Essentials of Herbalism - A Weekend Program

Class harvesting herbsImmerse in hands-on herbal training with one of Northern California's foremost herbal teachers - Christa Sinadinos, author of the forthcoming The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. 

Deepen your knowledge of herbal healing and medicine making in the garden and classroom. You will learn how to help friends and family members maintain their health using herbs. Designed for students and professionals with busy work schedules, the program is offered four weekends.

ChamomileYou will learn: 

~ Medicinal and clinical uses of herbs
~ How to prepare herbal medicines 
~ Practical herbal skills to maintain optimal health and treat common conditions 
~ How to identify and harvest plants

Harvesting Dandelion


Herbal Pharmacy - Learn the art and science of preparing herbal medicines. Many formulas and recipes will be shared in class, and you will have the opportunity to experiment with the medicines you create. Spend time in our gorgeous gardens, harvesting medicinal herbs and making medicines.

Herbal Materia Medica - Study numerous medicinal herbs growing throughout the United States, with an emphasis on West Coast herbs. Explore each plant in depth, including its medicinal uses and clinical applications, optimum extraction methods and doses, Latin and common names, and contraindications.

Herbal Therapeutics – Learn strategies for treating common health conditions and imbalances. Understand how to address many acute health concerns presented by friends and family members.

Plant Identification - Immerse in the garden and learn to identify many cultivated herbs.  

2016 Class photo

Class Schedule

Classes meet every other Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a one-hour lunch break. In the unlikely event that a class must be cancelled, make-up dates will be announced.


Classes will be held on these dates: 


Class OutlineProcessing roots

Nutritive Herbs and Introduction to Herbalism (February 3/4) 

  • Introduction to herbalism and each other
  • Herbal materia medica: nutritive herbs
  • Medicine making: water-based preparations (hot and cold infusions, decoctions, poultices, and fomentations) 
  • Therapeutics: nourishing recipes to maintain radiant health

Immune and Circulatory Systems (March 3/4)

  • Herbal materia medica for the immune and circulatory systems: antimicrobial agents, immune stimulants, lymphatics, diaphoretics, and vasodilators
  • Medicine making: prepare vinegar (acetum) extracts including fire cider and an oxymel, and immune compounds 
  • Therapeutics: Treating a cold, sore throat, and fever 

Respiratory System (April 7/8)

  • Herbal materia medica for the respiratory system: expectorants, demulcents, antitussives, and antimicrobials
  • Medicine making: prepare cough syrups, honeys, and respiratory compounds
  • Therapeutics: Treating upper and lower respiratory conditions (allergies, and sinus and lung infections)

The Nervous System (May 5/6)Valerian root

  • Herbal materia medica for the nervous system: nervines, sedatives, analgesics, antispasmodics, and anti-inflammatories
  • Medicine making: harvest and extract nervine herbs from the garden; tincture making; prepare compounds for the nervous system 
  • Therapeutics: How to treat anxiety, stress, insomnia, and pain

Digestive System (June 2/3/4) Note: This is a three day class.

  • Herbal materia medica for the digestive system: bitter tonics, aromatics and carminatives, hepatics, and cholagogues
  • Medicine making: prepare fresh and dry plant tinctures; harvest and prepare digestive herbs; formulate digestive bitter compounds
  • Therapeutics: how to treat common digestive conditions

The Integumentary (Skin) and Urinary Systems (July 15/16/17) Note: This is a three day class. Yellow dock

  • Herbal materia medica for the skin: vulneraries, connective tissue tonics, counterirritants, and topical anti-inflammatories
  • Medicine making: prepare infused oil and salve
  • Therapeutics: herbal skin care (first aid for injuries; treating fungal and bacterial skin infections)

Urinary System (Same weekend as above)

  • Herbal materia medica for the urinary system: urinary tract disinfectants, diuretics, bladder tonics
  • Therapeutics: how to treat urinary tract infections and incontinence 

The Reproductive System  (August 4/5) 

  • Herbal materia medica for the reproductive system: hormone balancing herbs, antispasmodics, and hemostatics
  • Medicine making: prepare compounds for common reproductive conditions 
  • Therapeutics: balancing hormones, menstrual disorders (cramping, heavy bleeding, ammenorrhea

Required Books and Materials

Students are responsible for purchasing the following materials:

  • Pruning sheers, a digging implement, gardening gloves, and gardening pad
  • Materials for making medicines such as a medicinal oil, salve, tea, tincture, and syrup, for assignments outside of the class
  • A functioning printer and internet access
  • Printing copies of materia medica sheets

Application and Tuition

The tuition includes all course instruction, a Materia Medica and Medicine Making Manual, handouts, powerpoints, samples of medicines prepared in class, and numerous single herbs for sampling. 

To apply for this program, please complete the application page.Tuition for the program and materials is $1900 if paying by credit card or Paypal, or $1800 if paying with a check, cash, or money order. A non-refundable deposit of $300 is due upon acceptance into the program. The remaining balance is due on or before February 15, 2018.

You will receive a Certificate of Completion after satisfactorily completing all course assingments, an attendance record of at least 90%, and full payment of tuition.

Work-study Positions

We offer two work-study positions for tuition reduction. Students applying for this position must be available an hour before and after class, have reliable transportation, be highly responsible, and always on time. A greater discount may be optional to those available to assist in the garden and pharmacy on Fridays or Mondays. This positions fill quickly. If you're interested, please submit your resume as a pdf. attachment via email.