About Dara Saville

Author, Herbalist, Geographer, Conservationist

My Story

Dara Saville is an herbalist, geographer, writer, mother, and native plant advocate in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Growing up and spending her early adulthood in largely nature-deficient environments, the discovery of the natural world in her early 20s was a life-changing development. Backpacking the mountains, canyons, and deserts of the American West revealed a new reality in which landscapes, plants, rivers, and animals could be revitalizing forces in one’s life. This became the subject of most of Dara’s work and writing ever since.

Dara’s current writing projects are underway as a Geography and Environmental Studies PhD student in the field of Geohumanities. This work focuses on the ecological-social lives of medicinal plants and people in relation to the challenges of living on a changing planet. She is also a contributor to the Albuquerque Herbalism blog. Previous writing includes contributions to 8 herbal compendium books and a decade-long column ‘Of Wilderness and Gardens’ in Plant Healer Quarterly. Her herbalism articles have also appeared in professional journals such as The Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation and The Journal of the American Herbalists Guild. Dara’s first book published by University of New Mexico Press, The Ecology of Herbal Medicine, is an in-depth look at medicinal plants as seen through the lens of landscapes and the living ecological systems we all inhabit.

In addition to writing, Dara is actively engaged with her community. She is the founder and primary instructor of Albuquerque Herbalism, a long-standing bioregional herbal studies program, and the executive director of the Yerba Mansa Project, a nonprofit organization focused on native medicinal plants and land stewardship. Dara is a University of New Mexico Distinguished Alumni and a graduate of Tieraona Low Dog’s Foundations of Herbal Medicine program. She is also an instructor in UNM’s Holistic Health and Curanderismo Programs and a Native Plant Society board member.

Photo Credit: Jessi T. Walsh

My Book

The Ecology of Herbal Medicine

A Guide to Plants and Living Landscapes of the American Southwest

The Ecology of Herbal Medicine introduces botanical medicine through an in-depth exploration of the land, presenting a unique guide to plants found across the American Southwest. An accomplished herbalist and geographer, Dara Saville offers readers an ecological manual for developing relationships with the land and plants in a new theoretical approach to using herbal medicines.

Featured In


In Ecological Herbalism, Dara Saville argues for attending to the health of the ecosystem because it is irrefutably linked to the health of the patient and the healer, for the respectful harvesting of medicinal plants. Hers is a potent plea in this time of rapid ecological change. Saville is a mentor with an academic mind and sap stained hands: do as I say/do as I do. This is a detailed and richly referenced discussion of plant properties, concise and comprehensive given the wealth of the material covered. It will be an often consulted volume on my bookshelf!

– Judith Phillips, author of Growing the Southwest Garden

Join Dara

Albuquerque Herbalism

Ongoing Botanical Medicine Classes and  Workshops

Yerba Mansa Project

Ongoing Botanically-Based Environmental Education and Land Stewardship Events

Upcoming Classes + Conferences: