The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Family Herbalist Program for 2024

Choosing the path of herbal medicine can be a life-changing event.
It was for me in 1990 when I made the decision to begin studying and using herbal medicine as a primary form of personal healthcare.
It was in the mid 1990s when I was accepted into the Clinical Herbalist program with Dr. Tieraona LowDog in Albuquerque.
It happened again when I completed that formal training and made the decision to begin teaching and offering the “Gifts of the Earth” (Tieraona’s quote) to people throughout the Southwest region.
The Family Herbalist program is meant to start you on that journey.
I use my 34 years of study and 29 years of teaching and practice to provide you with information and skills that are accurate, safe and effective.
More info on my background is here.

The goal of this program is to empower you as the student to have the needed information and skills to use herbs to both promote health and address health challenges when appropriate.

The Curriculum
The information shared during the Family Herbalist Program is based on the 4 Foundations of Health.
Working with these principles includes the use of healing plants in addition to making dietary and lifestyle changes.

These Principles are:
1. Being able to manage and reduce stress, getting the proper quantity and quality of sleep and creating space to be relaxed on a daily basis.
Herbally, this first principle involves plants for the Nervous System.
This category is called Nervines.

2. Prioritizing a nourishing and balanced diet that goes beyond simply eating organic foods.
Herbs are beneficial here by providing additional minerals and antioxidants.
I will also share my perspectives on nutrition and diet from 40+ years of study and being involved in the health food community.


3. Supporting a strong and balanced Digestive System with specific herbal approaches to the Stomach, Small Intestine and Colon.
This is an area that is often overlooked by people who make the effort to eat a healthy diet.
The body is not able to benefit from the nutritional value of food if the digestive system is not able to break down the food, absorb the nutrients and eliminate the waste products.
Herbs are especially beneficial in this category and include Carminatives, Bitters, Laxatives, Anti-Inflammatories and Aromatic Spices.

4. The fourth principle involves being outdoors and interacting with Nature, breathing fresh air, drinking clean water and being physically active in whatever way is appropriate for the individual.
For this category, we will look at herbs that have traditionally been used to increase one’s vitality and daily energy.
In Western Herbalism, these herbs are known as Adaptogens, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, they are called Tonics while Ayurveda refers to them as Rasayanas.

What Else?
Beyond the 4 Foundations of Health, we will explore detailed herbal approaches to Winter Herbal Health with specific plans for:
Colds – Flu – Fever – Cough – Sore Throat – Sinus – Ear Infections and sharing my experiences in working with the current virus.

Blended into all these topics are ways to identify plants + knowing which herbs can be grown, which ones need to be purchased and which ones can be wildcrafted.

Herbal Pharmacy
Integrated into each herbal weekend are a variety of ways to prepare your own herbal pharmacy at home.
These methods include tinctures, teas, herbal honeys and vinegars, milk, herbal balls + herbal oil infusion for topical use.

Is There More?
Each month includes detailed Materia Medica for plants presented during class time and the optional plant walks.
50+ plants are presented during the program.

In addition to the scheduled meeting dates, I am available during the in-between weeks to respond to email questions and point you in the right direction if you have specific questions about a health topic or specific herbs.

I am generous with my resource files and provide students the option to do extended independent study.
This depends on the person and the topic.
If there is an area you want to investigate more deeply or have questions that aren’t addressed in class, let me know.
Chances are, I’ll be able to help.

Family Herbalist Calendar for 2024
The time and dates below have been worked out to allow for people who travel from out of town to benefit from a live in-person group.
The one-weekend-a-month format is offered so people from around the Southwest can fly or drive to Flagstaff once a month for the group meetings.
In past years, people have commuted from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tucson, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Oklahoma and Durango.
The optional plant walks are done on Fridays before the formal herbal weekends to allow for easier scheduling for traveling folks.
The 9:00am start time allows for people from the Phoenix, Page and Prescott areas to readily commute for the day.

Class meeting times are 9:00 am through mid-afternoon, around 3:00 – 4:00 pm.
The ending time varies depending on questions and group discussions.

2024 Dates for Weekend Gatherings and Plant Walks
These dates have been confirmed
March 9-10 Weekend Herb Class in Flagstaff
March 11 Monday optional plant walk in the Sonoran Desert
April 12 Friday optional plant walk in the Verde Valley
April 13-14 Weekend Herb Class in Flagstaff
May 17 Friday optional plant walk near Flagstaff
May 18-19 Weekend Herb Class in Flagstaff
June 21 Friday optional plant walk near Flagstaff
June 22-23 Weekend Herb Class in Flagstaff
July 15-18 Optional multi-day field study trip to southwest Colorado for high elevation Rocky Mountain plants. Details are here.
July 26 Friday optional plant walk near Flagstaff
July 27-28 Weekend Herb Class in Flagstaff
August 9 Friday optional plant walk near Flagstaff
August 10-11 Weekend Herb Class in Flagstaff
September – Due to schedule challenges, the September weekend will actually be held August 24-25 in Flagstaff.

What to Do Next?
~If you have questions, contact me here.
~If you decide this is the right program for you, fill out the application here. You will receive a reply soon after.
~The payment page is here. No payment is made until the application is made and you have received a reply.
~Is there homework?
~Will this program make me a Certified Herbalist?
~Are scholarships available?
~Do I need to attend every class? Can I view a video if I miss the class?
~What books do I need for this program?



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