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Plant Healer Magazine


Announcing Our 2016 TWHC Teachers & Classes:


Paul Bergner • Guido Masé • Kiva Rose • Jim McDonald • Sean Donahue • Thomas Easley • Phyllis Hogan • 7Song • Dare Saville • Larken Bunce • Shana Lipner Grover • Julie James • Asia Suler • Julie Caldwell • Rebecca Altman • Jen Stovall • Janet Kent • Emily Han • Ramona Rubin • Alanna Whitney • Dave Meesters • Kate Clearlight • Betsy Costilo • Kirsten Hale • Maria Noel Groves • Stephany Hoffelt • Jesse Wolf Hardin ...and more



Plant Identification 3 hrs.

The ability to identify plants is central to all wildcrafting herbalists. In this class we will look at the plants growing around the lodge and cover the basics of plant identification. These include: understanding the importance and differences in plant families, learning the basic parts of plants (leaves, flowers, stems, etc), and the fundamentals of using a plant key. If you have a 10x magnifying lens (loupe) please bring it. A few will be provided for the class. This class is geared for beginning and early intermediate plant identifiers.


Wildcrafting: Skills & Tales From The Field 1.5 hrs

Wildcrafting is the skill of gathering one's own plants for medicine, food and other uses. This class will discuss a range of topics centered around wildcrafting including; sustainable harvesting, helpful tools, specific plants and places, and practical suggestions for getting out there and gathering your own medicines. I will also be sharing numerous tales from 30 years of gathering plants around the US.


Herbal First Aid: Setting Up & Working in an Outdoor First Aid Station 1.5 hrs

This class will delve into the many considerations in setting up a first aid station including: scouting and setting up in a good location, supplies and tools, considering the situations you may encounter, and of course, which herbal medicines and preparations to have on hand. This class is for all levels of herbalists looking to set up and people a first aid station.



Rebecca Altman:

Potions: A Plant Combination Workshop 3 hrs

In the world of formulation, there are different approaches. Some people take a ‘shotgun formula’ approach, including every herb under the umbrella of a single category. Some people make formulas with 10, 20, or even 30 herbs, whereas others stick to simples and two, three or four-herb formulas. There are as many ways to formulate as there are recipes for chicken broth which is to say that the possibilities are limitless. The formulas that I like the best, that I find the most inspiring, are those that seem to speak of the person who created them. Some people create formulas that are trippy. Not trippy in that they make you trip, but trippy in that the combinations seem to come from left-field and expand your perceptions of what a formula can be. Some peoples formulas are inherently nurturing, some inherently moving. Some people make formulas that are unbelievably efficient, whereas others make formulas that are soft and gentle and persuasive. There are as many ways to formulate as there are people who do it, and in this class, we’re going to experiment with finding our “own” formulation style.

Participants will learn about approaches to formulation from China, India, Arabic medicine and the Eclectics, and what differentiates these formulation styles. Then you will learn about ways to make formulations that come from who they are as people. Examples will be passed around of formulations from different Western herbalists who have distinct styles, with a focus on their own bioregions.

The second half of the class will involve formulating for yourselves. Time will be spent tasting and sitting with a handful of the 30 or so tinctures available to work with, and writing down physical impressions, then learning how to combine tinctures to make an effective, elegant and beautiful formula that reflects their relationship with the plants used.

(With Kate Clearlight) All Up In Your Business: Starting & Maintaining a Defining Herbal Products Venture 1.5 hrs

In the world of ‘things to do to make a living as a herbalist’ the most common answer people have is to start a product business. The majority of people make up some products and put them in an online store or on Etsy, and then wait for the business to roll in. This is not usually the best way to go about it.

Both Kate Clearlight and Rebecca Altman have been running herbal product businesses since 2010 (2011?), and both have a similar approach to both product-making and branding: make it come from the heart and the business will follow. In this class, we will discuss the different aspects to starting, maintaining, and making a product business financially viable:


Why start a business in the first place?

How to start a business.

Finding the heart of your business.

Bioregional herbalism.

Making products that are uniquely your own.

Finding a niche.


Self-worth and the ability to make a living.

Honoring the self and staying true to the heart of your business.

How to be inspired by others and still make an idea your own.


