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Plant Healer Magazine


Class Descriptions



An In-Depth Look at 7 Medicinal Plants

(1.5 hr)

This class will look at 7 plants commonly used by herbalists in the US. Many of these can easily be gathered and prepared as medicine (depending where you live). This class will discuss their clinical uses, wildcrafting techniques, specific actions, and various extraction methods. The plants include: Oregon Graperoot, Lobelia, Yarrow, Chaparral, Passionflower, Ragweed, and Oak.

Native Plant Walk I:

The Medicinal Plants of Sky-Island

(1.5 hr)

The TWHC event site is being held this year as far south into the Chihuahuan Desert as you can go without crossing into Mexico, and yet atop a high elevation sky-island with great plant diversity. The area immediately around The Lodge has many interesting species, but if time allows we will be carpooling to some incredible wildland trails nearby. We will enjoy the beautiful environs as we explore the botany and the medicinal applications of the plants growing there.

The Free Clinic Herbalist

(1.5 hr)

There are a number of challenges working as an herbalist in a free clinic. These include seeking donations, procuring affordable equipment, working with other types of practitioners, working with patients who may have never used herbal medicine, patient compliance and did I mention seeking donations? I am a founding member and have been a part of the Ithaca Free Clinic since we opened 8 years ago. It is very rewarding making herbal medicine accessible and available and I hope this class inspires other herbalists. This class will discuss the particulars of working at this and other free clinics. There will also be time for participants questions.


Rebecca Altman & Shana Lipner Grover

Southwest Plants, Southwest Constitutions: The Influence of Place On Conditions & Treatments (1.5 hrs)

In this class, Shana and Rebecca will talk about the ways one's place/bioregion influences the kinds of ailments are encountered and determines which herbs work best. By way of example, they will focus on the ecological experience of moving to the American Southwest: how residing in a hot and dry location affects the constitutions of the people living there, and how the plants that grow there prove uniquely suited. They will discuss therapeutics for environmental imbalances, while covering a number of key Southwestern herbs and their actions, such as Yerba Mansa, Ocotillo, Nettle, and Marshmallow..


Juliet Blankespoor

Tree Medicine

(1.5 hrs)

Many herbalists focus solely on the herbs of fields, dooryards, and the forest floor, but we need only look up to find a whole other realm of medicinal bounty. Nestled in the boughs and bark of our arboreal neighbors is a diverse world of medicine. Because trees are sizable creatures, and typically have larger populations than their herbaceous neighbors, it is easy to sustainably harvest their medicine in a regenerative fashion. During this class, we will cover identification, harvesting techniques and medicinal uses for some of the most common trees and shrubs throughout North America.

Photographing Plants

(1.5 hrs)

Explore the creative and technical aspects of photographing the green world by focusing on the art of expressing your plant vision. Composition, exposure, shutter speed and aperture are the building blocks for creating our pictorial stories.  In this class we will learn how to balance these elements with whatever equipment we might have on hand, accented by our unique relationship with the plants. Basic phone and point and shoot cameras, along with dSLRs are welcome.


Howie Brounstein

Oregon Grape & Friends

(3 hrs)

This in-depth class will explore Oregon Grape and their berberine containing cohorts like barberry, goldenseal,and goldthread. Starting with a digestive tract review and a general discussion of bitters, we will continue delving deeper into the many topics involved with these life-saving plants, such as alteratives, eye washes, hepatitis, staph, strep, stimulation of protein synthesis, and Oregon Grape's unique mechanism of action which is spurring a whole new class of pharmaceuticals. Drawing from 30 years experience with this plant, I will use case histories, illustrative stories, and humor.

The Skullcaps:

Important Restorative Allies

(1.5 hrs)

The Skullcaps, Scutellaria sp., are valuable plants that hold an important place in my clinic. They are calming nervines, and many are nutritive, restorative, and tonic. I will discuss their general and specific uses as well as their history, ecology, identification, wildcrafting techniques, and the differences in the various species. Drawing from 30 years experience with this plant, I will use case histories, illustrative stories, and humor.

B12 Deficiency Primer for the Practicing Herbalist

(1.5 hrs)

Today's foods are diminishing in quality. The tapestry of the environment around us is frayed at the edges, unraveling with loose threads.  Diseases of industrialized society are running wild in the streets. Many people are changing their diets by eliminating possible allergens and historical staples. Folks are defining new, sometimes very limited, diets for themselves. Many are detoxifying without nourishing. These factors can lead to nutritional deficiencies of all sorts. Most of these deficiencies are relatively easy to fix. Replace the vitamin or mineral and symptoms disappear and vitality returns. This is not the case for B12.

It is vitally important that herbalists working with high-risk clients learn to recognize and prevent this deficiency, as it can cause lifelong problems and may never get addressed otherwise. Some folks even inherit this deficiency from mothers who were deficient. B12 can cause long lasting or permanent changes in cognitive and nerve functions. It is a hidden problem that usually goes unnoticed or undiagnosed. I have found it to be rampant in our communities. I have worked with many clients with B12 deficiency, some who have had major debilitating symptoms. Catching this problem early can prevent lifelong health issues.

Topics will include physiology of absorption, "red flag" symptoms and lifestyles, deficiency testing, and treatment protocols. Exciting case histories will illustrate different levels of severity and their outcomes.


Larken Bunce

Tongue: Traditional Assessment for Western Herbalists

(1.5 hrs)

Traditional assessment methods, such as reading the tongue, face or pulse, are invaluable doorways to the inner terrain, giving us clues about qualities such as moisture and heat, as well as tension, tissue integrity and overall vitality. We can also gain entry into the psychoemotional world of the client, allowing insight into a person’s beliefs and perceptions, as held in and expressed through the body. Assessing the tongue is especially useful for understanding the state of digestion, but also serves as a microcosmic mirror of all of the organs, as well as a person’s integrated function. We’ll learn some theory and then spend time practicing together, including selecting potential actions and herbs based on what we see.

