Herbalista Free School

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.”

At Herbalista, we believe that by freely sharing herbs and education, we can build a healthier and more equitable world.  Thanks for joining us as we build community through herbalism. 

Welcome to the Herbalista Free School

We offer online classes to help you along your herbal journey.  All classes are FREE and open to the PUBLICAnd this year we’re taking it up a notch to offer TWO ways to study with us.

2023 Free School Offerings

HERBALISTA x Teach:able

On February 6th, in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of our very first Herb Bus Clinic, we will launch our new TEACH:ABLE platform for online learning.

Our first course offering is Herbal Foundations, with three other courses (In the Field, Herbal Medicine Making and Community + Clinical Care) to follow this year.  Scroll down to the Calendar for all the details.

HERBALISTA x ZOOM LIVE

We are offering 6 live ZOOM classes this year.  After a fun “Building Herbal Kits” to kick things off, we will spend the year focusing on the herbs in our Five-Part Herbal Materia Medica Series because, well, you can’t be an herbalist if you don’t know the plants. 

These classes (and any other pop-up classes) will eventually be added to the Teach:able Coursework as well.  Scroll down to the Calendar below for all the dates and details.

Calendar of Classes

Teach:able Courses: Open to enrollment at any time once the course has launched.  Registration links are posted on the release date.

Zoom Classes: Registration links and full course descriptions are posted a week prior to class.  Registration closes at the start of class.  A week after class, all registrants receive a link to the class video, so even if you can’t make the live class, please register to access the recording and materials.

HERBAL FOUNDATIONS COURSE
Herbalista x Teach:able

In celebration of our 10 year anniversary, we are thrilled to share our new course with all of you.  REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN.  Please click the button to learn more and to register.

LEARN MORE + REGISTER

Coursework includes:  Herbal Traditions; Herbal Actions + Energetics; Different Strokes for Different Folks; Herbal Basics: Diet + Digestion; Herbal Basics: Daily Rhythm, Stress + Sleep; Crafting a Materia Medica; Seasonal Kitchen: Spring, Summer, Autumn + Winter

BUILDING MEDICINE KITS
Herbalista x Zoom 

March 1st [1:30 – 3:30 PM EST]. Registration opens FEB 22nd.

The most important tools we have as herbalists are the herbs themselves.  And these herbs need sweet little homes to call their own.  Herbal Medicine Kits (aka ‘kittage’) have been absolutely vital in our work at Herbalista.  I find the process of building Medicine Kits to be not only immensely satisfying but an incredibly important part of the preparatory process for running a clinic.  In this class we will be sharing all the nuts and bolts from construction and retrofitting to packing lists for various types of kits.  We hope this class helps you craft the herbal kit of your dreams.

MATERIA MEDICA I
Herbalista x Zoom 

April 5th [1:30 – 3:30 PM EST] Registration opens March 29th.

These Materia Medica Classes are a chance to spend some quality time with the plants.  We will explore a group of between 5 – 7 herbs in depth, from botanical to clinical observations.  We will cover actions + energetics; therapeutic indications; common preparation + dosages; herbal safety + contraindications; and other herbalistic bits ‘n bobs.  As my teacher Michael Moore always said, if you want to be a good herbalist, first you have to know the plants! 

IN THE FIELD COURSE
Herbalista x Teach:able

Registration opens on May 1st

Coursework includes: Botany for the Herbalist; Urban Foraging; Respecting Poisonous Plants; Community Projects: Grow a Row and Herbalista Learning Garden

 

HERBAL MEDICINE MAKING COURSE
Herbalista x Teach:able

Registration opens on June 7th

Coursework includes: Tincture Making 101 (Dry + Fresh Plant); Hot Glycerite Extraction; Water Medicine (Infusions, Decoctions + Hydrotherapy); Oil-Based Medicine (Herbal Infused Oils + Salves); Vinegar-Based Medicine (Fire Cider); Percolation; Herbal Apothecary Guidance; Distillation: Hydrosols + Essential Oils; Ginger Candy + Herbal Confections

MATERIA MEDICA II
Herbalista x Zoom

July 5th [1:30 – 3:30 PM EST] Registration opens June 28th.

These Materia Medica Classes are a chance to spend some quality time with the plants.  We will explore a group of between 5 – 7 herbs in depth, from botanical to clinical observations.  We will cover actions + energetics; therapeutic indications; common preparation + dosages; herbal safety + contraindications; and other herbalistic bits ‘n bobs.  As my teacher Michael Moore always said, if you want to be a good herbalist, first you have to know the plants!

MATERIA MEDICA III
Herbalista x Zoom

August 2nd [1:30 – 3:30 PM EST] Registration opens July 26th.

