Welcome to the website of Phyllis D. Light and the Appalachian Center for Natural Health. A fourth generation Herbalist and Healer, Phyllis has studied and worked with herbs, foods and other healing techniques for over 30 years. Her studies in Traditional Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine began in the deep woods of North Alabama with lessons from her grandmother and father, whose herbal and healing knowledge had its roots in their Creek/Cherokee heritage. Phyllis’ studies continued as an apprentice with the late Tommie Bass, a nationally renowned folk herbalist from Sand Rock, Alabama, as well as with other herbal Elders throughout the Appalachians and the Deep South.

The Appalachian Center for Natural Health offers three certificate programs of instruction:

The Family Herbalist Program (FHP) is a nine month foundation program with an emphasis in Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine and Western herbs for specific body systems. The FHP looks at ways to build and maintain good health and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases using traditional herbs, foods and simple home remedies. This is a great hands-on class and we’ll also learn how to make teas, salves, tinctures and other herbal home products. This is the first year of the Practitioner Program or can be taken as a stand alone class.

The Community Herbalist Program (CHP) is a ten month program with an emphasis in Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine and Western herbs and represents the second year of the Practitioner Program. The emphasis in the CHP is the endocrine system and its importance in maintaining good health, reducing risk factors for chronic illness and increasing longevity. We’ll discuss how the endocrine system interacts with the organ systems and the role that various hormones play in our health.  In addition, we also take a more in-depth approach to Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine and learn several assessment techniques. This is the second in the series but may be taken as a stand-alone class.

The final year, the Herbal Practitioner Program (HPP), is an eleven month, advanced level of study which emphasizes clinical skills, intake, assessment and the business skills needed by practitioners. We’ll also learn about food as medicine and the nutritional value inherent in certain foods, herb/drug interactions, and natural approaches for mental health issues. An important component of this program is the discussion of case studies as a learning tool. This is the third in the series. Pre-requisites to this program include previous studies from an approved herbal program or the completion of ACNH Family Herbalist and Community Herbalist Programs.

For those wishing to further their herbal and natural health education with a view to becoming practitioners or working within the industry, the completion of homework assignments and full class attendance is required. For those wishing to take the courses for personal interest, the courses may be audited and while the fulfillment of homework is not required, it is strongly encouraged. Course fees are the same whether auditing or working toward certificate completion.

One of Phyllis’ goals is to help keep the traditional herbal knowledge of our native herbalism alive and available as a health tool and a resource for generations to come. Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine is still active and being practiced in many parts of the South. It evolved in North America and makes use of our native plants, especially those of the Appalachian region, the deep South and the Midwest. Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine is a combination of Native American medicine, European Galenic (Greek) medicine, African Folk Medicine, and Irish and Scottish folk medicine brought in by waves of immigrants during the 1500s-1800s. Thrown together by the vagaries of global history, all of these groups contributed to a traditional healthcare system that has evolved from before the dawn of the industrial revolution.

In addition to the herbal and natural health classes at the Appalachian Center for Natural Health, Phyllis is available for private consultations, to present at symposiums and conferences and as a guest teacher at other herb schools. She also offers corporate wellness classes, complementary and alternative medicine classes and continuing education classes for allied health care professionals.