Have you ever considered becoming a clinical herbalist? How about your village healer? A witch doctor? A town wisdom?
However you connect with your wise-woman dreams, we recommend starting with the Foundations in Western Herbalism Certification.
The year-long course is one of the most comprehensive first-year programs offered in the field of herbalism throughout the entire USA.
Not only do students walk away from year one with a strong understanding in the basics of herbal medicine, they have a basic understanding of what “being an herbalist” means to them – and it means something a little different to everyone.
Oh sure, our three year program is one of the only true clinical herbalist programs in the country. And we are dedicated to giving you all of the tools you need to take the first steps on your journey as a lifelong herbalist. But we are more interested in offering you an education that you will use to follow your true calling.
We’re currently accepting applications for first-year students to begin in the fall, making it the perfect time to jump headlong onto the herbal path!
These are the 8 things our foundations students walk away with at the end of their first transformative and magical year as an herbalist.
8 Things You Learn In Our Foundations Program
You should know that our program is taught through a Western Herbalism lens. One of our foundational teachings comes from the Michael Moore constitutional theory, which is something you learn about in year one, but that makes up the basis of study in year two of our program.
1. Botanical field study and identification
You get to go outside and explore! In our first-year program, you get to spend a substantial amount of class time in the great outdoors. Throughout the year we take extended trips to local environments such as the Sierras and the Pacific Ocean to learn about the ecosystems and the native plant medicine in depth.
In addition to our outside immersion programs, the people in our program participate in local plant walks. This offers you the basic tools to find and explore plants right outside your Bay Area home.
2. Creating a materia medica in your first year of herb school
During the course of the program every student is responsible for completing more than 80 herbal monographs (detailed plant reports) about the herbs they will encounter throughout the program and in the wild.
Having a handmade, personalized materia medica not only provides you with timeless reference material, but also gives you the opportunity to explore each of the plants in depth and understand all the components of each plant’s essential and medicinal nature.
Creating these profiles gives you the library you need to have a successful herbal career after school. Plus you get to find new best friends and plants that call to your own healing needs.
3. Herbal preparation and formulation
In this foundational herbal program, we spend time each week hand crafting herbal remedies. Our medicine making instructors teach this very special part of the program to give our students the tools they need to know how to make a wide variety of herbal preparations to use in their own healing and within their community.
You will learn how to craft extracts from multiple solutions, as well as make potent preparations like creams, lotions, salves, teas, syrups, honey, oils, vinegars, suppositories, and more!
4. Herbal energetics, aromatherapy and flower essences
In addition to the phytochemistry and plant science, you get the chance to explore the more ethereal side of herbalism. We create a safe space to share stories and plant anecdotes (plantedotes?). We also talk about plant energetics, aromatherapy, and flower essence magic.
Each week everyone in the class takes one herb home (herb of the week!) and explores it from a physical, mental, and emotional space. At the start of the following week’s class, the class discusses their experiences of the plant together. This allows you to get to know the energetics and essence of a plant on a deep and meaningful level.
5. Herbal first aid and home health care
You will create a potent and effective herbal home first-aid kit for assisting yourself and your family.
Our goal is to ensure that you get a practical understanding of how to use herbs on a daily basis for home health and care. This includes how to begin incorporating herbs into your life for overall better health and wellness. As well as how to treat basic, non-life threatening immediate situations.
6. Folklore and medical theory
In your first year of herb school at BHC, you will get the opportunity to explore other aspects of herbal wisdom. This includes an introduction into other healing modalities. This exposure gives you the room to create interdisciplinary healing opportunities for your community.
While we think it’s important to study Western medical theory with studies and phytochemical properties, it is also absolutely vital for the Western Herbalist to study the traditional and folkloric uses of plants. Our ancestors used and relied on the magic and medicine of plants for thousand of years before science caught up. We honor the tradition by doing what we can to incorporate these teachings into our program.
7. Natural cosmetics and skin care
The skin is our largest organ, and one we need to take care of every day. Every student will learn the tools to create herbal cosmetics. Not just for beauty and personal adornment – it also applies to healthy skin care.
Our medicine making classes are designed to offer students what they need to successfully launch their product lines. If you choose to go in this direction with your herbal career, you will have the knowledge to use herbs intentionally and effectively in your formulations.
8. Biology, organ systems, and physiology in your first year of herb school
In this program, you will investigate human physiology. You are learning to be a clinician after all! This means understanding the complex interactions among reproductive, endocrine, nervous, skin, muscular, skeletal and digestive systems.
Each module of throughout the first year of herb school is designed around a body system. The herbs associated with different parts of the body make up your herb of the week.
Learning herbs in this way makes the knowledge gained in the program accessible and actionable for use in day-to-day life with yourself, your family, and beyond.
How to Join Our First-Year Herb School Foundations Program
If you’ve been thinking about joining us for this transformative program now is the time to sign-up!
We are currently taking applications, and would love to have you be a part of our next cohort of heart-centered and holistic herbalists, ready to venture out and change the world!