Family Herbalist Program ~ Basic Herbal Training

The Family Herbalist Program is a nine month foundation program with an emphasis on learning about plants for specific body systems, functional physiology of the primary body systems, and home remedies based old time Southern Folk Medicine.
You’ll study and practice basic herbal medicine-making skills. You’ll make decoctions, tinctures, infused oils, lotions, and salves. And we’ll spend time outdoors identifying plants in their native environments and discuss ethical ways to harvest and prepare the herbs.
The goal of the program is to learn about ways to build and maintain good health and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases using traditional herbs, foods and simple home remedies. You’ll also study the health benefits of foods and explore various assessment techniques, such as tongue, pulse, nail and skin assessment.

Dates and Times

March 7 – November 8, 2020

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 – 4:00 pm on Sunday.

Tuition & Registration

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. An optional monthly payment plan of $250.00 is available for your convenience, but must be worked out in advance. Please note, that once you commit to the program and are paying by the month, you are responsible for the month’s payment even if you miss a class. If you pay full tuition on the first day of class, there won’t be a refund for any missed classes. Missed classes will be audio recorded, you will still receive a handout, and class 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.

Please download the pdf application for enrollment below. (The pdf has fillable form fields so you may type on it, save the file, and email it back to Phyllis. Or print it and snail mail to address on the form.)

Click here for the Application

General Course Information

Weekend classes include lecture, demonstration, discussion, plant walks, and assignments. Homework is submitted online for review and brought to the next class for discussion. Keep in mind that you’ll get out of the class, what you put into the class. Doing the homework helps increase understanding of the material. Class participation and attendance also help increase understanding of the material. The completion of the monthly homework and the fulfillment of a class project will be required to receive a certificate of completion. You may choose to audit the class instead. The price is the same but no homework is required and no certificate of completion will be awarded.

During the class, you’ll build an herbal materia medica and herbal medicine chest primarily based on the medicinal herbs of the Southeast as well as other Western herbs. We are fortunate that many of the same plants grow from the Gulf Coast to Maine, to the Midwest, in the canyons of the West and along the West coast of the United States.

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

The following books are highly recommended (but not required) for the classs.

  • 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
  • The Medicine Maker’s Handbook by James Green.
  • Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech.

All other class resource materials will be furnished.

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

Family Herbalist Program (Basic) Syllabus for 2020:

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

March 7 and 8 –
Understanding the Digestive System: how digestion works – components of the digestive system, the role of enzymes, food sensitivities, dietary approaches, parasites, herbs and nutrients, and lifestyle support. Common herbal properties and actions. Tea tasting and/or plant walk. Hands-on: how to make a tincture using the Folk Method.

April 4 and 5 –
Understanding the Immune System: how immunity works – components of the immune system, types of defense systems, inflammation, immunization, autoimmunity, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Colds and flu, allergies. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: the Southern decoction.

May 2 and 3 –
Understanding the Nervous System: how the nervous system works – structure and components of nervous system, reflexes, divisions of nervous system, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Herbs for Aches and Pains. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: making flower essences.

June 6 and 7 –
Understanding the Cardiovascular System: how the cardiovascular system works – structure and anatomy, blood vessels, cardiac cycle, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Importance of exercise. Ethical wildcrafting. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: infused oils.

July 4 and 5 –
Understanding the Respiratory System: how the lungs work – structure and function, inhalation, exhalation, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Kitchen medicines. Hands-on: making cough syrups. Plant walk or tea tasting.

August 1 and 2 –
Understanding the Urinary System: how the kidneys and bladder work – components and function, role in blood pressure, dietary approaches, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Tea tasting or plant walk. Tongue assessment. Hands-on: making an infused oil.

September 5 and 6 –
Understanding the Skin: function, layers, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Understanding the Musculoskeletal System: structure and function of bones and joints, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Physical assessment by posture and movement. Getting a good night’s sleep. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: salves and liniments.

October 3 and 4 –
Understanding the Reproductive System: components and function, tissues, herbs and nutrients, lifestyle support. Tea tasting or plant walk. Hands-on: makings lotions.

November 7 and 8 –
Book Reports. Wrap-up. Great food! Fun time! Certificates.