Paul Bergner:

The Mosaic of Evidence: Herban Legends & Critical Thinking in Medical Herbalism 3 hrs

Getting The Story Right: Interview Skills For Intakes & Follow-Ups 1.5 hrs

The Art of The Follow Up: How to Learn From The Experience of Your Patients, Students, Family, & Friends 1.5hrs


Larken Bunce

The Restoration of Truth and Beauty: Stress, Trauma and Building Resilience 3 hrs

We all know adaptogens are important allies in balancing endocrine function and improving our resistance to life’s many stressors. We also might already understand that stress plays a role in most, if not all, chronic disease, meaning that tools to prevent and recover from detrimental stress are essential in the clinic and self-care. Join me to deepen your understanding of the pathophysiology of stress and trauma and the effects these have on our various body systems, perceptions, behaviors, even genetic expression. We’ll explore the body as the sensorial story-keeper of the psyche, and how they together mediate survival and resilience. While stress and trauma often lead us to mistrust or abandon our bodies out of fear, using herbs and sensing practices can bring us back to feeling at home and safe in our skin. We’ll explore how and why herbs might accomplish this work, differentiating via energetics and pharmacology along the way. We’ll also discuss the practical and philosophical contributions herbalists can make to dialogues about stress and trauma and the positioning of herbal medicine at the nexus of psychoneuroendocrinology and mindbody medicine.


Ride the Wind and Play With Fire: Deepening Relationship With Lavender & Rose 1.5 hrs

Lavender and rose are rapidly coming into their own in the modern apothecary. Together these two plants are relaxing, stimulating, cooling, warming, soothing, exciting, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy, covering a wide range of activities and a complex energetic palette. Perfectly suited to these challenging times, they allow us to move through stress and tension and gracefully ride the winds of change, while keeping our anger cool and our hearts open. Come learn how to prepare and formulate with lavender and rose, when to use them as a powerful combination and when they stand alone, along with their specific indications in skin, digestive and, especially, emotional health.

Angelica: Communion Between Earth & Sky 1.5 hrs

Angelica reminds us to open all of our channels to receive and release, to inspire and excrete, and to relax into the cycles of change. This in-depth materia medica class will focus on the actions, energetics, chemistry, preparations, clinical uses and spirit teachings of Angelica archangelica and differentiate it a bit from its cousins. As a quintessential Metal plant, angelica speaks to our sense of justice and beauty, our connection to what is sacred. Angelica calls us to embrace our inner Alchemist, our role as transmuters of spirit into substance and back again. Join me in answering that call, as we explore practices inspired by this powerful ally.


Julie Caldwell:

Building Your Bioregional Apothecary: Using Plants Near & Dear To You – With Examples From Redwood Country 1.5


Kate Clearlight:

(With Rebecca Altman) All Up In Your Business: Starting & Maintaining a Defining Herbal Products Venture 1.5 hrs

In the world of ‘things to do to make a living as a herbalist’ the most common answer people have is to start a product business. The majority of people make up some products and put them in an online store or on Etsy, and then wait for the business to roll in. This is not usually the best way to go about it.


Both Kate Clearlight and Rebecca Altman run herbal product businesses and have a similar approach to both product-making and branding: make it come from the heart and the business will follow. In this class, we will discuss the different aspects to starting, maintaining, and making a product business financially viable:

•Why start a business in the first place?

•How to start a business

•Finding the heart of your business.

•Bioregional herbalism

•Making products that are uniquely your own

•Finding a niche


•Self-worth and the ability to make a living.

•Honoring the self and staying true to the heart of your business.

•How to be inspired by others and still make an idea your own


Betsy Costilo:

Beloved Burdock 1.5 hrs

This class is dedicated to the magical being that is Burdock- it is an exploration of the many ways in which this incredible plant can be called on for healing.  As herbalist Matthew Wood so beautifully wrote, "Burdock helps the body remember what it was like to be healthy..."  Come learn about how we use every part of this plant- root, leaf & seed-  to assist the body in finding that innate strength, desire and capacity for wellness.  Each of us has everything we need to be whole and well within us at this moment, and burdock is one of those plants that ignites and feeds our cellular memory and draws out that strength from deep inside. We will discuss specific indications for the use of burdock, and learn how she restores metabolic balance and to various organ systems in the body.  Beyond the physical body, we will explore how burdock can show up as a powerful ally during times of transition and change, as a plant that helps ground us in our journey towards who we came here to be.  One of the primary aspects of the body that burdock touches is the lymphatic system, which is related to the element of Water; by nourishing and tonifying our Water element, burdock can also help us learn what it is we truly need, and how we live and function in relationship within the larger ecosystem that surrounds us.  This will also be an interactive class of tasting, touching and experiencing burdock in as many ways as possible, from food to ritual, tea to meditation. Burdock is a reliable, magical ally who truly embodies the concept that gentle medicine does not mean lack of power!


