10 HERBALISM SCHOOLS for the Herb Curious
At Anima Mundi we understand the powerful pull to learn about working more in-depth with herbs and plants. That cosmic connection that some feel to the Earth goes well and beyond healing ourselves and many feel it is their calling to guide others to the magic potential of plant medicine. We composed (a working!) list of our 10 favorite Herbalism Schools so that you can explore this innate and primal calling. We will be sure to add more to this blog as time goes as so many wonderful schools seems to be popping everywhere as the desire for herbalism expands worldwide!
The first step to diving deeply into herbalism is to decide what type of herbalism you want to learn more about. There are countless ways that people teach the abundant realm of working with plants in a medicinal way. There are the schools that focus on the clinic aspect of herbalism and dig into the physical healing aspects of plants and there are those that come from more of a psycho-spiritual level to raise awareness of the kinship between plant spirits and people. Whether you want to study locally or online will also greatly drive your decision. The best way to go about starting this journey is to get clear on what interests you as a way to guide your path as an herbalist.
Below are some well-known and trusted herbalism schools, and independent teachers, to explore and learn from.
1. Berkeley Herbal Centerformerly known as Ohlone Herbal School
Online + In-person
The Berkeley Herbal Center, established in 1995, is a leading educational and clinical center for sustainable systems of Western herbal-based healing. They focus on the living knowledge of the healing powers of plants found in Traditional Western Herbalism. The mission of Berkeley Herbal Center is to develop a legion of healers to rebuild a healthcare system that is earth-based, affordable, and empowering to our communities.
Their certification courses educate healers into successful careers as practicing herbalists and herbal educators and are one of the very few schools nationwide with a clinical internship program in Western Herbalism. They offer continuing herbal education classes with respected teachers and a library of downloadable, pre-recorded classes on topics ranging from herbal dental care to natural fertility, rituals for the seasons, and lectures by indigenous healers from around the world.
Some upcoming live classes include Year-long Herbal Apprenticeship Program, Introduction to Herbalism (online), Medicine Making Mentorship with Terri Jensen (on site), Pulse Assessment with Master William Morris (online/on site). For classes visit their website.
2. Illuminated Herbalism
Year-Long Certification Course
Up and coming certification course starting in February with renowned herbal teacher and clinician, David Crow. Immerse yourself in the practical knowledge of the Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Western botanical medicine traditions, and experience contemplative practices... for rejuvenation, a long life, and spiritual illumination.
Gain skills that empower you to heal — mind, body, and spirit — and to guide others toward their own self-care and awakening. You’ll receive a vast amount of practical information about herbs as medicine — the different types of herbs and their chemical constituents, how to prepare them, and how to use them to treat the major systems in your body. Adriana, our founder, and herbalist will be teaching a medicine-making master class within this curriculum! This unique course officially launches on February 17th! There is a second Q+A and free class happening to introduce it. You can join the class here. Or learn more about the modules and course itself, here.
3. Herbal Academy
Is one of the most well-known online schools and celebrates the community-centered spirit of herbalism by collaborating with a talented team of experienced herbalists representing many points of view. They have an extensive curriculum that weaves together ancestral, traditional, modern, and scientific herbal wisdom and observation collectively compiled over centuries to inform the herbal knowledge we share.
Their clearly presented, self-paced courses include comprehensive curriculums presented with great care, alongside in-depth learning videos, botanically infused graphics and illustrations, and beautiful photography that collectively bring these programs to life. Paired with their highly engaged online communities, students have access to all of the amenities of a state-of-the-art, online classroom right from the comfort of their own home, or anywhere!
You can find workshops and longer-term certifications.
4. David Winston Center for Herbal Studies
Online + In-person
This two-year course is a comprehensive education into the world of Herbalism. With classes like Phytochemistry of Medicinal Plants and Introduction to Southeastern Herbal Traditions and Native American Materia Medica, this course takes a beautiful allopathic approach to herbalism training while honoring the way medicinal plants can powerfully alter the psyche and soul.
5. Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine
Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine offers programs focus on growing your own herbs and elevating your life with edible and medicinal weeds. With a strong belief in locally grown medicine, they believe creating herbal medicine to be a deeply satisfying and sovereign practice and an indispensable facet of all traditional cultures. Founded in 2007 by Juliet Blankespoor in Cherokee Nation territory, in what is currently known as Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the botanically rich Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine connects people with plants and the earth through teaching about bioregional herbal medicine. Nurturing a sense of place and belonging, a kinship with the earth and our communities is foundational to planetary and personal health.
They offer numerous online opportunities to learn, including the Herbal Medicine Making Course, the Foraging Course: Edible and Medicinal Wild Herbs, and the Herbal Immersion Program.
