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Stand-Alone Courses

Course materials may be purchased for self-study with no tuition,  or each may be taken for credit with faculty support as a stand-alone course with a Continuing Education certificate. Courses may also be taken as components of our comprehensive Certificate Programs. Click on the course titles for more detailed information.


All our distance learning courses include


  • An audio portion, available in CD-ROM, MP3 Flash Drive format, or Digital Download (coming soon)

  • A data disk with notes and slides

  • Supplemental readings

  • All required textbooks

  • Supplemental study materials

First Course in Medical Herbalism

  • Learn the use of 15 herbs and their combinations for more than 20 common conditions.

  • Learn six of the most important herbal actions, and several herbs in each category.

  • Learn the basic principles of vitalist herbalism, relying on the natural healing forces in the body.

  • Learn how herbs fit into the larger pattern of diet, nutrition, and lifestyle

  • Learn the basic principles of herbal formulation

  • Study actual cases of vitalist herbalism in action

  • Learn the basic principles of safety when using herbs to avoid adverse effects or drug-herb interactions

  • Learn how to save money by making your own       herbal tinctures


Practical Herbalism: A Course in the Practical Uses of 50 Herbs 

  • Learn the uses of 50 herbs

  • Learn how to make more than 20 kinds of herbal preparations

  • Learn how to use herbs to improve your nutrition

  • Learn how to use herbs for skin conditions

  • Learn how to use herbs to improve rest

  • Learn how to use herbs to improve digestion

  • Learn how to avoid adverse effects by remaining aware of the hot, cold, moist, or drying effects of herbs.

  • Learn how to use herbs for pain, infection, and fever.

This is full immersion into hands-on herbalism in the vitalist paradigm, where we study and use herbs in the context of a broad vision of harmony or discord in the diet, lifestyle, and constitutional individuality of the patient. You will learn how to use a set of 50 herbs to support nutrition, digestion, rest, skin conditions, pain, and common self limiting infections and fevers. We cover in-depth the practical uses of the herbs, with attention to the all-important  hot, cold, moist, dry, tense, and relaxed constitutional states of patients, conditions, and herbs.

Vitalist Treatment of Acute symptoms

  • Learn how to use 150 herbs for more than 40 common conditions

  • Learn the art of treatment while not suppressing the healing mechanisms that produce the symptoms.

  • Learn the basic physiology and pathology of the 40 common conditions

  • Learn basic clinical protocols including materia medica selection according to energetics, and simple formulas

  • Learn lifestyle and nutritional interventions

This course was originally developed as an advanced apprentice class for recent graduates of a 1200 hours clinical herbalism program. The forces of life and nature tend inherently toward healing, restoration, and the preservation and evolution of life within an individual. Acute symptoms are an expression of that same life force, and are essentially healing in nature. In treating acute symptoms, the practitioner walks a fine line between relieving suffering of the chief complaint, and suppressing the inherent healing forces of nature. This course demonstrates non-suppressive, supportive treatments for the major symptomatic complaints. It is comprised of recordings of an advanced post-graduate apprentice seminar for recent graduates of a school of clinical herbalism. This 12-lesson course covers the physiology, pathology, nutrition, pharmacology, herbal actions, and vitalist and constitutional considerations for acute symptoms whether as primary complaints or part of a larger presentation of chronic disease. You will learn non-suppressive and supportive treatments for digestion, tooth and gum problems, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, dysbiosis, blood purification, acne, eczema, poison ivy/oak, wounds, minor burns, boils, skin ulcers, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, pain, excess mucous, cough, sore throat, asthma, allergies, eye problems, fever, colds, influenza, urinary tract infections, menstrual complaints, and support for pregnancy and lactation.

Advanced herbal actions and formulation

  • Learn how to devise a formula for each patient, rather than for each condition.

  • Learn a set practical clinical herbal actions that will accurately predict the physiological effects expected in the patient.

  • Learn how herbal actions are combined, focused, or modified through herbal pairing

  • Learn the art of herbal pairing to create 2-3 herb compounds

  • Learn from a database of herbal pairs complied from more than 160 years of North American herbalism

  • Learn how to use these compounds as simples, or to expand them into more complex formulas

  • Learn a method to study a complex formula and see the totality of its actions on the tissues.