Sean Donahue:

(With Kirsten Hale) Herbs & Ancestors 3 hrs

In a rootless culture, so many hunger for a connection with their ancestors. In this workshop, two herbalists from different bioregions (the desert of Southern California and the coastal rainforest of British Columbia) who both work in the places where medicine and magic to explore how our relationships with our ancestors play out in our lives and how plants can be allies in ancestor work. We will explore ancestral trauma, the causes and consequences of disconnection with ancestors,  the presence of both perpetrators and targets of violence and oppression in our lineages, ancestral relationship with plants, and our personal materiae medicae for ancestor work.


That’s Not a Nervine, Is It? 1.5 hrs

Many herbalists tend to rely on the same tried and true herbs for anxiety and herbs for depression. Valerian. Skullcap. St. John’s Wort. My practice is focused largely on the ways in which our mental, emotional, and spiritual health impact our physical health. But many of the herbs I rely on most aren’t the first ones people think of when they think of nervines: Wild Cherry. Calamus. Black Cohosh. Blue Cohosh. Elecampane. We will explore the ways in which these plants and others can shift people’s mental and emotional states.


Chthonic Herbs: Medicinal Plants From the Underworld 1.5 hrs

What medicine lies beneath the waters?

In this workshop we will explore three plants that reach their roots deep into the mud, bringing forth powerful medicine.   Yellow Pond Lily -- which helps to soothe and release trapped fire so we can connect with and  true desire.  Skunk Cabbage -- which helps us clear deep, watery grief to connect with the heart.   And Calamus – which helps us to clear what stands in the way of speaking our truths.


Thomas Easley:

Functional Blood Work Interpretation 3 hrs

The Gut: Why You Should Know as Much About it as Humanly Possible 1.5 hrs

Basic Inflammation Protocol 1.5 hrs


Lisa Ganora

Cannabis Extraction – 1800s Pharmacist Style 1.5 hrs

Cannabis was an official medicine in the US Pharmacopoeia for many years, which established standards for its extraction and potency. The pharmacists' working handbooks (Formularies) gave more detailed and practical instructions about how to prepare, extract, and preserve various forms of Cannabis. Using recipes adapted from these time-tested instructions, we will explore how to make broad-spectrum extracts (by percolation and oil infusion) which preserve the important terpenoid constituents, while concentrating the cannabinoids to a therapeutic, but not overwhelming, level. We'll discuss the importance of choosing and handling starting material wisely, the 'decarboxylated vs. raw' debate, and the working details and practical tips based on recipes developed over the course of hundreds of extractions made during the early years of the medical Cannabis market in Colorado.


Herb-Drug Interactions: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly 1.5 hrs

Many herbal practitioners have clients who are also undergoing medical treatment and taking prescription drugs; their physicians may or may not be well-versed in potential herb-drug interactions. There is a great deal of incomplete or misinformation out there. Learn which medications and herbs are most at risk for such interactions, the physiology and significance of clinical vs. hypothetical interactions (including how the CYP450 enzyme systems metabolize both drugs and phytochemicals), the types of scientific evidence available on the topic, how to research potential interactions and which sources you can trust, and how to educate your clients for the safe combination (or avoidance) of individual herbs and medications.


Learn Your Herbs From The Inside Out: The Art of Herbal Provings 1.5 hrs

Learning herbal actions and energetics from experienced teachers and high-quality books is an important step in the education of an herbalist, but there's nothing quite like the deep understanding that we gain from direct personal and group experience with herbs and extracts. What information can we deduce from a deeply-inhaled aroma, from the subtleties of taste and feel? Learn how to match language to direct experience and judge stimulant vs. relaxant qualities; tonic/astringent vs. demulcent traits; where an herb falls on the cold-hot and moist-dry spectra; how to sense Vital stimulation; how to feel the tendency of an herb to focus on different body systems, etc. Using specific exercises of organoleptic and observational sensory experience, we'll practice a time-tested set of tools for understanding our herbs and recognizing their effects on a profound and practical level.


