2019 Class descriptions

Autumn Summers

Autumn Summers

Bioregional Medicinals and Edibles

Session 3 classes | 11:30 am - 1 pm

There are many local native and naturalized plants from Northern California and Oregon to include in your wellness kit and kitchen pantry. Included are the easy to grow herbs such as yarrow and California poppy, common ornamentals honeysuckle and mimosa and often  overlooked “weeds” plantain and mallow. We will cover how to identify, properly harvest and use these herbs and finish off with tasting fir tip honey and roasted bay nuts treats.


Erika Galentin

Aromatic Distillation: A Ritual Journey of Self-Reflection

Pre-conference intensives | 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

Aromatic distillation is alchemical in nature; it is a process that relies on the four elements of earth, air, fire, & water in the transmutation and capture of aromatic molecules from plants into hydrosols and essential oils.  The Alchemists of old believed their work to be spiritual in nature. Modern alchemical scholars have interpreted this work metaphorically; Alchemy can be considered a collection of psychic processes shared within the totality of human experiences, or what Carl Jung termed the 'collective unconscious'. In this interpretation, the 'lead into gold' of the Alchemists becomes an inspirational allegory of the work required for the refinement of Self and emanation of the Soul.

The process of Aromatic Distillation is most certainly a spiritual one, involving both ceremony and celebration. It is an attempt to foster a deeper relationship with the plant kingdom, a relationship full of metaphor, story, and personal myth, while simultaneously developing deeper relationships with ourselves and our unconscious. In this regard, each distillation provides a platform for self-discovery and exploration of the natural world. 

In this intensive workshop you will learn about the anatomy and physiology of aromatic distillation and participate in the process as a ritual journey of self-reflection. Participants are encouraged to bring with them stones, crystals, or personal symbols / items to contribute to the process and support each participant’s unique inner journey. Participants are also encouraged to bring a journal for self-reflection while the distillation is taking place. (Depending on #: Participants will be able to take a sample of the hydrosol home).

Shame, Inflammation, and our Herbal Allies: Unlocking the Inner Pillory

Session 2 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

Join Clinical Herbalist, Erika Galentin,  of Sovereignty Herbs on an exploration of the physiology of shame, what is known about its proinflammatory influence over physical wellbeing, and herbs and aromatics that may support navigating shame and its often treacherous terrain.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Framing the emotions and experiences of shame within the context of one's perceptions of physical health & wellbeing.

  • Exploring what is known about the physiology of shame and its proinflammatory influence over the   human body.

  • A discussion on the relationship between inflammation & common health problems.

  • Herbs and aromatics that may support the physical body, psyche, and spiritual needs of those who are navigating shame and its often treacherous terrain.

Demystifying Herb-Drug Interactions

Session 5 classes | 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm

Many people get very frightened when they think about herbs and drugs interacting with each other. Some even may feel defensive about the idea that pharmaceutical medicine so easily puts herbs in the hot seat. In this class you will be introduced to the means by which herbs and drugs may interact with each other, for better or for worse. We will also be learning skills for easier interpretation of the scientific research investigating these interactions in order to discern their clinical relevance.

What you will learn:

  • Introduction to pharmacological terms

  • Pharmacokinetic & pharmacodynamic mechanisms

  • Which herbs & drugs present the highest risk

  • Other client-centered risk factors

  • How to avoid herb-drug interactions

  • Skills to evaluate herb-drug interaction research

  • How to discern clinical relevance



Herbal Bathing (4 pm - 6 pm)

Session 1 classes

This is a part continuation of a popular class I taught at Breitenbush almost ten years ago. We will adopt the medicine wheel tubs for a four direction medication and meditation as we add specific herbs to each tub and then sit in quiet meditation as we externally medicate ourselves. This is experiential learning and comes prepared to soak. Towels and birthday suit. This class requires us to use the medicine wheel tubs for a pre-class setup and then during the class. All tubs will be cleaned and returned to original conditions, herbs used will be in pillowcases and not stain or change the tub experience, no extra work for Breitenbush but I will need a few more volunteers to help. Limited to 30 students.

