Herbalist Intensive Training Program

Course Comparisons, Policies & Herbal Study FAQ

Interested in going deeper into your herbal studies? Thinking of turning your herbal passion into a career? Consider Maria's three-part herbalist certificate program...

Click here to register for online and classroom classes!

Click here for an overview of the 2019 Series Classroom Schedule with Dates!

Program Overview

Maria's Herbalist Certificate Program is comprised of three parts, which you can do all in one year (intense!) or spread it out over two years.

  1. Home Herbalist Series (HHS): Beginner/Introductory. Available live or online. 9 classes. Live classes run Wednesday Nights, mid-June through August, 6-9 pm in 2019 with optional herb walks from 5:30-6 pm on select nights.
  2. Beyond the Home Herbalist Series (BHHS): Beginner/Intermediate. Available live or online. 9 classes. Live classes run Wednesdays September - November, 6-9 pm with optional herb walks from 5:30-6 pm on select nights.
  3. Advanced Series (Advanced): Intermediate/Advanced. Available live only. 15 classes, running approximately every other Wednesday May - November, 9:30 am - 4 pm. Please do email me at office@wintergreenbotanicals.com if you're interested.

Click here for an overview of the 2019 Series Classroom Schedule with Dates!

Meet My Dog, Reishi

For those of you joining me in my Allenstown classroom, please be aware that my friendly, mid-sized rescue mutt Reishi will be joining us - mainly sleeping or chewing on a toy at our feet. She's very sweet, almost never barks, and is low-shed, but she is not hypoallergenic. If you have any concerns about sharing the classroom with a dog (allergies, phobias, etc.), please don't hesitate to message me at office@wintergreenbotanicals.com.

The Home Herbalist Series (HHS)

Live Classes: Wednesdays June - August, 6-9 pm (also available online any time)
A 9-class, 30-hour study program that can be done online or in the classroom (weeknight classes). The HHS is your gateway to medicinal herbalism. Each class covers a body system and as well as a core remedy making technique, and each class builds on the next. While some students take series out of order, students new to herbal medicine will do best to start with this program. To get the Herbalist Certificate, you must also complete all homework for this series, which takes approximately 20-30 additional hours of personal time. Click here for online and here for classroom registration and details. The live 2018 series is currently full, but you can get on the waitlist or take the online version. Topics include...

Class 1: Introduction to Herbalism & Herbal Nutrition | The Art of Tea
Class 2: Stress & Energy: Adaptogens for Health | Tinctures
Class 3: Relaxation & Mood: Herbs for the Nervous System | Flower Essences
Class 4: Digestive Wellness: Herbs for the Upper & Lower GI | Herbal Oils
Class 5: Detoxification: Herbs for the Liver, Colon & Urinary Tract | Capsules
Class 6: Herbs to Support Blood Sugar Balance | Skin Salves
Class 7: Heart Health: Hypertension & Cholesterol | Herb Honey & Vinegar
Class 8: Herbs for Immunity, Allergies, Cold & Flu | Elderberry Syrup
Class 9: Herbs for Women & Men | Lip Balm, Cream, Bodycare
Note: Online and live class content is the same; however, online student will need to buy materials to make their own remedies at home, and live classes include periodic optional herb walks before class. Live students will have access to online materials and may begin working on course material before classes begin. Registration is nonrefundable.
Cost for Home Herbalist Series
Online: $295 - register here
Classroom 2019: $375 - register here

The Beyond the Home Herbalist Series (BHHS)

Live Classes: Wednesdays September-October/November, 6-9 pm (also available online any time)

This 9-class, 30-hour study program builds on the Home Herbalist Series with new body systems, topics, and remedies (weeknight classes for those who take it live). Likewise, to get the Herbalist Certificate, you must complete all homework.Click here for online and here for classroom registration and details. Topics include...

