Many people begin using herbs in small steps – something for sleep, a cold or maybe a headache. As one continues on the herbal path of independent study, information is pulled from many sources.
After a few years, this person begins to identify as an herbalist and continues to increase both the learning and use of plant medicines.
However, the method of learning remains the same – pulling info from a variety of disconnected sources: websites, blogs, books, conferences and workshops.
The end result is an herbalist with extensive information and skills but with a lack of a systematic and thorough education in plant healing. There are many gaps in this approach.
The Foundations of Herbal Medicine program is designed to provide a thorough background for learning plant medicine. It fills in the gaps that many people have when doing independent study. This is a program of study that has continually evolved and expanded since the mid 90s. Over the years, many long time herb users have commented how helpful this approach has been and how it has answered questions that lingered despite extensive reading and numerous workshops.
I invite you to have a look at this program to see if it is right for you.
This 11 month course is designed to train Community Herbalists: People who are able to use the gifts of healing plants with their families, friends and local communities.
The setting for the course is a small, interactive group with an emphasis on hands-on learning, plentiful discussion and Q&A in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
How Would You Summarize this Program?
As this is a Foundations program, students are introduced to many branches of healing and herbal medicine. Resources for more in-depth study are made available throughout the course for each of the many topics presented.
Topics Presented Include:
Botany – Plant Chemistry – Anatomy – Physiology – Solvents & Polarity – Body Systems – Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ayurveda – Energetics from the Western Herbal Perspective – Creating Your Personal Herbal Pharmacy – Materia Medica – Nutrition & Diet – Field Study — Foraging & Wild Crafting – Minerals
Who Would Most Benefit from this Program?
In the past, many people who were new to herbs and healing successfully completed the course.
Total beginners are welcome.
No previous experience or training is required or expected.
Other students have attended with prior training in healing and medicine. These include yoga instructors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, pharmacists, MDs, RNs, PAs and others with a variety of alternative healing approaches. While they were well trained in their respective fields, the world of herbs was new to them and they found the course quite worthwhile.
For people who have previously attended an herb school and have a background in working with plants… Is this course for you?
That depends. It will most likely be a combination of some review and some new information. It is best to contact us so we can discuss specifics.
Regardless of previous experience or training, the most important attributes to bring to this program are:
An open mind
A sincere desire to learn
And a commitment to completing the program.
What’s New for 2021?
The 2021 Foundations of Herbal Medicine program is adapting to the current health situation and will be video based to ensure the health of us all.
The current world situation is presenting challenges on many levels.
One of the challenges is how to interact with others when close, face to face contact is not an option.
Another challenge is how to present information from a distance.
At the same time, the role of the empowered home-based community herbalist is more important than ever.
In spite of the difficulties and challenges facing us during this historic time, there has been a booming interest in learning the time-tested skills required for the safe and effective use of plant medicines.
I am committed to providing the same high quality instruction that has always been my goal.
I have been active as an educator for 30+ years and offering herbal education for 25 years.
Guiding principles in all my teaching have always been:
-Sharing information that is practical and relevant to the student
-Presented in a way that is accessible for a wide range of people and learning styles
-Emphasizing hands-on, active learning as much as possible.
Course Format and Logistics
The format for 2021 has six components:
- Live Interactive Class Time 3x Each Month
- Readings and References for Your Resource Library
- Videos for Herbal Medicine Making
- Homework – Applying what you learn in class to home projects
- Field Study/Plant Walks
- Email/Zoom/Phone contact with me
- Live class time via Zoom 3x each month that includes instruction, discussion and Q&A
- Readings at home that are related to the herb topic for that month. These readings allow you to explore more in-depth the subject matter presented during the live group sessions.
These articles will be emailed each month. They include detailed materia medica, academic research and historical background as well as using herbs for specific health conditions.
These articles are not meant as assignments: something you do to please the teacher. It is better to think of these as the beginning of your resource files as a life long herbalist.
- Videos that demonstrate a wide variety of herbal medicine making in detail.
The video format allows you to pause and/or re-watch as needed.
- Field Study/Plant Walks are presented virtually.
These videos are a combination of oral information and visuals.
The visuals show the big picture of where to find specific plants as well as the up-close views that enable you to identify specific plants on your own.
This is most definitely not the homework that many of us experienced in mainstream education.
This is more accurately thought of as a natural extension of our group time each month and an opportunity to apply what you learned in the most recent class.
This is doing the work of a community herbalist: drinking a daily cup of tea, creating an herbal extract, making skin lotion, harvesting tree resin for a salve project and adding tasty, mineral-rich weedy greens to your meals.
These are not assignments that are required, graded, turned in, etc.
You aren’t doing these for the instructor.
You are doing them for yourself.
There is a big difference between the two.
- Contact with me between our scheduled monthly class meetings.
This contact can be via emails, Zoom chats or phone calls.