Herbs, Tea, Cordials, Community and Service (plus an hour serving during talent show)

Session 5 classes | 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm

Join Dr. Glen Nagel in a two-part class the first part is exploring the concept of community herbalism by making herbal products and the second part is serving drinks, tea, bitters and conversation to the herbal community. Herbalism has for so long been part of a community and the ability to spend magical time with the herbs and in service to the community is what this class is about. We will hike the woods around the springs looking for plants and herbs to add to our community mix. We will prepare tea, spritzer, bitters and/or other herb concoctions base on what’s available locally and the energy of the whole group. We demonstrate how to make herbal preparations.  The service part is an important part of giving a herbal voice to the plants in a form that is appealing to the community and then serving the drinks before the famous Saturday night herbal talent show.


Heather Irvine

Phytochemistry: Mischievous and Kind

Session 1 classes | 4 pm - 5:30 pm

Consider this a memorable phytochemistry primer with an imagination. This is about plants flirtations with the human psyche, physiology, feelings - vying for our fear and favor in the great scheme. Hominids, kingdom animales, and our primordial predecessors, have been working out what will happen when plant chemistry interfaces with human physiology; skin, taste buds, liver, and even the chemicals of emotion, on just the sight of a botanical beauty, since the beginning of life on earth. I describe it as a ongoing match of paper, rock, scissors. When a plant developed a new chemical compound there was this historic gasp and pause to find, what would that first bold butterfly, blithe rabbit or human endowed with enough hubris, desperation, or perhaps inobservance, to taste it be able to do with it. Would it please, sustain, or cure, or would it bring us to sudden death, or perhaps, euphoria. Would we emphatically warn our progeny not to touch it, or would be not be able to get enough of it. Level: Nerds with heart. 

The New Romantics: A Way Forward For Herbalists

Session 2 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

Herbalists emulsify the general public’s expectations of botanical medicine with reality. You have noticed the public’s quivering excitement spun by marketing of holistic health claims. And you grieve the largely unknown range and reality of botanical medicines. How can we best reach clients, the public, and those we have an opportunity to educate, and tell true stories, bringing the greater public, our clients, and acquaintances with curiosity about herbs, back from delusions about botanical medicine. How can herbalists live, work, love, and earn trust, recognition, and career longevity by being honest to goodness educators, while sensationalism holds center stage in the holistic health atmosphere.

Adaptogens to Start: Getting Clients Grounded -Before Anything Else

Session 6 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

Clients bring so many issues to the table at the first meeting that I like to start with a well matched adaptogen. We will characterize many adaptogens by energetics, occasional caveats, and the outstanding research and health claims made of them, to help you narrow down many choices going forward and match the person before you with a reliable plant ally to start out their relationship with herbs and the herbalist on a reliable, pleasant and desirable footing.

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Keynote: New Herbal Uses in the 21st Century

Thursday, September 5, 2019 | 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

In the last century, when I heard of a new use for a common herb, I would track down the source and speak to the herbalist who started it. In this way, I could decide if I wanted to change my opinions and embrace it. With the increasing popularity of herbs, herbal modalities, and social media, new uses rain down on us like February in the Pacific Northwest. Some are practical and can be immediately intergraded into our practice, some require more study, and some are bogus. This keynote discusses the “critical eye” needed to vet the ever changing landscape of herbal uses.

The Skullcaps, Scutellaria spp.

Session 1 classes | 4 pm - 5:30 pm

Skullcaps are popular nervines. Are they sensitive plants? Are they safe? Are they as entheogenic as Internet sources say? We will discuss experiences and specific case histories. Skullcap species will be compared in ecology and medicinal effect, along with the confessions of a fresh skullcap juice drinker.

