbal college in Vancouver, BC, and then later in Chinese medicine, finishing a 5-year Doctor of Chinese medicine diploma through Oshio College of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine in Victoria, BC (2005). Trevor has dedicated the majority of his clinical experience to the treatment of skin disease, interning in the busy dermatology ward of Hunan’s #1 Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Chengsha, China (2005), as well as completing Mazin Al-Khafaji’s prestigious Chinese medicine dermatology diploma program in London, England (2007 and again in 2011). Trevor also took an interest in reproductive health, becoming a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Medicine (ABORM) in 2009, as well as working out of the reputed fertility clinic, Acubalance wellness center, in Vancouver, BC (2007 to 2011). Trevor currently runs a skin clinic in White Rock, BC, that he started in 2011, where he treats many patients presenting with a wide range of skin disorders, both acute and chronic. He also runs a full pharmacy, stocked complete with at least 300 high quality raw herbal medicines and several stainless steel pressure cookers used to cook up individual patient prescriptions. He also hand makes a wide variety of different skin creams and ointments, all of which are based on traditional recipes. Trevor has authored several articles in different medical journals on the topic of Chinese medicine dermatology, including the possible connection between skin disease and fertility, and has also lectured via webinar to international audiences on the same topics. When not in clinic, Trevor may be found in his extensive gardens, cooking in the kitchen, spending time with his wife and 3 children, playing guitar, or exploring the coastlines and forests of his homeland in beautiful British Columbia. For more information on Trevor and his work with Chinese medicine dermatology, please visit his website at


Ben ZappinBenjamin Zappin, Herbalist, L.Ac

Benjamin is an herbalist with over 20 years of experience and a Licensed Acupuncturist in the state of California. He utilizes his training in both Chinese and Western herbal traditions along with modern medical perspectives on herbs and nutritional healing to his work with clients. Benjamin’s training includes a 4 year apprenticeship with Micheal Tierra, studies at Five Branches Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and studies at Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hangzhou, China. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Canonical Chinese Herbal Medicine with Arnaud Versluys.

In addition to his private practice, Benjamin has held a position as assistant professor and clinical supervisor at Five Branches University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Santa Cruz teaching Internal Medicine and Dietetics. For four years Ben co-directed the American School of Herbalism in Santa Cruz, offering professional training in Western and Chinese herbal medicine. He is also on the faculty of the East/West School of Herbology. He is also on the board of directors of Integrative Medicine for the Underserved.

Benjamin has gained an integrative perspective working with the complex health issues in number of contexts. For five years he worked with autistic and severely disabled young adults and children. He provided acupuncture and herbal support at a client resource center for adults living with mental health conditions. Benjamin currently provides Chinese medical care to patients living at Providence House in Oakland, a low-income supportive housing program serving persons with disabling HIV, AIDS and other physical disabilities.

For the past 20 years Benjamin has been developing his skills as a medicine maker and owner of Five Flavors Herbs, Inc. with his wife Ingrid. They manufacture approximately 200 single herb extracts for clinical use by health care professionals. Ben and Ingrid harvest a significant portion of the herbs used for processing in the wild and from local Bay Area farms! When not working Ben is spending time with his family, cooking, and playing music.