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Plant Healer Magazine


Class Descriptions



Irina Adam


Natural Perfume:

Plant Medicine, Story Medicine

Curious about scent, appreciating botanical perfume, or creating your own? In this class we will explore the ephemeral world of fragrant plant essences and compositions that transform and dance over the wearer’s skin and imagination. Smell penetrates the brain unfiltered, bringing forth memories, images, feelings, and myriad sensations. The most synesthetic of senses, it can activate entire libraries of internal knowledge. Inhaling the exquisite, pure essences of plants, we commune with their vital life force, and the intrinsic intelligence of nature. The differing volatilities (evaporation times) of essential oils and absolutes allow us to create a blend that reveals itself over time, like a musical composition or short film. Weaving our aromatic tale, we create a wearable work of art, nourishing and captivating as a good fireside story. In this class we will:

- explore the sense of smell

- experience several plant essences and combinations

- learn a bit about botanical perfume materials

- learn to discern volatility, perfume notes (top, middle, base) and accords

- build from scratch a simple botanical perfume

- do a lot of sniffing around, so bring your nose, wild heart and imagination!




Rebecca Altman

Into The Deep: An Exploration of the Waters of the Body.

Humans may have explored the moon and sent telescopes to explore deep space but our oceans remain largely unexplored areas of mystery. More than that, water is for most people a place that causes simultaneous fear and longing— longing because of its beauty, and how we are naturally drawn to it, and fear because of what things lurk in those depths. One of the creatures in Scottish mythology that embodies these scary depths is the kelpie: the shapeshifting creature of the deep that terrorises (and eats) those who wander too close.

In this class we’ll delve into the depths of the water element: how it functions in the world at large and inside our bodies. With a focus on the lymphatic system, we’ll look at those aspects of water that most apply to us: transformation, stagnation, change, and a place where creatures of the deep lurk. Then we’ll look at the lymphatic herbs that support and effect these actions: with a focus on ocotillo, alder, and red root.


Laura Ash


An Herbalists Journey to Learn Maasai Traditional Medicine (2 hrs.)

Laura Ash began traveling the globe with her family in 2010. In 2011 she traveled up to Lapland Sweden to connect to her ethnic heritage, there she met a Saami herbalist who had very little of her traditional medicines written down and at risk of losing the last generation of elders which held this sensitive knowledge. This realization was extremely profound! The following year Laura moved to Tanzania and was asked to document Maasai Traditional Medicine in direct collaboration with a local Maasai herbalist, leading her on the journey of the documentation path.

The Maasai are pastoralists, warriors, and keepers of vulnerable East African traditional medicine knowledge. The Maasai of Northern Tanzania have been forced to live in permanent villages (bomas) due to modern environmental conservation efforts, discouraging their ability to roam freely each season as they have done for the last 500 years. Due to globalization, modernization and climate change the Maasai are losing their traditional knowledge, specifically their traditional medicines. As the young generation is becoming more educated the lack of excitement around traditional medicine is discouraging its use, being substituted for western allopathic medicine which is expensive and difficult to access in rural Tanzania. The Herbal Anthropology Project (HAP) has directly collaborated with the Maasai of the Misigiyo Village of the Ngorongoro Highlands of Northern Tanzania to document their medicines for preservation and historical purposes. The HAP has published a book which has been deemed appropriate for public use by the Mesigyo Maasai.

This class will go into depth about Laura’s journey searching for the connection to the keepers of traditional herbal medicines around the globe. We will explore Tanzania Maasai Traditional Medicine, their stories, and materia medica, with Laura bringing passing around some of the herbs and roots she brought back from Tanzania this Summer for the audience to examine and taste.


Preserving Traditional Medicine Around the Globe:

Traditional Knowledge & Intellectual Property (3 hrs.)

Traditional knowledge, specifically traditional medicine, is being lost around the globe due to the modern diaspora of indigenous people from their native lands to modern cities, loss of oral language and oral traditions, and rapid acculturation. Traditional medicines are the foundation of a culture. With the loss of traditional medicine comes the loss of a key to a creation story, a beginning, and quite possibly the foundation of a community’s identity.

