When I Met Guido Masé

The first time I met Guido Masé was after I had already invited him to teach at the first Allies for Plants and People Symposium in Pennsylvania. He struck me as a loner, even though everyone wanted to meet him and ask him questions. He carried himself with athletic poise, his long legs sure and steady as they carried him across campus. When he spoke, his words were carefully chosen, as if selecting the perfect heirloom tomatoes from a farm stand, and the timber of his voice gentle, imbued with awareness and kindness.

There can be no doubt: this man is a “thinker,” a person who figures things out, a person who cares about those who suffer, and a person who is capable of putting his “smarts” into action.

Born in Italy, Guido moved to Kansas with his family when he was a young boy, and later to New England as a young man. In Ferrara, Italy, he grew up in love with plants, trees, mountains and science. Mythology and mystical spiritual traditions also fascinated him. Sitting in the boughs of a tree as a teen, he began to make connections between the plant world and the mystical stories that captivated his imagination. It was perhaps in that moment that a seed was sown in his psyche and he started on his path as an herbalist.

Today, as a practicing herbalist at the Burlington Herb Clinic, he works one-on-one with people seeking guidance using plant medicine for better health. As he once foresaw while perched in a tree, he now weaves together scientific research with traditional herbal lore to craft their protocols, and always relies on his abiding belief in the inherent power of plants to heal.

As a teacher of herbal medicine, Guido stands tall. His classroom, overflowing with eager students, is quiet: listening with pens poised. His content is rich with practical information, backed by science and enriched with centuries-old stories, like this one about the Stinging Nettle.

After attending his class on Herbal Bitters, my notebook and brain were full of new ideas – who ever thought that eating bitter plants could shift our ingrained ways of thinking and act as a “gym for our digestion?” That was the moment that I knew I wanted to learn as much as I could from Guido Masé.

As a clinician at the Burlington Herb Clinic, a member of the American Herbalists Guild, founder and co-director of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, and as chief herbalist at Urban Moonshine, a producer of organic bitters and herbal tonics in Burlington, Vermont, Guido has made the most of every opportunity to practice what he feels most passionate about: the power of plants to heal. Part of his mission includes empowering individuals with the knowledge of how to take care of themselves, proactively, and with methods that are sustainable, available and affordable.

“Herbal medicine has the potential of doing a lot of good in the context of the modern medical system,” he says, “relieving the burden on primary care and empowering people to take care of themselves with things that are very accessible and low cost.”

That doesn’t mean he disregards the value of modern medicine. Instead he sees his work as a bridge between two worlds, drawing on both science and tradition to help people find the most effective, sustainable, and least toxic solution to better health.

When I approached Guido about studying with him, it made sense to host him on BotanicWise, a platform dedicated to authentic herbal education. I asked him to teach Natural Cardio Care for three reasons:

  1. Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer nationwide, and is expanding to include younger victims

  2. There is a scarcity of knowledge about how to approach cardiovascular conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure with alternative methods

  3. I wanted to learn more about what I can do to help my own patients who struggle with this disease

Since taking Natural Cardio Care a year ago, I have been able to work together with my local cardiologist and my patients to explore plant-based protocols that protect and, in some cases, reverse disease progression. Sometimes pharmaceutical intervention is still necessary, but it is no longer the default plan. I am grateful to Guido for his tireless studies, his brilliant mind and his excellent way of teaching this material in an understandable and usable manner – one which has instilled my patients with hope and confidence in the healing wonder of plants.

I am excited to take the new edition of this online course, not only to review what I have already learned – so important! – but also to learn what Guido has learned since the first edition. Guido, like myself, has a passion for learning… and sharing what he has learned… and for making a real difference in the health of our communities and beyond.

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