1st Year Program

Applications for the 2015-16 year are now being accepted.

To apply for the Foundational Year Profession Herb Program:  Please download & complete this application:  ArborVitae-Year1-Application (pdf)   ArborVitae-Year1-Application (docx)

ArborVitae is now offering part-time options for the 1st and 2nd year professional herb programs. We are offering weekend and weekday tracts with options to add on hours / classes. For more detailed information view our Full and Part Time Options page.

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Cichorium-intybusThe 1st year curriculum offers a comprehensive introduction to the art and science of herbal medicine, and stands as a strong foundation for further studies or as a basis for effective and knowledgeable home practice. The class blends science with tradition, offering a holistic focus on supporting healthy function.  Fundamentals of traditional herbalism that have evolved in North America underpin the course content, though the approach is eclectic and integrates herbal and holistic principles and practices from throughout the world.

See more information is available on applying, tuition, and class dates.

View or download the pdf of the foundational year booklist: ArborVitae Foundational Year Booklist

View or download the pdf of the foundational year Materia Medica: ArborVitae Foundational Year Materia Medica

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Class Dates: Year 1

Foundational Year classes for the 2015-2016 year will be held weekly on Wednesdays from 9 am to 5 pm, plus one weekend a month. There will also be occasional (and optional) evening classes (usually Monday evenings and pre-weekend Friday evenings).

The program year will offer a total of 378 program class hours, though there will be many opportunities for extra educational hours in additional classes, students mentorship meetings, conference calls and special events.

Classes begin September 16th. Please see the date/time list below.

Year 1 Fall 2015 Semester

Weekdays: Wednesdays 9 - 5
  • September 16, 23, 30
  • October 7, 14, 21, 28
  • November 4, 11, 18
  • December 2, 9, 16
Weekends: Saturdays & Sundays 9-5
  • September 26 & 27
  • October 24 & 25
  • November 21 & 22
  • December 12 & 13

Year 1 Winter & Spring 2016 Semester

Weekdays: Wednesdays 9 - 5
  • January 20, 27
  • February 3, 10, 17, 24
  • March 2, 9, 16, 23*, 30* (spring break yet to be determined)
  • April 6, 13, 20, 27
  • May 4, 11, 18
Weekends: Saturdays & Sundays, 9-5
    • January 30 & 31
    • February 20 & 21
    • March 12 & 13
    • April 30 & May 1 (this weekend date may change)
    • May 14 & 15

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History and Philosophy of Herbal Medicine

The class provides an overview of the history and philosophy of herbal practices throughout the world, with a focus on more recent history in Europe and U.S. Lessons include an introduction to core concepts of a diversity of approaches to herbal medicine.

Body Systems and BioScience

Students study a 20 hour Anatomy and Physiology for Herbalists online. Much of the course material throughout the year is guided by the framework of the different systems of the body, and will be connected to herbal actions and affinities.  Along with physiology, we present basic pathology and a holistic understanding relating to the body’s systems: cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary, endocrine, lymphatic, immune, reproductive, nervous, musculo-skeletal, and cutaneous will be covered in depth.

Botanical Materia Medica

Over 60 medicinal plants and mushrooms are reviewed in depth, including  plants & fungi that grow in North America as well as medicinal herbs from other regions.  Teachers introduce students an abundance of other botanicals throughout the curriculum. Students will build their own materia medica based on their studies, and will learn about herbal monographs and components: Latin name, common name, botanical information, herbal actions, energetics, system affinities, current and historical uses, specific indications, and herbal toxicity and safety.

Traditional Herbalism and Holistic Assessment

The class provides a survey of various holistic approaches to healing. It focuses on the traditions of herbalism that have evolved in the U.S. incorporating Western European/ Greek systems, tissue states, Vitalist and Eclectic concepts, folk traditions, as well as the use of Native American plants and wisdom adopted from Native traditions.  We also provide a comprehensive introduction to concepts and energetics in Arurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Basic concepts from other healing traditions throughout the world will be introduced as well. Energetics, actions, and flavors, as well as specific signs and patterns are covered. Course content includes basic assessment tools like ways to gather information from tissue states, pulse and tongue.

Herbal Apothecary: Gathering, Preparation and Use 

The curriculum reviews various types of herbal preparation, including how, why, and when to use different forms of herbal medicine. Students learn about the ethics of wildcrafting, and methods for harvesting, drying, and preparing roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and mushrooms into various herbal remedies, and receive hands-on in-depth lessons in the preparation of:
♦  Tea infusions decoctions    ♦  Tinctures / liquid extracts    ♦  Powders (cooked  & raw herbs)    ♦  Oxymels, herbal vinegars    ♦  Topical: salves, ointments, creams,poultices, linaments    ♦  Herbal oils /fats (internal & external)    ♦  Medicinal food preparation: herb broths, herbal preserves

We also present introductory information about the preparation and use of other forms of herbal medicine including:Datura metel
♦  Succus    ♦  Syrups, herbal honey    ♦  Suppositories    ♦  Flower essences    ♦  Homeopathy    ♦ Essential oils / aromatherapy    ♦  Herbal baths and soaks    ♦  Herbal douches & enemas    ♦  Herbal nasal irrigation    ♦   smoke and inhalants    ♦  Herbal skin care: hydrosols, lotion, scrubs    ♦  Topical: plasters
Students also learn the basics of formulation and management of a personal apothecary.