With utmost sensitivity herbalists are generally trained to understand how this information is passed down and how to use traditional knowledge with grace. What equips a herbalist to document traditional medicines? What responsibilities does a herbalist hold by practicing traditional medicines? What is cultural and health sovereignty? With clear intentions and respect, understanding the privilege to have herbal medicines at our fingertips, we can communicate to other cultures of the importance of their traditional medicines.

Laura Ash has found her way in supporting the protection of this vulnerable knowledge with the means of Intellectual Property (IP) by documenting and publishing herbal medicine books. Intellectual Property education is essential as it can fight bio-piracy around the world. Big pharmaceutical companies use the means of IP for their own profit, encouraging fear in communities resulting in them keeping their information secret which can get lost when the traditional knowledge is no longer transmitted. IP and traditional knowledge are becoming more internationally understood and when used correctly can protect traditional medicine. This class will discuss the rights of traditional people and their medicines, encouraging traditional medicines to be preserved and encourage their continued use.

Laura will present a case study of an indigenous group, their ways and what their post-colonial situation, then have the class break into groups to discuss how you can help these communities.



Sean Donahue

The Fisher King and the King of Cups:

Healing the Wounds We Dare Not Name (5 hrs.)

What are the questions we don't dare to ask? And what could be healed if we asked them? In the Arthurian legends, the Fisher King, wounded in the groin, sits by the side of a lake and watches his kingdom wither into a wasteland as he himself wastes away because nobody will ask the question that would free him to drink from the healing waters of the Grail. His mirror image is the tarot’s King of Cups who has delved into the dark waters to come to know himself in all his parts, and found a new sovereignty rooted in compassionate wisdom and a sacred marriage to the land. So often the deepest healing begins when we ask the questions we have dared not ask before. In this class, we will explore the ways in which being open and present with plants allows us to see and experience ourselves in new ways, how those ways of knowing and seeing ourselves opens new possibilities for healing ourselves, and, in the process, finding the medicine we bring to the world. And we will look at how that personal process of healing connects with the healing of our communities, our culture, and our ecosystems. Participants will also be sent out on their own journeys to encounter new plants and the corresponding parts of their inner landscapes, and will come back to share the medicine they find in the process.


The Wheel of the Year

Every culture tells stories about the turning of the wheel of the year, and those stories inform its medicine. Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, and Galenic medicine all ascribe energetic qualities to the seasons and prescribe different herbs and foods for different times of year. But are these maps applicable to the bodies and lives of people in a different culture on a different continent in a different time from the context from which they emerged? In this workshop, we'll each map the ways in which our bodies, the rhythms of our lives, and the plants around us change through the year, looking for the patterns underlying those changes, and finding the stories those patterns tell. We'll look at ways we can use these understandings of the wheel of the year to help ourselves and the people around us work with and harness the rhythms within and around us rather than being swept away by them.


Chuck Garcia

A Healing Through Hispanic Ritual

This is not a faux ritual and ceremony of healing. It requires a volunteer with preferably a physical issue to undergo a ceremony known as a limpia (or cleansing) using the rituals passed from Hispanic Catholic beliefs and Indio beliefs. It requires class participation as it also uses the ancient concept of hands-on healing when guided by a shaman, medicine person, or in this case a curandero. Those who will attend and participate must have an open mind and a heart filled with the love of healing…because that power will be tapped into. For those who find drums, beads and rattles a quaint nod to the past, this is not for you. Such things will be used and explained. Herbs such as white sage, rose, and rosemary are important to this. A medicine bag and its items would be described in detail to the attendees and the volunteer. Finally, the risk factor to the medicine person will be explained. Those participating in the healing should have no fear they will be affected. For those who do not wish to participate they may certainly observe but not interfere, this would include taking photos of the actual ceremony.


Kiki Geary

Nature as Metaphor, Nature as Medicine:

The 5 Elements in Herbalism

Key Focus Points:

1. Every traditional medicine places humans in a dynamic and holographic relationship to the Forest, Sea, Sky and Earth. But what happens when we begin to ingest these elements? How can we affect the disposition and direction of our dynamic life by merging with plants and minerals?

