Programs & Curriculum

Traditional Herbalist Diploma Program

This is the equivalent of a 1,500 hour program for those who wish to pursue a career as a traditional clinical herbalist. It includes 1,150 hours of classroom study, 250 hours of supervised clinic, 100 hours of clinical apprenticeship, and several special projects.

Overview

The Traditional Herbalist program is based on a traditional Western paradigm of herbalism. One of the limitations of many programs in Western herbalism is their lack of a clear and precise system of herbal therapeutics. Students are expected to memorize an abundance of information in herbal materia medica, therapeutics and related fields of study, along with subjects in modern medical science (often at a level of depth that is significantly in excess of what is necessary for the practice of most systems of herbalism). However, the information is often not integrated in a meaningful way, nor are the students provided with a system that allows them to easily apply what they have learned.

The backbone of the curriculum of the Living Earth Traditional Herbalist program is based on Four Elements Herbal Therapy. Although this system is named after the four elements of European and Native American traditions, it is not based on the system of energetics from Greco-Roman medical traditions. Four Elements Herbal Therapy incorporates traditional and modern knowledge and experience into an organismic approach that addresses all levels of physiological functioning within the context of a broader, holistic, person-centred approach to healing. This system is safe, easy to understand and apply, and significantly improves clinical outcomes. It eliminates the many years of trial and error that students must inevitably experience when they graduate from programs that do not provide a concise system of herbal therapeutics. Many graduates of programs offered by other schools have enrolled in the accelerated version of the Traditional Herbalist program in order to learn and benefit from the Four Elements system of herbal therapeutics in their practice. All of them have found that this system has helped them to significantly improve the effectiveness of their work.

Four Elements Herbal Therapy is a system that was developed by herbalist Michael Vertolli, the director and primary instructor of Living Earth School of Herbalism, during the twenty-seven years that he has practiced and conducted empirical research in herbalism. It is one of the important features that differentiates the Traditional Herbalist program from other Western clinical herbalist programs.

The Traditional Herbalist program consists of two levels. If you are not sure if you wish to commit to the entire program you may take any number of these workshops and courses. Upon completion of the Level 1 courses, if you have met the academic requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program you may officially enroll in the program and attend the Level 2 workshops.

In its original part-time classroom format the program was completed in 3.5 years: Level 1 in 2 years with a time commitment of 12-15 hours per week including classroom, homework and studying for quizzes and exams; Level 2 in 1.5 years consisting of two days of clinic per month plus some homework. With a similar time commitment it is still possible for you to complete the program in a similar time-frame. However, as you may now complete the online courses at your own pace, the Level 1 courses can be completed over a shorter or longer period of time depending on your needs and situation. Theoretically, if you were to take Level 1 at a full-time level (24-30 hours per week) is can be completed in as little as 1 year allowing you to complete the Traditional Herbalist program in 2.5 years.

Traditional Herbalist, Level 1

Level 1 of the Traditional Herbalist program consists of workshops and online courses offered by Living Earth, as well as courses that are available from colleges and universities that can be taken in-class or online.

Curriculum

The curriculum of the Traditional Herbalist program consists of the following courses:

Living Earth Online Courses

  • Healing With Herbs

    This is an online distance learning course that is based on and equivalent to a 30 hour classroom course. It includes a general introduction to the use of medicinal herbs for health promotion and the treatment of common health conditions. It provides a firm, practical foundation for anyone who wants to use herbs for themselves and their families, as well as for those who are considering further education in this field. This is the primary entry level online course and is a prerequisite for most of the other online courses. It establishes the basic philosophy and paradigm that underlies all of the intermediate and advanced courses as well as the fundamental elements of using herbs and the practice of herbalism.

    Topics include:  The philosophy of Western herbalism; the therapeutic properties and uses of herbs; herbal preparations; making herbal formulations; protocols for using herbs for the treatment of acute and chronic conditions; herbs and stress; herbs, detoxification and chronic disease; herbal treatment of acute infectious conditions.

    Prerequisite:  None.

    Required textbooks:  None.

    Scheduling:  This is an online course. You may enroll at any time.

    Tuition:  $350.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Herbal Therapeutics & Materia Medica, Parts I, II and III

    This is an online distance learning course that is based on and equivalent to a 122 hour classroom course. It provides detailed information on the principles and practical application of traditional herbalism. It is organized by organ system.