I am available to respond to specific questions related to class topics, clarify confusing information or to point you in the right direction for further study on a specific topic.
This is an informal arrangement.
You take the initiative to contact me as needed during the course.
Over the years, this opportunity for personal interaction has been greatly appreciated by students and is one the advantages of herbal training that occurs with smaller groups.
One exception to this arrangement is a personal health consultation on a specific health topic. This process takes 2 to 4 hours. If a student desires a personal consultation, it is best to contact me via this route.
The Live Sessions are via Zoom.
From January through November, there are three 3 hour sessions during a one week period each month.
The times are:
~Sunday evening from 6-9 pm
~Wednesday evening from 6-9 pm
~Saturday morning from 9-noon
All sessions are recorded and available for later viewing.
New videos will be posted on the website periodically during the program.
These are available for viewing on your own schedule.
Readings and References for Your Resource Library
These articles will be sent via email and can be read on your own schedule.
These are mostly meant to reinforce what is presented during the live class time.
The articles are also meant to be used to create your own reference library and will be useful as long term resources.
Field Study/Plant Walks
These will be shared via video and posted periodically on the website.
They can be viewed on your schedule.
A better way to describe this is the application of what you have earned so far in the program.
It is actually using the plants on a daily basis: in teas, as food, seasoning your meals and supporting health when sick.
These are not formal assignments.
This is the day to day activity of a community herbalist.
Email/Zoom/Phone contact with me
Throughout the program, you will have access to me during the weeks between the live meetings.
This is an informal arrangement: contact me as needed for further help on class topics.
In consideration of the current economic hardship many of us are dealing with, the tuition has been reduced significantly for the 2021 session.
This can be made in one payment or with 10 monthly payments, January through October, 2021.
The program traditionally fills by December 1 of the previous year.
Making the January payment as a deposit reserves your place in class and may be done anytime after your application has been received and approved.
Payment can be done either through PayPal on this site or by check via postal mail.
How to Register
Learn more about the program by clicking on the links below.
If you feel this is the right program for you, the next step is to fill out the application form linked below.
I will contact you soon after receiving your application.
Go to the below links for more detailed information:
Monthly Dates & Topics
Required Texts for the Course
Plant Album from the Foundations Course
Monthly Payment Plan (no payment is made until the application has been received and accepted)
Application Form for the Foundations of Herbal Medicine program
Reviews written by graduates of the Foundations of Herbal Medicine…
I especially like the outline of the course, how we move through the body systems in an order that brings it all together. I really feel like I have a better understanding of overall health and the big picture. Not using herbs in an allopathic way is huge for me. No longer do I look for ways to suppress and treat symptoms alone. Oh, and making my own lotion was groundbreaking!
To my herbalist/herb-curious friends, I can’t recommend this course enough. It gives one a solid foundation of the many facets of herbal medicine, including western, energetics/vitalist tradition, Ayurveda, TCM, aromatherapy, medicine-making, nutrition for herbalists, etc… I had studied herbalism prior to studying with Mike (not necessary) but didn’t feel confident to identify as and practice as an herbalist until taking this course. I finished this class ready to further my herbal journey and focus mainly in bio-regional herbalism, as I am right now in my studies and practice.
Just wanted to say, thank you from the bottom of my heart for such an incredible foundation in herbalism.
Just got back from a long weekend (with another herb school) and felt incredibly prepared and able to keep up. I was even able to share some wisdom about herbal energetics I got from you and other foundational info with newbies who were feeling behind in class. That certainly couldn’t have happened without you and your teaching style that truly resonated.
I’m also grateful that you exposed us to so many avenues in herbalism and taught us the language of herbalism so we could find our own, personal path in the herbal world. Thank you for planting the seeds and empowering us to blossom into the herbalists we all are and continue to become. Means more than words can express.
“The class was much more that I expected. Loved learning about the various ways herbs could be used. When I entered the class my experience was primarily taking capsules here and there, using store-bought teas, and mixing essential oils in carrier oils for massage. Was confused about all the conflicting information about herbs, and concerned about safety. I now feel comfortable incorporating herbal preparations into my life. The demonstrations on how to make different preparations were extremely helpful.”
“I want to begin by thanking you for a really wonderful Foundations class. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it. When I started it, I was intimidated and felt unsure of my abilities. I thought you did a wonderful job of empowering us always, never assuming we might know something and being really available for questions or issues. This made the learning experience a comfortable and productive one. I also loved that we started right away with making recipes as I went home feeling like I could do this! … I spend a lot of time outside so I found it very helpful to see the plants and sometimes the same ones at different life-cycles. I also thought that you did an excellent job of breaking up lectures with activities. I found that I could remember a plant much better if we tasted it, or touched it and so really appreciated the teas, tinctures, honeys and other forms that you used to introduce us to plants – very helpful.”