Class 1: Backyard Medicine | Tea Blending
Class 2: Herbal Safety | Herb-Infused Broths
Class 3: Longevity & Vitality | Cordials, Elixirs & Oxymels
Class 4: Brain-Boosting Herbs | Brainiac Bonbons
Class 5: Strong Bones | Nourishing Infusions & Seaweed Snacks
Class 6: Managing Chronic Pain | Gin Raisins or Topical Pain Oil
Class 7: Strong Lungs | Herbal Cough Syrup
Class 8: Healthy Skin with Herbs | Flower Water & Herbal Exfoliant
Class 9: Herbal Allies for Weight Loss | Herbal Chocolate Truffles!
Note: Online and live class content is the same; however, online student will need to buy materials to make their own remedies at home, and live classes include periodic optional herb walks before class. Live students will have access to online materials and may begin working on course material before classes begin. Registration is nonrefundable.
Cost for BEYOND the Home Herbalist Series
Online: $250 - register here
Classroom 2019: $375 - register here

Advanced Series

Live Classes: Approximately every other Wednesday, 9:30 am - 4 pm, May - November (not available online)

This 15-class, 90-hour intensive series is only available as a live class in Maria's Allenstown, New Hampshire classroom on weekDAYS, every other week from May through mid-November. The homework for this class (also required to be completed to get the Herbalist Certificate) is less formulaic and more experiential - botany exercises, researching herbs, making various remedies at home, case studies, project presentations, etc. Expect the homework to take 50-90 hours outside of classroom time. Although students will find it easier to complete the Home Herbalist and Beyond series before jumping into the Advanced series, the topics are arranged in such a way that determined students could do all three series simultaneously (even though the advanced series actually begins before the weeknight classes) to complete the Herbalist Certificate Program in 7 months. Click here to learn more and register. Topics include...

Topics Covered, Taught by Maria:
Gardening & Wildcrafting Herbs
Botany, Identification and Plant Families, Field Work
Organoleptics, Phytochemistry, Quality Assessment, and Intro to GMPs
Constitutional Energetics and Taste of Herbs
Advanced Apothecary Techniques including Herbal Formulation, Percolation, and Flower Essences
Clinical Skills, Case Studies, Setting Up an Herbal Practice
Advanced Clinical Topics: Autoimmune, Advanced Gut Repair, Thyroid, Endocrine
Special Guest Teachers and Topics:
Tentative and Based on 2018 Teachers 
Saving and Planting Herbs Seeds with Val White
Aromatherapy & Plant Spirit Medicine with Jessica LaBrie
Tongue, Nail, and Facial Assessment with Sara Woods Kender
Medicinal Mushrooms with Nathan Searles
Lyme Disease with Debbie Mercier
Cancer Support & Prevention with Dr. Jody Noe (Dr. Noe's class will take place on Monday or Tuesday instead of the typical Wednesday)
Note: This course is only available live (not online).
Students will have access to online materials and may begin working on course material before classes begin. Registration is nonrefundable.
2019 registration now open!
Click here for registration
*Taking all three series simultaneously in one year is do-able (the TENTATIVE course layout among the three is harmonious even though the advanced series starts first) but is only recommended for driven, ambitious students and/or those who already have some background in herbalism.
course layout 

Bonus AHG Membership!

I really want you to delve into your herbal studies!  In 2019, all classroom series as well as online Home Herbalist Series students will automatically receive a year-long American Herbalists Guild student membership as part of their registration. One per person, nontransferable. Membership will begin for fully registered classroom students shortly after classes begin. Online student memberships will begin at various intervals throughout the year (not immediately).

Course, Cancellation
& Missed Class Policies

All course registrations are nonrefundable. With your registration, you will have access to online materials including PDFs of class notes, homework assignments, audio of previously recorded classes, and (for the Home Herbalist and Beyond series only) links to watch remedy making videos. If you miss a class, you will not get a refund, and work-study students are expected to complete their work hours even if they miss a class. You can access course materials online. If appropriate, Maria will save remedies from in-class activities or you will have $5 credit to use in the classroom store on books, gadgets, etc. Students are expected to attend at least 80% of classes in order to receive a certificate of completion. (For students who  miss slightly more classes than that, completion of homework for all missed classes may suffice. Discuss with Maria if this applies to you.) If you feel that this policy is unfair for your personal situation - or if you feel genuinely unhappy with the course material - please contact Maria to discuss. Make-up classes are usually not available, but you can refer to online materials for missed content.


What Does this Certificate Mean?

Budding herbalists often want to know: How do I become a professional herbalist? How do I get certified? What can I actually do with my certificate. The truth is, the path to being an herbalist is not clear or regulated, and there is no standard or legal recognition for a "certificate." Let me explain...

Wait... A Certificate Means Nothing?