The Flaming Crucible:

Mood Disorders as Inflammatory Disease

(1.5 hrs)

Recent research suggests that depression and anxiety may not really be disorders of mood or even originate in the brain, but are instead symptoms of systemic inflammation.  From this perspective we can see how gut health, diet, autoimmunity, cardiometabolic diseases and stress might all contribute. W’ll explore nervines and non-nervines in this new light, examining research, clinical experience and traditional energetic perspectives equally. We’ll consider how the various presentations of affective disorders are qualitatively similar to inflammation’s differing guises, and further appreciate the transmuting powers of fire as both consuming destroyer and catalyst of life.


Julie Caldwell

The New Village Herbalist:

How to Use Your Herbal Practice/Business to Facilitate Community Health & Growth


Humboldt Herbals began 17 years ago in the second bedroom of a tiny rented house with a $500 credit card loan. Today Humboldt Herbals has grown into a valued community resource for health and wellness, serving thousands of local folk each month and supporting national and international communities through mail order and internet services. I'll share with you the lessons, best practices, strategies and solutions I've learned to help your herbal business or practice become a nexus for growing and healing your own community. Learn how to bridge the gap with local allopathic medical providers, how to make folks feel welcome and comfortable (even if they've never used herbs in their life!), how to think outside the box for marketing and outreach, and practical business strategies that you can implement immediately!


Sam Coffman

Herbal Wound & Infection Management

in The Field or at Home

(1.5 hrs)

Join Sam Coffman as he presents a hands-on learning experience in wound and infection management using plant medicine. Sam will teach how to identify, understand and work through the four stages of wound healing using herbs and other non-pharmaceutical approaches and starting with the immediate first aid from the moment of injury. Sam will explain how to work with tissue state through the various stages of healing, cellular pathology of injury and infection, how to recognize infection and how to manage infected tissue of open and closed wounds as well as mucosa. He will also demonstrate and teach basic bandaging and splinting (protective splinting) techniques for injuries in the field in order to more safely transport a person if necessary. Sam will share his own specific materia medica that he uses time and again for these types of injuries both here in the USA as well as during trips to remote locations abroad. He will cover both those herbs as well as the concepts of using some of them vs. other medicinal plants in poultices and plasters, the use of charcoal, honey and propolis, packing a wound (plaster) vs. covering it (poultice), tincture poultices, mucosal plasters, soft tissue injury stabilization and care, the use of internal herbs, nutritional healing differences for various types of injuries to various types of tissue and more. Students will learn and receive hands-on practice in both the wilderness first aid concepts (bandaging and splinting various types of injuries in various locations on the body) as well as creating and using poultices and plasters.

The Herban Medic

(1.5 hrs)

The Herban Medic is an approach to various types of urban medicine – primarily using herbs – for various types of situations. Join Sam Coffman as he steps through three scenarios: Mobile and static herban medicine for the underserved, herban street medic support during social unrest (protests, riots, etc.) and setting up an herbal clinic in a post-disaster environment. The focus of this class will be setting up and running an herbal clinic in a post-disaster environment and to that end, Sam Coffman will lead the class through a hands-on scenario (after an initial lecture) that demonstrates how to divide up the labor between scout/rescue medics and the setting up of a stationary, safe and successful clinic in a central location. What are the primary concerns of any team setting up a clinic in a post-disaster environment? How does a team best work together to achieve the goals that include communication, clean water and hygiene, first aid and stabilization of injuries, transportation, clinic and apothecary layout, strategic security for herbal medics during unrest and integration with other organizations? During the hands-on scenario, students will be able to work through all of these concepts and many more that will arise. They will better understand how to organize as a team of herbal medics in order to be highly effective in rendering aid to those in need.


Sean Donahue

Phytochemical Conversations

(3 hrs)

Phytochemicals and pheremones fill the air, words and phrases in a chemical conversation between plant and animal, human and wild.

In this workshop we will look at some of the ways in which humans evolution and human experience have always occurred in the context of that conversation, and ways we can use or knowledge of the ways that conversation unfolds to shape our therapeutic approach.  Along the way we will examine faulty assumptions underlying many herbalists' application of phytochemistry (such as ideas that plants have fixed, predictable levels of consitutents and that constituents always act on fixed receptor sites in easily reducible ways)  and look at exciting new possibilites like looking at the ways in which sitting, bathing, and sleeping with plants can mimic parts of our ancestral experience of living in a world infused with plant medicine and plant magic.

Neurodiversity: Human & Wild

(1.5 hrs)

The dominant culture depends on people believing in very narrow definitions of consciousness and perception in order to maintain the illusion that its way of life is necessary and inevitable.  But at its edges new/old perspectives are emerging.

The developing fields of plant and fungal neurobiology are extending concepts of consciousness, perception, and communication beyond the human and even the animal realms. Meanwhile, the idea of human neurodiversity, emerging from the experience and analysis of Autistic people, suggests that there is a naturally wide range of ways of experiencing the world within human communities, and that these may even serve particular ecological functions within whole and thriving human communities.

In this workshop we will explore variations (and similarities) in neurobiology in the human, plant, and fungal realms.   We will look at the ways in which expanding our definitions of consciousness, perception, and communication to include the sensory processing and signalling methods of plants and fungi also helps us to imagine and relate to a broader range of human experiences.  And we will look at the biology, ecology, and medicine of several species including Ghost Pipe, Coral Root, Corydalis,  and Psiocybe cubensis for clues about how we can engage plant and fungal consciousness in ways that help us access different ways of being in the world.

In Your Own Skin

(with Asia Suler)

(1.5 hours)

Becoming or proclaiming oneself as an herbalist takes great courage. It is a journey, not only of learning or integrating plant knowledge, but of recognizing who you are. Stepping into our roles as healers often demands that we embark upon a deep process of self-reconciliation and acceptance. Herbalists are, by nature, fringe walkers. We often occupy that space between the civilized and the wild, and our role as intermediaries requires that we come to know ourselves well.

Every one of us is a medicine person who carries a special gift. But in order to give this gift in its fullest we must not only accept, but joyful celebrate, our own unique selves. This heartfelt class looks at the deeply important journey of feeling comfortable in your own skin. Through the lens of our own experiences of claiming our roles as healers, we will share about our own processes of self-recognition and revelation, the journey of acceptance that led us to become the teachers we are today. We’ll discuss how we came to not only understand, but deeply believe in ourselves as herbalists and explore some of the plant allies, magical tools, or moments of integration that delivered us here.