6. California School of Herbal Studies
Online + In-person
The California School of Herbal Studies is one of the oldest centers for Herbal training. Founded by Rosemary Gladstar, their mission is to bestow Earth-centered, community-based herbal education to guide the creation of sustainable communities. CSHS teaches from the tradition of Western Herbalism with a focus on North American and European herbs. They often use Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine approaches to harmonize with the Western Tradition. CSHS offers one of the best longer-term programs to immerse in herbalism, or to receive certification. They have a “Community Herbalist Program”, “Roots of Herbalism” program, medicine-making workshops, and more. See more information here.
7. The Science & Art of Herbalism Course
Created by one of the top herbal teachers of our time, Rosemary Gladstar. This course is an extremely thorough, accessible way to begin your herbalism journey. This 10-lesson course includes all of the basics of herbalism from hands-on preparation and medicine making to plant identification and hundreds of herbal recipes for health and healing. This is a true gem if you’re looking to do a rundown on the core basics of herbalism, taught by the one and only, Rosemary. They are running a winter sale right now on all their courses. Sale ends on January 15th! See details on courses, here.
8. East West School of Planetary Herbology
The Planetary Herbal approach of East West School of Planetary Herbology teaches the energetic identification and application of herbs. This training avenue recognizes the more nuanced and subtle properties of herbs and disease. With teachings based on the oldest living herbal medicine systems, TCM and TAM, The Planetary herbalism system offer a rational assessment methodology process on which to base which herbs to choose for treatment.
9. The Gaia School of Healing
The Gaia School of Healing provides a wide variety of courses and workshops highlighting sacred plant medicine and traditional herbalism all over the world. With a deep devotion to the Earth and our communities and a soulful love for the sacred nature of plants, The Gaia Schools aims to bridge the realms of science and spirit. Their coveted apprenticeships focus on working with plants as medicine for the body and the spirit, braiding ancient tradition with scientific research.
10. Arbor Vitae, NY
Online + In-Person
ArborVitae offers a three year program of study for those interested in gaining and applying professional and clinical skills in traditional herbal medicine. The program starts with the foundational year described below. Students who have studied in other programs may apply to place out of the first or second year. The Second and Third year clinical programs also run from September to May, and each year offers an additional 343 hours of instruction. And, they're moving to the Hudson Valley this year!
There's Soo Much More...
Other schools we adore where you can receive certification, are North East School of Botanical Medicine by 7Song, Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, The School of Natural Healing by Doctor Christopher, The Northwest School of Botanical Studies. Our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs have compiled a long list of schools (in-person and online) within the US that are also highly recommended. If you're interested in-person, you might find one in your neck of the woods!
1. Aviva Romm, Herbalist + MD
A medical doctor, herbalist and midwife that offers excellent courses on women's health. Dr. Aviva integrated traditional herbal wisdom, clinical experience and critically reviewed botanical and nutritional scientific evidence for the prevention and treatment of common women's health concerns. Read more about her incredible women's health courses here.
2. Christopher Hobbs, PhD, LAc
Christopher Hobbs, Ph.D., LAc is an internationally renowned herbalist, acupuncturist, mycologist, and clinical scientist. His books are an absolute must in one’s herbal library. He’s doing a one-of-a-kind online immersion with The Shift Network into the world of medicinal mushrooms. If you’re seeking to dive deep into mushrooms specifically, this is an excellent course being offered here.
3. Karen Rose
Online + In-person
Founded by one of the most admired Master Herbalists, Karen M. Rose who has created an outlet for her teachings and healing modalities with the opening of Brooklyn-based Sacred Vibes Healing and Sacred Vibes Apothecary. Her inspiration for this work began as a child in her native home of Guyana, where she was exposed to how African, Caribbean, and Latin American traditions profoundly influenced plant medicine and community healing. Whether individuals encounter Karen through the Sacred Vibes family of shops or by enrolling in her beginning and/or advanced apprenticeship programs, the unique combination weaving spirituality, intuition, magick, myth, folklore, and astrology creates a transformational experience.
4. Mary Blue
Mary Blue offers her "Herbal Foundations" program. This is a 6-month program focusing on the ABC's of the herbal language, an in depth understanding of herbal actions, the foundational elements of herbal medicine making and solvency, herbal dosages, herbal first aid, growing and harvesting herbs for medicine and the legalities of practicing as an herbalist in the US. Mary offers this program online and in-person in Rhode Island. She has been offering this program since 2006 and has graduated thousands of herbalists from it! Check out Mary's free webinar "Become a Herbalist", and get started on your herbal path!