Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Herbal Apprenticeship

Last year, I took an Herbal Apprenticeship with The Boston School of Herbal Studies in Arlington, and I really enjoyed it! My teachers were Madelon Hope and Tommy Priester.

The Herbal Apprenticeship was one weekend a month, from April - October. Saturday classes were from 10 - 5 pm, and Sunday classes went from 10 - 4:30 pm. Every month, we covered a different system of the human body, and the herbs used to address those systems. The systems we covered included the digestive, respiratory, nervous, and immune system, and more. Lunch on the weekends were potluck feasts.

We were exposed to herbs through numerous ways throughout the apprenticeship. Things that we did included going on plant walks to learn how to identify medicinal plants,

Wild Solomon's Seal

doing a medicinal steam,

Medicinal Steam
Photo courtesy of Shawn Westendorf

going on a shamanic plant journey with Tommy,

and learning how to make flower essences.

Gathering queen anne's lace for a flower essence

Other topics that we covered in the program included learning how to make medicinal tinctures, infused oils, teas, salves, floral waters, and more.

When I first applied for the Herbal Apprenticeship, my only main exposure to herbalism were the pre-made herbal tea bags sold in stores. One year later, I now know a lot more about herbalism than when I began. What helped a lot about this apprenticeship is that it is very hands-on. It is one thing to read about an herb, and quite another to identify the plant in the wild and to use it! Both instructors were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the material. I also enjoyed meeting and connecting with others in the program, and I am sure we will keep in touch.

The Herbal Apprenticeship gives a very good foundation in herbalism, and next year I am hoping to take the Advanced Herbal Training with The Boston School of Herbal Studies. This program is a more intensive course for those with a background in herbalism, and offers diagnostic classes, herbal clinics, and two intensive weekend trainings with prominent herbalists.

If you are interested in taking the Herbal Apprenticeship with The Boston School of Herbal Studies, now is the perfect time to sign up for the 2011 class! (The Arlington class is full, but the Jamaica Plain class, which runs from May-November, is still open). For more information about the program, go here. To register, go here. Please let me know if you have any questions about the apprenticeship, I highly recommend it!

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