First Year Program
An Introduction to The Art and Science of Herbal Medicine.
Year One Overview
ArborVitae offers a comprehensive professional foundational first year that runs from September to May. It offers over 343 classroom hours of instruction in basic herbalism, materia medica, holistic anatomy and physiology, botany and plant identification, and medicine making. Students will also achieve a basic knowledge in traditional nutrition, wild food, first aid, varied herbal applications through the life-cycles, and energetic assessment. Instruction will include a variety of traditional approaches to healing, with a focus on western herbalism based on energetics, Vitalism, and the tissue state model.
Students who complete the first year of study at ArborVitae can expect to gain a basic understanding of herbal medicine, with application for friends and family. The first year program is a comprehensive course that is the foundational year for the three year clinical program.
First Year Curriculum
History & Philosophy of Herbal Medicine
The class provides an overview of the history and philosophy of herbal practices throughout the world, with a focus on more recent history in Europe and U.S. Lessons include an introduction to core concepts of a diversity of approaches to herbal medicine.
Botanical Materia Medica
Over 60 medicinal plants and mushrooms are reviewed in depth, including plants & fungi that grow in North America as well as medicinal herbs from other regions. Teachers introduce students an abundance of other botanicals throughout the curriculum. Students will build their own materia medica based on their studies, and will learn about herbal monographs and components: Latin name, common name, botanical information, herbal actions, energetics, system affinities, current and historical uses, specific indications, and herbal toxicity and safety.
Traditional Herbalism & Holistic Assessment
The class provides a survey of various holistic approaches to healing. It focuses on the traditions of herbalism that have evolved in the U.S. incorporating Western European/ Greek systems, tissue states, Vitalist and Eclectic concepts, folk traditions, as well as the use of Native American plants and wisdom adopted from Native traditions. We also provide a comprehensive introduction to concepts and energetics in Arurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Basic concepts from other healing traditions throughout the world will be introduced as well. Energetics, actions, and flavors, as well as specific signs and patterns are covered. Course content includes basic assessment tools like ways to gather information from tissue states, pulse and tongue.
Herbal Apothecary: Gathering, Preparation and Use
he curriculum reviews various types of herbal preparation, including how, why, and when to use different forms of herbal medicine. Students learn about the ethics of wildcrafting, and methods for harvesting, drying, and preparing roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and mushrooms into various herbal remedies, and receive hands-on in-depth lessons in the preparation of:
Botany & Plant Identification
Herbs in the Environment
Herbs in the Cycles of Life
Herbs as Food and Food as Medicine
Herbal Therapeutics: Properties, Actions and Chemistry
Herbal First Aid
Herbs as Flower Essences
Extra Q&A Sessions
Additional Outline of Curriculum Topics
Herb affinities, actions, interactions and pharmacology
Pathology and medical terminology
Traditional assessment methods including face, tongue, and pulse reading
states and Constitution
Specific indications and use
Historical and botanical information
Doctrine of Signatures and Energetics
Ethical and quality harvesting
Various tincture preparation methods
Topical herb preparations: poultices, salves, creams, powders
Herbal vinegar, oil, electuarys, oxymels
Introduction to use of other applications
Childhood and adolescence
Adulthood, fertility and pregnancy
Menopause and andropause
Elder years and death
Nutrition for particular times of life and ailments
Food as medicine
Wild and foraged food
Lineage of North American herbalism
Introduction to other traditions throughout the world
Law & Practice
GMPs and the herbalist
Initial approaches and follow up
To apply for the
Foundational Year Professional Herbalism Program.
Now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year
We are excited to announce that we will keep a portion of our classes online in order to accommodate varying needs. No more than half of the program will be online. In-person classes will meet in our Hudson Valley space as well as botany field trips in various locations.
Year One Schedule
(dates subject to change)
Weekdays: 1 per week
Wednesdays 9 – 5
Sept 15, 22, 29
Oct 6, 13, 20, 27
Nov 3, 10, 17 *Harvest break 11/18 – 11/29
Dec 1, 8, 15 *Winter break 12/16-1/11
Jan 12, 19, 26
Feb 2, 9, 16, 23
Mar 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Apr 6, 13, 27 *Spring break 4/15 – 4/22
May 4, 11, 18
Weekends: 1 per month
Saturdays & Sundays 9 – 5