    Because of the length of this course and the amount of information covered it is divided into three distinct parts. Each part runs like a separate course. The major units of each part are as follows:

    Part I

    • Physiology from a Holistic Perspective
    • Formulating
    • Herbal Treatment of the Epithelial Membranes
    • Herbal Treatment of the Muscular and Skeletal Systems
    • Herbal Treatment of the Nervous System


    Part II

    • Herbal Treatment of the Endocrine System
    • Herbal Treatment of the Female and Male Reproductive Systems
    • Herbal Treatment of the Immune and Lymphatic Systems


    Part III

    • Herbal Treatment of the Cardiovascular System
    • Herbal Treatment of the Respiratory System
    • Herbal Treatment of the Digestive System
    • Herbal Treatment of the Urinary System


    For each organ system the following information will be discussed:  An introduction to the physiology of the system; lifestyle and nutritional factors affecting the health of the system; the therapeutic properties of herbs that are required to treat the system and their mechanisms of action; specific herbs that are recommended for the treatment of the system; protocols for using herbs to treat the system.

    Prerequisite:  Healing With Herbs.

    Required textbooks:  Holistic Anatomy: An Integrative Guide to the Human Body (Pip Waller).

    Scheduling:  This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisite.

    Tuition:  $475 for each of Part I, II and III. $1,425 in total.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Complementary Herbal Therapies

    This is an online distance learning course that is based on and equivalent to a 26 hour classroom course. It provides an introduction to a number of holistic therapies that utilize remedies derived from herbs and how some of these can be utilized as complementary therapies that can be integrated with Western herbalism. This course also includes an introduction to some of the energetic and spiritual elements of healing and herbalism.

    Topics include:  An introduction to aromatherapy; energetic healing; traditional Chinese medicine; ayurvedic medicine; homeopathy; Bach Flower Remedies.

    Prerequisite:  Healing With Herbs.

    Recommended reading:   Aromatherapy: To Heal and Tend the Body (Robert Tisserand); Homeopathy: Medicine of the New Man (George Vithoulkas); The Bach Flower Remedies: Step by Step (Judy Howard).

    Scheduling:  This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisite.

    Tuition:  $275.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Herbal Materia Medica

    This is an online distance learning course that is based on and equivalent to a 40 hour classroom course. It provides detailed information on the properties and uses of over 120 herbs. Many of the herbs that are part of the Traditional Herbalist materia medica, and therefore discussed in this course, are traditional herbs for which there is very little information available in the herbal literature. You will be provided detailed information on these herbs, most of which not available from any other source. In addition, information on the better known herbs is provided at a level of detail that is much greater than is available in the general literature.

    For each herb the following information will be discussed:  Habitat and botany; harvesting instructions; therapeutic properties; indications; toxicity and contraindications.

    Prerequisite:  Herbal Therapeutics & Materia Medica.

    Required textbooks:  You are required to have access to at least two good herbal reference books for supplementary reading. A list of recommended reference books for this course can be found here.

    Scheduling:  This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisite.

    Tuition:  $525.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Herbal Field Studies Introductory Class

    Herbal Field Studies consists of an online Introductory Class and a series of seven full-day field workshops running monthly from April to October. You will learn how to identify, harvest and use many wild herbs that grow in Ontario, many of which are native to or naturalized in other regions of the world as well. At each field workshop you will also have the opportunity to make some kind of herbal preparation using herbs that they will harvest during the workshop.

    The course begins with an online Introductory Class that establishes the theoretical foundation for the field workshops. The field workshops take place in various wilderness locations outside of the Toronto area. Whenever possible, carpooling will be arranged for participants who do not have vehicles.

    For students who enroll in the Traditional Herbalist program that do not live in southern or central Ontario and are unable to attend the regularly scheduled field workshops, the field workshops will be included as an extension to the Level 2, Advanced Workshops.

    Topics include:  Identifying local herbs through the various stages of their life-cycle; introductory botany and plant anatomy; the ecology of wild harvesting herbs; harvesting instructions for different herb species; drying herbs; making herbal preparations from fresh plants; the medicinal properties and uses of local herbs.

    Prerequisite:  None.

    Required textbooks:  None.

    Scheduling:  This is an online course. You may enroll at any time.

    Tuition:  $65.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Chemistry for Health Sciences

    This course provides an introduction to general, organic and biochemistry oriented towards students of the life sciences. It replaces the college course which is no longer available. The textbook supplements the content with lots of examples that relate to health and environmental issues. It is supported by an online website with excellent supplementary multimedia and interactive components that will enhance your learning experience. The lectures provide an overview of the content and relate it to the study of herbalism. This course focusses on basic principles. The math component is not included except for some very basic calculations that directly relate to the practice of herbalism.