These Materia Medica Classes are a chance to spend some quality time with the plants.  We will explore a group of between 5 – 7 herbs in depth, from botanical to clinical observations.  We will cover actions + energetics; therapeutic indications; common preparation + dosages; herbal safety + contraindications; and other herbalistic bits ‘n bobs.  As my teacher Michael Moore always said, if you want to be a good herbalist, first you have to know the plants!

COMMUNITY + CLINICAL CARE COURSE
Herbalista x Teach:able

Registration opens on September 6th

Coursework includes: Herbal First Aid; HerbCare Stations; HerbCare Packages; Herbal Foot Care; The Herb Cart; Skin + Wound Care; Heart Medicine

MATERIA MEDICA IV
Herbalista x Zoom

October 4th [1:30 – 3:30 PM EST] Registration opens September 27th.

These Materia Medica Classes are a chance to spend some quality time with the plants.  We will explore a group of between 5 – 7 herbs in depth, from botanical to clinical observations.  We will cover actions + energetics; therapeutic indications; common preparation + dosages; herbal safety + contraindications; and other herbalistic bits ‘n bobs.  As my teacher Michael Moore always said, if you want to be a good herbalist, first you have to know the plants!

MATERIA MEDICA V
Herbalista x Zoom

November 1st [1:30 – 3:30 PM EST] Registration opens October 25th.

These Materia Medica Classes are a chance to spend some quality time with the plants.  We will explore a group of between 5 – 7 herbs in depth, from botanical to clinical observations.  We will cover actions + energetics; therapeutic indications; common preparation + dosages; herbal safety + contraindications; and other herbalistic bits ‘n bobs.  As my teacher Michael Moore always said, if you want to be a good herbalist, first you have to know the plants!

Support the Free School

The Free School is only possible thanks to the support of our sustaining members and donors.  Please consider support this initiative by making a tax-deductible donation.

Previous Classes

If you missed a class and would like to watch the video, all of the classes listed below have been added to the online Herbalista Toolkit, available to sustaining members.  There you will find all class videos in full, with corresponding class materials, worksheet, and resources listings.

Kitchen Herbalism: Fire Cider

As we kick off our first class of the Herbalista Free School, we thought what better way of kindling this fire than by making a batch of Fire Cider 🔥 We will also share info on starting a Fire Cider Brigade. Class was recorded on February 2, 2022.

Herbal Traditions

The world of Herbalism is vast and varied, a veritable rainbow of traditions. In this class we will explore a few traditions in order to discuss common themes of health and healing.  We can then apply these concepts to our work as community herbalists. Class was recorded on February 6, 2022.

Kitchen Herbalism: Spring Health 

Living in harmony with the seasons is one of the most important ways we can support our health. And just as the earth awakens from her winter slumbers it’s time to energize and cleanse ourselves. In this class we will explore the energetics of spring– meeting seasonal herbs, sharing recipes and daily practices we can use in our kitchen apothecary. Class was recorded on March 2, 2022.

Herbal Actions and Energetics

Language is a building block of culture and in this class we will explore herbal language used to describe the medical action herbs have on the human body. Understanding categories of herbal actions will allow us to read herbal texts, deepen our understanding of our materia medica, make appropriate choices when we formulate, and can also be helpful when bridging the gap between conventional medicine and herbal medicine.

We will also spend time exploring the qualities of herbs, including energetics and flavors as an additional and exciting layer to understanding how herbs work in the body.  Class was recorded on March 6, 2022.

Tincture Making 101: Weight to Volume + Mixing Custom Menstruums

Making your own medicine is one of the most thrilling aspects of herbalism and it is something that can be done in your own kitchen. In this class we will focus on some of the basic aspects of creating herbal extracts known as tinctures, including understanding how to properly prepare them according to the weight to volume method. We will also share how to mix your own custom menstruums, allowing you to maximize the extraction potential.  Class was recorded on March 13, 2022.

Herb Cart Crash Course

The Herbalista Herb Cart served the Atlanta streets for 7 years, providing free, herbal care to communities in need.  This class offers a crash course on how we ran this unique grassroots program and will cover a wide range of topics– mobile clinic logistics, clinical forms, dispensary considerations, packing lists, safety and sanitation, and oh-so-much more.  There will be ample time for Q & A to support folks looking to set up mobile herb clinics of their own.  Class was recorded on April 3, 2022.

Crafting a Materia Medica

A “materia medica” is a detailed listing of the remedies used in medicine. For herbalists, our materia medicas are filled with simple and compound plant preparations. While there are many incredible materia medicas already in existence, gifted to us by herbal and medical authors over the centuries, the exercise of crafting your own materia medica is an empowering and enriching experience. Your materia medica will continue to grow with you, becoming a wonderful reflection of your unique herbal journey. Class was recorded on April 6, 2022.

