About Us/FAQ/Testimonials


Dancing Willow Herbs is an independent woman-owned herbal apothecary nestled in the beautiful Animas Valley of Durango, Colorado. We offer the finest selections of ethically wildcrafted and organically grown herbs and herbal products in the Southwest region. We are committed to providing herbal preparations of the highest quality, with an emphasis on indigenous plants of the Southwest. Whenever possible, our herbs are harvested locally. We make all of our Dancing Willow Herbs products in our laboratory, located in the back of our downtown Durango shop. Debra Swanson, founder and owner of Dancing Willow Herbs, has been a clinical herbalist since 1991.

Deb Swanson has been a student of the healing arts for as long as she can remember. Her passion for her work is obvious in her superb product creations and her Herbal Wellness Practice. She is a certified Clinical Herbalist with over 25 years of expertise as a clinician and also brings to her practice extensive knowledge in the related fields of nutrition, homeopathy, flower essences, aromatherapy, and astrology. Her practice is based on the principal that the body has an innate ability to heal itself. Debra uses herbs, combined with other natural healing tools to assist in returning the body to a state of natural health. To read more about Deb scroll down.



Is to inspire whole health, whole home, and whole community by being a resource for learning and sharing knowledge to promote overall vitality. 


Dancing Willow Herbs strives to provide products made: Handcrafted, Fair Trade and Local (whenever possible), Ethically Wildcrafted or Certified Organic, Cruelty-Free, and from the heart - no exception!


PURE It’s simple - we strive to provide the most simple, basic forms of pure botanical ingredients. There is no reason for us to add lab-tested ingredients when we trust the brilliance of Mother Nature.
LOCAL We are a proud business member of Local First. This means that every action always looks local first. This value is in line with our principle of sustainability and integrity. 


GENTLENESS Unlike harsh chemicals, herbal medicine is not limited to removing only a fraction of an herb’s healing potential. We use our herbs in their full form because we believe the whole herb is essential. Whereas chemical drugs alter biological components to force a quick, but often toxic and stressful, effect on the body, herbal medicine goes to the mechanism of sustaining healthy organ function, gently stimulating a function that’s naturally how your body performs. Our millennia-old tradition is empirically proven and environmentally sound.
SUSTAINABILITY We are known as picky, but it’s our slavish devotion to sound environmental practices that is part of why we love what we do. We feel good about working with only organic farms around Colorado because we know where our herbs are coming from. Additionally, we do not take more than what we need, and we strive tremendously to nourish the environment and our community through our work. The result? A better, more potent product that we feel represents our environmental philosophy of sustainability.
STRENGTH Our passion for what we do enforces our commitment to the details. Our medicinal formulas are created with extensive knowledge and an unrelenting attention, informed by scientific and empirical knowledge of how herbal interactions work synergistically. We only use small batches, taking our time to ensure strength and potency of all of our tinctures, salves, and other healing products. As well, there is an exchange between our herbalists and our products that transcends a list of ingredients. We put such a tremendous amount of energy and love into creating ethical, potent, and pure herbal medicines using consistently high standards, we think some of that power must go into each tincture or salve we make. We are sure you will feel that, too.
INTEGRITY All of our herbalists and apprentices are trained professionals and hand-picked for their abilities to listen carefully, work passionately, ethically, and think creatively. We test and re-test our products, creating small batches to ensure high quality, and using only organic farms with outstanding reputations. Our standards are among the highest in the industry.

DISCLAIMER The content on our website is for educational purposes only. Although we try our utmost to provide useful and accurate information, you are responsible to research and verify information before relying on it.  We are trained herbalists and not licensed or registered healthcare practitioners.  We cannot diagnose health conditions, nor prescribe medicines legally; we are not medical doctors.  However, we will recommend or suggest medicinal herbs for various health complaints, as we believe in the safety and efficacy of botanical medicine.



Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Feel free to stop by the shop if you still have concerns.

Why are your herbs not standardized?
Our commitment to maintaining scrupulosly high standards prevents us from endorsing the haphazard standardization methods currently available. No two labs measuring active ingredients in identical herbal products get the same results. leaving the potencies open to debate. If and when acceptable methods for standardizing the active ingredients become available, Dancing Willow Herbs will consider providing standardized herbs to its customers. In the meantime, we feel it is in the best intrest of our clients to not make potentially unsubstatiated claims. Instead, we use the highest quality, organically grown herbs, inspect them for purity, consistency, and potency, and take precautions in processing them to bring you the best product we can.

How do I convert my capsule dosage into your tincture's dosage?
Refer to the recommended dosage on the label or the Materia Medica or formulary for specific dosages, but in general, tinctures tend to be stronger than capsules, and that is why we provide a recommended standard dose.

What does the liability label mean? 
It is there to prompt you to ask questions about herbs and their possible interactions with drugs you are taking or a medical condition you have. In certain, usually rare, conditions, herbs may not help or hinder progress when used with some drugs or for a specific medical condition.