Botany and Plant Identification

As an important part of the first year program, students are exposed to a survey of botanical science to inform the connection between healing and the physical plant world. Field botany includes identification skills, plant families, classification, and structure. The Doctrine of Signatures and other traditional concepts are interwoven with class material.

Herbs in the EnvironmentTrametes versicolor 2 (Fburgh)

A number of class days in fall and spring are spent outside on field trips in the wilds of New York City and beyond the city. Botany, plant ID, basics of herb cultivation, wild crafting and wild food foraging will be covered out in the field.

Herbs in the Cycles of Life

Each period of life has special considerations, challenges and needs. The curriculum integrates herb considerations and wellness practices, along with nutrition and flower essences, for supporting healthy infancy and childhood, puberty, fertility, pregnancy and elder years.

Herbs as Food and Food as Medicine

Traditional foods and nutrition are prominent among course material. Students learn of Aruvedic nutritional principles, specific foods for the various organ systems and for common ailments. In addition to traditional nutrition, students are exposed to nutritive constituents such as vitamins and minerals, as well as secondary compounds, and their roles in healthy body functions. Ways to incorporate both tonic and medicinal plants into meals are explored along with wild food gathering and preparation, and principles of traditional & medicinal food preparation.

Herbal Therapeutics: Properties, Actions and Chemistry

Various aspects of the curriculum highlight the importance of plant tastes: bitter, sweet, pungent, sour and savory, which are considered in their properties and applications. Plant actions, phytochemistry, introduction to herbal constituents, and whole plant poly-pharmacy (synergy versus standardization) are taught.

Herbal First AidImpatiens capensis 2(Monhegan)

The first year program includes lessons on dealing with acute injuries using holistic and herbal protocols. Students are introduced to methods for assessing the extent of injuries and applying herbs for basic first aid needs.

Herbal Safety

Students are introduced to the crucial topics of herbal contraindications, how dosage relates to safety, herb-herb interactions, herb-drug interactions, safety during pregnancy and lactation, and how our current knowledge of phytochemical constituents of plants can inform safe use.

Herbs as Flower Essences

Students are presented with an overview of how and when to use flower essences, as well as their energetic benefits for emotional and mental health. These lessons include consideration of emotional trauma and its effects on physiology.

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Additional Outline of Curriculum Topics

Body Systems, Bioscience & Western MedicineActaea racemosa (2)
Anatomy, physiology and body systems
leaf_button_rightHerb affinities, actions, interactions and pharmacology
leaf_button_rightPathology and medical terminology

Energetics and Assessment Methods
leaf_button_rightTraditional European, Chinese and Ayurveda energetics
leaf_button_rightTraditional assessment methods including face, tongue, and pulse reading
leaf_button_right states and Constitution

Materia Medica (60+ plants)
leaf_button_rightHerbal actions
leaf_button_rightSpecific indications and use
leaf_button_rightHistorical and botanical information

Botany & Plant Identification
Botanical sciencedaucus carota
leaf_button_rightDoctrine of Signatures and Energetics
leaf_button_rightField work
leaf_button_rightEthical and quality harvesting      

Medicine Making & Use
Infusions and decoctions preparation methods
leaf_button_rightVarious Tincture preparation methods
leaf_button_rightTopical herb preparations: poultices, salves, creams, powders
leaf_button_rightHerbal vinegar, oil, electuarys, oxymels
leaf_button_rightFlower essences
leaf_button_rightIntroduction to use of other applications

Life cyclespassiflora
leaf_button_rightBirth and infancy
leaf_button_rightChildhood and adolescence
leaf_button_rightAdulthood, fertility and pregnancy
leaf_button_rightMenopause and andropause
leaf_button_rightElder years and death

Traditional nutrition practices
leaf_button_rightNutritional science
leaf_button_rightNutrition for particular times of life and ailments
leaf_button_rightFood as medicine
leaf_button_rightWild and foraged food

Herbal History & Philosophy
Lineage of  ‘Western’ European medical and herbal traditions from prehistory to present
leaf_button_rightLineage of North American herbalism

World Herbal Traditions
European – Greek, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda
leaf_button_rightIntroduction to other traditions throughout the world

Law & PracticePlatycodon grandiflorum
leaf_button_rightLegal issues with herbal practice
leaf_button_rightDSHEA: Language
leaf_button_rightGMPs and the herbalist

 Working with People

leaf_button_rightDeveloping holistic and herbal protocols
leaf_button_rightInitial approaches and follow up