New Kid in Town

| December 4, 2013 | 0 Comments


Serena Silberman is a naturopathic doctor and herbalist from Perth, Australia.

Serena Silberman is a naturopathic doctor and herbalist from Perth, Australia.

Along with the arrival of Bastyr University to San Diego, we have enjoyed the addition of some dedicated herbalists to our community. One of them, a naturopathic doctor and herbalist from Perth, Australia has chosen to volunteer to help in the Trees for Health Arboretum in Balboa Park. Classically trained in functional health and plant medicine,  Serena Silberman, quite literally, keep her hand in gardening. When she relocated to San Diego to be with her husband, a student at Bastyr University, she sought out a place to connect with the plants she already knows and to learn the local ones. She heard about the garden in Balboa Park through a brochure that her husband brought home from school.

As a kid, Silberman was taught by her father to help out in the family orchard. He told her stories about the plants that his mother had loved to use for food and home remedies, such as stinging nettle. As an adult, she discovered that she had a grandmother (on her mother’s side of the family) who lived in Ohio and was also a passionate herbal healer. Herbalism runs in her genes. She began working in a pharmacy and was trained to manufacture fresh, herbal skin products with an emphasis on preparations helpful during pregnancy. This led her to study with renowned herbalist, Kerry Bone, and into a practice dealing with women’s health, fertility issues and natural hormone balancing. She often ended up treating the children of her patients, including teaching them the “magic” tingling of Echinacea on the tongue to cure colds.

Silberman is settling in to become a permanent resident here in San Diego. She has joined a healthcare practice in Encinitas called North County Integrative Health Center, where she will collaborate on the treatment of patients with a kinesiologist and chiropractor. Her specialty will be functional medicine that diagnoses and treats systemic disorders to address the root cause and achieve overall health. She treats using a combination of nutritional, herbal, and physical modalities. Her philosophy is that lifestyle is 80 percent of your health and that each individual needs a personalized diagnosis to achieve the vitality that she/he deserves by fine-tuning their own habits to suit their specific constitution. (Find her at or (619)847-8742.)

In keeping with her convictions about the importance of lifestyle, she also teaches healthy cooking classes at UCSD’s Integrative Health Department ( that are open to the public. The classes offer a traditional culture theme to healthy cooking. One of her favorite ingredients is burdock root, sometimes called “gobo,” due to its nourishing, cleansing and tasty properties.

Silberman agreed to be the first herbalist filmed “on location” in a (soon to be) series of videos on healers who talk about plants in the Trees for Health Arboretum. She discusses some core plants that she uses in her practice: vitex, sage and ashwaganda. You can access her video at Put in the search for “Trees for Health Arboretum, San Diego.” Her video will be followed up, over the next year, with a dozen or so local herbalists sharing their expertise and passion for plant medicine that can be found in Trees for Health.

Silberman loves San Diego for its laid back lifestyle that she says is similar to that of Perth. She appreciates being close to the beaches, the mild weather and the diversity of geographic areas all within a day’s drive. She is eager to learn more about the native plants by going on hikes with the members of the San Diego Chapter of the American Herbalist Guild (SDAHG). And we are happy to welcome her as a new SDAHG member, holistic practitioner, herbal educator and additional volunteer in the garden.

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