The ‘Herb Man’ walks hikers through nature’s medicine


As the market grows for medicinal marijuana, cannabis, cannabidiol known as CBD, and dispensaries sprout, so do the plants that grow in the Valley that offer natural remedies to many ailments.

Dennis Ellingson --- The Herb Man --- educates the community about southwest plants that grow in the area.

Often leading hikers on a plant walk tour about edible and medicinal plants, he teaches about what plants grow, how they were and are still used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

He was recently at Boyce Thompson Arboretum pointing out native trees, shrubs and cacti, highlighting the multitude of edible and medicinal plants along the Arboretum’s Curandero Trail; and on the grounds of the Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction.

“I am captivated by the desert. I got really interested in this and I also come from a Christian view,” Mr. Ellingson said as his eight-pound terrier barked in the background.

Quoting Genesis 1:29, he recited how God “gave you all these green plants and herbs” to fortify humans on this planet.

An author, herbalist and devout Christian, Mr. Ellingson is a family man who enjoys growing herbs and plants, in addition to gardening with his grandchildren.

His books, published by Cladach, include “God’s Healing Herbs,” “God’s Wild Herbs: Identifying and Using 121 Plants Found in the Wild,” “The Herb Guy’s Cookbook,” and more.

When Mr. Ellingson is not leading a plant walk, he can be found leading local seminars and workshops. He likes the outdoors and using what he said God has provided for mankind, especially for healing purposes.

“I got into it because of some health issues that I had. One herb for me made a complete difference for me,” Mr. Ellingson said.

Having dealt with heart issues and high blood pressure, he discussed how he used Hawthorn berries, which is a small fruit that grows on trees and shrubs, to help control his chronic conditions that “gave me a whole new way of thinking about them,” he added.

An Oregon native, Mr. Ellingson likes sharing his knowledge about healthy living and spirituality along with his wife, Kit, who he fell in love with in New London, Connecticut, where they met when he was there serving in the Navy in 1969; they married a year later.

The couple spends time between Oregon and Arizona. Aside from reminiscing about a “pretty wild youth,” the two love each other as much as they love being Christian pastors and counselors, encouraging today’s youths.

Known to nurture and grow plants, Mr. Ellingson takes just as much interest in nurturing his grandchildren through hands-on activities from gardening and fishing to ministering and volunteering in the community.

He and his wife even wrote a book called “The Godly Grandparent: Living and Influencing Your Grandchildren for Christ” because of their love for God and their grandchildren.