We hold this class with the intention for opening a safe space for reflection, sharing, recognition and growth. It is a place to be both witnessed and heard. Empowered and accepted. This class will be an exploration and celebration of all the colors and kinds of herbalists. Open to visionaries, renegades, newbies, old-hats and a-typicals of all kinds, come honor the power of being in one’s own skin!


Thomas Easley

Advanced Medicine Making


This is a hands on, tongue/taste on class. We will be making continual percolations using Soxhlet extractors and Cold Finger extractors. We will make 1:1 fluid extracts, dual extracts, tea concentrates, syrup concentrates, glycerites and more. I’ll be bringing herbs made with various methods to compare the taste and potency.

Physical Assessment for Herbalists


Physical Assessment skills are becoming increasingly more important for Herbalist to learn. Many hospitals and urgent care clinics are understaffed, creating long waits that discourage people from seeking medical care. While Herbalists are not considered primary care givers, the can find themselves in that role out of necessity. It’s important to learn when to refer someone immediately, and when you have a little time to try natural therapies before a referral is necessary. This class will teach you the symptoms and signs for emergency referral, as well as teach you how to train your observational skills and introduce you to modern assessment techniques including, Habitus assessment, Gait assessment and Physical signs and symptoms of the hair, ears, nose, mouth, skin, eyes and nails.


Lisa Ganora


How to Taste & Feel the Personality & Power of Herbs

(3 hrs.)

What does it really mean when we say an herb is Hot, Cold, Moist, or Dry? Stimulant or Relaxant? Tonic-Astringent? Does the herb really contain these qualities, perhaps in the form of constituents, or is something else afoot? How does this relate to what we know about modern human physiology and phytochemistry? Where is the interface between the senses and perception, the physical qualities of herbal constituents, and the human-herb relationships that we experience as degrees of temperature and moisture, of stimulation or relaxation? How can we come to know and understand these qualities, as distinct and recognizable aspects of reality, rather than just memorizing them as part of a ‘traditional system’? And how relevant is all of this to the contemporary practice of clinical herbalism?

In this extended workshop, we’ll bring together the art and science of organoleptics (evaluation of an herb’s physical qualities and constituents using our human senses) with the traditional conception of Western herbal energetics and human constitutional types. We’ll look at elemental archetypes, alchemical categories, pragmatic energetic classifications going all the way back to Greek-Arabic traditions; the energetics and constitutional characterizations of Nicholas Culpeper in the 1600s; and the synergistic systems of physiology and energetics explored by 19th-century North American Physiomedicalists. Next we’ll examine the current-day synthesis of these traditions with the study of physiology and the practice of direct experience with the herbs as taught in the modern Vitalist tradition carried on by Paul Bergner’s North American Institute of Medical Herbalism and Lisa Ganora’s Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism.

After our romp through the historical and contemporary conceptions of herbal energetics and human constitutions, we’ll try some of these concepts out for ourselves. We’ll do some constitutional typing using simple, instinctive tools; we’ll engage the traditional organoleptic method of sensing constituents (Scratch, Snort, Savor & Spit); and we’ll tie it all together with blind tasting/experiencing of several herbs and formulas that are great examples of the different energetic categories. Our experiences in this workshop will bring us closer to understanding how we can use language to communicate the breadth and complexity of the relationships we sense between the elements, the herbs, and the humans who engage them.


Extractions, Benefits, & Adverse Effects

(1.5 hrs)

Cannabis is a powerful medicinal plant with multiple potential benefits and potential adverse effects as well. This fascinatingly complex herb is capable of many actions: it may enlighten or dull the mind; stimulate or blunt creativity; enable apathy or inspire to action; palliate or exacerbate pain; heal or worsen various health conditions; depress, release, support, or suppress Vital energies … often depending on how it is understood, extracted, dosed, delivered, and approached on a spiritual level. Cannabis may be used recreationally, spiritually, allopathically, or in a Vitalist manner; the distinction is very important for understanding the role of this plant in herbal therapeutics.

Numerous constituents have been verified to have profound biological activity by contemporary science; numerous clinical and anecdotal experiences have found it to have significant benefits in a wide variety of illnesses. At the same time there are folks who struggle with Cannabis dependency, induced deficiency, insomnia, anxiety … and again, the effects of this herb can vary dramatically person to person, with time of life, and even with time of day. As with any herb, the relationship between plant, client, and practitioner is key – but perhaps even more so with an herb of such power.

In this class we’ll review the Western historical uses of and experience with Cannabis as recorded by the Physiomedicalists and Eclectic physicians and pharmacists of 19th and 20th-century North America. We’ll examine the professional extraction techniques of this era, the recorded benefits and adverse effects, and the overall conceptualization of Cannabis as a medication. With this background, we’ll then take a look at modern usage, for better and worse, and the insights gained from recent scientific investigation. Finally, we’ll explore ways that the herb is currently extracted, and how these influence the composition and efficacy of various contemporary products. You’ll leave this class with a broadened understanding of whether, when, and how to use Cannabis as part of contemporary Western herbal practice.


Chuck Garcia & Lori Pino

The Poison Path:

The Use of Poisonous Plants From an Hispanic Perspective


This is not a class to learn how to murder a spouse, lover, rich relative. or a cheap tipper. This is a history of poisonous plants once used in healing and still used by some herbalists, both European and native Californian. The grandfather of the presenting herbalist once said, "To fight a poison, sometimes you need a poison."


Kiki Geary

Star Dust Goes Dancing:

The Fire Element For Western Herbalists

The Fire Element is what you feel when you meet someone. The strength of a healthy fire is measured by how far away you can be from it and still be kept warm. Fire commands our attention. It ignites our joy or scorches our abundance. It maintains our life on the planet through the core and the sun. We revolve around it. It grows our food, cooks our food. It is our great protector, but it can also eliminate us. It illuminates everything so that we can see the truth but it can also sterilize us like the potent indifference of the desert sun. Without boundaries, fire will destroy all form and there will be nothing left behind. Fire can not be ignored.

