The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

10 Month “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” Course for 2020

Registration is closed for the 10 month Foundations of Herbal Medicine program in 2020.
Registration for the 2021 program opens June 1, 2020.


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.

**View some of the areas in the southwest we visit for our field study portion of this program

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.

Some of the ongoing guidelines for the work I do is to continue my own learning and growth as an herbalist and to improve each year’s program offerings as a result. I feel confident the schedule for the 2020 session of the Foundations course reflects these goals.

2020 marks my 30th year of studying and using herbs and the 25th year of offering classes and field study training for Community Herbalists throughout the American Southwest. This is one of the longest and most in-depth courses offered in the region.

I invite you to have a look at this program to see if it is right for you.

This 10 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 – Herbal Pharmacy – Materia Medica – Nutrition & Diet – 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.

Anyone considering this course is welcome and encouraged to contact us with your questions.

Meeting Times
The group meets in Flagstaff, one weekend a month from February through November with additional dates and regional travel in June, July and August.
Meeting times are from 9:00 am to late afternoon, usually between 3 and 4 pm.

This can be made in one payment or with 10 monthly payments, January through October, 2020.
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 in 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

Scholarship Availability
Policies and Registration
Will I be a Certified Herbalist?
Required Texts for the Course
Plant Album from the Foundations Course
Is There Homework?
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.


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