•element associations of 12 major organs systems

•shen, yi, po, zhi, hun (spirit, mind, essence, will, soul)

•iconic herbs of each element

•herbal profiles for iconic herbs of each element


2. The Ancient I Ching Oracle reminds us that, “the role of an artist is to bring people closer to their experience.” When we practice the art of medicine, how can we use the metaphor of the 5 elements to impact the people’s intimacy, self-awareness and evolution.

•transformational properties of nature

•diagnostic clues

•applications with purpose

Each part of our body aligns with a specific part of the natural world. With the five element system, we have access a deeper and more intimate understanding of the digestive functions, uro-genital system, cardiovascular system, hormones and life cycles that influence our health. The poetic and ethereal metaphors of five elements make the concept of “holism” more real and provide a tool for creating balanced health and life force. By learning this easy to understand theory, you will develop an instinctual system that will help you assess disfunction and apply herbal medicine.



Amber, Dragon’s Bone, Myrrh and the Wonderful Wild Resins

Resins are mysterious and often associated with myth and magic. But what is the secret source of these amazing substances and what is their practical application for transformation and healing?

•special properties of resins w focus on Amber, Dragon’s Bone, Myrrh and Pine

•harvesting and preparations

•medicinal applications w case studies and formula design

•resin walk in the ponderosa forest


Shana Lipner Grover


The Multicultural, Craft, & Clinical Uses of Sage (3 hrs.)

There are over 700 species of Salvia around the world with 17 or 18 species in California. The American southwest is a fantastic quilt of layered cultures and multicultural herbal medicine with many Native American tribes interwoven with Mexican herbalism. Combining these within the realms of western herbal medicine that also uses sprinklings of herbal medicine from around the world and you have a historical plant in Sage that is incredibly multifaceted. Sages have played main roles in many indigenous cultures for food, medicine and spiritual practice. The uses for this versatile plant are endless, from using its mentholated oils for sinus congestion to its aromatic bitter after a heavy meal. It’s my go to first aid herb in southern California for a disinfectant poultice or wash because it is so plentiful with a variety of species to appreciate. We will explore all aspects of Salvia, from botanical and ecological information to uses (food, medicine and ritual) to medicine making. Whether your new to making medicine or already a lover of the craft, this class will provide new information and ideas for utilizing this easy to grow, widely distributed plant!!


Jesse Wolf Hardin

The Enchantments of Herbalism:

The Everyday Magic of Our Practice, Its Rewards & Delights

(2 hr)

There are many reasons to be drawn to herbalism, to love it, and to love practicing, including an affinity for plants, and a compassionate desire to ease the suffering of others. These things also help to sustain us, to nourish, please, and reward us so that we can endure all the difficulties and obstacles on our healer’s path. As important as our mission, are the enchantments that delight us to the core, that feed our spirits and hearts. This includes:

• Developing heightened awakeness and awareness that helps us truly notice and deeply experience.

• Heightening our physical senses, to increase enjoyment as well as make more accurate assessments and evaluations.

• Exercising our so-called paranormal senses or “6th Sense,” recognizing useful instincts in our selves, developing our intuition, exploring non-linear/non-cognitive states.

• Taking in and savoring the beauty of herbs and herbalism, making our healing practice an art

• Connecting deeper to the plants we use as medicine, opening to what they teach and familiarizing ourselves with our personal plant totems.

• Accepting that we are deserving. Opening up to ecstasy and fulfillment. Celebrating. Reveling. Spreading both purpose and vibe.


Plant Healer co-creator Jesse Wolf Hardin beckons us into a magical world that is entirely real, reminds us of the reasons we got into herbalism, encourages our memories of the pleasures we enjoyed out in nature in our youth. He describes the reasons and means for our reconnection and re-enchantment, inspiring both our mission and our joy.