Shana Lipner Grover:

The Botany of Culinary Herbs: From Kitchen to Clinic

Kitchen herbalism is one of our oldest forms of herbal medicine, dating back through oral traditions. Common herbs found in today’s American spice cabinets can be easily broken down into plant families and function. From the aromatic leaves and flowers of the Lamiaceae to the pungent seeds of the Apiaceae and the fiberous roots of the Zingiberaceae. We can use them similarly in food flavoring, but each has specifics to be brought to the clinical table. Botany is hidden all around us, it’s up to us to find the patterns in life and medicine to relate to.


Liver Excess & Deficiency: Symptoms, Constitutions, & Herbs


Maria Noël Groves:

Done In a Day: Advanced Medicine Making for the Time-Crunched Herbalist 3hrs

Sometimes you need a new batch of medicine in a jiffy, and even if you don’t, you’ll love these unique remedy-making techniques that borrow from Michael Moore and old herbal pharmacy. Maria will demonstrate and provide detailed directions for percolation tincture, alcohol-intermediary oil, and cooked herbal honey. Not only are these remedies ready for use within 24 hours, but they also offer extraction advantages over traditional techniques. Whether you’re looking to adopt a new style of medicine making or simply want a new technique in your toolkit, you’ll be amazed how quickly and easily you can make potent medicine using affordable, easily available equipment.


Kirsten Hale:

(With Sean Donahue) Herbs & Ancestors 3 hrs

In a rootless culture, so many hunger for a connection with their ancestors. In this workshop, two herbalists from different bioregions (the desert of Southern California and the coastal rainforest of British Columbia) who both work in the places where medicine and magic to explore how our relationships with our ancestors play out in our lives and how plants can be allies in ancestor work. We will explore ancestral trauma, the causes and consequences of disconnection with ancestors, the presence of both perpetrators and targets of violence and oppression in our lineages, ancestral relationship with plants, and our personal materiae medicae for ancestor work.


Emily Han:

Herbal Bitters: Resurrecting the Forgotten Flavor 1.5 hrs

The past few years have seen a resurgence in bitters, not only among herbalists but also in cocktail bars, cookbooks, and media. This presents a great opening for herbalists to connect with people in our communities – and even get creative making our own bitters. In this class we will survey traditional and historical uses of bitters, recent medical research, and modern ways to incorporate bitters into medicine, aperitif and digestif cocktails, and even food.

You will experience firsthand the tastes and energetics of different bitter botanicals (from the common to the not-so-common and bioregional) and learn ways to combine these with other aromatic and flavoring ingredients. We will explore three different bitters making methods, and everyone will make a bottle of his or her own bitters to take home. (Age 21+. Suggested donation: $5 to help cover the cost of materials.)


Drink Your Medicine: Mixing Cocktails For Health 3 hrs

In addition to the pleasure they can offer to us herbalists, herbal cocktails can be a wonderful way to spark other peoples’ interest in plants. Many cocktails and their components – including spirits, bitters, liqueurs, infusions, and syrups – originated as herbal and medicinal preparations. Today the healing aspects of mixed drinks have been largely forgotten, or dismissed as quaint (at best) or quackery (at worst). As herbalists we have the opportunity to reclaim the potential of cocktails, from their herbal actions to the way they can provide a sense of connection to the natural world.

This hands-on class is designed to give you the skills and confidence to make your own herbal cocktails. While tasting, shaking, and stirring, you will learn about cocktail history, ingredients, energetics and actions, and essential mixing ratios. We’ll roll up our sleeves, have some fun, develop practical skills, and get inspired to be creative with our own local flavors and herbs. (Age 21+. Suggested donation: $5 to help cover the cost of materials.)


Jesse Wolf Hardin:

The Healing Terrain 1.5 hrs


Kiva Rose Hardin:

Prickles Of The Blessed & The Bitter: A Weedwyfe’s Approach To Thistle Medicine 3 hrs

Some of the best known herbs in the Western world are not delicate flowers coaxed from fine garden soil, but rather the weedy renegades that make up our wild thistles. Still held up as an emblem of rebellion and independence, these prickly remedies have the tenacity to grow almost anywhere while possessing such multifaceted medicine as to be some of our most nuanced and powerful healing allies. From the delicately patterned leaves of Milk Thistle to the spiky tips of Artichoke, the thistles can nourish the liver, strengthen the digestive system, uplift the spirits, assist in endocrine regulation, and much more. 

While these are not always the easiest plants to work with, they are certainly some of our most potent and abundant, as well as being living symbols of the revolutionary medicine we herbalists are bound to by the very nature of our healing work and wildcrafting ways. The plants covered in this class are as likely to be found in parking lots as they are the forest, and will cling to your clothes and tear your skin as often as they’ll offer up a soft touch or sweet scent. In-depth information on each species covered will be provided, including clinical applications, anecdotes and case studies, as well as relevant history and folklore. 