Learn the TCM physiology and function of the fire element. How to assess pathology and how to encourage evolutionary healing through Spirit. We will discuss the specific organs associated with Fire Element, their specific disease patterns and emotional pathology and where to look in the herbal pharmacy to help balance the whole when the Fire Element loses balances.

Mushrooms as Medicine

Journey through the incredible array of mushrooms we call medicine. From Maitake to Lion's Mane, Coriolus to Cordyceps learn the nuances of each spores essence, personality and intention and why they have such a profound benefit on our spiritual and physiological experience. This class will cover both the historical lineage of each mushroom's traditional uses as well as cutting edge modern research. Even more excitingly, we will explore how the information from the traditional and modern viewpoints make sense together. Trametes "settles the Shen" and also eliminates HPV. Cordyceps increases pulmonary capacity and athletic endurance, but also inspires us to recover our spiritual dignity. This class will open the discussion that will help you evaluate research through a holistic perspective.


Shana Lipner Grover

Michael Moore Constitutional System

(1.5 hrs)

There are many different theories of constitution, 5 Element Theory, the Doshas of Ayurveda and the Four Humours are commonly recognized. Michael Moore developed his own constitutional theory as a means to categorizing tendencies in the body to see a bigger picture of health. By utilizing constitution information, a practitioner can make choices in protocols to aid the body in finding balance beyond one organ system showing symptoms and effect change on a deeper level.  We will cover an introduction to understanding Anabolic, Catabolic and Thyroid constitutions and the manifestation of their tendencies in physiology and their herbal allies.


(1.5 hrs)

Ceanothus is a North American native genus with many species and a wide breadth of medicinal function.  It is a woody shrub that ranges from small bush to small tree in size and diversity. This is a plant steeped in herbal history of this country from sea to shining sea! Having its greatest effect on membranes and the lymphatic system, and the interconnectedness with all other systems; Ceanothus is a powerful ally when used appropriately .  We will explore medicinal differences in species and parts used; as well as it’s role in inflammation, congestion, membrane integrity, immune function, transfer of fluids, cardiovascular function and much more.


Shana Lipner Grover & Rebecca Altman

Southwest Plants, Southwest Constitutions:

The Influence of Place on Conditions & Treatments

(1.5 hrs)

In this class Shana and Rebecca will talk about the ways that one’s place/bioregion influences the kinds of ailments are encountered and determines which herbs work best. By way of example, they will focus on the ecological experience of moving to the American Southwest: how residing in a hot and dry location affects the constitutions of the people living there, and how the plants that grow there prove uniquely suited. They will discuss therapeutics for environmental imbalances, while covering a number of key Southwestern herbs and their actions, such as Yerba Mansa, Ocotillo, Nettle, and Marshmallow.


Emily Han

An Herbalist Walks into a Bar:

Herbal Cocktails, Fermented Drinks, Bitters, Infusions & More

(3 hrs)

Getting people to embrace herbs often means going beyond tinctures and teas. In this class we will explore the world of quaffable herbal concoctions, including fermented drinks and handcrafted cocktails. Though lecture, tastings, and hands-on activities, participants will learn how to make beverages that both heal and delight, allowing us to provide herbal medicine in creative ways.

First, we will explore fermented drinks like wild soda, water kefir, short mead, and t'ej – all of which may be customized with herbs and spices and can made in small batches without complicated brewing equipment. Participants will learn about bacteria and yeast, core principles and benefits of fermentation, master recipes, and ways to create original herbal recipes. Next, we will turn our attention to mixology. Cocktails and their ingredients – spirits, bitters, liqueurs, infusions – have their origins in medicinal preparations. Nowadays the healing properties of mixed drinks have been largely forgotten or dismissed as quaint (at best) or quackery (at worst). Yet many of these classic drinks and their creative spin-offs possess very real benefits. While shaking and sipping, participants will learn essential mixing ratios, ways to incorporate herbal energetics and actions, and (I hope!) join the movement to reclaim the healing potential of cocktails. Throughout, we'll discuss traditional and folk wisdom as well as history and recent research, roll up our sleeves, have some fun, develop practical skills, and get inspired to be creative with our own local flavors and herbs.

Suggested donation: $15 to help cover the cost of ingredients


Jesse Wolf Hardin

The Wild Herbalist:

ReWilding Our Practice, Our Lives, & Our Selves

(1.5 hrs)

Envision a nature-informed, liberatory herbalism as wild and powerful, personal and intimate, diverse and expressive, intuitive and sensorial, fresh and effective as the wild plants themselves. Picture wilder herbalism that is every bit as life changing as those particular plant allies that personally inspired most of us of to get into this study and practice in the first place.

Topics may include: Redefining “wild”, reclaiming our wildness, re-embodying our natural and authentic selves. Rooting in earth, connecting to and learning from Nature. The importance of awakened physical senses when assessing plant energetics or venturing a diagnosis. Clarifying instinct and intuition. Taking response-ability, making every act consequential, every moment decisive. Self authorization and self authority. Rooting in but not being tied by herbal and other traditions. Bioregional herbalism, focusing on local plant species. Herbal outliers and outlaws: codes of honor and practice, rather than obedience. Heeding the call, fulfilling most meaningful purpose.

If general, we herbalists have been just a mite too civilized and reserved, tame and tentative, obedient and accommodating. It is time to rattle some cages and resist injustice, to bravely champion or craft in the face of obstruction, to reclaim and exercise our sensuality, to get up on the bar and dance! Learn to attain – or regain – the sense of excitement, self-direction and satisfaction that is the heart and core of the re-wilded herbalist. Bring your your unconventional and unbowed selves, your wonderment and your questions, joining in an explorative journey into this wilder way of being and healing.


Kiva Rose Hardin

The Bramble & The Rose:

An Exploration of The Medicine of The Rosaceae

(3 hrs.)

The Rose family is one of the most widespread and abundant in temperate North America. Most of us are familiar with their uses as astringents and anti-pyretics in herbal medicine but the finer nuances of their abilities, especially in regard to wound healing, moderating histamine response, and acute care tend to be less well known. We’ll look at both the traits and energetics that unite the family medicinally but also the specific actions that allow you to differentiate between them.

