Our nine-month apprenticeship program is a complete course in practical herbal medicine for beginning and intermediate students.
After completing this program, you’ll be confident in your ability to care for yourself, your family, and your friends with natural methods. You will also have a solid foundation for further training should you desire to continue into the Advanced Studies Program and become a practicing clinical herbalist.
We are now accepting applications for the 2017 session.
This program includes a number of learning modalities, both in our class time together and in assigned homework, projects, and exercises.
- We spend a fair amount of class time in lecture and discussion, explaining the concepts and strategies we use to work with herbs and people. We will cover the major systems of the body – how they function, how they can become injured or imbalanced, and how herbs and natural therapeutics can restore their health. Complementing our study of medicinal plants, we’ll discuss natural movement and primal nutrition, major components of the vitalist approach to healing which cannot be neglected when long-term, sustainable health is our goal.
- We complement the lecture time with hands-on work individually and in groups, such as herb tastings, medicine-making demonstrations and practice, plant meditations, and sensory integration exercises.
- Another large portion of our monthly time together is given to plant walks to become familiar with local herbs, practice plant identification, and discuss herbal cultivation and ethical wildcrafting.
- There are a number of opportunities for self-directed study in the form of our monthly projects, which include Herb of the Month (an in-depth study of one individually chosen plant for each month we’re together), monthly medicine-making assignments, neighborhood plant identification, and explorations of additional healing modalities (diet change, movement habit changes, stress mitigation strategies, etc).
- Our online forum is a major component of the program. There, we post each month’s homework readings, project assignments, and class recordings. We expect all students to submit homework, ask questions, and participate in discussions of our readings and projects on the forum.
- All sessions are recorded and these class recordings are made available in our forum as soon as possible after each session, so that they can be reviewed again at leisure during the time between classes. This also allows students to catch up on any classes they miss during the program. Based on our experience with past years’ students, we find that it’s best if students listen to the recordings of our classes each month, even if they were present at the live sessions – we talk fast and cover a lot of material, and it helps to have the reinforcement.
- We recommend a number of books to our students, and while none are required, reading them does expand upon and deepen the material from our classroom, trail, and kitchen sessions.
It’s important to make sure that you have the time in your schedule to commit to weekly study, including completing homework assignments, readings, herbal medicine-making projects, and so on. We estimate this should amount to 5-7 hours each week, separate from the in-class time we spend together.
The curriculum for the apprenticeship includes:
- History of Medicine and Herbalism
- Holism and Vitalism
- Herbal Energetics: Constitutions, Tissue States, & Actions
- Herbal Materia Medica – covering over 100 herbs
- Systems of the Body – including basic relevant anatomy and physiology, with specific pathologies and remedies
- Reproductive (Male & Female)
- Infusions, Decoctions
- Tinctures, Vinegars, Infused Wines
- Oils, Salves, Lotions
- Herbal Powders, Pastes, Lozenges
- Honey Infusions, Elixirs, Oxymels, Cordials
- Flower Essences
- Basic Formulation
- Personalized Primal Nutrition
- Food Allergies & Intolerances
- Movement Habits, Exercise, & Structural Alignment
- Herbal First Aid
- Herbs for Children
- Plant Identification and Ethical Wildcrafting
- Plant Meditation and Sensory Integration
- Research Skills & Resources
The average of the hourly tuition rates at a dozen herbalism schools in the Northeast is approximately $15.00/hour, which would come to $3000 for a 200-hour program like ours; in urban areas, the average is $18/hour. In an effort to make our program affordable to as many people as possible, we offer three price points, based on your ability to pay.
- $2000 ($10.00/hour)
- $2500 ($12.50/hour)
- $3000 ($15.00/hour)
Please choose a payment plan that accurately reflects your means. If you are able to eat out in a restaurant more than once a month, buy a latte at a café every day, or maintain a gym membership, you can probably afford our highest tier. Most schools do not offer tiered pricing; we believe that quality education should be as accessible as possible, so we depend on folks choosing an appropriate level for their own means. Those of you who pay the full cost of the program make it possible for folks who are truly unable to do so to still attend at one of the lower prices: thank you!
Enrollment in the program constitutes a commitment to pay the entire tuition.
A non-refundable deposit of $300 is required to complete enrollment and reserve your space in the program. We expect to reach our maximum capacity for students again this year, so it is wise to submit your deposit as soon as you are notified that your application has been accepted.
The remainder of the tuition may be paid all at once by cash or check, or in monthly installments. If you prefer to pay in installments, you can sign up for an automated recurring debit via PayPal. (This will require you to have or create a PayPal account, but you will then be able to use any credit card or bank account to pay.) There is a small fee added to cover the cost of the PayPal transaction.
Either the full tuition payment must be made, or the PayPal subscription must be completed, within 14 days of our first class session.
We extend an elder’s discount of 20% to anyone over the age of 60. A 20% discount is also available to veterans and active service members. We support Native American tribal members, local farmers and street medics with discounts and scholarships when possible – contact us for more information.
course materials and incidentals
There are no required books for the program, but several are strongly recommended. A budget of $50-$100 should more than cover the costs for a few basic books, and many of the books we recommend are available in the Boston Public Library system. All of our assigned readings are in the form of articles, studies, monographs, and other resources which are accessible online for free.
Students will also need to acquire their own herbs and other medicine-making ingredients and tools: tea strainers, oils, beeswax, alcohol for tinctures, bottles, etc. We provide information about local herb shops and suppliers.
We estimate total incidental expenses should amount to no more than $25-75 per month.
We always have a significant waiting list for this program: if you decide three months into the program that you want to drop out, a person on the waiting list can’t take your place. For this reason, we offer a two-week window at the beginning of the session when you can withdraw from the program if it doesn’t seem to be a good educational match for you. After that point, we do not offer tuition refunds.
- The $300 deposit is non-refundable. This deposit is deducted from the total tuition once the course begins.
- A refund of the remainder of the tuition will be given to a student who withdraws in writing within 14 days of the first day of class. This year’s drop date is March 25th, 2016.
- After the drop date, students are committed to the course and no refunds will be issued. Automated recurring debits will continue to be collected even if the student is unable to attend the classes.
student discount on other classes
All students who are enrolled in the Apprenticeship program receive a discount on all community classes we offer, and are invited to all of our public herb walks free of charge!
schedule & location
The Apprenticeship meets one long weekend a month, March – November: classes take place 10:00am – 5:00pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each weekend we meet, and are held at our school/clinic space: 25 Saint Mary’s Court, Brookline MA 02446.
We take herb walks together each month at a spot of conservation land a block away from the school. In the summer months we also meet at a greenspace on the Charles river one morning each weekend, or at the Arnold Arboretum; both are a short distance from the school by car or T. For these excursions, we arrange carpools and give directions and maps. These herb walks are not overly strenuous, but can last for several hours at a time.
One of our weekends is a camping trip, which will include hiking and sleeping in tents. Students will be given the details of this excursion upon enrollment.
The 2017 Apprenticeship Program’s dates are as follows:
- March 10, 11, 12
- April 21, 22, 23
- May 26, 27, 28
- June 23, 24, 25
- July 14, 15, 16 – camping
- August 11, 12, 13
- September 22, 23, 24
- October 13, 14, 15
- November 3, 4, 5
We are now accepting applications for the 2017 program.
If you have a question that wasn’t answered on this page, check the FAQ!