Family Herbalist Program ~ Basic Herbal Training

The Family Herbalist Program is a nine month foundation program with an emphasis using plants for specific body systems, functional physiology of the primary body systems and old time Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine. The program looks at ways to build and maintain good health and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases using traditional herbs, foods and simple home remedies

Dates and Times

March 4 – November 5, 2017

The Family Herbalist Program (Basic) is a certificate program, held one weekend a month for nine months, beginning in March and ending in November.  Class times are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday and 9:00 am – 4:30 pm on Sunday.


Tuition is $2,250.00 for nine months, or $250 per month. A $50.00 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration for new students.
Please make checks out to: Phyllis D. Light. If you would like to use Paypal please contact Phyllis.

Full-tuition, $2,250.00, is due the first day of class unless other arrangements have been made. A limited number of optional monthly payment plans of $250.00 are available for your convenience, but must be worked out in advance. Please note, that once you commit to the program whether or not you pay in advance or pay by the month, you are responsible for the month’s payment even if you miss a class. Missed classes can be recorded and notes can be borrowed from other students.

There is one partial work exchange program offered each year for a local student. This goes fast so apply early if you are interested.

Please contact ACNH if you are coming in from out-of-town and need overnight accommodations.

General Course Information

Weekend classes include lecture, demonstration, discussion, plant walks and assignments. Homework is submitted online for grading and brought to the next class for discussion. All homework must be completed before you can receive your certificate of completion for the course.

The student will build an herbal materia medica and herbal medicine chest primarily based on the medicinal herbs of the Southeast as well as other Western herbs. Please keep in mind that many of these plants grow from the Gulf Coast to Maine, in the Midwest, in the canyons of the West and along the West coast of the United States.

You’ll also study the health benefits of foods and explore various assessment techniques, such as tongue, pulse, nail and skin assessment.

Check the class syllabus for a full list of topics and dates.

The following textbooks are required for the class.

A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America by James A. Duke, Steven Foster and Tory Petersen. This can be found at Barnes and Noble, Books A Million and online at

Wildflowers of Tennessee by Jack B. Carman. This will be group-ordered directly from the author after class begins.

All other class resource materials will be furnished either by handouts or from the school library.

I highly encourage you to start your own herbal/health library.

Family Herbalist Program (Basic) Syllabus for 2017:

Homework, assignments and projects will be emailed upon registration.
Most classes meet on the 1st weekend of each month unless noted.

March 4 and 5 –
Understanding the Digestive System: how the digestive system works, components of digestive system, enzymes, food sensitivities, dietary approaches, parasites, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Understanding tissue types. Common herbal properties and actions. Tea tasting and/or plant walk. Hands-on: making Southern herbal decoctions and infusions.

April 1 and 2 –
Understanding the Immune System: how immunity works, components, actions, types of defense systems, inflammation, immunization, autoimmunity, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Colds and flu, allergies. Tea tasting or plant walk. Present herb reports. Hands-on: making tinctures (alcohol, vinegar, glycerin).

May 6 and 7 –
Understanding the Nervous System, Brain and Emotions: structure and components of nervous system, reflexes, function, divisions of nervous system, potential, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support.  Getting a good night’s sleep. Mind/body connection. Present herb reports. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: making flower essences.

June 3 and 4 –
Understanding the Cardiovascular System: structure, anatomy, blood vessels, cardiac cycle, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Present herb reports. Importance of exercise. Ethical wildcrafting. Kitchen medicines. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: infused oils.

July 1 and 2 –
Understanding the Respiratory System: structure and function, inhalation, exhalation, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support.  Natural approaches to children’s health. Hands-on: making cough syrups. Plant walk or tea tasting. Present herb reports.

August 5 and 6 –
Understanding the Urinary System: components, function, role in blood pressure, dietary approaches, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Tea tasting or plant walk. Nail and hair  assessment. Tongue assessment. Hands-on: herbal teas for kidneys. Present herb reports.

September 2 and 3 –
Understanding the Skin: function, layers, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Understanding the Musculoskeletal Systems: bones, joints, function, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Physical assessment by posture and movement. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: making salves and liniments. Present herb reports.

October 7 and 8 –
Understanding the Reproductive System: components, function, tissues,  herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Tea tasting or plant walk.  Hands-on: makings lotions. Present herb reports.

November 4 and 5 –
Book Reports. Herb reports. Wrap-up. Great food! Fun time! Certificates.