This class will provide a solid clinical foundation for the use of many species of Rosaceae but will also delve into the poetics of the family, which is frequently found in the lore and legend of cultures across the world. We’ll also look at how this lore intersects with the psychospiritual and emotional healing facets of the family. The Rosaceae also tend to be some of our tastiest herbs, and many potions will be presented for taste in the class and a number of recipes will be included in the notes for future use by the attendee, including Kiva’s Hawthorn and Rose based Third Road Thorn Elixir.

Rose family plants covered may include: Peach, Cherry, Rose, Blackberry, Raspberry, allied Rubus species, Silverweed, Hawthorn, Apple, Wild Plum


Phyllis Hogan

Native Plant Walk:


Wendy Hounsel

Lab Values for Herbalists (3 hrs)

As herbalists, we determine a client’s health landscape through the senses: observation, interviewing, physical assessment, and intuition. But although it may not always change our course of support for a client, lab testing can be helpful. Whether a client brings in lab work or obtains it at our suggestion, lab testing can confirm or rule out a suspicion, give us further insight into the source of a problem, or alert us to red flags. As modern health care workers, an understanding of lab values can improve our ability to empower our clients and can also enhance our communication with other providers. In this class we’ll learn how to glean useful information from commonly ordered tests, and learn what additional tests you may suggest your clients obtain, whether from their physician or independently. We’ll cover the CBC, CMP, thyroid panel, lipid panel, urinalysis, inflammatory/autoimmune markers, and more, focusing on the relevance of various tests to the work of herbalists and the effects that herbs may have on results.


Abnormal Pap Tests & Cervical Dysplasia: Pathophysiology & Herbal Treatment

(1.5 hrs)

Cervical dysplasia, or abnormal cells on the cervix, is caused by certain strains of human papillomavirus, or HPV. It is an incredibly common women’s health issue, affecting 250,000 to 1 million women each year. Many cases go away on their own, while a minority may develop into invasive cervical cancer if left untreated. Pap tests save lives through early detection, but while allopathic diagnosis is vital, allopathic treatment is often not. Herbal treatment can be effective and much less invasive than allopathic treatment, which includes freezing, cauterizing, or removing cervical tissue. Although necessary in advanced cases, this type of treatment is heavy-handed and can be damaging to the cervix. In this class, we’ll discuss the pathophysiology of HPV-positive cervical dysplasia along with effective herbal protocols to help heal the cervix, clear the virus, and avoid a LEEP, cryotherapy, or conization.


Julie James

Urban Wildcrafting

(1.5 hrs)

There is a very different sort of beauty in cities, and a different way of seeing nature. But beauty, nature and herbalism exist as much in Los Angeles as they do in the Appalachian mountains, and a working knowledge of the diverse plants of the urban wilderness is of great importance for any herbalist. Those plants may become your food and medicine in a SHTF situation, and they may be the food and medicine for many people who don’t have the options of going out to “real” wilderness, to the mountains, the river’s edge, the seaside. Especially if you are working with lower income folks, homeless or transient populations, you will serve them well by showing them the abundant medicine all around them.

And too, it’s important to know your neighbors, whichever form they take, as we are so much more a part of our community when we know each others’ names. And it is a truly fine thing to walk down a street and, rather than focusing on the rampant growth and concrete, to give your attention to the determined purslane and filaree and pineapple weed growing through the small cracks in the sidewalk, to see all the abundant medicine of the trees and shrubs, to find plants for healing even in the rigidly geometric patterns of an uptight landscape designer.

Some of the finest medicinal plants are considered weeds, and grow wild in vacant lots and along the side of the road. Come transform your relationship with your urban space, and learn the best ways to harvest and use this abundance that truly does surround all of us, no matter where we live.


Guido Masé

The Cardiovascular Exam

(3 hrs)

Go beyond the radial pulse to assess peripheral reperfusion, arterial and venous tone at different areas of the body (what do the different pulse locations tell us?). Look at color and tone. Assess heart-brain integration. Practical: assessment exercises, but also experimentation with different emotional/physical states to change the pulses. And plants to match what we find.

Stories of The Silvani

(1.5 hrs)

Healing and magic from the Dolomite Alps. A look at some specific plants of norther Italy through folktales and modern understanding.

Plant Saponins


Archetypal plant constituents that affect immunity, mucous membrane activity, inflammation, and hormone balance. They can be incredible catalysts in a formula, and linchpins of herbal therapy.


Jim McDonald

Fight, Flight, Freak & Freeze:

Understanding Sympathetic Stress

(3 hrs.)

If you ask someone if they feel like they're sympathetic dominant or excess, most won't know what you mean.  But ask if they feel like they're "stuck on alert" or in "fight or flight" mode, you'll get lots of nods and, quite likely, pleas for help.  This is a main theme in the story of many of those around us, and not just a few among us... chronic sympathetic nervous system excess is the pandemic of our time, affecting and complicating seemingly all other issues person might have.  Jim McDonald will discuss how to tell when you're "stuck in the sympathetic", offer ways to break that pattern in acute and chronic situations, and expound on and differentiate between herbs that restore, relax and (if needed) chill you the hell out.

Tending The Choleric Fire

(1.5 hrs)

Choleric is the humour of fire; it is active, outward, and transforms it's environment.  In it's most balanced state, it is akin to the hearth; the hub of the home that feeds and warms and provides a center for activity.  Of course, balance is a tenuous state, and fires can roar out of control, or else dwindle till they threaten to falter.  Join Jim McDonald as we explore the choleric humour, looking into the helpful and problematic patterns they're inclined to fall into, and how herbs, lifestyle and understanding can help tend the hearth. 

Experiential Energetics:

Sensation As The Language of Plants

(1.5 hrs.)

Plants communicate with us in many ways, and while visioning and journeys may provide profound insight, this is no more valuable than the way they talk to us at every moment using their tastes, smells, and form in this physical world.  If you want to communicate with plants, start by listening.  Sit down and drink tea.  And then feel as the plant enters you, looks around, moves things, enacts its virtues.  As you are infused by it.  Each session we'll blindly taste some or another plant and see what it tells us and where it takes us.


Empowering Intimacy With Herbs

(3 hr.)