    Prerequisite:  Healing With Herbs.

    Required Textbooks:  Chemistry: An Introduction to General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry Plus MasteringChemistry with eText Access Card Package, 12th Edition (Karen Timberlake). There is more than one version of this book. Only the version for a one semester course with the MasteringChemistry Access Card Package is acceptable for this course.

    Scheduling:  This is an online course. Once the course is available, you may enroll at any time.

    Tuition:  $150.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Pharmacology

    This is an online distance learning course that is based on and equivalent to a 33 hour classroom course. It provides an introduction to the major classes of chemical constituents that occur in medicinal herbs, the most common plant families that they occur in, how they interact with the human body, and their relevance to the practice of herbal medicine. It also includes a brief introduction to the pharmacology of most common classes of pharmaceutical drugs and information on potential herb-drug interactions.

    Prerequisite: 
    Herbal Therapeutics & Materia Medica, Chemistry for Health Sciences.

    Required textbooks:  Medical Herbalism (David Hoffmann).

    Recommended reading:  Basic Concepts in Pharmacology, Fourth Edition (Jenet L. Stringer).

    Scheduling: 
    This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisites.

    Tuition: 
    $300.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Diet and Health

    This is an online distance learning course that looks at many of the popular dietary trends and evaluates them from the perspective of traditional principles and the latest scientific research.

    Prerequisites: 
    Healing With Herbs, Nutrition.

    Recommended reading:  Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy (Walter Willett).

    Scheduling: 
    This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisites.

    Tuition: 
    $300.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.
    .


  • Advanced Herbal Therapeutics & Materia Medica, Parts I, II and III

    This is an online distance learning course that is based on and equivalent to a 135 hour classroom course. It integrates all of the information from the preceding online courses up to this point, adding a greater level of depth and organizing it into an integrated therapeutic system.

    Because of the length of this course and the amount of information covered it is divided into three distinct parts. Each part runs like a separate course. The major units of each part are as follows:

    Part I

    • Diet and Lifestyle
    • Protocols
    • Potentizing Herbs
    • Contraindications
    • Four Elements Herbal Therapy


    Part II

    • Integrated Treatment of the Skin
    • Integrated Treatment of the Muscular and Skeletal Systems
    • Integrated Treatment of the Nervous System
    • Integrated Treatment of the Endocrine System
    • Integrated Treatment of the Female and Male Reproductive Systems


    Part III

    • Integrated Treatment of the Immune and Lymphatic Systems
    • Integrated Treatment of the Cardiovascular System
    • Integrated Treatment of the Urinary System
    • Integrated Treatment of the Digestive System
    • Integrated Treatment of the Respiratory System


    Prerequisite:  Herbal Materia Medica, Anatomy & Physiology II*, Pharmacology.

    Required textbooks:  Medical Herbalism (David Hoffmann).

    Scheduling:  
    This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisites.

    Tuition:  
    $525 for each of Part I, II and III. $1,575 in total.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Bach Flower Therapy

    Prerequisite:  Complementary Herbal Therapies, Herbal Therapeutics & Materia Medica.

    Required textbooks: Bach Flower Therapy (Mechthild Scheffer).

    S
    cheduling: This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisites.

    Tuition: 
    $390.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.


  • Herbal Practice Issues

    Prerequisite:  Advanced Herbal Therapeutics & Materia Medica.

    Required textbooks: None.

    S
    cheduling: This is an online course. You may enroll at any time upon completion of the prerequisite.