Jesse Wolf Hardin with David Hoffmann



A Radical Exploration of The History, Heart & Future of Plant Medicine

(2 hr)

The leaf-mulched soil underneath bushes and trees is sometimes referred to as their “story,” as in “oak story.” It is story, in that its composition tells us much about the nearby plant life and the soil’s creation, about its fertility or lack thereof. So, too, does our beloved field of herbalism have an organic story, deeper than the various spins put out by uncritical zealots, critical industry spokespersons, and professional medical and herbal organizations. We can see how fertile herbalism is today, where it is deficient as well as all the ways it is nutrient rich... as we subjectively run our hands through its humus and loam, reading to the best of our ability its evolving story. Join Jesse Wolf Hardin and the esteemed herbalist visionary David Hoffmann for an insightful and sometimes humorous stream-of-consciousness exploration of herbalism past, present and future. Possible topics include:

• Herbal Cosmology

• Herbalism & Natural Healing - from animals using herbs, to our callings to be healers and help heal

• The Beginning of The Herbal Revival – David’s experience of Findhorn, politics, the founding of the AHG, and his own maverick approach

• Commercialization, Professionals, & the Folk Tradition

• Tree Hugging: The Deep Ecology of Herbalism

• Justice, Activism, Resistance, & Creating a positive new Healing Culture

• Herbalism, Entheogens & Psychedelia

• What is Most Essential in Herbal Practice – from abilities and skills to qualities and values

• Continuum: Connection to the herbalists who came before, being bridges to those who will follow


Stephany Hoffelt

Reviving The Bean Feasa:

Traditional Healing In a Modern Context (3 hrs.)

Historical Role of village healers in society with an emphasis on their roles both as healers and community builders. References to wise women playing a role in solving the larger problems in the community as well as healing individuals. Samples of the literature which relate to the role as a healer. Samples of the literature which relate to the role as a community leader. Specific examples of the use of herbs for various purposes and literature which might give clues as to attitudes towards herbs. For example: in many stories people who disrespect the herbs lose body parts or suffer some great misfortune.

How we can integrate these practices into our modern practices. Aside from normal practices, I will be working storytelling skills and a couple of other forgotten tricks, back into our skill set. This will be the area in which demonstrations and hands on learning will occur as I want people to “practice storytelling”.


David Hoffman

Formulating For The Unique Individual

(5 hr Intensive)


One of the most respected and influential of medical herbalists, David Hoffman brings to you an in-depth look at the practicalities and realities of formulating & prescribing for folk herbalists:

• Herbal issues that can arise (incompatibilities, synergies, etc.)

• Dispensing issues (labels, bottles, dosage etc.)

• Working with other modalities and practitioners, including FDA, ATF, DEA, NSA ad nauseum. .


Extensive handouts will be provided.


David Hoffmann with Jesse Wolf Hardin


A Radical Exploration of The History, Heart & Future of Plant Medicine

(2 hr)

The leaf-mulched soil underneath bushes and trees is sometimes referred to as their “story,” as in “oak story.” It is story, in that its composition tells us much about the nearby plant life and the soil’s creation, about its fertility or lack thereof. So, too, does our beloved field of herbalism have an organic story, deeper than the various spins put out by uncritical zealots, critical industry spokespersons, and professional medical and herbal organizations. We can see how fertile herbalism is today, where it is deficient as well as all the ways it is nutrient rich... as we subjectively run our hands through its humus and loam, reading to the best of our ability its evolving story. Join Jesse Wolf Hardin and the esteemed herbalist visionary David Hoffmann for an insightful and sometimes humorous stream-of-consciousness exploration of herbalism past, present and future. Possible topics include:

• Herbal Cosmology

• Herbalism & Natural Healing - from animals using herbs, to our callings to be healers and help heal

• The Beginning of The Herbal Revival – David’s experience of Findhorn, politics, the founding of the AHG, and his own maverick approach

• Commercialization, Professionals, & the Folk Tradition

• Tree Hugging: The Deep Ecology of Herbalism

• Justice, Activism, Resistance, & Creating a positive new Healing Culture

• Herbalism, Entheogens & Psychedelia

• What is Most Essential in Herbal Practice – from abilities and skills to qualities and values

• Continuum: Connection to the herbalists who came before, being bridges to those who will follow



Phyllis Hogan


Native Plant Walk:

The Medicine & The Spirit (2 hrs.)

The medicinal plants of Northern Arizona’s high elevation forests have long been valued by the native tribes of this incredible region, and long their spirits and stories have been honored. The wonderful ethnobotanist, herbalist, ceremonialist Phyllis Hogan continues this tradition, leading one of our 2 plant walks on the opening afternoon. She welcomes you to join her as she gives thanks to the 4 sacred directions, and tells the tales of the native herbs found along the forest trail.