Plant Walks Change Society for the Better (Plant Walk)

Session 4 classes | 2:30 - 3:30

Plants walks help define your relationship with nature. Understanding and using local plants for food and medicine free us from the binds of monetized healthcare and sexily advertised processed food substances. No matter how we portray this class, plant walks and herbalism have always been a type of radical freedom by definition.


Julie James

Keynote: Who Are You?

Friday, September 6, 2019 | 8 pm - 9 pm

We all identify in various ways, but what brings us together here, and what keeps us bound together after we return home, is our identity as herbalists (in whatever way we express that). And identifying and claiming our place in our little herbal world is vitally important for the health of the community, and it is foundational in being an herbalist.

This is a key part of what I teach my students on their first day with me, and it’s why learning in a community, whether in person or online, is so much richer an experience than learning as a solitary: we as individuals can't possibly know all that we need to know in order to be the best possible herbalist we can be. There's just too much out there to know. It's critical, therefore, that we know what/who our resources and support are--and what type of resource and support *we* are to the rest of our community. Adopting that mindset changes, completely, the way we answer the question, "who are you?"--not who are you as an individual, but who are you as part of your community, as part of our country, as part of the world? Who are you?

Herbs of Enchantment: The Healing Effects of Pleasure and Delight

Session 3 classes | 11:30 am - 1 pm

Irrespective of what we are healing, or how, or why, we can dramatically improve the outcome, while we profoundly increase the quality of life, when we incorporate those plants that thrill our senses: the aromatics, the honey-sweet, the extraordinarily beautiful. All of them will assist us on our journey, no matter where it leads. Why? And how? Those are good, good questions. There are good, good answers. And lots of delightful plants to play with.

The Skin We Live In: Herbal Support For the Integument, Inside and Out

Session 6 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

Our skin and related appendages define the boundaries of our physical being. When that boundary is breached or weakened, how can we support it, what allies will nourish, heal, and strengthen?
Let's go deep in a discussion of the skin's structure and function, and experiment with recipes and protocols for optimal skin health.

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Lara Pacheco

Vital Force, Chi, Yaya Guaturey, Hu, Ool; the many names of animating energy.

Session 2 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

There are many traditions that recognize the force that gives rise to breath and movement.  Lara Pacheco will share the Taino perspective along with similar yet different patterns in other healing systems.  She will also share plant allies that she specifically calls in when specifically working with this powerful, ubiquitous force of energy.

Plant Allies Here and There; Achiano + Guanajo and the Element of Fire

Session 6 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

The beckoning cry of our ancestors has called us into this place of healing. In Boríken (Puerto Rico) our colonizer told us that the Taíno ways had been destroyed. And yet, here they are guiding the work to illuminate consciousness. This class will focus on the the unearthing of the many shackles of colonialism, and explore the journey of reconnecting with indigenous ways of knowing. We will spend our class time on sitting with the season of Summer and drawing from the Caribbean ancestors through plants, elements, food and animal guides. We will also discuss plants cultivated and native of the PNW, and how I've incorporated these into my practice to honor ancestors of this land and to connect to place.


Missy Rohs

The First Aid Kit at Your Feet: Plant Walk

Session 3 classes | 11:30 am - 1 pm

The best emergency medicine is the kind you can find anywhere!  On this plant walk, we’ll check out the trailside plant allies that could be used for ailments that come up when we’re out in the forest, from bee stings to bruises.  We’ll also talk about what can’t be improvised easily so that you can design your own bare-bones first aid kit for hikes or camping.

Weeding is the New Wildcrafting

Session 5 classes | 4:15 - 5:45 pm

We all know how charismatic and enchanting plants like devil's club and goldenseal are.  But there are powerful medicines that grow through sidewalk cracks, spread through fields like wildfire, and encroach on intact ecosystems.  Those are the plants that are calling out to be used as healers; they are the medicine of abundance. We’ll talk about some of these weedy wonders and their uses, engaging with them to appreciate their unique and special qualities.