    Tuition: 
    $220.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

College Online or Classroom Courses
  • GSCI 1019 Health and Wellness (George Brown College)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
    -or-
    Stress, Wellness and Nutrition (Ontario Learn) )
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
  • GSCI 1120 Nutrition (George Brown College)
    -or-
    Introduction to Nutrition (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
  • ANAT 1054 Anatomy and Physiology I (George Brown College)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
    -or-
    Anatomy and Physiology I for RPN (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
  • ANAT 1056 Anatomy and Physiology II (George Brown College)
    Prerequisite: Anatomy and Physiology I.
    -or-
    Anatomy and Physiology II for RPN (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Anatomy and Physiology I for RPN.
  • GSCI 1002 Basic Botany (George Brown College)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
    -or-
    Basic Botany (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
  • PATH 1018 Pathology and Therapeutics I (George Brown College)
    Prerequisite: ANAT 1056 Anatomy and Physiology II.
    -or-
    Pathophysiology I for RPN (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Anatomy and Physiology II for RPN.
  • PATH 1017 Pathology and Therapeutics II (George Brown College)
    Prerequisite: PATH 1018 Pathology and Therapeutics I.
    -or-
    Pathophysiology II for RPN (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Pathophysiology I for RPN.
  • GSSC 1116 Interpersonal Psychology (George Brown College) 
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
    -or-
    Dealing With Difficult People (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
  • GSSC 1117 Life Span Development (George Brown College) 
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
    -or-
    Developmental Psychology (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
    -or-
    Personality Psychology (Ontario Learn)
    Prerequisite: Grade 12 English.
Living Earth Workshops

  • Herbal Field Studies Field Workshops

    Herbal Field Studies consists of an online Introductory Class and a series of seven full-day field workshops running monthly from April to October. You will learn how to identify, harvest and use many wild herbs that grow in Ontario, many of which are native to or naturalized in other regions of the world as well. At each field workshop you will also have the opportunity to make some kind of herbal preparation using herbs that they will harvest during the workshop.

    The course begins with an online Introductory Class that establishes the theoretical foundation for the field workshops. The field workshops take place in various wilderness locations outside of the Toronto area. Whenever possible, carpooling will be arranged for participants who do not have vehicles.

    For students who enroll in the Traditional Herbalist program that do not live in southern or central Ontario and are unable to attend the regularly scheduled field workshops, the field workshops will be included as an extension to the Level 2, Advanced Workshops.

    Topics include:  Identifying local herbs through the various stages of their life-cycle; introductory botany and plant anatomy; the ecology of wild harvesting herbs; harvesting instructions for different herb species; drying herbs; making herbal preparations from fresh plants; the medicinal properties and uses of local herbs.

    Prerequisite:  Herbal Field Studies Online Introductory Class.

    Required textbooks:  Newcomb's Wildflower Guide (Lawrence Newcomb); Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants of Eastern and Central North America (Steven Foster, James Duke).

    Scheduling: The dates of the 2017 field workshops are Saturdays 10:30 am to 5 pm: April 22, May 20, June 10, July 8, 29, August 12, October 14.

    Tuition:  $65 per workshop. For students who attend the first six workshops in the year that they first enroll, the seventh workshop is free.

    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    Attendance Requirements for the Field Workshops

    General Interest Students may attend as many of the field workshops as they wish as long as they have completed the online Introductory Workshop.

    Holistic Herbal Studies Students must attend at least five of the seven field workshops in order to fulfill the requirements of this course and the program.

    Traditional Herbalist Students must attend at least five of the seven field workshops in order to fulfill the requirements of this course. However, in order to fulfill the requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program, they must attend a minimum of ten field workshops over the course of their program. The ten field workshops must include all of the seven regularly scheduled workshops and three repeats.


  • Making Herbal Tinctures

    This workshop covers all aspects of the process of making herbal tinctures from both fresh and dried herbs, including:

    • Understanding different extraction media (menstruum).
    • Preparing different potencies.
    • Jars and equipment.
    • Using different kinds of presses.
    • Differences between using fresh and dried herbs.
    • Administration and dosages.
    • Differences between tinctures and other herbal preparations.


    This workshop will include both lectures and demonstrations of how to prepare, macerate and press fresh and dried herb tinctures using different kinds of equipment. Students will receive samples of fresh and dried herb tinctures of the same herb that are prepared during the workshop to use and compare.

    Prerequisite:  None.

    Required textbooks:  None.

    Scheduling:  This workshop is not scheduled at this time. It will be running in fall 2017. Check back periodically for updates.

    Location: Living Earth School in Maple, Ontario.

    Tuition: 
    $95.

    Instructor: 
    Michael Vertolli.


  • Making Oil Extractions, Ointments and Other Topical Herbal Preparations

    This workshop covers all aspects of the process of making poultices, compresses, infused oils, liniments and ointments from both fresh and dried herbs, including:

    • Understanding different base oils.
    • Different methods for preparing oil infusions.
    • Herbs that are suitable for oil extractions.
    • Jars and equipment.
    • Differences between using fresh and dried herbs.
    • Using essential oils.
    • Comparison with other types of oil-based preparations.
    • Using water-based topical preparations such as poultices and compresses.