The Weaver, The Echoer, & The Divine Sunflower

(Traditional Hopi story) (2 hrs.)

According to the Hopi, all life including ourselves comes not from the sky, but emerges from the earth though an opening called the “sipapu.” It is from the inspirited earth, too, that the stories and ceremonies arise which can help us live in balance and honor. Plants and healing figure prominently in the tales of the Hopi, and the heartful Phyllis Hogan hopes to share with you some of the traditional stories she learned while teaching herbalism on the reservation.



Guido Masé


Selva Oscura:

In The Dark Forest of The Mind (5 hrs.)

At some point in life we each find ourselves in the dark part of the forest. Some pass quickly through it, others linger, still others embark on the journey of the ancient heroes: through the darkness, into the underworld, and back into the light of life. Often, the brave adventurer brings allies: a trail of breadcrumbs, a golden branch, a sacred mushroom, a wise friend. Transformation always follows. But the forest itself is more than just the setting in these stories. It is also the catalyst, the confounder, the challenger. Skillfully navigating the trails of the deep wood can make the difference between an inspired, creative life and one that is dreary, lost in repeating cycles. We will begin by exploring this wood in ourselves, map out its most common paths, and reflect on what this means for our hearts and spirits. From here, we will identify some allies and tools that can be brought to bear by examining cases commonly classified as "mental illness". Be it depression, panic, post-traumatic distress, or simply nagging discomfort, anger, or apathy, we will find that we may reach the clear road again with plant allies, a gentle guide, and a willingness to confront fear. Some of the well-known plant categories - aromatics, adaptogens, nervine restoratives - will feature prominently. We'll explore these, in more common patterns of mental imbalance as well as cyclical, recurrent disturbances. But we will also discuss the old ritual uses of entheogens, along with emerging research on their clinical applicability. These allies from the spirit realm are perfect catalysts for breaking harmful patterns - if used correctly.

By examining emerging research on the structure and activity of the human nervous system, we will discover that we all carry an old and powerful tree within us, too. It is grounded in our tissues, and reaches out its canopy to the sky of mind, emotion, and spirit. When this tree is in the dark part of the forest, it can suffer: the dim light is inadequate to feed its branches, and the consciousness twists and shrivels. The roots, undernourished, may atrophy and retreat: microneural damage throughout the body contributes to regional pain syndromes, often a part of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or any long-term, trapping illness. We will share strategies for feeding these roots, using simple meals and medicinal plants, while reviewing the allies and rituals that protect and guide us on the hero's journey.

Be prepared to engage with this journey during our time together. Those who would be guides must look down the path and be willing to get lost, if only for a moment, in the shadows of the wild. The trail will be safe, but it will still have a taste of the challenge we all need to find our way back home.


The Lady of the May:

Hawthorn As An Archetypal Flavonoid-Tree (2 hrs.)

By exploring the folklore and legends associated with old-world Crataegus species, we will uncover some of the traditional actions of some crucial phytopharmacological players: the bioflavonoids. Learn why plants elaborate them, what they can do for us, and how to extract and dose them - all through the hawthorn tree.

Pharmacology is much more than a description of the biological actions of a set of chemicals in the human body. In this class, we will approach bioflavonoids as "ecological hormones" - cross-kingdom signals that unite a home, a garden, a bioregion and all its inhabitants. The old legends that surround the hawthorn tree precisely describe this modern, systems-based perspective: she is seen as a spirit who knits together families and communities, blesses and regulates agriculture and animal husbandry, and fosters both life and death. We will share the old stories, take a look at some new ones involving the health of the heart and of the village community, review the science, and practice this new perspective on plant pharmacology.

Learn to see the bioregion for the molecules: by shifting our focus, and thinking like a fertile valley instead of a two-legged, we'll learn a lot more about how plant chemicals flow through life at all levels, touching leaf, berry, insect, bird, field, animal, and human being. It's not so tough once you try - and your spirit may open just like blood vessels blessed by hawthorn's touch.


Jim McDonald


Explorations and Inquiries with Acorus Calamus

(2 hrs.)