We’ll cover a number of different genera commonly termed as thistles, including Silybum, Cirsium, Cnicus, Carduus, and Cynara, and specific species such as Blessed Thistle, Milk Thistle, Artichoke, and various native New Mexico thistles. 


Stephany Hoffelt:

Neurotransmitters: Mediators of the Mind Body Connection 3 hrs

Traditional healing systems have honored the inherent importance of the mind-body connection. Ancient healers recognized that many organ systems in the body participated in this connection. Reductionist scientific research attempted to mechanize this connection and explain it through a simplified model in which the brain directed all body processes. Modern holistic healers have turned away from this idea and now even modern science is beginning to let go of the idea of brain as the “command center.” Our concept of the “mind” is slowly returning to the traditional idea that various centers throughout the body, interpret incoming information and relay that information to the rest of the body, effecting physical changes.

Research shows that we have many centers, or brains, which direct this activity. We now know that bacteria in the gut contribute to mood. We also know that the heart is capable of perceiving information and communicating to the brain via various biochemical messengers. Neurotransmitters and other biochemical messengers can be understood as the mediators of this connection in that they affect physical change in the body by delivering the mind’s message to body systems. It is in this way that the mind is capable of manifesting itself physically and herbs can enhance or impede that process. Practitioners need to be cautious in our manipulation of these mediators given that some long-held beliefs about their actions in the body are now being questioned. For example, there is a good deal of research that calls into question the low-serotonin etiology of depression given the research on the guts influence on mood. This class will explore new information as to how these mediators affect change in the body and different herbal protocols that have been shown to support healthy connections.


Phyllis Hogan:

The Spirit & The Medicine: Plant Ceremony & Walk 2 hrs

Plant Healer events always begin with special 2 hour long classes meant to ground everyone in the sense and spirit of the special sites chosen, something that is especially helpful after long and disorienting trips from afar. Since the very first year, Phyllis Hogan has been at the heart of this effort, introducing folks to some of the local plants, and to the wisdom of the indigenous peoples of the Southwest she has worked closely with. Her radiant presence as as well as sacred ceremonies are a blessing to this gathering and a gift to all who get to walk with her.


Julie James:

Herbal Care for Post-Abortion & Post-Miscarriage Support 1.5 hrs

This is an area that is not discussed as much as it ought—shame surrounds the subject of abortion, and so women who go through it emerge without a clear idea of how to heal themselves and move forward. In this class we will look at abortion and miscarriage compassionately and without judgment, and discuss the creation of protocols to support healing, both physically and emotionally, in a woman who has undergone this journey. I have not taught this class before, but have lived on all sides: as a woman who has experienced abortion, miscarriage, poor counseling and judgment, and as a sexuality education facilitator and herbalist working with youth and adults preparing for and recovering from abortion and miscarriage. I want to see a class that speaks to this openly and honestly and directly. It’s an exciting prospect for many healers, to provide this service to those who need it.


Janet Kent:

Herbalism in an Age of Mass Extinction 1.5 hrs

We live in a time of ecological catastrophe with the terrible knowledge that our species (or more specifically, the dominant socio-economic system we live under), will leave a mark on the geologic record of our abuse of this planet. Warming temperatures, acidification of the ocean, extreme weather events and resource depletion will, in the coming decades, have a destabilizing effect on both the ecosystems of Earth and human society. How do we, as herbalists of conscience, navigate this terrain? In this class, we will discuss strategies for herbalists in this difficult epoch. We will discuss key concepts of conservation biology and how they can inform our practice, from conservation-minded wildcrafting techniques to choosing our Materia Medica. We will also cover cultivation practices for growing herbs in a time of increasingly erratic weather patterns and changing seasonal norms. As the distribution of wild plant populations change, we must adapt our harvesting practices and rely more heavily on weedy plants that will thrive in a changing climate. Likewise, we would do well to learn the medicine that invasive plants have to offer, as they are hardy and abundant.

Lastly, we will discuss the impact of this era on individual and community health. In addition to the increase in disasters, the unrest that arises from resource scarcity, and the increase in environmental toxins, we also suffer the impact of chronic grief in the face of unfathomable loss. Herbalists are specially situated to both address the stress of this era on individuals and to work to heal the societal pathologies that have created these conditions. We, who use the healing power of Nature to heal our communities, must look unflinchingly at the crisis at hand, see that our health depends on that of our world and work to heal the whole.