What makes an herb an "aphrodisiac"? The popular, but mistaken, belief that they create "automatic interest" in anyone/everyone who uses them is clearly flawed, but herbs can and do enhance intimacy and stoke desire. Looking at lists of plants deemed "aphrodisiacs", we see everything from strong, druglike herbs (yohimbe) to culinary spices (ginger) to adaptogens (ashwangandha) and antispasmodics (kava). What gives? Well, just like all other aspects of herbcraft, one person's turn on can put another person outÉ in other words, energetics apply here as well. We'll look at what indications make certain herbs appropriate to certain people, and give you some engaging ideas to ponder with your partner(s).


Ramona Rubin

The Role of Cannabis in The Herbal Tradition

(3 hrs)

A noticeable effect of cannabis is the psychoactive “high”, but what other actions are going on?

Many people begin using cannabis on their own, for treatment of various conditions, or as a recreational herb. Many people seeking healing are interested in cannabis, and many people are wary or sceptical of the psychoactive effects. What do we really mean when we talk about recreational vs medicinal use? What does it mean when a patient says they are self medicating? Trained herbalists, in my opinion, have a role to play in bringing additional insight into medical marijuana treatments, as well as expanding treatments to include beneficial and synergistic effects with other herbs.

This class is for herbalists who wish to play a vital and knowledgeable role as medical marijuana use becomes more common. Topics include:

• brief overview of the chemical constituents of cannabis and receptors

• properties of different varieties and strains

• types of preparations and extracts now available in states with medical or legal cannabis programs

• CBD and THC-A as both protective and treatment agents

• differences between hemp-extracted CBD and high-CBD medicinal strains

• dose titration best practices with regard to cannabis use for symptoms

• how decarboxylation with heat alters molecular forms and activity

• herb-drug interactions to watch out for.


Dara Saville

Knowing the Locals:

Practicing Bioregional Herbalism

(1.5 hours)

There are many ways to engage our practice of herbalism and a multitude of influences that shape our approach. Whatever our philosophies and teaching influences may be, we can apply those to plants offering themselves to us in our local environment. Almost every bioregion has its own herbs offering the full range of medicinal actions and we can embrace those closest to us to create a more sustainable and satisfying practice. When we make the common plants around us everyday the foundation of our work, we can develop a deep connection with the medicines we use and take our healing and wellness to a new level. It is the relationship between the person and the plant that opens the door.

In this class we will explore the bioregional approach to practicing herbalism. Discussions will focus on how to engage your local surroundings with knowledge and awareness for the purposes of creating a sustainable and fulfilling herbal practice. Based in local plants, bioregional herbalists work with herbs that are most readily available and abundant where we live. We develop a close relationship with these ‘commoners’ in order to align with the medicine that is offered in our bioregion and to be able to learn directly from the plants themselves. Practicing in this way, we become more deeply connected to where we live and we become strong healers with the power of the land behind us. I will illustrate the potency of the connection between people and plants through a few of my favorite commoners: Chaparral, Mullein, and Yarrow.

Yerba Mansa

& The Roots of The Southwest Herbalist

(1.5 hours)

Yerba Mansa is a plant that occupies the heart of many herbal practices in the larger Southwest and especially where I live in the Rio Grande Valley. Its uniqueness within the plant world is obvious at first glance and this desert bosque beauty stands alone in its genus Anemopsis and with only five other members in the family Sauraraceae. Yerba Mansa has achieved legendary status in some traditions as a foundational herb that treats a wide range of physical conditions as well as creating profound shifts deep within an individual through its alterative properties. As a plant that has its ancestral origins dating back some 134 million years, it’s value goes well beyond common medicinal actions and includes the ancient wisdom of innumerable generations. While herbalists have known this for some time, modern science is beginning to catch up with recent studies supporting old uses and revealing the potential for new applications.

This class will provide an in-depth look at Yerba Mansa. In doing so, we will review the plant’s history, discuss its medicinal value, and explore its relationship to the desert wetlands that it inhabits. Class discussions will include Yerba Mansa’s applications in past and present American botanical medicine, how it functions in our bodies, wildcrafting, cultivation, herbal preparations, and the role of this important plant in its natural habitats. We will also explore the ecological considerations surrounding Yerba Mansa and sample a variety of preparations including a popular turn-of the-century formula from a Southwest physician.



John Slattery

Wild Edible Plants of The Sonoran Desert:

A Seasonal Approach to Foraging

(1.5 hrs)

The Sonoran desert has over 4,000 species of plants within its ecological borders. Over 375 species from the lower desert have been recorded as edible. Once included, the higher elevations would at least double that number of edible species found here. Seasoned wild food foragers often agree that the greatest variety of wild plant foods are found in the Sonoran desert. Diversity is not without scarcity, however, and the indigenous hunter-gather and agricultural peoples of the region knew it often. In turn, they developed ingenious ways of preparing and storing foods to save for lean times. Working with one’s environment engenders a sense of knowing through experiential insights. In this class John will share his insights learned and gleaned through over a decade of foraging in the vast Sonoran desert and learning from indigenous elders who once foraged as part of their livelihood. How did these people know what to eat? What guided them to prepare, store, and eat these foods of the desert? How could someone who has no knowledge of foraging begin to understand what could be eaten and how to go about it? John will address all of these questions and concepts while presenting on some of the more widely available, delicious, peculiar, and fascinating wild edible plants of the Sonoran desert. John believes that wild food foraging is about developing relationship, a sense of intimacy, from one’s home place and cultivating that through participation, observation, exploration and patience. There are unlimited possibilities for the commited and creative wild food forager simply awaiting discovery. As the Earth turns the proverbial lazy susan of our landscape we are given “a little piece of her heart” with each mouthful we ingest. The act of foraging for one’s food can bring fulfillment at all levels of one’s being providing sustenance, healing, and deeper relationship with Mother Earth.

