Christopher Hobbs (herbalist)

Christopher Hobbs (herbalist)

Christopher Hobbs is a California herbalist and acupuncturist who is known for his prolific writings on medicinal plants, mushrooms and liver herbs. A fourth generation herbalist and botanist, Hobbs has been working in natural medicine for nearly 40 years. [ HealthWorld Online: Christopher Hobbs L.Ac., A.H.G.] ] He is a Co-Founder and professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, and has served on the admissions review committee from its inception. [ [ American Herbalists Guild History] ] He has formulated supplement lines, written about a wide variety of herbs, has taught at a variety of schools and lectured widely.

Life and training

Hobbs grew up in a botanical and herbal family. His dad and great uncle were botany professors in California, and his grandmother and great-grandmother were herbalists. In 1968, Hobbs studied diet and fasting with Paul Bragg in Desert Hot Springs, California. He took up experimenting with herbs from Maud Grieve's herbal and started leading weed walks in 1969. He worked in a natural foods coop in rural Oregon and taught classes in herbs and natural healing, while acquainting himself with the herbs of the Pacific coast. In 1980 he spent a year studying polarity therapy at the Alive Polarity Institute on Orcas Island and in a hot springs center in Calistoga, California. At this point he decided to devote his life to natural healing and herbs. He taught with Rosemary Gladstar from 1980 to 1990 in northern California at the California School of Herbal Studies as a regular guest teacher, before moving to Santa Cruz in 1984 where he spent most of the next two decades. In 1984 he completed two years of pre-med training at Cabrillo College, and opened a herb company, Native Herb Company with his partner, Beth Baugh. The company focussed on producing single tinctures and formulas that incorporated lesser-known pacific coast wild herbs. The company was sold to Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems in 1989. He studied acupuncture at 5 Branches Institute and in the clinic of Michael and Lesley Tierra and was licensed in the State of California. Hobbs ran his own clinical practice on Mission Street in front of Heartwood Spa from 1996 to 1999, when he moved to Williams, Oregon.Hobbs, Christopher. [ My Life with Herbs and Natural Healing] ] He moved back to Santa Cruz in 2001, then to Davis in 2002 to complete an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. After graduation in 2006, he began a Ph.D. program at University of California, Berkeley, studying the chemistry, pharmacology, botany, phylogenetics, and ethnobotany of the medicinal genus "Artemisia".

Consulting to the herbal industry

Hobbs has consulted with Nature's Way, Yerba Prima and other natural supplement firms. Since 1984, he has been a formulator, herbal, and scientific consultant for Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems in Santa Cruz. Hobbs is a founder of Native Herb Custom Extracts (now Rainbow Light Custom Extracts) and the Institute for Natural Products Research. He is a consultant to the herb industry and has formulated a custom Chinese herbal line for Secara. [ [ Secara: Team] ] He has reviewed the quality of herbs in a number of large herb companies, and served as a member of the standards committee of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). He served as vice president of AHPA, and as a member of the board of trustees for 7 years.


Hobbs has been collecting rare herbal books for over 30 years and collected over 8000 books relating to herbal medicine and the history of medicine. He compiled extensive collections in ethnobotany, early American materia medica and medical botany, botany, history of ancient medicine (including a number of 16th and 17th century herbals), European phytotherapy (including Hagers Handbuch) and nearly complete runs of the journals Planta Medica, Herba Hunganca, Herba Polonica, Fitoterapia, The Eclectic Medical Journal, American Journal of Pharmacy (from the early 1800s), Phytotherapy Research and a number of others.


In 1980 Hobbs started teaching herbal medicine and botany classes at the only resident herbal school on the pacific coast, the "California School of Herbal Studies" founded by Rosemary Gladstar. The following year Hobbs moved to Santa Cruz, and began teaching the chemistry, pharmacology and botany of herbs full time in the Platonic School of Herbal Studies founded by Dr. Paul Lee along with Michael Tierra, Subhuti Dharmananda and Grace Marroquin, which continued for 4 years. With Michael Tierra, he founded the American School of Herbalism in 1990 to teach training programs in western and Chinese herbal medicine, which is still operating in Santa Cruz.

Hobbs has taught or lectured at universities and medical schools such as Yale Medical School, Stanford Medical School, Bastyr University and the National School of Naturopathic Medicine; the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of California, Davis. He has been a regular presenter at such conferences as Breitenbush Herb Conference, Medicines from the Earth, the Green Nation's Gathering, American Herbalists Guild Annual Conference, and the International Herb Symposium. He has lectured internationally in Canada, South America, Great Britain and Europe.


In addition to a full library of articles on Health World, [ [ Chris Hobbs articles on Health World] ] he has written for "Natural Health", "Let's Live", "HerbalGram", and "Pharmacy In History". He is a contributing editor to "HerbalGram". Hobbs has also written for the "American Herb Association NewsLetter", "Business of Herbs", "Vegetarian Times", "Fine Gardening", "Herbs", and "Mothering", among others.

Hobbs has written a number of books and pamphlets on herbal medicine over the years:

*Usnea: The herbal antibiotic: and other medicinal lichens 1985
*Super immunity: Herbs and other natural remedies for a healthy immune system 1985
*Herbal Pharmacology workbook 1985, revised 1999.
*Chinese Herbs Growing in the Western US 1985
*"Milk Thistle: The Liver Herb" 1987
*"The Echinacea Handbook" 1989
*"Herbal Formulas That Work! And the Herbal Prescriber" 1989
*"Ginkgo: Elixir of Youth - Modern Medicine Form an Ancient Tree " 1990
*"Foundations of Health: Healing With Herbs and Foods" (Herbs and Health Series)1992
*"Taraxacum officinale: A monograph and literature review" 1993
*"Valerian: The Relaxing and Sleep Herb" (The Herbs and Health Series)1993
*" Kombucha, Manchurian Tea Mushroom, the Essential Guide" 1995
*" Echinacea: The Immune Herb" (Herbs and Health Series) 1995
*"The Ginsengs: A User's Guide" 1996
*"Stress & Natural Healing: Herbal Medicines and Natural Therapies" 1997
*"St. John's Wort: The Mood Enhancing Herb" 1998
*"Saw Palmetto: The Herb for Prostate Health" 1998
*"Handmade Herbal Medicines: Recipes for Potions, Elixirs, and Salves" 1998
*"Herbal Remedies for Dummies" 1998
*"Vitamins for Dummies" with Elson Haas 1999
*"Peterson Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs" with Steven Foster and Roger Tory Peterson 2002
*"Natural Therapy for your Liver" 1985, 2nd ed. 2002
*"Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture." 2nd ed. (Herbs and Health Series) 1995
*"Vitex: The Women's Herb" 1990, 2nd ed. 2003
*"Pocket Guide to Herbal Medicine" with Karin, M.D. Kraft and Jonathan Treasure, 2004
*"Women's Herbs: Women's Health with Kathi Keville" 1998, 2nd ed. 2007


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