    This workshop will include both lectures and demonstrations of how to prepare, infuse and press fresh and dried herbal oils using different kinds of equipment. Students will receive samples of an infused oil and ointment that are prepared as a demonstration during the workshop.

    Prerequisite:  None.

    Required textbooks: 
    None.

    Scheduling: 
    Saturday March 11, 10 am to 5 pm. This workshop is now open for registration.

    Location: 
    Living Earth School in Maple, Ontario.

    Tuition: 
    $95.

    Instructor: 
    Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.


  • Making Medicinal Creams

    The focus of this workshop is on making topical creams for therapeutic use using herbs and other natural substances. The workshop covers all aspects of the process of making medicinal creams using only natural ingredients, including:

    • Different methods for preparing creams.
    • Understanding emulsification.
    • Herbs used in medicinal creams.
    • Using infused oils and herbal teas.
    • Using Bach Flowers, homeopathics and essential oils in creams.
    • Understanding different base oils.
    • Storage and preservation of creams.
    • Jars and equipment.
    • Comparison with other types of topical preparations.


    This workshop will include both lectures and demonstrations of how to prepare medicinal creams. Students will receive samples of creams that are prepared as a demonstration during the workshop as well as informative handouts.

    Prerequisite:  None.

    Required textbooks: 
    None.

    Scheduling: 
    Saturday April 15, 10 am to 5 pm. This workshop is now open for registration.

    Location: 
    Living Earth School in Maple, Ontario.

    Tuition: 
    $125.

    Instructor: 
    Monika Ghent.

    You may register here.


  • The Spirit of Herbs

    Although the conventional belief is that the vast wealth of knowledge of the medicinal uses of herbs that has been accumulated by traditional cultures around the globe has resulted from trial and error, according to their traditions much of this knowledge and wisdom has come from a more direct source. The ability to connect and communicate with the many beings with whom we share the Earth, including plants, has long been considered one of the most important attributes of traditional healers. In the last few centuries, reductionism, rationalism and materialism have come to characterize the philosophy that underlies Western medical dogma. This has also had a significant influence on the practice of herbalism. The focus of the curricula of many herbal schools has shifted to the study of the pharmacological properties of chemical constituents of herbs as demonstrated in animal, in vitro and human clinical studies. As a result, the intuitive side of herbalism has been largely ignored or denied at a great cost to our connection to the medicines and effectiveness as healers. To truly master the art and science of herbalism it is necessary to develop both its intellectual and intuitive elements and find a balance between the two so that each supports and enhances the other.

    There are many theories that have been proposed to explain the intuitive aspects of herbalism, however, this is something that can not be fully understood intellectually and must be directly experienced. The Spirit of Herbs workshops are intended to help participants to obtain this experience and ultimately to be able to integrate it into their daily lives and healing practice — for those who have been called to such a path.

    Although the content of these workshops may be practiced by individuals of any philosophy or faith, it does require an open-minded attitude. Some people may have difficulty accepting some of the views that are expressed. Anyone who is concerned about this should enquire further before enrolling in any of these workshops.

    The Spirit of Herbs workshops are not intended to initiate anyone into the practice of "shamanism" although they do include some practices that are common to what are often generically referred to as "shamanic" traditions. The traditional healing path is a life-long commitment. To be initiated into this path requires many years of intensive apprenticeship. This can not be accomplished in a few short workshops.

    The Spirit of Herbs is a six day intensive workshop that focuses on the energetic and intuitive elements of herbalism. It will help you to expand your connection to plant medicines and Nature. This workshop utilizes a variety of meditation and attunement exercises that will help you to experience a greater awareness of and connection with all aspects of the natural world and to develop your ability to intuit medicinal and energetic information directly from plants. It will also help you on your own healing journey and to live in deeper relationship with yourself and the world. The remainder of the workshop provides the theoretical background and guidelines to help you to integrate this knowledge and experience into your daily life. You will also learn how to make and work with flower essences.

    The information and techniques used in this workshop are based on a unique synthesis that draws upon the philosophy and practices of North American and Eastern healing traditions.

    Prerequisite:  None.

    Required textbooks: 
    None.

    Scheduling: 
    Sunday July 30 to Friday August 4. This workshop is now open for registration. Space is limited. It is best to register early as the workshop often fills up.

    Location: 
    Maple Sweet, Rocklyn, Ontario.

    Tuition: 
    $850.