Can I mix your tinctures with other prescription drugs I am taking?  
Often this is not a problem, but it will depend on what prescription drugs you are taking. For example, taking the Liver Cleanse or Liver Tonic herbal tinctures may flush prescription drugs from your body, thus resulting in less effective prescription drug treatment. If you are taking heart medication, you should be very careful what herbs you take. It is also important that you tell us what prescription drugs you are taking or if you have a medical condition when inquiring about taking herbal remedies.

Why is there alcohol in this tincture?  
Alcohol is used as the best and most effective method to extract the medicinal properties of the herb.

How will the alcohol in the tincture affect me?  
The amount of alcohol in a dose of Dancing Willow Herbs tinctures is minimal and fairly diluted. In a standard dose of two dropperfulls or two squirts from a dropper, is approximately 2% of one ounce of alcohol. One ounce of alcohol is approximately what you would receive in drinking one beer. As a result, the effect of the alcohol in one dose of tincture should be minimal. However, we also offer non-alcohol tinctures and a method for allowing the alcohol in our tinctures to be evaporated, thus providing relatively alcohol-free tinctures.

Can I give these herbs to my child or pet?  
Usually, this is fine. However, please refer to dosages for pets and children on the back of our brochure. Some herbs might be too stimulating for children under one years old. Please be sure to explain to us what you are trying to achieve and the age and condition of your child or pet.


Dancing Willow is fantastic! I always visit this beautiful shop to load up on tinctures before traveling as there is not another herb shop like this anywhere! The staff are knowledgable and provide great advice and assistance. A must on any visit to Durango is Dancing Willow! - Helen Gregory

We just love the Sleep Deep formula! We both have the hardest time falling asleep and unwinding after a long day. As parent to an almost 2 year old we are exhausted, but can't unwind. 15 minutes after taking Sleep Deep we are both out like a light! All of Dancing Willow Herbs have been incredible.-Bonnie PHD & Jayne

I purchased my first sample of the "Mobility Tonic" a few weeks ago for inflammation and arthritis pain in my hands. Within just a few days both the swelling and pain was greatly reduced. Within a couple of days of being off the tonic I would see the symptoms returning. Needless to say I am back on the "Mobility Tonic"! Yeah Mobility Tonic! -Barb Ricther

Sleep Deep Herbal Tincture
I use Sleep Deep every night. My issue is getting to sleep and then staying asleep. If I don't use the Sleep Deep I don't have a restful night. When I forget to take it before bed I get up again and take it because I know I will fall asleep within 15-20 mins. I now put my bottle in my bathroom and its right there ready for me to use. It works! -Joann T

Bug Be Gone

Bug Be Gone worked for our team on a mission trip in the Amazon Jungle! Everyone who used DEET was bitten and those of us who used Bug Be Gone were not. I'm really happy not to be putting poison on my skin. -Debra Baker 

Bone Mend 

The bone mend tincture has worked form the inside out! Thank you for that gift. I am not sure where i would be without it. -Andrea 


Herp Ease

This is an incredible formula and has replaced my use of pharmaceuticals!! I don’t have outbreaks anymore. I take it regularly and it has helped my overall Immune System. Thank you Debra! - Monique


I was given ignatia by Debra Swanson because I was having trouble with feelings of anger regarding a family death. Shortly after taking it my aggression subsided and I felt calm and was able to deal with my family situation better. -Micheal 

 Consult/Respiratory Issues 

We started using D-Congest and Easy Air at the first sign of sinus problems. We used to get sinus infections 2-3 tunes a year and have had to use Anti-Biotics to get rid of it. I used to also get Pneumonia with sinus infections. Since using those formulas we no longer get sinus infections and I haven't had pneumonia in approximately 2 years. - Sue and Bill 


Gout Out

GOUT OUT! Excellent product! I found it via a flyer they put out and called an order in for a small bottle just to test its vitality for my need. I body test everything to see if it's good for my body & got a positive body response. Now I've ordered a supply to take back to Illinois with me. I haven't found anything like it & looked at other nutrition shops, online...etc... It sure beats the traditional remedy Docs prescribe & btw my uric acid level should be around or below 5 but my levels have been rising over the last two years to an 8 ... So next blood panel I will report my findings but meantime...it's good for my body!! 

Teething Gum Rub 

Dancing Willows Teething gum rub saved our trip to New Zealand! 24 hours of travel with a sick kid can be really hard. This trip was not because it soothed our son so much. He loves the taste and it quickly and dramatically calms him down. Thanks a million for your help Dancing Willow! -Kyla 

 Consult/Mobility Tonic 

I would like to reccomend the mobility tonic for anyone experiencing joint/nerve pain. I had smashed my finger and for 10 months experienced a sharp pain in the joints. Debra Swanson, clinical herbalist, gave me Mobility Tonic and Willow Bark. I noticed a great improvement within one week. When I woke up in the morning I could actually move my finger. -Julie

 Skullcap Tinture/ Anger/Irritablity/Depression

I was skeptical about the effectiveness of natural medicine when I came to Dancing Willow Herbs for help. The Dancing Willow Team recommended that I try their skullcap formula for anger issues I was having. Wow! I am shocked at how it took the edge off my feelings of anger/irritability. I felt more myself in a short amount of time. Based on my experience with Dancing Willow Herbs I would now highly suggest anyone and everyone who is interested to check out what they have to offer.  -Alison 