The Marvels of The Malvaceae

(1.5 hr)

The resplendent beauty of the Malvaceae from rocky desert hillside to Pacific island beach; from bayou to community garden; from Walmart parking lot edges to overgrazed pastures they are nearly always with us. They clothe us, brighten our day with their beauty, grace our dinner plates, assuage our deepest desires, endow us with tremendous stamina, satisfy our cravings, beautify our gardens, capture our imagination, and so much more. Malvaceae are as common as chocolate, cotton, and cola, and as peculiar as durian. They are as obscure as Ayenia, Guazuma, and Allowissadula, and as amazing as Sida, Althea, and Abelmoschus. Plants of this family exist across continents, they are annuals, herbaceous perennials, woody shrubs, tropical trees, and cultivated crops of varying stature. If you can’t find a Malvaceae in your garden or untended sections of your yard, you will likely find a representative at your local food mart, co- op, thrift store, cafeteria vending machine, neighbor’s yard, vacant lot or your local herbalist’s farmer’s market table. They make food, medicine, clothing, shelter, and various utilitarian objects. Not surprisingly, we are discovering novel applications of several species as unique medicines to address entrenched infectious epidemics now ravaging our population. In this class we will discuss the ways in which our lives are invariably touched by this ubiquitous plant family as well as uncovering some unusual and appropriate uses of some common, if not locally available Malvaceae species. All participants will take away a deepened appreciation of this wonderous plant family if not a renewed vigor to relate with and utilize the great variety of gifts they offer us.


Emily Stock

Star-Gazing Herbalists

Join Emily for a fun night, learning to orient ourselves to the night sky in the northern hemisphere. By learning astronomical landmarks, you'll be able to identify constellations, planets, major stars, and other wonders. We will be sharing myths and stories of visible constellations, and the physics of how the planetary and zodiac energetics affect us. Bring a camp chair or sleeping pad. Also, if you have strong binoculars, bring them too!


Jen Stovall & Janet Kent

Herbalism as a Tool for Social Justice

(1.5 hr)

In the troubling history of this country, conventional medicine has often been a tool of oppression rather than a means of healing. The abuse and neglect certain populations have experienced at the hands of the medical establishment has led to a healthy skepticism of that system. Lack of access, distrust and a more intact cultural heritage have contributed to the preservation of herbal traditions in some underserved populations. Often, these groups are more familiar with botanical medicine than those with more consistent access to health care.

However, we are experiencing a strange shift in the world of plant based medicine. As botanical medicine and other alternative therapies become more mainstream, they are susceptible to the rules of the market. Plant medicine, once the medicine of the people, is now out of many folks’ price range, accessible only to those with money and/or education. How can we as herbalists address this trend?

In this class, we will discuss tools herbalists can use to connect people with accessible and affordable plant medicine while acknowledging both limited access to resources and the unique stressors and constraints of each individual’s life. Drawing on our experience with both rural and urban marginalized populations, we will discuss ways to put plant medicine back where it belongs, in the hands of the people.


Asia Suler

Medicine of The Land

(1.5 hrs)

Land is the first medicine. Beneath and around and within the plants we harvest is an inherent essence, a healing force that permeates all dips and hills. Like people and plants, each place has its own energy and story. The land has an innate personality and uniquely ancient wisdom. When we take time to stop, listen and honor the places we move through we open ourselves up to the deepest healing of all—the healing that comes directly from the land.

Developing a relationship with the land around you is not only practical; it is a vital part of our role as human beings on this earth. As herbalists we act as important place holders, reminding the human community at large of the sacredness of our primary relationship — that of beings to our beloved land.

David Wagoner writes “where you are is called Here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger, must ask permission to know it and be known.” In this class we will be introducing ourselves to the land that is holding us for this weekend. In this interactive workshop we will be connecting to the medicine of this particular land, exploring how we can utilize ancient techniques of intuition and interaction to enrich our relationship with the land and open up new avenues of understanding in our medicine practice. Through intuitive writing exercises, guided mediation and the creation of an earth mandala we will ground ourselves in this place, inviting in the medicine of this incredible forest and asking for one of the most lasting gifts of all— to know and be known.

In Your Own Skin

(with Sean Donahue)

(1.5 hours)

Becoming or proclaiming oneself as an herbalist takes great courage. It is a journey, not only of learning or integrating plant knowledge, but of recognizing who you are. Stepping into our roles as healers often demands that we embark upon a deep process of self-reconciliation and acceptance. Herbalists are, by nature, fringe walkers. We often occupy that space between the civilized and the wild, and our role as intermediaries requires that we come to know ourselves well.

Every one of us is a medicine person who carries a special gift. But in order to give this gift in its fullest we must not only accept, but joyful celebrate, our own unique selves. This heartfelt class looks at the deeply important journey of feeling comfortable in your own skin. Through the lens of our own experiences of claiming our roles as healers, we will share about our own processes of self-recognition and revelation, the journey of acceptance that led us to become the teachers we are today. We’ll discuss how we came to not only understand, but deeply believe in ourselves as herbalists and explore some of the plant allies, magical tools, or moments of integration that delivered us here.

We hold this class with the intention for opening a safe space for reflection, sharing, recognition and growth. It is a place to be both witnessed and heard. Empowered and accepted. This class will be an exploration and celebration of all the colors and kinds of herbalists. Open to visionaries, renegades, newbies, old-hats and a-typicals of all kinds, come honor the power of being in one’s own skin!


Katja Swift & Ryn Midura

To Baby or Not to Baby?:

When & How Herbs Can Help

(1.5 hrs)

Birth control, abortion, post-abortion support - these themes are taboo in much of society. Even if you don't think of yourself as an herbalist who specializes in "women's issues", these topics will find their way to you. How can we help women navigate herban legends on the issue of abortion and birth control? How can we provide support for women seeking not to get pregnant, or women who have and are making hard choices? What support can we offer to women before, during, and after their choice to have an abortion? Come find out! This class is open to women and men, and we encourage men to attend!

Inspecting the Spectrum:

New Insights on AD[H]D & Autism

(1.5 hrs)

We offer a holistic model for understanding these diagnoses not as illnesses, but rather as a range on the larger “Spectrum of Everyone”. Everyone has to deal with the trickiness of interpersonal relationships, sitting still at school, doing well in a job, etc. For some people these things come easier than for others, but everyone has their challenges. We’ll look at natural therapeutic options that can make these challenges easier for adults and children with ADD/ADHD and Asperger’s, and dispel the need for pharmaceutical drugs. We’ll talk about how to make life easier with herbal remedies, dietary interventions, and even simple life tricks to get you through your day with less disruption or frustration! Not only that, but we’ll look at ways to turn the “symptoms” of ADD and Asperger’s into tools you can use in life – it’s not an illness, it’s your super power!


