Dandelion-illustration-border-202x300The ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism is rooted in the holistic practice of herbal medicine. It exists to provide the highest quality education and training based on traditional wisdom and ecological awareness in a modern, integrative setting for the clinical, community and family herbalist. The school aims to be a progressive community resource for increasing public access to comprehensive herbal knowledge and care.


We envision the ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism as a vibrant herb school offering a full, professional program and diverse curriculum to future practitioners. The school will provide training by qualified teachers, and will be a community resource and space to gather and share for the public in New York City, state, and the Northeast region.

ArborVitae is dedicated to the memory of the herbalist William LeSassier, and honors his wisdom and teachings.

ArborVitae offers a one year, standalone program for students to gain foundational knowledge of herbal medicine. There is also a three year course of study for people who wish to pursue clinical herbal knowledge and practice.  Additionally, the school plans to make available a variety of certificate programs and specializations to serve the particular interests of individual students. The vision for the School includes a student herbal clinic that is at once an educational opportunity and a community resource.  Other aspects include mentoring and apprenticeship connections, collaboration with other existing herb schools, field trips, volunteer opportunities, and conference hosting.

chickweed-illustration-border-205x300The core curriculum covers a range of related topics to inform a broad education base, and is grounded in traditional wisdom, science, and reverence for the natural world. It is consistent with AHG educational guidelines as a baseline, with further specializations possible within the broader approach to plant medicine.  Overarching is the intent to teach botanical medicine in a broad and inclusive sense, honoring and reflecting the diversity of approaches in the herbal community, and which will incorporate: medicinal uses of herbs, botany and plant identification, holistic anatomy and physiology, medicine making, flower essences, Traditional Chinese diagnostics and uses of herbs, tissue states, Vitalism, and more.  The program will also include traditional nutrition and lifestyle as fully integral aspects of holistic wellbeing and a practitioner’s required training. All instruction will integrate sustainable values, including a non-exclusive emphasis on plants that are native, naturalized, or able to be cultivated within the local bioregion.

ArborVitae also hosts regular and ongoing workshops, lectures, herb walks, etc. for the public.  Community classes and workshops aim to bring together people interested in herbal medicine, providing focused and broad-based instruction, to speak to people with a range of skills and knowledge.

The ArborVitae school is rooted in the wisdom of the natural world and the many traditions that have honed the craft of botanical medicine. We appreciate a holistic approach to healing and to general wellbeing that seeks balance in all aspects of the individual, including food, lifestyle, and spirit. We place ourselves within the context of community and our environment, recognizing our connection to the earth and the vital force.


ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism was founded in January 2013 by Claudia Keel and Richard Mandelbaum.