Ancient Chinese Herbs in Northern California

Curiously close to where Asian laborers built the railroads nearly 200 years ago, ancient Chinese herbs again are taking root in Northern California.

| August/September 2011

  • Remnant trees from long-ago orchards dot the property.
  • The Stanford Inn nestles in a meadow overlooking Mendocino Bay.
  • These garden-worthy Chinese medicinal herbs are generally winter-hardy in the United States and are suitable for wide geographic cultivation.
  • Jessica and Ken Rose are herbalists and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • Guests find a great opportunity to reconnect with nature.
  • Using various organic methods, the inn's gardens produce beautiful vegetables and cut flowers in addition to the Chinese medicinal herbs.

Jessica Curl Rose’s was no run-of-the-mill childhood. Instead of playing in the ’burbs, Jessica grew up in the redwood forests of the Mendocino coast, just north of San Francisco. While many kids her age were spending hours watching cartoons, Jessica stayed by her mother’s side as she worked outdoors in the garden and combed the redwood forests and meadows looking for healing plants. 

It’s no surprise then that when Jessica went away to college on the East Coast, she took her love of plants with her. As an undergrad at Bard College in New York, Jessica studied medical anthropology. She then pursued a graduate degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a major that combines acupuncture with Chinese herbal medicine.

Today, back in Mendocino, Jessica and her herbalist husband, Ken Rose, have established a thriving Traditional Chinese Medical practice at the Stanford Inn, just south of Mendocino. Their patients are members of the local community and guests at the inn, which is rapidly becoming a healing destination.  

The Stanford Inn and the Roses’ clinic occupy an exceptional piece of land at the mouth of Big River, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As coincidence would have it, the location is the very spot where nearly 200 years earlier, Chinese workers who fueled the logging and railroad industries of the area lived and planted the medicinal herbs they had brought with them from China.

“You can still see surviving trees from the orchard planted back then,” Jessica says. “Our presence at the inn feels more and more like the continuation of an ongoing thread of cultural confluence.”

Meeting over Medicine

Ken began serious training in Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) in 1970 and, because in China good martial arts teachers are also adept at Traditional Chinese Medicine, he also began to study “bone medicine,” a discipline that could most readily be likened to sports medicine in the West. Additionally, he spent all of the 1990s and early 2000s studying and practicing in southwestern China and Beijing.

5/4/2013 1:56:32 AM

Kanna the plant has been used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance from prehistoric times. It can be used as a herbal smoke, pill or chew the leaves to feel its effects.

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5/4/2013 1:53:34 AM

<a href="">Kanna</a>

Kanna the plant has been used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance from prehistoric times. It can be used as a herbal smoke, pill or chew the leaves to feel its effects.


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