Botanical Primer Mini Apprenticeship
Welcome to the Cedar Mountain Herb School’s Botanical Primer Mini Apprenticeship!
WHEN: Fridays September 18th and 25th | October 2nd and 9th – rain or shine!
As each week will build upon the last; it’s recommended to clear the calendar for each Friday so no lesson is missed!
TIME: 9:00am – 4:30pm
FEE: 575 USD
INSTRUCTOR: Heather Bruno
Whether you are just getting started in the amazing world of herbal medicine or a seasoned herbalist desiring to go deeper in herbal studies with hands-on field work, the Botanical Primer is an excellent opportunity for a deeply rooted exploration of wild plants, with a focus on ethical harvesting practices, constituents and why knowing them is vital to making effective healing remedies, plant energetics, and the positive impacts plants have on our anatomy and physiology!
Students will acquire skills to support their own health and wellness and that of their loved ones by creating and using hand-crafted herbal remedies. The Botanical Primer is designed specifically for students to build a relationship with the bounty of nature while learning to positively identify and utilize the medicine of our wild and local plants to heal and support the body system and/or topic studied each week. There will be many opportunities to sample herbal remedies throughout the course as well as build a well equipped herbal apothecary. It’s transformational!
Getting herbs to the people in ways they will delight in taking them so that healing can occur is a motto here at the Cedar Mountain Herb School. This is a thread that weaves throughout the entire primer!
Week One: Herbal Allies
Let’s start with wild plant walkabout to meet local medicinals, specifically focusing on those in the Rose, Mint, and Aster families. There will be a discussion regarding ethics, sustainable harvesting, the holistic approach to herbal wellness, and medicine making.
Week Two: Herbs that Support Gastro-Intestinal Health and the Immune System
Healing starts in the gut. When our digestive system is out of balance, our immune and nervous systems are negatively affected. This week we will be out in the forest discovering herbs that support healthy digestive and immune systems, focusing primarily on the maintaining healthy gut flora and learning about polysaccharides and prebiotics. We’ll cover the basics of matching the right constituent to the best extraction method and create two herbal formulas, including a digestive bitters.
Week Three: Herbal Nervines
We will learn about the unique functions of the nervous system and explore several local plants and their constituents, both wild and cultivated in the garden, that support a healthy nervous system. We will discuss herbal protocols in the context of therapeutic lifestyle choices that mediate the effects of stress, soothe and heal the nervous system, prevent insomnia, and address anxiety and depression. Be prepared to rel-aaah-x!
Week Four: Managing Pain and Inflammation with Herbs
The focus this week is herbs that reduce inflammation and provide pain relief from simple headaches, muscular pain, arthritis, cold and flu aches. Learn more about phenols, tannins, and glycosides, sample herbal remedies, make a tincture or soothing herbal liniment, and infused oil for salve.
Upon registration, students will be asked to create a student account on Thinkific, where each lesson is posted along with a supplies list for each week, and where questions can be asked, assignments received and uploaded, get answers, make friends, ask for carpooling, and get tons more herbal info! Please make sure to create your student account asap so that nothing is missed and there are no surprises. We do not send out individual course related emails to each student; the Thinkific Student Area is where all communication happens.
Meet new herbal friends, both plants and people, and be prepared to have your world changed, and get ready for The Best Fridays Ever!
Tools and Equipment
Bear in mind that students may not need everything every week, but the following are good to have on hand.
Half pint (8 ounce) and pint (16 ounce) wide mouth jars with screw top lids.
Sharp knife, scissors and cutting board
Hand clippers (Felco is a good brand)
Fabric grocery bags or basket
Camp chair or blanket to sit on
Notebook and pencil/pen
Masking tape or stick on labels and sharpie pen
You may need to have a Discover Pass and a Northwest Forest Pass
Hand washing station and sanitizer for each outing will be supplied.
Remedy Making Ingredients
This list will help you to get an idea of things you might need to have on hand for medicine making. See below for a list of sources. Each week students will be notified in advance what to bring for each particular lesson.
1 bottle (750 ml) 151 proof alcohol (unflavored). Vodka or rum. Do not purchase 190 proof.
1 bottle (750 ml brandy (80 proof)
1 quart olive or avocado oil
1 quart apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized)
1 quart raw, local honey (not creamed)
16 ounces food grade vegetable glycerin (optional)
16 ounces witch hazel (unscented-for making topical remedies)
6 ounces beeswax or shea butter (for making salves)
You can find canning jars at most grocery or hardware stores. You can also use clean recycled jars with screw top lids. Costco is a great place to source raw honey (they carry local WA honey!), apple cider vinegar (ACV) and oils in larger amounts such as olive, coconut or avocado. Places like PCC, Marlene’s Market, Whole Foods, and other natural grocers carry smaller amounts of organic oils, apple cider vinegar, and local honey. They often carry dropper bottles and salve jars as well and sometimes beeswax. You only need a small amount to get started. Fred Meyer carries witch hazel. Look to liquor stores like BevMo and Total Wine for alcohol, as most grocery stores don’t carry the higher proof alcohols.
Heather Bruno is the owner of Field and Forest Botanicals, a passionate wildcrafter and medicine maker who focuses on ecologically harvested local plants to create products that nurture, heal and sustain us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. She is a member of the American Herbalist Guild and Associate Faculty at Edmonds Community College where she teaches classes in Early Childhood Education. Heather apprenticed with Suzanne Tabert of the Cedar Mountain Herb School and has been a student of herbalism since 1992. Heather supports students to feel empowered to discover and embrace their own wisdom of plants as they open themselves to all the plants wish to teach.