Our 16-week Herbal Apprenticeship Program in the Seattle area is for folks who have a strong desire to gain and strengthen herbal knowledge and skills specific to plants in the Pacific Northwest and build an apothecary with plant medicine from both the wild and garden. Students experience intensive wildcrafting and herbal medicine making with in-the-field plant identification, hands-on harvesting and processing. Our approach centers on supportive practices for natural health and healing of body, mind and spirit, and is grounded in both herbal science and tradition. This program is appropriate for both beginner and continuing students. Classes meet on Fridays. The course begins in March and ends in August.
Give yourself the most exquisite gift imaginable: time in nature and immersion in self-reliant , place-based herbalism, medicine making, and wildcrafting! The road to becoming a competent herbalist is long but the payoff is huge in terms of holistic health and wellness for you, your family and potentially, your business. Take the time to dive in deeply to reap the many life changing benefits of working with plants!
The program includes 128+ hours of time with the instructor. In addition to the field work and curriculum, apprentices will enrich and expand their knowledge through various assignments and projects.
Vital Course Educational Objectives
Our apprenticeship program is a unique skills-based harvesting adventure where students will develop the ability to foster strong relationships with plants using organoleptic (sensory) and botanical knowledge to identify and work with plants, practice earth stewardship, and create effective herbal remedies for home or business.
Knowledge of plants and their medicines is based on a cultivating a deep relationship to the land, place and home. That means meeting and learning from the plants where they live.
By completion of the program, students will have the confidence to:
- Identify medicinal native and non-native plants in Western Washington and recognize them in distinct stages of growth throughout the sessions.
- Use Latin names of the plants and talk about common botanical features.
- Create their own materia medica and document the plants they are studying.
- Participate in ethical and sustainable plant harvesting and medicine making.
- Gain an understanding of phytochemistry and constituent groups, energetics and actions to explain how and why to pair them with the correct menstrua for effective medicine making. No precious chemistry knowledge required.
- Develop the ability to speak knowledgeably about the philosophy and practice of herbalism.
- Know when to harvest plants at different seasons and stages of growth for optimum plant stewardship and efficacy in medicine making.
- Practice making a wide variety of herbal remedies and formulations and discern appropriate applications for the remedies and contraindications.
- Understand the basics of anatomy and physiology and how plants and our bodies work together to achieve optimal health.
- Gain an understanding of “getting the medicine to the people in ways they’ll enjoy taking, so that healing can occur.”
“Wow. It is hard to even begin to put into words how much I enjoyed and received from the Roots to Tips program with Heather. I have studied plant medicine in many other formats, but this program is truly special. Heather is a gifted teacher who adeptly balances sharing her own wealth of plant knowledge with the time and space for students to learn directly from the plants. I experienced serious “highs” of plant connection as well as some pretty epic fails leaving fresh plant oils to brew too long – all of it arming me with direct knowledge of how to best co-create with plants. Not to mention – this program is FUN! There was always so much joy and laughter throughout our time together – even digging roots! I’ve already signed up for more classes and feel deeply grateful to Heather and Suzanne for their work for sharing their plant knowledge in this way.”
Each sessions’ weeks bring unique lessons, activities, experiences, supplemental materials, readings, insights and reflections from the instructor that build on and enhance previous learning as we go deeper and deeper into the practice of herbalism.
Students will have the opportunity to work shoots, buds, leaves, roots, flowers, fruits/berries, barks, seeds and resins.
Plants that may be covered include, but are not limited to: Willow, Nettle, Cleavers, Dandelion, Violet, Yarrow, Arnica, Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Hawthorn, Plantain, Mugwort, Lichens, St John’s Wort, Fireweed, Linden, Rose, Goldenrod, Valerian, Mullein, Grasses, Wild Carrot, Oregon Grape Root, Coltsfoot, Evergreen Trees, Wild Cherry, Desert Sage, Cedar, and more. We may also work with garden herbs such as Lavender, Fennel, Comfrey, Calendula, Mints, Milky Oats, Rosemary, etc.
We go where the plants grow! Everywhere from deep in the woods, to the mountain tops and over the passes, in fields and urban settings, parks, beaches and rivers…. Plant allies are everywhere! They have so much to offer and are so willing to teach, heal and nourish.
Our classes are help outside-rain or shine. Each Friday we explore different ecologies and plant communities. Where we forage each week depends on what is abundant and at an optimal stage for making medicine. Some typical places we may travel to are areas in and around Seattle/Tacoma and Auburn/Black Diamond and around Puget Sound, to Camano or Whidbey Island, up into the Cascade foothills and mountains, and possibly the Cle Elum/Ellensburg area.
Students will complete projects outside of class time that will take approximately 8 hours per 4-week session , which may include study, research, creating monographs to add to their herbarium, writing reflections, and creating remedies.
Students must make the commitment to attend and be fully present each week. Students who complete all assignments and miss no more than 2 days throughout the program will receive a certificate of achievement at the end of the course. Fulfillment of the requirements for the apprenticeship program may be applied to continuing education credits.
The apprenticeship includes:
- Learning from an experienced and knowledgeable herbalist and wildcrafter with expertise in teaching adult learners.
- Weekly lessons, areas of focus and in-the-field wildcrafting intensives
- Connecting with and learning from plants and our local ecologies through plant sits and meditations
- Crafting herbal medicines using a variety of menstrua, medicine making techniques and formulas, including tinctures, infused honeys, oxymels, elixirs, salts, infusions, decoctions, succi, poultices, infused oils, creams, salves, toners, and more.
- Copper alembic hydrosol distillation, essential oils, and flower remedies.
- Learning about herbal actions and classification of herbs
- Exploration of herbal support for body systems, organs and tissues
- Making and using botanical skin care
- Herbal First Aid
- Holistic healing practices and protocols, including food as medicine.
- Immersion in an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive learning community of fellow plant lovers!
- As the months progress, plants will easily become a vibrant and vital part of your daily life in ways that are beautiful, healthful, and nourishing!
Just as we work to create protected places for plants, we create protected spaces for people. This means that our time together is a sanctuary away from daily life stressors, politics, controversies and tensions. We emphasize being together in harmony and shared purpose and our time is focused on the plants and what they have to teach us.
Our school is a safe place where everyone is welcome and respectful, kind interactions are expected always We are told by so many apprentices that their lives changed for the better during their time in the programs, and they’ve finally found the community they’ve been searching for. Sometimes very surprising decisions are made, paths take turns, new directions are found, lifelong friendships are forged. Apprenticeships at CMHS are truly enriching and positively life changing!
(read before enrolling)
Housing is not provided. Students must make their own housing and travel arrangements. Students will need to acquire the tools, equipment, jars and menstrua needed for harvesting and making medicine.