Viriditas Arcana: Dive in to a Cup of Tea

Session 1 classes | 4 pm - 5:30 pm

Sip on a mystery tea being guided through the meanings behind taste, humoral energetics, and applications of the plant. As we know, knowledge is not just about gathering information, but to be able to critically evaluate and apply what you experience. Join us with your favorite mug and lets discover these patterns and gain understanding together.

Traditions Not Trademarks: Freeing Fire Cider

Session 4 classes | 2:30 - 3:30

A look at historical traditional herbal remedies, the story of fire cider, and how we can protect remedies in the future from becoming trademarked products owned by large corporations

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Macroscopic and Organoleptic Assessment of Herbal Ingredients for cGMP Compliance

Pre-conference intensives | 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

This hands-on workshop will provide a comprehensive orientation of botanical, macroscopic, and organoleptic identification methods, quality assessment techniques and terminology, and demonstrate how these techniques are used to evaluate crude plant parts in a scientifically valid manner. Botanical identification, using classical botany as the basis, is the primary manner in which plant materials are identified. For identification and quality assessment of crude herb materials, macroscopic and organoleptic analysis offers among the most rapid, accurate, cost-effective, and environmentally sound of all the analytical technologies.

Botanically Speaking

Session 2 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

Join Steven Yeager to explore the poetic beauty of botanical language. Learn the botanical terminology you will need to identify medicinal, edible, and poisonous plants growing in your garden or local forest! Designed to give participants the skills to understand botanical descriptions in herbal texts and gardening books, and become familiar with important vocabulary for the identification and appreciation of plants.  We’ll investigate plant anatomy, plant family characteristics, and use a botanical key. Class will include a slide show with handouts. Please bring a hand lens (loupe) if you have one. 

Botanically Speaking (Plant Walk)

Session 5 classes | 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm

We will use the botanical terminology presented in Class 1 on this plant walk focusing on botanical terminology, family characteristics, and introduce the use of dichotomous keys.  It was also include basic medical uses, edible plants, and poisonous plants depending on what we find along the path. Please bring a hand lens (loupe) if you have one. We will dissect a variety of plant parts if possible. This class does stand alone and Class 1 is not required although attending Class 1 and having the repetition of the terminology will only heighten your retention.



Thyroid Stuff

Session 3 classes | 11:30 am - 1 pm

An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, and figuring out exactly what’s wrong, and how to fix it isn’t easy.

Hormone testing, antibody testing, nutrient testing, medication choices – it’s overwhelming to know where to start. This class explores the physiology of thyroid hormone production, and differential assessment and therapies for sub-clinical and primary hypothyroidism

Pain: A Functional Guide

Session 5 classes | 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm

Modern neuroscience shows us that the brain and nervous system not only relay and perceive pain, but they also directly control the amount, intensity and unpleasantness of the pain. We’ll explore the physiological process of pain; nociception, spinal cord pain signal transmission, and the perception of pain in the brain. Along the way, we will explore a multi-disciplinary approach to affecting these processes and more successfully working with pain. After building a foundation on the neuroscience of pain we will explore the fascinating world of herbal pain relievers. This class explores the various endogenous analgesic chemicals of the body and which herbs act on them. GABA, glycine, serotonin, the opioid system, and endocannabinoid system. We will look at the internal use of herbs, as well as the use of topical analgesics both locally and applied to spinal segments

Anxiety and Depression

Session 6 classes | 9:30 am - 11 am

Our culture fosters and nourishes many mental health issues and neither the cultural causes, nor the effects are new. As much as I'd like to spend a few hours talking about how dysfunctional our society is, this class will focus on the clinical aspects of common mental health issues, with a focus on the cytokine hypothesis.We will discuss differentials and identifying and working on the root causes of depression,  and anxiety. We'll also cover plant allies that can help build resilience.