Bitter.  Carminative.  Stimulant.  Diaphoretic.  Antimicrobial.  Nervine.  Emmenogogue.  Relaxant.  Decongestant.  Hallucinogen.  Poison.  It can reasonably be claimed that chewing on calamus got jim mcdonald into this whole mess (herbalism, that is) and for perhaps 20 years he's developed, maintained and deepened his relationship with the plant. He'll share experiences, history, myth, misconceptions, cases and more based on his experiences with this amazing plant.


The Medicine of Melancholy

(2 hrs.)

It is a twisted irony that the only humoural temperament most people are apt to recognize in this age is the melancholic, and yet that familiarity is almost universally tainted by misinformation and judgement.  These feelings are directed at melancholics, are too often experienced by them, and have more often than not been applied to the very notion of the temperament itself.  

We forget that the melancholic temperament arises from the element of earth, and is possessed of all the grounding, foundational strength of that element.  We'll explore the qualities of melancholy in those who express it as a dominant temperament as well as those who do not, consider some common expressions of its imbalances, and look at the roots of our (mis)assumptions to see how they affect the way we treat the melancholics in our lives, our practices, and ourselves.  In doing so, we'll come to recognize the immense virtues and strengths this temperament offers to us and the world, if we only learn to look at it with the keen perception that melancholy itself embodies.  


Medicinal Plants of Mormon Lake

(1.5 hrs.)


Jim McDonald is one of the best informed and most entertaining of Plant Healer teachers, his humor and warmth only equaled by his impressive understanding of herbs and their actions. Jim would love to have your company him on this, one of two plant walks taking place at the same time on Thursday afternoon.


Merihelen Nuñez

A Modern Curandera:

Hispanic Healing Arts, Herbs, and Strategies for today's Holistic Practitioner

Ever wish to be a fly on the wall and watch what healing happens behind the closed doors of seasoned medicine men and women? Come be a part of the experience and learn how you too can utilize these simple yet efficient, traditional practices, of the mystical Southwest. Learn what herbs are revered most by the neighborhood Curanderos, how these ways and plants heal us from the inside out. Demystify, understand and embrace new techniques that will compliment your practice, setting you apart and connecting you to another level and method of healing! This is an opportunity to take a glimpse on what folk healers utilize in their own practices and how you can apply them to yours. We will also explore deep connection of sacred plant medicine learning herbs for burning, emotional detoxification, bathing etc. As we learn the role of this holistic care giver we will also cover materia medica outlined about herbs and plants that are growing right here in the Sonoran Desert. You’ll get to know and experience plants that have been used for generations as food and medicine! This is a hands on class! You will experience being the client and practioner utilizing these time-tested, age-old techniques of the Hispanic Yerberos, (herbalists). You will learn what this philosophy sees as the ‘root’ of most illness and how to determine the severity of dis-ease using uncommon usage of common items. Plants used for cleansing, healing and protection will be revealed as well as their delivery methods and energetic qualities. The vibration, and intent between faith and nature will be explored to convey the beliefs of this folk healing practice. Attendees, please open your heart to receive healing and make yourself available for the healing of others. This will be a class capable of centering and grounding one, in the act of spiritual detoxification utilizing plant spirit medicine. Note to vegans: Eggs will not be consumed however, will be used in a lesson.


Kristi Shapla

Herbal Beer From The Wooden Cask To The Glass Jug:

How to Make Your Own Traditional Herbal Beers Without Cane Sugar or Expensive Equipment (3 hrs.)

Do you find commercial beer lacking in exciting flavor and medicinal properties? Think brewing your own would be too expensive or time consuming? If so, you are in for a treat! We'll be chatting about the history of beer, and women's changing role in the brewhouse. While we are learning incredible facts like how the Finnish goddess Kalevatar combined bear saliva with honey to make ale, we will make our own traditional herbal brew, sans bear saliva (unless someone brings some). I will walk you step by step through the process of making your own small batch, herbal beers with little to no special equipment! And NO SUGAR!!! And if you are avoiding gluten, I can't wait to teach you how to make the tastiest gluten free beer you have ever tasted!! We'll be making a small batch of special HerbFolk Ale. Since this ale will take three weeks to become drinkable, samples from my own home brewery will be shared.


Fermented Flora:

How to Maximize the Potency & Flavor of Your Herbal Formulas Through Fermented Jams, Wines, Beer, & Herbal Sauerkrauts (2 hrs.)