Herbal First Aid

Learning Herbal First Aid empowers us to take care of some of our most basic needs and those of our loved ones. Join Herbalista Lorna for a workshop exploring basic first aid principles; strategies and remedies for common injuries; and how to customize your own first aid kit.  Class was recorded on April 24, 2022.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

“Different strokes for different folks” might be the phrase I use most as a practicing herbalist, as a teacher, and hopefully as a compassionate human.  Although I believe that what we share is greater than our differences, these differences are very important when it comes to selecting appropriate remedies and creating health plans for folks.  Most herbal traditions have created archetypal patterns for recognizing the various ways humans manifest these physical, mental, and spiritual differences. In this class we will touch on concepts such as western constitutional physiology, humoral theory, the 3 doshas of Ayurved, and Chinese 5 phase theory to illustrate ways you can begin to customize your herbal approach.

We will also concepts such as patient centered care and how we can meet people where they are at and help them get to where they want to go… another favorite phrase 💚 Class was recorded on May 4, 2022.

Botany for the Herbalist

There are many ways for an herbalist to deepen their relationship with plants.  Botany is one such way. It offers us a language with which we can observe and describe plant characteristics and also a structure through which we can understand the relationships between plants and plant communities.  An understanding of basic botany will not only enhance your understanding of herbs, but also assists us in the gathering and preparing of our medicines.  This class will cover Breathtaking Botanical Basics, from terminology to practical application.  Class was recorded on May 15, 2022.

Hot Glycerite Extraction

As we continue our studies of Herbal Medicine Making and Liquid Extraction, we now turn to Hot Glycerite Extraction, a great option for making effective, alcohol-free tinctures.  While Glycerites are not a commonly used form of liquid extract, often considered a “weak” alternative only for children, their importance is finally being recognized.  At Herbalista, we specialize in alcohol-free preparations and so have cultivated a wide range of glycerite medicine over the years.   Today’s class will focus on the “hot” extraction technique which quickly yields potent and delicious medicine.  Class was recorded on May 25, 2022.

Kitchen Herbalism: Summer Health

Living in harmony with the seasons is one of the most important ways we can support our health. And as the summer days grow longer and hotter, we can support our health with cooling, anti-inflammatory and delicious remedies. In this class we will explore the energetics of summer– meeting seasonal herbs, sharing recipes and daily practices we can use in our kitchen apothecary.  Class was recorded on June 1, 2022 .

Water Medicine: Tea, Syrup and Hydrotherapy

If there is one time when we feel the importance of water, it’s high summer. Sizzling pavement and parched lips make us grateful for a glass or a dip. But water is more than coolant; water has the power to heal. The water that sustains us and grows our food also washes our wounds, suspends medicine in a cup of tea, soaks away our aches and pains, releases our grief in the form of tears and banishes toxins in the form of sweat. In this class we explore the simple and profound nature of water-based medicine, sharing techniques for making basic infusions and decoctions, herbal syrups, and a brief dive into the world of hydrotherapy.  Class was recorded on June 5, 2022. 

Making Fresh Plant Tinctures

Oh the controversy! If you’re confused about the “best” way to make a fresh plant tincture, it’s because you’ve waded into a fiercely debated topic in medicine making. In this class we will discuss the various methods and theories for making fresh plant tinctures, empower you to make the choices appropriate to your work as an herbalist, and get you ready for tincturing gorgeous fresh herbs all summer long!  Class was recorded on June 15, 2022.

Herbal Foot Care

There’s nothing so hardworking and in need of lovin’ as our feet.  When we offer foot care, we have a chance to not only address foot specific ailments, but also to radiate health throughout the body.  Foot care can reduce stress, boost immunity, offer pain relief and emotional support. In this class we will discuss the principles of foot care, assessment strategies, and remedies for common ailments.  Combining both conventional and herbal therapeutics, this class is all about meeting people where they are at and helping them get to where they want to go!  Class was recorded on July 3, 2022.

Creating an HerbCare Station

Herbal medicine is truly a medicine by and for the people!  One way to empower folks to use herbs is by setting up HerbCare Stations directly in our communities.  These stations are geared towards herbal self-care and dispense simple remedies, often based on kitchen medicine.  These mini-health stations offer folks a chance to both heal and to learn.  If you are interested in creating an HerbCare Station in your neck of the woods, this is the class for you.  Class was recorded on July 6, 2022.  

Herbal Basics: Diet and Digestion

The word ‘diet’ comes from the Greek ‘diaita’, meaning ‘a way of life’.  When we consider the roots of this word, we realize how incredibly sacred and life affirming eating can be.  In this class we will explore simple ways to support our health and vitality through dietary choices.  We will also share remedies for common digestive complaints such as constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, gas + bloating, nausea and more.  Class was recorded on July 17, 2022.

Urban Foraging

Herbs grow all around us, even in the concrete jungle. In this class we will share basic tips for wildcrafting in urban areas with a focus on foraging safety; working with urban weeds + invasive species; and developing a deeper relationship with your green neighbors.  Class was recorded on August 3, 2022.