There’s no set way to become an herbalist in the United States since there are no regulations, no licensure, no nationally recognized certification (though many programs, including mine, grant a certificate of completion and possibly a title that has no legal standing). Legally, any certificate you get - including mine - means nothing. However, it does indicate that you completed the program. (Read on for what kinds of skills I expect you'll attain from my certificate program and how this compares with other herbalist training programs.) Although it can be frustrating to students to now have clear regulatory guides or markers for "completion" of your herbal training, regulation is highly controversial in the herbal medicine world. Herbalism as a practice is rich and diverse, and many fear that regulating it will make the practice less nuanced, useful, and accessible. Note that there are a few types of regulated/licensed practitioners that incorporate herbalism into a broader clinical practice: licensed acupuncturists (some programs are more herbal than others - the focus will be on Chinese herbs), naturopathic doctors ("natural doctors," many but not all states license - I recommend an accredited school, not correspondence), and integrative medicine doctors. Note that even though these fields are regulated and licensed, the herbal training may actually be less rigorous and comprehensive than what you'd get going to unregulated herbalist route.

How Do I Know When I Can Practice to Be an Herbalist?

You decide when you’re ready and stick within your legal and personal capabilities. That makes it challenge to say “what can you do when you do x program” because education is usually an ongoing process and there are no formal guidelines. I personally used and recommend the American Herbalists Guild guidelines your herbal education. This includes 1600 hours of education in a variety of areas as well as 400 clinical hours, which can be completed via formal course work and/or self study.

How Does the Wintergreen Botanicals Herbalist Certificate Program Compare? What Can I Do With My Certificate?

My programs are designed to be dense with information and affordable, yet not an enormous time commitment. Among the three courses that comprise the program, we will touch on all the categories the AHG recommends, but not for the full amount of hours recommended. My program includes 150 in-class hours with an additional 90-150 hours of out-of-class homework, so it definitely falls short of 400 education + 400 clinical hours recommended by the AHG. That said, my program is comparable to and often surpasses the content in most of the "one weekend a month" herbal apprentice-style programs.

You will complete the series with a solid skill set for practicing as an herbalist, be it seeing clients (the primary focus of the advanced series) or otherwise acting as an herbal entrepreneur. You will have a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, botany and plant identification, medicine making, ethics, clinical skills, materia medica (the plants!), herbal energetics, and more. My teaching style tends to be heavy on lecture and critical thinking, as well as experience through hands-on remedy making and (in live classes) experiencing the herbs via demo jars of dried herbs, tinctures, and sometimes the live plants. You will feel like you're back in school at a college level course (albeit a very fun topic)! I come from a western herbal perspective with a focus on herbs that are common in commerce and/or our backyards. My program tends to be very down-to-earth and focused on a mix of traditional and folk herbalism modern science and evidence-based herbalism, and whole foods tradition within a western herbal context. Although we will touch lightly on plant spirit medicine when we learn about flower essences and via guest speakers, it's really not the focus of the program. Likewise, while you will learn to use some Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic herbs, we will not be delving into these topics as the course is focused on western herbalism. (If you want to learn more about plant spirit medicine, TCM, or Ayurveda, you're better off studying somewhere else or adding that herbal education to that which you'll get from me.) While we will cover business and clinical skills, we can't cover them adequately in 150 hours; you're encouraged to further your skills after the program via self study, other herbal programs, mentorship, etc. In future years, I may add a forth module to this program that incorporates mentorship, more clinical, and business/marketing skills.

My program is nowhere near as comprehensive as multi-year herbal study programs that incorporate thousands of in-class study hours, teaching clinics, etc. These kinds of programs are relatively new, and we're blessed to have more of them popping up across the country. In contrast, they are a huge financial and time commitment compared to my program, but they offer an excellent education opportunity for those interested and able to pursue them. My program is also not accredited - which really isn't necessary to practice as an herbalist - though there are a few like Bastyr and MUIH if you want to go that route.

If you're thinking of signing up for my program and have never attended a class with me before, you can find videos of me teaching on YouTube, take the first online class in the Home Herbalist Series for $20, or catch me at a community class before signing up for a full program.

