Herbalism Roots is a 500-Hour Program that is part of the Denver Integrative Massage School, Inc and is a sister school to the School of Botanical and Medical Aesthetics. The name, Herbalism Roots, was chosen for a variety of reasons. Literally, roots are studied as part of an Herbalist’s studies, along with flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, seeds, bark, and berries–“Herbs” are actually all of those parts of the plant, not just the aerial, above ground/leafy part of the plant. In addition, roots are the foundation of a plant, just as we want to help students root their herbalism studies in a strong foundation of Science and Medicine, but also have the beautiful awareness and appreciation of Folk medicine and traditional, ancient uses of plants as medicine.
And yet another connection with the word, “root”, our Herbalism Roots program incorporates many classes and practice in actual gardening–planting seeds together, creating roots, learning to garden, learning to harvest, learning to prepare the soil, and learning to make medicine from those garden plants! Our Herbalism program not only teaches you about the plants, but also includes classes and experiences to empower students on how to grow and connect well with plants on a personal level. We want to help students become better and more conscious gardeners, care givers of the plants and of the plant medicines.
We hope to see the “Roots” of “Herbalism Roots” become a VERB, to root all of us in something deeper, more grounded, and more nourishing.
Our 500-Hour program includes the study of medicinal herbs within a pathophysiological paradigm–connecting plants with the body systems they affect. It’s not only important to study the Materia medica of plants (the plant’s history, medicinal uses, and contraindications) but it’s also important to understand the physiology (functions) and pathologies (diseases) of the human body to better understand how to use the plants truly as herbal medicine. For example: If a student learns that Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis) is mucilaginous (mucous-like) but doesn’t understand why that substance would be necessary or used internally, or how it would be used with the body’s functions to create balance or harmony, then the knowledge isn’t useful, targeted, or effective. Herbal medicine will become a more respected field within the health community in the United States if Herbalists, students, and schools become better students of the Health Sciences.
Another important part of our 500-Hour Herbalism program is the connection we make with the plants themselves, with gardens and with the wild. The weekend classes are all hands-on: One weekend is about gardening, farming, permaculture, soil health, and how pivotal it is to prepare the soil well and prepare for the planting to come. We will actually prepare the school soil together, as well as prepare the soil at our Community Garden. We will plant together as well and experience the herbs through their growing cycle. Two other weekends of classes will be in the wild, up in the mountains and along urban hikes, identifying plants and connecting with the Colorado mountain plants. This will be an amazing opportunity to see the difference between plants in the wild versus cultivated plants.
Two of our other weekends are dedicated to Medicine Making, which is another hugely important aspect of an herbalism program–learning how to make the medicines ourselves, to empower each student on how to make tinctures, teas, salves, oils, and vinegars. Students will make medicines from plants they’ve cultivated and harvested, and students will be able to see the full life cycle of the plant, from seed to medicine–truly amazing, empowering, and a deep way to connect and cherish all aspects of the plants! Another weekend of class is focused on Aromatherapy, so learning about Essential Oils as they pertain to and help different body system conditions.
The 500-Hour Herbalism Program also includes 150 hours of at-home study to integrate and apply all of the classroom knowledge. The only way to really learn is to make it real, with real people, with real issues, and with real help–direct supervision and guidance from our incredible herbalism teachers.
And along with all of these aspects: Scientific, Medical, Gardening, Herbal Medicine Making, and Supervised Study, there is of course, woven into all aspects of the program, a deep respect and appreciation for our ancestor’s connections with plants, with the Folk medicine and the wisdom, and we always have those connections at the forefront of all that we teach and practice with herbs–we have an altar at the school to pay respect to our ancestors, and we integrate plant brushings, prayers, and traditional wisdom cultures into every fiber and fabric of the school’s teachings. We hope you’ll join us to be part of this community of people who respect the wisdom of the plants, of our bodies, and of the earth!