Michael Roland Shaw Moore
January 9, 1941 – February 20, 2009
Herbalist, Wildcrafter, Writer, Musician, Composer, Teacher & Much More
The first real herb book I ever read was the original edition of Michael Moore’s Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. It opened up my eyes to a whole new way of approaching healing and the plants. While I knew some basic herbal skills at the time, I was in awe of Michael’s confidant understanding of physiology and deep respect for the natural world. Over the years I’ve read every single book him so many times I have large passages memorized from each of them, and I’ve spent countless hours listening to his herb conference lectures on CD repeatedly. More recently, I’ve been a student of his Clinical and Constitutional Herbalism course at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.
I can’t imagine my practice without Michael’s enormous contribution. Every single day, I utilize understandings and information gleaned from him. Each time I assess a new client, create a formula, wildcraft or write an herbal blogpost I draw on some bit of what I’ve learned from him. My knowledge of energetics and constitutions has been heavily influenced by his exploration in this area, and his down to earth, easily understood ways of explaining the nuts and bolts of all things herbal have certainly effected my own teaching and writing in a big way. I have deeply appreciated his generosity in freely sharing old herbal texts, electronic verstions of his many manuels, hundreds and hundreds of plant photographs and illustrations, and these resources have greatly furthered my education and learning process.
It’s very important for those new to herbalism to understand that much of the knowledge that many American herbalists take for granted as obvious and widespread comes directly from Michael’s work. We’ve all benefitted from his books, teaching, extensive research and scholarship, as well his incredible lineage of students, many of whom now have their own schools. Whether or not you’ve ever read one of his remarkable herbals, you’ve certainly been influenced by his knowledge and perspective. I feel that every aspiring or practicing herbalist should read the introduction to Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, and pay close attention to his thoughtful, compassionate treatise on Green Herbalism.
In fact, I strongly recommend that all herbalists or plant people read Michael’s books. He has sometimes been pigeonholed as Southwestern herbal author, but really, his books apply to anyone in North American, and likely well beyond. His books include a wide variety of herbs from Lemon Balm to Angelica to Pennyroyal to Salal and the underlying principles and understandings that inform his work apply to all of us. Besides, some of his medicine making techniques are genius and will save you lots of time and frustration. His sense of humor is absolutely priceless, and immortalized in his writings, recordings and videos. I am so appreciative of the time he took to record so much of his work, dedicating many hours even while he was ill to editing video footage and putting together course material.
I was incredibly sad then, to hear of his death yesterday, even though I’m very happy that he’ll no longer be experiencing chronic pain and problems. My sadness is mostly for myself and for the rest of the world, that has benefitted so deeply from him. In some ways it feels like the end of an era, even as we attempt to continue in his formidable footsteps.
What I want most to say is that I am enormously grateful for the work he dedicated his life to and for the great healing and teaching he gave to so many. Thanks, Michael…
To help support Donna Chesner – Michael’s wife and the skilled administrator of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine- please contact her to ask what’s needed or send donations to
620 West Limberlost, #24,
Tucson, Arizona, 85705