Guido Masé:

The Alkaloids: History, Lore, Chemistry, & Applications 3 hrs

Since morphine was isolated in 1803, medicine has pursued the alkaloids with relentless passion: not only are they relatively easy to find and refine, they are also among the most powerful of phytochemicals. In this wide-ranging class we will follow the threads of the most important class of alkaloids, identifying the sacred plants that harbor them, exploring their chemical structures and how they work in the body, and discussing extraction and clinical applications. How does caffeine interact with our circadian rhythm? What was the Soma of the Rig Veda? What spirits are conjured by flying ointments? Why is iboga such a powerful initiation plant? We will cover all these questions and more.


Herbal Medicine as a System:

Shifting Away From Using Herbs as Drug Replacements to Embracing The Principles That Underlie Our Art 1.5hrs

While herbs have risen in popularity over the last twenty years, it is still difficult to explain the importance of traditional herbal principles such as tonification, energetic balance, or individualized formulation to mainstream clients and healthcare providers. We will review some of the interesting research describing systems-based models of medicine and applicability of herbal energetics, have a conversation about our collective experiences interacting with providers of modern technological medicine, and conclude with strategies and techniques for connecting clients with the true, deep, and personal life-changing power of plant medicine as a unique way of healing.


Protecting The Traditional Herbalist:

Context, Challenges, & Solutions for Community Herbalism& Medicine Making in the U.S. 1.5hrs

There are numerous parallels between the beginning of the 20th century and where we are now at the beginning of the 21st: a thriving and diverse healthcare environment where patients can access a variety of choices is being questioned by legal action, and traditional herbal medicine making is facing challenges ranging from trademark acquisition to the consolidation of production. Will patients have access to freedom of choice in healthcare? Will herbalists be able to continue small-scale production for their local community? American herbalism is a unique beast when compared to the rest of the world, where regulation of practice and production have radically changed the old traditions. Review the current state of affairs, bring your stories, and explore a range of possible solutions and action steps.


Jim McDonald:

Adaptogens: Herbs For Climbing The Endless Cord 3 hrs

There no way around it: adaptogens are pretty freakin' cool.  I mean, you've read about some of them... don't you get to the end of a write up and think, "wow... I should get me some of that"? But, haven't you also noticed that those same entries rarely say when they shouldn't be used, or who shouldn't use which one? Let's talk about that. Let's consider contraindications and energetics and how you might choose which adaptogen is best for you, or whether using herbs to tolerate what's going on around you is really the best course of action at all.


Infused in Feeling: The Phlegmatic Temperament 1.5 hrs

It may be that the most elusive temperament for understanding to grasp is that of the phlegmatic.  Like the element of water it correlates with, it takes on many forms, from still to turbulent to... just how deep does that go?  Phlegmatics navigate the world through feeling, through emotion, through intuition and empathic sensation.  Like water, they soak in much of what surrounds them to process and understand.  In a world of sensory overload with increasingly less personal communication and interaction, phlegmatics may struggle with an excess of superficial stimulation, which can flood their senses and throw them off balance.  We'll look at the strengths and sensitivities of the phlegmatic temperament, considering the behaviors and herbs to help them (and us) harness the power of the element of water.


Aromatic Allies 1.5hrs

Aromatic plants, those possessed of volatile oils, are among the most well known and revered of herbs.  Lavender, sage, basil, thyme, and more overtly medicinal plants such as goldenrod, hyssop and yarrow aren't just useful herbs that happen to smell nice: their aromatic oils, to a large degree, define their usage.  Join herbalist Jim McDonald in a scentillating exploration the impact of aroma on digestion, respiratory, and emotional wellness.


Weed Walk 2 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 grasp of herbs and their actions. Jim would love to have your company on this wandering look at the wild and weedy herbs of New Mexico’s high-elevation sky-island.


Dave Meesters:

Sun Medicine, Moon Medicine 1.5 hrs


William Morris:

Pulse Diagnosis For The Herbal Clinician: Assessing Nerve Vessels & Tissues of the Organs 1.5 hrs

Best practice in pulse diagnosis rests upon a foundation of technique. This is where we start. Part of good technique is having a sense of what level of pressure is being used in order to assess a given tissue area. In this class we will be focusing upon nerve, blood vessel and organ tissue assessment. Each participant will palpate the three tissue regions and consider herbal strategies.

