500-Hr Herbalism Program

The 500-Hour Herbalism Certificate program is a solid foundational program that prepares the graduate to work with family, friends, and communities as a Professional Herbalist. Through the study of medicinal herbs within a pathophysiological paradigm – connecting plants with the body systems they affect – it prepares the graduate to safely and effectively assist people with herbal recommendations to facilitate wellness


Our curriculum includes classroom instruction in: Pathophysiology, Materia Medica (formal study of plants and their therapeutic uses), Field Botany, Phytochemistry 101, Herbal Pharmacy, Botanical Safety, Herbal Folk Medicine, Aromatherapy, and Gardening/Permaculture.  It also includes hands on, “in the field” learning experiences in Ethical Wild Harvesting, Plant Identification and Medicine Making during two weekend Field Trips to the Mountains. The curriculum includes off site Gardening/Permaculture experience, and 150 home study Practicum hours.  A truly well-rounded, comprehensive program to begin what we hope will be a life-long journey into the wondrous world of plant medicine, health and vitality.

Division of Program Hours:

Pathophysiology: 50 hours
Materia medica: 50 Hours
Gardening, Field Trips, and Medicine Making (classroom): 100 Hours
Practicum: 150 Hours
Correspondence Work: 100 Hours
Volunteer work at a Community/Home Garden: 50 Hours
Tuition: $2,900

In addition to the study of medicinal herbs within a pathophysiological paradigm, the program uniquely includes classes on soil preparation, gardening, and field trips to the mountains, so that each student can begin the life-long journey of cultivating deep relationships with the plants, and be empowered to grow, identify, and understand the life cycle of plants.  The program also includes classes on folk medicine: the traditional and ancient uses of herbal medicine from a variety of cultures.  There will also be instruction and practice with medicine making, ethical wild harvesting, aromatherapy, and an introduction to wellness intakes/evaluations.

Occupational Objective: The program is designed to provide the foundational knowledge and experience necessary to attain an entry-level position as an Herbalist at a wellness center, natural health store, herbal apothecary and the like, as well as starting a Professional Herbalism Practice.

Pathophysiology: 50 Hrs

In this course the student will be introduced to medical/physiological terminology and definitions, and study each body system’s function and potential pathologies. Body systems included in this course of study are: Cardiovascular and Respiratory, Nervous and Endocrine, Integumentary and Digestive, Lymphatic and Immune, Urinary and Reproductive, and the Musculoskeletal.  In addition to each body system’s function and pathology, this course will also include other topics, including:  Stress and Adaptation, Cancer, and Nutrition and Obesity.

Materia medica: 50 Hrs

“Materia medica” (medical material/substance) is a Latin, medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing. In this course, the student will study specific botanicals in accordance with the primary body systems they affect. The first three classes will be an introduction to herbal medicine and will include the following topics:  Defining Herbalism, Healing Paradigm Context, Introduction to Botany, Introduction to Phytochemistry, Herbal Preparations and Formulation, Toxicity, Herb Safety, Adulteration of Herbs, Determination of quality products/sources, Folk medicine and Terminology.

Gardening/Permaculture, Field Trips, Aromatherapy, and Medicine Making: 100 Hrs

These classes are full, hands-on, weekend immersions. They beautifully compliment the core curriculum (pathophysiology and materia medica) and are essential to round out the student’s knowledge and connection to the plants and their healing potential.

The training we offer in Gardening/Permaculture (soil preparation, composting, from seed to harvest) creates the opportunity for each student to come into “right relationship” with the earth.  We believe this is a crucial piece in developing a Holistic approach to health and healing. We are blessed to live in a region where botanical diversity is at its height.  For this reason, we offer two full weekends in the field, focused on plant identification, and making medicine with plants that are local to the Southwest Rocky Mountains.  We are committed to the sustainability of Herbalism, and to that end there is specific instruction on the ethics of wild harvesting medicinal and edible plants.

The Medicine Making/Herbal Pharmacy weekends will introduce the student to a vast array of herbal preparations, including: infusions, tinctures, infused oils, vinegars, salves, suppositories, lotions, elixirs, syrups, cordials and many more.  There is also a full weekend devoted to learning the art and science of  Aromatherapy.

Practicum: 150 Hrs

These hours are completed at home, with supervision from a core faculty member.  A small portion of the practicum hours are completed as homework for each Materia Medica class during the 6 month classroom period.  The remaining practicum hours are completed at home, and intended give each student the unique opportunity to integrate the material they learned during their 6 months in the classroom.  There are many different areas/avenues of study and projects that the student can choose from to complete these hours, thus creating opportunity for each student to focus on their particular interests. There are several approved local businesses that accept our students to Intern, which are wonderful learning opportunities as well.

Correspondence Work: 100 Hrs

These hours are also completed outside of class and include reading and homework for all of the above-mentioned courses, including:  Pathophysiology, Materia medica, Gardening, Soil Preparation, Botany, Plant Identification, and Herbal Medicine preparations.

Volunteer Gardening: 50 Hrs

These hours are also completed outside of class and give the student literal “dirt time”.  Hours can be completed in the student’s own garden, a friend’s or community garden. We have resources to assist the student in finding a place to complete these hours if they do not have a garden of their own.  There are many ways to fulfill these hours, including soil preparation, composting, weeding, watering, seed planting and gathering, transplanting, etc.