 Elderberry Syrup 

Elderberry Syrup and LNG Ease is the best chest and cold Lung rattling cure that i have ever tried. My lungs were rattling and I was coughing and within one hour after taking these two products I felt so much better. I slept straight through the night that night without coughing.-Jay 

 Mobility Tonic 

My wife uses Mobility Tonic to combat her arthritis, we know this really works. She always puts it in her morning tea, but a few mornings that I've prepared her tea I had forgotten the tonic. After those few days she complained that her wrists had been furring more and asked how many drops I put in her tea. We discovered from this experience how well Mobility Tonic actually works. -Nicholas

Immense Defense 

I have been using Immense Defense for four years. A co-worker mentioned to me that she takes Immense Defense when she feels like she is catching a cold. I was skeptical at first, as I usually don't take anything when I am sick and just like to ride it out. From the first time that I started taking Immense Defense, I immediately felt a difference. My cold symptoms were diminished and the length of my cold was only a few days. After taking Immense Defense the first time I knew I had struck gold. Whenever I start feeling like I am coming down with something I start taking my Immense Defense. Thank you Dancing Willow for coming up with this product. I recommend this to anyone that I know that has a cold or mentions that they might be catching a cold. -Lori 

Peaceful Heart

I just discovered Peaceful Heart while going through a very stressful time in my life. The soothing, calming effect is almost instant. It is now my go-to anytime I feel anxious or have a stressful day. -Sheri 


More about Deb and her path to Dancing Willow Herbs:

I am grateful for this opportunity to share a little bit of myself and my story with you.  My involvement in healing started at a very young age.  I was born during the last year of the “Baby Boomers,” in Suburban Philadelphia.  When I was seven, my mother’s initiative (and a bit of divine intervention,) introduced me to "Echo Farms” Quaker Farm camp where, I got my first taste of a more peaceful way of life.  Some of the gems that I discovered included the existence of wild plants, whole foods, animal husbandry, holistic / sustainable lifestyles, and “alternative” educational practices that revolved around earth-based activities.  As a child, I was impressed by the “hip” teenagers who roll-modeled these things in a fun way that differed from my straight-laced upbringing .  When I was fourteen the ground dropped from beneath my feet;

crisis hit in the form of the tragic death of a close family member.  I found myself in an existential state and began searching for meaning, both rationally and spiritually.  This "spiritual quest," which coincided (rather inconveniently,) with my adolescence, simultaneously complicated and enhanced the process of my “growing up.”  Essentially raising myself in a new world, I experimented with meditation, diet, connection with nature, and all things “alternative.”  I was even enrolled in Alternative East High School which further propelled me to the margins of Middle America.

After I spent the summer of my eighteenth year in Yellowstone National Park scooping ice cream at “Old Faithful,” I was auspiciously drawn to the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado, which thoroughly blew me away.  I became enthusiastic about plants and their healing potential.  I enrolled in a correspondence course with Michael Tierra’s East West School of Medical Herbalism and at Fort Lewis College.  My spiritual muse then beckoned me to Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO. where I embarked on a track of “The Psychology of Health and Healing” which exposed me to a multitude of modalities and philosophies including the work of Rudolph Steiner, Haikomi, Tibetan Buddhism, Cognitive Studies, and a few courses in Medical Herbalism.  During my experience at Naropa, I was also turned on to Carl Jung, and then to Astrological studies.  

Returning to Durango in 1988, I apprenticed and lived with a lay-herbalist for six months, by which point, Herbalism had wound its leafy tendrils around my heart and became my primary focus in life.  I soaked up as much herbal wisdom as I could find and discovered the mythical being called Michael Moore to actually exist in flesh and bone somewhere in Southern New Mexico.  I went, (yet again,) to school at his Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.  

In 1991 I opened my first incarnation of “Dancing Willow Herbs.”  Blessed and divinely guided, I became an early representative for herbalism in a sleepy cow town.  From humble beginnings over time, and through working with thousands of people, Dancing Willow evolved into what it is today.  Dr. Julie Bruschani initiated me as a Jungian Astrologist which serves as a guide post for understanding my individual client’s needs and conditions as well as my own.  Dr. Robin Murphy (Homeopath,) further contributed to my vision of a more holistic herbal perspective; and most recently, Saja Popum and his school of Evolutionary Herbalism has helped me to synthesize the multitudes of modalities and systems that co-create the unique blend of Herbal Alchemy I practice Now.  

Today, fortunately and serendipitously, I am a proud mother, gardener, teacher, and practitioner of Community Herbalism.  I will forever and continuously return to gratitude for my path and the perseverance that moved me here.


Please call Dancing Willow Herbs with any questions about products, ordering or purchasing at 1-970-247-1654.

 We're Open Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

1018 Main Avenue Durango, Colorado

 Nourishing whole health, whole home and whole community since 1991.