For any location on the pulse, there are qualities that can be assessed to understand whether it is cold, hot, moist or dry. Briefly, the tissues surrounding the vessel are assessed to discern moistness and dryness. The sense of urgency suggests heat and a side-to-side movement correlates with cold. A stress state causes the pulse to be tense and infections cause turbulence in the blood stream. Participants will experience each of these conditions. Herbs to treat the state of the nerves, vessels and organ tissues are explored. For the nerves – while nerviness are an obvious choice – the novel idea of using diaphoretics as a guide to the nerve tissue layer is explored. As for the vessels, there are a number of strategies that may be employed from medicinals that improve blood flow to those that build it to those that reduce inflammatory compounds in the blood such as red clover, sarsaparilla and red sage root. When it comes to the organ level, it depends upon the process taking place. If the pulse is weak, we use adaptogens with tropism to the weakest organ in the depth. If it is turbulent, the suggestion is inflammation and we may use Oregon grape root, gold thread or some other cooling agents. Pulse diagnosis makes the difference between writing a formula that fits the symptoms and one the connects to the depths of an individual. It creates safe space for touch in clinical interactions and places one in a heart to heart interaction which in and of its self is a healing event. This is a powerful moment that only comes once.


Ramona Rubin:

Topics in Cannabis & Neuropsychology 1.5hrs

This class will discuss selected topics of the psyche, which may include such ideas as memory and forgetting, the healing of PTSD, sexuality, or authentic motivation in the context of the endocannabinoid system and cannabis use. Our goal is to develop a working understanding of the endocannabinoid system and its role regulating the appetites, neural development and homeostatic regulation. Some of the material will draw on traditional uses of cannabis in precolonial cultures, and we will discuss the early psychological research published in the 1970’s on through some more contemporary findings, as well as the emerging movement of combining cannabis with yoga and mindfulness for healing benefit.  There is an emerging interest in cannabis for addressing women’s sexuality and we will discuss some ways to maximize these benefits with supporting herbs and formulas.


Exploring the Water Garden: Aquatic & Riparian Plants 1.5hrs

According to many creation narratives, including that of science, our planet earth was once a watery soup. Plants evolved to colonize the emerging habitat of dry land. In the garden mythologies of the planet, water is a key element, and a necessary ingredient in life. This class will take a metaphorical walk through the water garden, encountering some key allies adapted to an aqueous or riparian habitat. Central to our exploration, the sacred lotus, will be encountered from global religious and spiritual traditions, as well as the wonders of modern chemistry. Other plants we may encounter along the way include cattails, clubmosses, horsetail, yerba mansa, water lily, water mint, calamus, and watercress.


Dara Saville:

Herbal Activism: Conservation & Restoration 3 hrs

There seems to be an endless list of worthy causes that are calling us into action these days. As herbalists, however, many of us are naturally drawn to make a stand for plants. Robust native plant communities are the major contributors to healthy habitats everywhere and, as such, they are critical for wildlife, the earth, and all of us. During the last 150 years we have seen many environmental changes slowly unfold, altering the balance of ecosystems and effecting native plants around the world. This typically results in an increase of non-native plants, a reduction in keystone plant species, and an increase in natural disasters such as floods or wildfires.

I have noticed these effects in my closest wilderness areas and it inspired me to take action on behalf of the native plants where I live. This action took many forms including teaching about ecological awareness, planting more natives in my garden, and also organizing and implementing The Yerba Mansa Project. The Yerba Mansa Project is an all-volunteer community force committed to riparian habitat restoration through restoring native plant communities and providing educational outreach. In its first year, the program collected GPS data for over 1,000 individual invasive Ravenna Grass plants, removed two thirds of them, prevented many hundreds more from reseeding, and also reintroduced Yerba Mansa by replanting two new colonies. Additionally the project provided many hours of free and low cost educational programs for kids and adults on the ecological importance of native plant habitats in our area. This class will give you tools to sow the seeds of herbal activism in your own community. We will discus how to recognize restoration needs and identify feasible goals. We will also look at ways to organize a local volunteer force, get approval from and work with government agencies, and undertake a successful restoration project on public lands.

Ecological Herbalism 1.5 hrs

Recent times have brought us a plethora of media stories, political speeches, and scientific research heralding a new era of environmental changes that are unfolding both globally and locally. These changes, in tandem with the pressures of human population growth, often equate habitat loss and ecosystem degradation for native plants. In many areas of the world people are witnessing shifts in the geographical range of plant communities or seeing non-native invasive species becoming dominant in local environments. In other places more sensitive members of the plant communities are in decline or disappearing. As herbalists we have an imperative to understand what is unfolding in the landscapes around us.