Any combination of two herbs will convey the actions of each of the herbs, but may also produce a synergy so as to create an entirely new medicine. The study of pairing and simple combinations is the foundatiion of effective and flexible formulation. This course begins by simplifying and clarifying the concepts of herbal actions, which today are a cacophany of terms which resembles the state of language after the fall of the Tower of Babel. You will then learn the principles of moving from simple herb, to pair or triplet, and ultimately to complex patient-tailored formula.

Materia Medica Intensive

  • Learn advanced practical clinical concepts of herbal actions

  • Learn further how to identify an apply concepts of herbal energetics, temperatures, and humidity in the study of materia medica

  • Learn how to apply topical herbs for internal gastrointestinal conditions

  • Learn advanced information on materia medica for the nervous, respiratory, digestive, liver, and reproductive systems

Three veteran medical herbalists, with a combined clinical experience of more than 75 years, were given the task to “start talking about the herbs where everyone else stops” over four days of an advanced seminar. You will learn special uses of herbs, new categories, humoral and energetic considerations, differentials between similar herbs, and other practical experience-based information.

Herbal Safety Seminar

Learn the common side effects of 35 of the top herbs in clinical practice

  • Learn the basic principles and problems of drug-herb interactions

  • Learn the importance of screening for iatrogenic (doctor-induced) disease when assessing a patient.

  • Learn the principles and problems of toxicity of essential oils.

  • Learn the principles and problems of working with elders or other patients with frail consitutions.

Although harm caused by herbal medicines is uncommon, any herb strong enough to act as a medicine may also have an adverse effect if given for the wrong condition, the wrong patient, in the wrong dose, or at the wrong time. In the modern era, even an otherwise harmless herb may cause harmful interaction with a prescription or over-the-counter drug. In this course you will learn the principles of herbal toxicity and drug-herb interactions, the possible side effects or harms caused by 35 of the most important medicinal herbs, and the toxicology of essential oils. Also included is a section on “the fragile patient” and the need to use gentler herbs in lower doses for elders, children, or patients who are weak.

Herbal Detoxification, Alteratives, and the Liver

  • Learn the most important kinds of toxicity

  • Learn which forms are most common, and which are unusual.

  • Learn the role of nutrition is supporting the functions of detoxification.

  • Learn the category of blood purifying herbs, how to match them to patients, and how to prevent side effects.

  • Learn the physiology and pathophysiology of the liver.

Learn the category of herbs for the liver and how to differentiate between them. Practice the art of formulation for detoxification through case-based learning In this course you will learn the basic concepts of detoxification in both traditional and contemporary medicine, and the use of traditional alteratives or blood purifiers. Included are the pathophysiology, signs, and symptoms of low grade or serious liver disease. You will learn the uses of 40 herbs for blood purification, detoxification,  or liver conditions, with methods for formulation.

Systemic Inflammation, Food Intolerance, and Autoimmunity: Pathophysiology and Natural Therapeutics

  • Learn methods that successfully treat many patients with serious chronic illnesses such as autoimmune conditions, neurological problems, cardiovascular inflammation, cancer, kidney failure, mental disorders, and more.

  • Learn the basic science of how nutrients affect inflammation and tissue integrity

  • Learn the “dotted line” between inflammation in the gastrointestinal system and the the overall system, and the exact immune components and mechanisms which are responsible for the escalation of gut inflammation to systemic inflammation.

  • Learn interview techniques and clinical assessment to evaluate a patient for food intolerance

  • Learn the unreliability of the common lab tests for food intolerance

  • Learn how to coach a patient through elimination of rechallenge of suspected offending foods.