Youth Class Descriptions

For Kids, Tweens, & Teens


Plant Healer Parents Cooperative:


A safe, fun place for the little ones (up to approximately age 4) to play while their parents enjoy classes. We'll have two adults, art supplies, games to play, songs to sing, places to nap, and nature to explore. Parents with little ones who will be attending, please volunteer to help out with at least one class session during the conference.

Sign up for volunteer slots at the Gazebo in the Youth Village.


Asa Henderson:

Games & Getting to Know Each Other

(all ages)

The Youth Village will be welcoming all the kids with fun group activities and games to get out all the energy built up from the car ride to get here.  Art supplies and napping spots will also be available.

Adventure Story Quest

(age 5 & up)

Asa Henderson is looking for a band of bold adventurers to investigate a mysterious threat to the enchanted kingdom of Sky Island.  Do you have what it takes?  Bring any costumes or explorer supplies you may have, and of course your talent, grit, and creativity.

Plant Myths: Storytelling

(age 9 & up)

In the Greek creation myth, the universe as we know it wouldn't exist if Mother Earth hadn't whispered to Zeus about a certain plant that would free Zeus' siblings, the Gods, from the belly of their father Chronos.  Asa will share some stories of plants from world mythology.  If you have any plant stories to share, please bring them too.  (Suggested ages 9 and up, but anyone who wants to sit and listen to stories for an hour is welcome)


Stephany Hoffelt:

Plant Magic

Historically herbs were important medicines, but they were also important parts of ceremonies and rituals throughout the year. This class will teach children some history. We will talk about different ways herbs were used to celebrate holidays in the past, learn some fun rhymes and discuss people thought celebrating this connection to the natural world was important.

Herbal Self-care for Tweens & Teens

Hands on class where the kids will learn to make some basic bodycare products. More importantly, though we will spend some time stressing self-care as it pertains to mind, body and spirit. We will also talk about how important it is to establish these habits early in life.


Jiling Lin:

Plant Families Journey

(age 13 & up is ideal)

Knowing plant families opens up a whole new way of viewing and knowing the natural world around us. We’ll embark on a plant adventure that explores major plant family patterns, hones our observation skills, and introduces us to basic botany terms and concepts. Come prepared to walk, with covered shoes, a hat, and water!

Embodied Herbalism

(age 13 & up is ideal)

What does it mean to live a fully embodied life? How can we experience, explore, and celebrate ourselves, plants, and the world around us? We'll enter the landscape with open and engaged senses via a sense meditation, then bring the meditation to life through games, wandering, and challenge. Come fully hydrated beforehand, with covered shoes, a hat, free hands, and ready to move.

Tzuria Malpica

Meet the Plants

(age 5 & up)

An herb walk and botany lesson in one; let’s explore and spend some time in the sun. Using all five senses, get to know the diverse plants growing near by. Watercolor paints and colored pencils will be available to document the plants we identify.

Fairy Houses & Nature Altars

(age 5 & up)

Join Herbalist Tzuria Malpica to build special environments to bless and thank Nature. We will use our good intention, imagination and creativity to create beautiful and sacred spaces for the fairies and nature spirits to enjoy.

Making Medicine Pouches

(age 5 & up)

Keeping our treasures and herbal companions close at all times can be a challenge. Let’s get together to sew up a solution! Hand-chosen fabrics and materials will be available for each child to sew their own Medicine Pouch to take home.

Nurturing Nature

(age 5 & up)

Being close to Nature is a way we nourish ourselves and tune in to the life force all around us. Get a chance to nurture yourself and nurture nature with your hands, feet and voice. Together we will explore different ways that we interact with the land, each other and what it means to be part of nature.

Wild Plant Weaving

(age 5 & up)

Nature has so much beauty to offer. Lets use our hands to weave a bit of that beauty into our own lives. Learn a simple weaving technique and discover how colors, wild plants and fibers can blend together to create a piece of art. 


Amanda Mayther-Sandberg:

Tree Medicine

(age 5 & up)

Trees make for great medicine. In this class kids will be introduced to some of the herbal uses of the many trees available to us and focus on the common trees in the Cloudcroft area. We will discuss respectful and responsible harvesting, what parts of different trees can be used and make some tree medicine for participants to take home with them.

Nature Spirit Medicine

(age 5 & up)

On this journey we will craft offerings to share with the spirits of the land and plants, attuning ourselves to them and deepen our connection and communication skills with them. Participants will also be introduced to land healing and will participate in a land healing ceremony.

Experiential Plant Energetics

(age 5 & up)

We will use our senses and intuition to identify how different plants speak to our bodies, minds, and spirits. Herbal energetic actions will be introduced in this fun sensory exploration.


Lauren Stauber:

Like Bears & Wolves:

Finding Our Plant Allies Through Scent

(age 5 & up)
Have you ever come upon a scent that was like a home? Smelled a flower that made you feel happy or peaceful? Breathed in the aroma of a tree and experienced a sense of mystery and magic? In this class, we will let our noses lead the way. We’ll find scents that move us, pull us in closer, and some that push us back. We’ll observe how our inner world is changed by smells, and how we shift in response to different scents. We will also each create a small medicine pouch of aromatic plants to keep near.

Like Elephants & Birds:

Discovering Nature Through Sound

(age 5 & up)
When we open our ears and hearts to listen to nature, it begins to share its stories and songs with us. When we listen inwardly to hear our own stories and songs, we find we have something to share with the world. In this class, we’ll explore our relationship to nature and to each other through sound. We’ll play games that help us to listen deeply and inspire us to express ourselves. We’ll build community and connection through improvisation, and create songs together as an offering to the plants. Come prepared to sing, clap, hoot, and howl, and also to tend to the silence.


Holly Torgerson:

Art & Creative Movement With The Littles

(age 5 & under is ideal)

Creative free time for our littlest conference goers. We’ll play with plants, rocks, and art materials. Or take a nap, jam to music, sing songs, or do a bit of yoga. What we do will depend on the group and their needs at the moment.


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