It is indeed an exciting time to be an herbalist. Each year we are learning more and more about the properties of these ancient plants. Did you know there is scientific evidence that fermenting the herbs magnify their healing properties? Clearly we don't need science to tell us what cultures across the world have known for millennia. Armed with good scientific knowledge, combined with traditional methods of preparation, why should we stick to only offering tinctures and teas? Let's explore some new territory in this class. This is B-side medicinal preparations. In this class, we'll discuss how to get good gut health, maximize the constituents in our herbs, and offer delicious medicine to our community. Preparations include: herbal sauerkraut, kvass, beer, mead, Ayurvedic wines, and herbal fermented jams. We will be making a seasonal herbal sauerkraut in class.


Elaine Sheff

Natural Remedies for Children with Special Needs

Throughout history, there have been “special” children, such as changelings, represented in fairy tales. These children have often been ostracized and abandoned, or alternately revered, by their cultures. As more of our children are being diagnosed as special needs, we need a deeper context in which to help them. Join herbalist Elaine Sheff as she offers personal and professional insight into how to assist our beloved special needs children as practitioners, parents, caregivers and community. Elaine will go over diet and lifestyle issues, as well as using herbs, supplements, essential oils, flower essences and homeopathic remedies. Topics of interest will include sleep, relaxation, overstimulation, under stimulation, sensory processing issues, and strategies for self care for parents and care givers.


Asia Suler

Intuitive Plant Medicine:

Entering the Woodland Within (3 hrs.)

Throughout history, folktales of the enchanted forest have served as a playground for thoughts and beliefs, the intersection of danger and divinity, exploration and enlightenment. Deep within the forest of our traditional folktales, we can find a metaphor for the most profound encounter of all— that of the self and the fertile depths of its own intuition. Intuition is not only a path; it is a relationship that can lead us deeper into the wild terrain of our purpose, place and unique gifts of enchantment. Our ancestors honed their intuition daily. They relied upon that innate inner sense of knowing for many aspects of living—planting, traveling, counsel but most especially, inner work and healing. Traditional plant-based medicine was not copied from books, but learned through ceremony, meditation, a deep trust in one’s instincts, and visionary encounters in untamed places. As in any good fairy tale, to begin to work with the depths of your intuitive nature is to enter the unknown forest of possibility and connections.

In this workshop we will journey into this liminal space by learning how to fine-tune our intuitive and healing abilities, both for personal growth and within a community or clinical herbalist setting. We’ll explore the guiding role of traditional folktales: how they can help counsel us through the perils, possibilities and the magic of deep and plant-based intuitive work.

As a group we will undertake a guided meditation/conscious dream journey to meet a plant spirit ally that is of particular import for your healing work. Afterward, each participant will be guided to translate their encounter into their own personal folktale: a fable that holds important information about this time, place, plant and path. We’ll share our experiences, as well as our tales, to embroider a greater collective plant knowledge and clarify our distinctive healing gifts..


Matthew Wood

Seven Herbs

This class represents a return to my roots and my first book.  Many ancient traditions lay out shamanic or spiritual knowledge in seven stages, steps, and sometimes also in seven herbs at personify them. The Temple of Wisdom (Sophia) is said to have seven pillars, and of course we still live inside a calendar of seven days.  We could say that these are archetypes, but they are something more profound: they are fixtures of inner reality which are fairly consistently experienced by students on the path of shamanic or spiritual awakening.  The apprentice must see backwards through time, past his or her genetic origins, to the pre-genetic ground of origin in order both to be free of personal and social/group inherited programming.  Since seven is the number of completion, looking backwards we see the history of the universe or earth or our people in seven stages.  Looking forward, we learn to see seven steps or guideposts on the path of spiritual life.  