Awareness of landscape dynamics not only helps us to become more deeply connected to our local wilds but we also gain new insights about the way plants work as medicines. When we are able to see what is taking place within plants’ habitats we put together the pieces of their past and we can begin to imagine their future. Observing the reciprocal interactions between native plants and their environments illuminates both the changing ecological conditions in our local area and also the wisdom of the plants. In this class we will explore the examples of Cottonwood (Populus deltoides wislizenii), Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa menthifolia), and Chaparral (Larrea tridentata) and see what stories these plants have to tell us about changing ecology and shifting plant populations as well as their workings as herbal medicines.


Jen Stovall:

Working With Addiction 1.5 hrs


Asia Suler:

A Gathering of Sky Islands 2 hrs

Begin your TWHC experience with a guided invitation to ground in this land (sky island) but also to take care of our own internal landscapes (our own sky Islands). So many of the people who come to this conference identify as sensitive, introverted, intuitive and empathic. As much as we all love this conference, I know just the simple act of gathering with so many can bring up a lot of challenges. I’m envisioning this class as a kind of mid-conference meditative reprieve. A moment where people are guided to reground back into their bodies + minds and feel at home in their own skin. The concept of our own internal “sky islands” will be made in parallel with the actual ecology of the sky island we inhabit. The class will empower people to realize that living from your own unique ecological self is vital to the life blood of this herbal movement as a whole.


Lyme Disease: Illness as Teacher 1.5 hrs

In this class I would like to offer my own story of healing from Lyme Disease (as well as stories from clients I have worked with). The workshop will include a look at the nature of the disease and my own experience with herbal protocols (what worked and what didn’t). Overall, I would like to offer this class as a way of shifting perspective around Lyme disease. From one of combatting + fear, to recognizing the disease as a teacher. This will be a class specifically about my experience with contracting Lyme (twice) but also about my understanding of the energetics behind the disease overall, as well as the deeper insight + learning I have gleamed from a decade of dealing with different chronic conditions. This will be an uplifting class, a gathering to encourage those dealing with chronic lyme (with themselves or clients) to feel empowered and hopeful.


Alanna Whitney:

Creating Safer Spaces: Transgender Community Competnecy for Herbalists 1.5 hrs

Herbalists have the opportunity to play a unique and totally vital role in life.supporting and community.sustaining efforts within LGBT community by nurturing empowerment, connection, and compassion. Among LGBT people, trans-gender people face the most widespread inequality and obstacles to access of quality medical care for a variety of socioeconomic, health and legal reasons. This leaves herbalists in an amazing position to fill some of the gaps left by the rest of the medical world. Herbs and nutrition can provide valuable support, but many of us don’t know where to start. This class will provide an overview of the language and concepts of transgender communities, the use and effects of hormones, as well as the low.down on surgeries. You will leave with valuable clinical resources for working with trans clients, regarding both sensitivity and treatment. And since this is an herb conference, we’ll talk herbal therapeutics that focus on optimizing hormonal pathways and supporting the liver and nervous system. Not least, we will touch upon our magical remedies to support the spiritual heart.


The Wounded Healer: Wound as Healing Gift - Chiron & Intersections of Truama 1.5 hrs

This class will honor the resilience of survivors and their re.emergence and transformation (as a phoenix through flames) through, with, and by trauma. We will practice gathering and synthesizing of information from all of the ways of wisdom: the way of story and folk tradition, the way of personal and collective experience, the way of science (and in this case neurobiology), and the way of instinct and intuition.

We will wend our way through the story of Chiron, the wounded healer, the famous satyr of Greek mythology who was not able to cure himself despite being the wisest and most experienced of healers. The archetype of the wounded healer isn’t unique to Greek mythology, however. In most healing traditions and stories, the greatest healer bears a wound they are unable to heal themselves. What is at stake in our inability to heal these wounds ourselves? What are the implications for us as healers.to.others? If we cannot heal them, how then can we incorporate our wounds into our work? How may we serve as light-bringers and witnesses to those clients and colleagues with their own wounds? Throughout the journey of the wounded healer, we turn to our wild green world for safety and protection. We will talk about how plants serve as allies by mediating the re.integration of body, spirit, self, community, and relationship, especially and most poignantly when the human world feels unsafe.


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