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 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 all the gaps that many people, including me, initially had 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.
The current program has been updated and expanded for the 2018 session. One of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of the herbal work I do is to be a part of this continually evolving flagship course in Community Herbalism. I invite you to have a look at this program to see if it is right for you.
This 9 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. A brief over view of the topics introduced include:
Botany – Plant Chemistry – Anatomy – Physiology – Solvents & Polarity – Body Systems – Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ayurveda – Energetics from the Western Herbal Perspective – Herbal Pharmacy – Materia Medica – Nutrition & Diet – Foraging & Wildcrafting – 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. Anyone considering this course is welcome and encouraged to contact us with any questions.
Plant Walks are not a formal part of this program. However, six days of free plant walks in the Flagstaff – Sedona – Verde Valley area are scheduled during the months of March, July and August. These plant walks are separate from this course. They are free of charge and students enrolled in this program are welcome to join.
(View comments from former students here.)
Following is a tentative schedule of topics. The dates are confirmed. Topic changes may be made for a variety of reasons such as weather or student interest and experience. The final decision is made by the instructor.
February 24 & 25
Saturday am: Introduction to Herbal Medicine & Herbal Energetics Part 1
Saturday pm: Herbal Pharmacy – Solvents & Polarity + Teas, Infusions & Decoctions
Sunday am: Herbal Actions – Learning How to Think Like an Herbalist
Sunday pm: Herbal Pharmacy – Alcohol Extracts with Fresh and Dry Plants
March 17 & 18
Saturday am: Oral Health
Saturday pm: Guidelines for Using Herbs with Children + The What, Why and How of Addressing Mineral Deficiencies with Herbs & Diet
Sunday am: Introduction to Botany – Families, Genera, Species, Life Zones & Plant Anatomy
Sunday pm: Herbal Pharmacy – The Role of Vinegar in Making Plant Medicine
April 21 & 22
Saturday am: Herbal Pharmacy – Oil Extraction with Fresh & Dry Plants
Choosing a Carrier Oil
Saturday pm: How to Make a Standard Salve & a Resinous Salve
Herbal Pharmacy – Ways to Use Herbs Topically
Sunday am: Salve Formulas
Materia Medica for Topical Herbs
Sunday pm: Herbs for Kidney and Bladder Health
May (Due to scheduling conflicts, the May weekend is held on June 2 & 3)
Saturday am: Herbal Energetics Part 2 – Fundamentals of Ayurveda & the Five Elements
Saturday pm: Digestive Health Part 1
Sunday am: Digestive Health Part 2
Sunday pm: Herbal Pharmacy – How to Make a Percolation Tincture
June 16 & 17
Saturday am: Nervous System – Stress, Sleep & Relaxation
Saturday pm: Herbal Pharmacy – Nervine Formulas
Sunday am: Adaptogens – Energy, Chi & Prana
Sunday pm: Herbal Pharmacy – Milk Decoctions & Adaptogen Formulas
July 7 & 8
Saturday am: Herbal Support for the Liver & What Detox Really Means
Saturday pm: Herbal Pharmacy – Making Digestive Bitters
Sunday am: Alterative Herbs & the Lymphatic System
Sunday pm: Cough Syrup Formulas Using Honey & Vinegar
August 25 & 26
Saturday: Exploring Essential Oils Part 1 & How to Make Skin Lotion
Sunday: Exploring Essential Oils Part 2 & How to Make Body Butter
September 8 & 9
Saturday: Reproductive Health for Women & Men Part 1: Menstrual Cycle, Menopause, Prostate, Andropause and Healthy Aging
Sunday: Reproductive Health for Women & Men Part 2
October 6 & 7
Saturday: Winter Herbal Health – Using Herbs for Colds, Flu, Fevers, Cough, Sore Throats and Sinus
Sunday: Final Project – Student Presentations: Materia Medica Research & Medicine Making
The group meets in Flagstaff, one weekend a month (Saturday & Sunday), February through October. Meeting times are from 9 am to late afternoon, usually between 3 and 4 pm.
A scholarship for a teenager is available. Details are here.
Reviews written by recent graduates of the Foundations course…
“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.“by