  • Learn a complete materia medica of anti-inflammatory herbs

  • Learn a materia medica and formulation strategy for treating the “leaky gut syndrome” with herbs and diet to reduce systemic inflammation

This course describes in great detail current scientific concepts of digestion, immunity, and autoimmunity to explain the “dotted line” between an immunological response in the gut, and systemic manifestations of disease. You will learn assessment methods, with an emphasis on interview and examination skills rather than on questionable laboratory antibody testing. A complete review of lifestyle factors, nutrition, herbal materia medica and formulation strategies for inflammation and the Leaky Gut Syndrome are included. This course prepares you with the complete skill set to assess and coach a patient through removal of an offending food. This course material was developed over a period of more than twenty years, and delivered in various formats to hundreds of intermediate students of herbalism, nutrition, and naturopathic medicine as part of pre-clinical training. These methods were honed in several multi-faculty teaching clinics continuously between 1995 and 2013. Foods in the diet which evoke an immunological inflammatory response are nearly universal in modern chronic disease, and removal can in many cases cause symptoms of even some serious diseases to fall away. Cases presented in this audio course include congestive heart failure, panic disorder, systemic lupus, multiple sclerosis, severe eczema, systemic lymphadenopathy, and a dozen more, which were cured or greatly improved with removal and strict avoidance of an offending food.

Fatigue: Pathopysiology, Natural Therapeutics, and Adaptogens

  • Review the pathophysiology and differential diagnosis of the patient with fatigue as the chief complaint.

  • Learn the role of key nutrients in fatigue

  • Learn the role of dietary selection and food intolerance in fatigue

  • Learn the basic science of sleep, sleep cycles, and sleep debt

  • Learn a method of lifestyle intervention to improve sleep time and quality

  • Learn a complete materia medica and formulation approach to improve sleep

  • Learn to critically evaluate claims made for the class of herbal adaptogens

  • Learn the most important adverse effects and potential harms of adaptogens as a class, and of 18 specific herbs.

  • Learn how to use 18 Chinese tonic herbs appropriately in the context of Western herbalism

In this course you will learn the tools and skill set to assess and address the patient who complains of  Fatigue. You will learn the pathophysiology, differential diagnosis, and root causes of fatigue; methods for using herbal medicine and formulation to address sleep and sleep debt. The categories of adaptogens and Chinese tonic herbs are covered in depth. Included is a critical view of the concept of the adaptogen, with illustrations of how the misuse of this herbal category can promote burnout rather than relieve it. Included are sections on Chinese tonic herbs for the Western herbalist, and Chinese herbs for athletic training and performance.

Insulin Resistance: Pathophysiology and Natural Therapeutics

  • Learn the basic pathophysiology of insulin resistance and it role in modern chronic disease

  • Learn the anthropology of insulin resistance, and see what normal health and blood parameters are in our close hunter gatherer relatives.

  • Learn how to assess insulin resistance through blood work Learn how to assess a patient for insulin resistance using nothing more than an interview and a tape measure.

  • Learn the role of basic nutrients essential to normal insulin function

  • Learn the role of trained muscle status on overall insulin and glucose effects in the body

  • Learn the role of glycemic index, glycemic load, and total carbohydrate percentage in insulin resistance

  • Learn the basic science of a ketogenic diet

  • Learn how to prepare a patient for ketosis in stages to reduce the unpleasantness of the induction phase

  • Learn how to coach a patient for a complete ketogenic diet.

  • Learn herbs which may benefit insulin and insulin resistance, as opposed to simply lowering blood sugar

  • Learn how to use a basic insulin resistance protocol in the treatment of prediabetes, diabetes, vascular diseases, cancers, neurological  diseases, and reproductive dysfunction, including PCOS

Insulin resistance is the root pathology not only of Type II diabetes, but also contributes to heart disease, stroke, obesity, hypertension, several common cancers, and other conditions ranging from polycystic ovarian disease to acne to brittle bones and depression. It is a pathology fundamental to the “diseases of civilization.” Although cell level pathology is complex, the roots of this condition are based in malnutrition in the basic nutrients that regulate insulin, untrained muscle mass, and imbalances in the carbohydrate content of the diet. Correcting these three roots of insulin resistance, along with herbal allies to help restore imbalance, can cause some chronic diseases to resolve in a matter of weeks to months. In this course you will learn the pathophysiology of insulin resistance, and the influence of diet, exercise, nutrition and herbs on the condition. You will gain understanding and competence in the clinical application of protocols based on the material learned.

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