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This will be a deep dive into herbal medicine for students and practitioners and for all herb lovers who want to strengthen their relationship to the medicine. Students will harvest herbs and make medicines and build their own personal medicine chest. Apprentices will participate in study days as part of their program.

One herb is studied in depth each month - from the field or forest to the pharmacy.


We will see the plants growing; we will study botany, plant identification, harvesting methods, processing the crop and making medicines, including implementing quality control and good manufacturing practices in the dispensary. Each day will involve time outside as well as indoors, learning by doing and workshops / hands on as well as lectures sometimes. 

We will discuss the pharmacology and clinical applications, safety, dosing, synergies and formulating with each herb. Some of the classes will be taught in the apothecary garden where we will discuss key body systems, especially as regards the herb of the month, and look at the various plants that can be effective in each system.

Classes will run on Fridays once a month from 10 am - 1 pm and 2 pm - 5 pm

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Three lectures of 90 minutes each
Materia medica and clinical applications of herbs for the specific topics: constituents, actions and phyto-pharmacology, dosing and combining

Attend in person or watch on-line; accessible afterwards for download

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Stress and Insomnia March 20
learn about 
·     'sleep hygeine' and creating the best opportunity for sleep
·     The sleep cycle and how to nap well
·     gentler relaxing nervines and mild sedatives: lemon balm, oats, linden
·     materia medica for enhancing sleep
- slightly stronger sedatives: hops, passionflower, chamomile
- strong sedatives: valerian, jamaican dogwood, wild lettuce, california poppy
- muscle relaxants: kava, cramp bark
- strongest sedatives: corydalis, 

Immune support April 17
learn about 
·     innate and acquired immunity
·     promoting primary defences – fever treatments, mucolytics, expectorants, 
·     materia medica for enhanced immune resilience and fighting infection
- immune stimulants : echinacea, 
- anti-microbials : garlic, taheebo, usnea, berberis
- lymphatics
·     how to make wei qi (immune protection) soup

Detox May 15
learn about
·     Toxins, the liver and the 21st century
·     How the liver works in health and sickness
·     How toxins in the blood contribute to ill health
·     Sauna, exercise, dry skin brushing as detox aides
·     Fasting and tissue detoxification 
·     Green juices and recipes for cleansing foods
·      Supplements and herbs to assist liver process and release toxins 

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Traditional rules of science are being challenged and new perspectives are opening up – new ways of understanding how we relate to and are related to the Living world. When we leave the city behind, when we allow peace to reign, when we open to Nature, then transformation happens.

first evening meet-up

6.30 pm          supper (pot luck)
8 – 9 pm         introductions and orientation

 Day one / two / three / four

9.30 am – 12.30 pm  Holistic Biology (Dr. Thierry Vrain)

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 Biofilia – our connection to Nature

Molecular biology is allowing us a peek at molecules at work in living cells, revealing that all cells function in the same way with the same protein molecules and the same genetic code, and the same energy molecules activate all processes in all cells of all organisms.  

The course presents such recent discoveries for many life processes at the molecular and cellular level.   The relative place of microbes, plants, animals and humans, in the natural systems and cycles of the earth is examined.   How close are we to other living species in Nature ?

Day one The molecules of Life

All living cells are made of the same molecules: protein, DNA, RNA, lipid, and carbohydrate recent biochemistry are reviewed.  Other components are introduced: non-coding RNAs, epigenetics, metallo-proteins, cell membrane, energy metabolism, communication molecules.

Day two Life at the microscopic level

Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells, common descent and evolution, horizontal gene transfer, symbiosis, viruses, chloroplasts, mitochondria, nitrogen fixation, protists, the Tree of Life.

Day three Land Plants

Land plants, feeding behaviour, roots and radicle brain networks, plant microbiome, awareness, intelligence.

Day four Fungi and animals

Lichens, fungi, mycorhiza, soil animals, soil food web, symbiosis, parasitism, predation, consciousness.

12.30 pm  – 2 pm       lunch is provided each day

2 – 5 pm          afternoons facilitated by Chanchal Cabrera


Day one           Goethean Plant Study
A scientific and experiential application of subjective and objective criteria in the study of nature; deepening practices, expanding visual awareness

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Day two           Shinrin Yoku Forest Walk discussion and slide show of sacred trees around the world and the science of Vitamin G; followed by walking in the woods in contemplative silence.


Day three        Humors, Temperaments and the Seasons
understanding how foods and flavors can be medicines if they are given in accordance with constitution 

Nature Mandala – outside for 2 hours picking and placing natural found materials into a collective mandala 

Day four          Sacred Geometry in Nature understand the patterns of nature as seen in DNA and sunflowers and galaxies and our connection within it.

Walk the Labyrinth – discussion of the meaning and myths  and uses of the labyrinth. Opportunity to draw a card and set an intention 

Closing circle