Herbal Basics: Daily Rhythm, Stress + Sleep

While herbs are powerful tools of health and well-being, as herbalists and holistic health workers, it’s important we also look to the bigger picture of our daily lives. In this class we will explore practical ways to help folks find a healthier daily rhythm (aka dinacharya). We will focus in particular on movement, de-stressing techniques, and improving our sleep.  Class was recorded on August 7, 2022.

Kitchen Herbalism: Autumn Health

Living in harmony with the seasons is one of the most important ways we can support our health. As we move into Autumn, we can support our health by building up our immune systems with nourishing and delicious remedies. In this class we will explore the energetics of autumn, meet seasonal herbs, sharing recipes and discover daily practices we can use in our kitchen apothecary.  Class was recorded on September 7, 2022.

Oil Medicine: Infused Oils and Salves

Be prepared to lubricate your bodies and minds, as we learn about the benefits of this often misunderstood element. Oils are a life sustaining, protective force and we will discover ways to harness the power of oil to deliver therapeutic herbs to our bodies. This class includes medicine making demonstrations of both herbal oils and salves. We will share some of our favorite oil and salve recipes that we use at clinic and show a couple packaging and labeling tricks while we are at it! Class was recorded on September 18, 2022.

Maintaining a Botanical Dispensary

For close to 20 years, Herbalista has managed a variety of apothecaries and dispensaries, serving sweet, sweet herbal medicine to the community. We make most of our own remedies and do our best to follow a set of guidelines we like to call Good Herbalista Practices (cGHP’s). In this class we take a glimpse inside Herbalista’s Mother Apotheke and share many of the procedures and documentation we have found helpful over the years.  Class was recorded on September 25, 2022.

Skin Health + Basic Wound Care

Skin is the largest organ of the body and deserves a little extra love and attention. This class begins with understanding the basics of skin health, including function, anatomy and skin as a means to deliver herbal medicine. We also look at signs of distress and exploring the mechanisms of healing. We share basic wound care techniques and means of working with other common skin conditions such as chilblains and eczema.  Class was recorded on October 2, 2022.

Tincture Making: Percolation

This class offers the chance to learn about the advanced skill of percolation, a quick and potent way to create an herbal tincture. In this class, we will demonstrate the process and help you gain a better understanding of when and why you might choose to percolate as opposed to make a tincture via the maceration method.  A pretty groovy skill-set that gives one, if I’m honest, a bit of a mad scientist sorta feeling 🙂 Class was recorded on October 5, 2022.

Distillation: Hydrosols and Essential Oils

Hydrosols and Essential Oils are the lovely, aromatic and powerful products of plant distillation. At Herbalista, we work with a copper alquitar still named Stella “the Still” Culpepper. She was named after the Herbalist Nicholas Culpepper who challenged the notion that medical knowledge belonged only to physicians and worked to make herbal knowledge available to the people! In this class, we will demonstrate the art of distillation, exploring the multitude of uses for herbal hydrosols. Then we will take a look at the tradition of aromatherapy and how you can safely and sustainably work with essential oils. This class will be co-taught with Marie-Lies Van Asten of Fleur and Forage ATL. Class was recorded on October 16, 2022.

Kitchen Herbalism: Ginger Candy

Baby it’s cold outside! In this class we demonstrate how to make warm, spicy and delicious Ginger Candies. Ginger is one of our all around favorite herbs that supports our bodies in so many ways and preserving that ginger goodness in the form of candies makes it easy to enjoy and share with friends. (This also makes a great addition to your HerbCare Packs)!  Class was filmed on November 2nd, 2022.

Herbal Basics: Heart Medicine

In this class we explore the workings of the heart from the perspective of a community herbalist — emphasizing prevention with a wholistic  and pragmatic approach. We will explore its physical role as the center of our cardiovascular system and its place in our emotional journey as humans through a broad lens, sharing kitchen remedies, clinical protocols, and lifestyle tips and techniques. Class was filmed at the Free School on November 6th, 2022.

Making HerbCare Packs

What better way to show folks you care, than to give the gift of herbs? HerbCare Packs are an easy way to share a little bit of healing and some herbal delight in your community. In this class we will share guidance on creating these herbalistic care packages, including pack lists and examples of the many we’ve created over the year, just in time for winter.  Class was filmed at the Herbalista Free School on November 9th, 2022. 

Kitchen Herbalism: Winter Health

Living in harmony with the seasons is one of the most important ways we can support our health. As we move into Winter, we can support our whole body health with delectable herbs that warm and protect.  In this class we will explore the energetics of Winter, meet seasonal herbs, sharing recipes and discover daily practices we can use in our kitchen apothecary. Class was filmed at the Herbalista Free School on December 7th, 2022.