Other Herbal Education Programs

Mine is certainly not the only education program out there! One of the best in my opinion is the multi-year program offered by the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. Other live, rigorous programs include the Colorado School of Herbal Studies and Arborvitae (NYC), though certainly there are others. Here in NH, we have programs that are not quite as rigorous but also good. Misty Meadows in Lee is very popular and also has a more significant hands-on/experiential approach as well as a strong focus on plant spirit medicine. Greenwood Herbals in Limerick, Maine is also very good. Online programs include Herbal Academy and Maryland University of Integrative Health. For a distance program that includes Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the East West School has an excellent reputation. For more herb schools, visit the American Herbalists Guild  (this is not a complete list).

Happy Herbal Adventures!

Course Hours

Whether you simply want to know what each course entails or you're considering applying to be an American Herbalists Guild Professional Member, it can be useful to know how my courses stack up. Well, look no further! Due to the dense, economical, time-saving arrangement of my courses, you will NOT be fully eligible for AHG Professional Member status immediately upon finishing the program. But my courses will expose you to every topic and give you a solid start that you can continue with formal or self study.

The American Herbalists Guild recommends two years of comprehensive academic training (as outlined below, approximately 1600 hours) plus two years of clinical experience obtained through independent practice, formal mentorship, supervised clinical training as part of an academic program, or a combination thereof, totaling approximately 400 hours (approximately 80 clients in a two-year period) are advised (up to 100 of these hours can include time when you're not the primary practitioner, including shadowing, classroom/observation, and clinical roundtable discussions). For more details, see the AHG site, including the Criteria and Instructions for AHG Professional Application.

Hours Overview Of the Herbalist Training Program

Per Series

Home Herbalist Series       Classroom 30 hours      Homework 30 hours

Basic Human Sciences              6                                              15
Botany & Plant ID                        3 (includes herb walks)        0 unless you did pressings
Materia Medica                           11                                            20
Pharmacy, etc.                             10                                            5

Beyond the HH Series        Classroom 30 hours       Homework 30 hours

Basic Human Sciences              6                                               15
Botany & Plant ID                        2 (includes herb walks)        0 unless you did pressings
Materia Medica                           12                                             20
Pharmacy, etc.                            10                                             5

Advanced Series                Classroom 90 hours       Homework Up to 90 hours

Basic Human Sciences            10                                              10
Botany & Plant ID                      20                                              10
Materia Medica                         25                                              30
Pharmacy, etc.                          10                                              10
Clinical Skills                             10                                              15
Career Prep                                5                                                optional 10+
History/Research                      10                                              5

Total All 3 Series                Classroom 150 hours       Homework Up to 150 hours = 300 Hours


All Total 3 Series + Homework

Basic Human Sciences  52
AHG Suggests 200

Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Biochemistry, Medical Terminology , Nutrition, Botany & Plant ID  40
AHG Suggests 60 hrs
Basic field identification and recognition of plant anatomy; differentiation of commonly used and toxic species.

Materia Medica 118
AHG Suggests 400
To include dosages and dosage forms, historical uses, botanical names, plant constituents, the parts used, therapeutic applications and actions, indications, contraindications and actions, herb-drug interactions, toxicology and side effects, review of the literature, harvestable status, plant families and use with particular groups such as the elderly, pregnant etc.

Pharmacy, etc.50

AHG Suggests 80
To include basic principles of medicine making, plant chemistry and pharmacology herbal formulation, modes of administration and delivery, maintaining a dispensary, raw material identification, laws regarding labeling and dispensing, and dispensing strategies.

Clinical Skills 25
AHG Suggests 400 hrs
To include training in counseling skills, professionalism, physical assessments, constitutional analysis, laboratory findings, general assessments, dosing strategies, interviewing and case taking skills, record keeping, wellness counseling, nutritional and dietary counseling, and informed consent and full disclosure.

Career Prep 5+
AHG Suggests 20
To include ethics, maintaining records, professional networking and scope of practice, legal issues (both national and local), confidentiality, small business management, and promoting and marketing an herbal business.

History/Research  15
(you could argue that some of the MM hours were research)
AHG Suggests 40
History to include the philosophy of western herbalism, the history of American herbalism, and world models of herbalism. Research to include interpreting historical and scientific data, understanding what constitutes "evidence-based medicine."

Clinical Hours (minimal)
minimal except for in-class consult and your homework case studies (hours of which are incorporated into the clinical skills hours
AHG Suggests 400