For myself, I see the seven stages as first, learning to go beyond oneself, to be empathic or sympathetic to others, second to follow through on inspirations rather than ignoring them and picking the easy path, third, through facing  the crisis one learns to go through the healing crisis, brave the storm, complete the lesson.  These are the "bread" of spiritual life, the minimum due to justify the soul, a person's existence.  The following four guideposts represent refinements: learning when to let go, when to grab hold, to live  a meaningful life based on this balance, and from this to gain the mantle of authority and responsibility.  For me, this meant also receiving Mother Nature's "medical diploma," or the right to use the plants and natural agents to heal because I was in right attunement with Nature.  The seven herbs personify these seven lessons: easter lily, yerba santa, blue flag, sagebrush or wormwood, cat's ears (a mariposa lily), black cohosh, lady's slipper. I suppose other plants could be substituted here but I have never seen how. The seven guideposts are also personified by the seven great mythic cycles in the book of Genesis: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Ark, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, Joseph.  I will discuss these stories in a different light: as repositories of shamanic learning. I hope that I will be joined for a short time by my friend David Milgram, a DC in Flagstaff, who has used the seven herbs for decades in thousands of cases.


Seven Bear Medicines

This is a teaching involving the concept/experience of "medicine animals" and their relationship to plants.  Bear is the totem, so to speak of the herbalist and the food preparer, since bears are so similar to humans---walking upright sometimes, eating an omnivorous diet.  Thus, they stand particularly close to the calling of the herbalist.

They are also a personality and constitutional type and they are associated with certain plants.  There are two basic groups of Bear Medicines, the berries and the roots.  The former (blueberries, blackberries, rosehips, etc.) are nourishing, blood sugar regulating, and associated with summer.  The latter are associated with waking up from hibernation in the spring.  They are brown, furry, oily, spicy roots which are both nourishing and warming.  These include angelica (Grizzly Bear Root), Osha (Bear Root), Lomatium (Bear Root), Balsamorrhiza (Balsam Root, Bear Root), American Spikenard, Sunflower Seed, and Burdock (Arctium, meaning "of the bear," a Eurasian analogue).  We will discuss the principle of the Animal Medicines then the seven bear roots.  They are especially good for shortage of oils, malnutrition, adrenal health.  Discussion of how to treat "adrenal deficiency."  


Constitutional Evaluations

(Five Hour Intensive)

In this class I will go over my own method of constitutional analysis, which I have not taught previously at any conference nor does it appear in any book.  First I look to the three  basic constitutional types that are so unerringly trustworthy for medicine: thick, thin, and medium.  These are known in Ayurveda as kapha, vatta, and pitta, respectively.  They are more or less equivalent to the endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph of William Sheldon's system.  Through this they are related to organ groups: nervous system (vata), muscular and skeletal, blood, circulation and heart (pitta), and the viscera and endocrine (kapha).  I subdivide these into about twenty two types, based on the teachings of Dr. V. G. Rocine (see The Chemistry of Man, by Bernard Jensen).  Each of these can be identified with an organ system, essential mineral, and finally, a Medicine Animal.  The latter will sometimes indicate corresponding Medicine Plants, some  of which I will discuss (turtle, elk or deer, rabbit, panther, underwater panther, cloud, wind, and snake medicines, etc.)  

      The whole system is pretty complex and I don't like complexity myself, so I use it some of the time, when it is helpful, and especially in difficult cases.



Children & Youth Classes


Stephany Hoffelt:

1. Herbal Storytime

Join me as I spin ancient tales of herbs as they appear in fairytales and myths of various cultures.  After story time and possibly a song or two, the children will be able to work on an illumination of their favorite story, or charm. This class will involve paints, so please have children wear something that it is okay to get dirty.

2. Traditional Folk Dance Fun

Getting to move is something every kid needs and enjoys. We will gather for an enjoyable time learning traditional dance and having a ball!


Roman Shapla:

1. Fun with Flora

Children and youth will come together for an afternoon of playing with plants. During this class we will explore the marvels of the green realm. Activities include cooperative games, plant based crafts, role-playing and natural art.

2. Enchanted Walk

Thoreau referred to walking as the Tonic of Wilderness. Join us as we saunter through the outdoors and into the hidden realms of the wild. Children and youth will deepen their connection to the Earth through nature awareness games and activities.


Jiling Lin

1. Meeting Trees

Meet local trees via a sense meditation, then embark on a tree walk to explore family characteristics, uses, and lore.

2. Making Tree Medicine

We'll make a variety of tree medicines and crafts. Bring a small jar to take some home, and a cup for samples!


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