    Food and Accommodations:  The fee for the workshop includes the cost of meals and accommodations. The meals are mostly vegetarian and organic as much as possible. Indoor accommodations consist of shared rooms that sleep two persons. Occasionally single rooms are available. Tenting is also an option.


    Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

    You may register here.

    Advanced Spirit of Herbs and Applied Spirit of Herbs are not required workshops for the Traditional Herbalist program. However, if you are interested in more deeply developing the energetic component of herbalism, these workshops are highly recommended. If you decide to attend one or both of these workshops, each of them will satisfy the equivalent of 50 hours of the clinical apprenticeship requirements of this program (see Traditional Herbalist, Level 2 below).

Online Courses Offered by Living Earth

Our online distance learning courses were originally offered as classroom courses. The online versions of these courses are almost identical to the classroom versions. They consist of streamed audio lectures recorded during the classroom version of the courses, including any questions that were asked by the attending students. All of the handouts from these courses are available as PDF files. Once you have enrolled in a particular course you will be able to ask questions of the instructors and communicate with other students via an online forum. This provides you with an opportunity to benefit from the answers to questions asked by other students. Course evaluation is through online quizzes and exams.

You may enroll in online courses at any time and complete them at your own pace. Some courses have prerequisites and must be taken in the appropriate order.

A Note on Lecture Times

The hour equivalents for online courses are based on the length of the original classroom course, not including lunch breaks, homework or home study. For any classroom course, there is a certain amount of time that is not devoted to lectures. This can include set-up time; writing and erasing notes on the whiteboard; short breaks; writing and taking up exams, etc. For the online version of the course, this time is not included in the streamed lectures. Therefore if an online course is equivalent to a 30 hour classroom course, this does not indicate that it includes 30 hours of streamed lectures, but rather that it includes all of the lectures from a 30 hour classroom course. The total amount of lecture time will vary depending on the nature of the course content.

College Online or Classroom Courses

Some of the courses that are part of Level 1 of the Traditional Herbalist program are not offered by Living Earth. In the past students took these courses at George Brown College.  If you live in the Toronto area and wish to, you may continue to do so. Alternatives to these courses are available in an online distance format from various colleges through Ontario Learn. You must enroll in these courses directly with George Brown College or through Ontario Learn.

If you live outside the Toronto area or Ontario, you may apply to have classroom or online courses from other colleges and universities accepted as a substitution for any of the George Brown or Ontario Learn courses that are required for the Traditional Herbalist program. In order to be accepted as a substitution, the course must include a similar curriculum and be of a depth that is equal to or greater than the courses required for this program. Acceptance of any courses as equivalents to courses in the Traditional Herbalist program requires the approval of the Program Director.

It is not possible for Living Earth to research all of the courses that might be acceptable substitutions from the many educational institutions that offer similar courses. It is your responsibility to research courses and provide the required information to the School.

College Course Enrollment

Scheduling, procedures and tuition fees of the college courses are not under the control of Living Earth School. You must enroll in these courses directly with George Brown College, through Ontario Learn or any other educational institution that is approved by the Program Director. It is your responsibility to make sure that you enroll in the appropriate courses to meet the requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program. You are also required to provide transcripts indicating your completion of these courses and your final grades.

Workshops Offered by Living Earth

All of the workshops take place in person at specific times and locations. The dates and locations of the workshops are posted well in advance. Whenever a particular workshop is opened for enrollment, you may enroll online at any time as long as there is space available. For the Herbal Field Studies field workshops there is an online Introductory Class that must be taken first as a prerequisite. For each workshop you will be able to continue to ask questions and communicate with other students via an online forum. Course evaluation is through workshop participation, assignments and/or online quizzes and exams, depending on the workshop.

If you are a distance learning student that does not live in southern or central Ontario and are unable to attend the Herbal Field Studies Field Workshops or any of the other weekend workshops, if you should decide to enroll in the Traditional Herbalist program these workshops will be added as supplementary days to the Level 2 Intensive Workshops that make up the advanced part of the program. Distance learning students are required to attend The Spirit of Herbs workshop during its regularly scheduled time.

Traditional Herbalist, Level 2

Level 2 of the Traditional Herbalist program consist of some of the advanced content as well as the practical and clinical parts of the program. It consists of a series of five seven day long workshops. These workshops will be run over two years from April to October. Three will be scheduled in the first year, two in the second year. If you are a distance learning student who does not live in southern or central Ontario and are therefore not able to attend the Herbal Field Studies field workshops or the other weekend workshops, the content of these workshops will be offered as an extension to the Level 2 intensive workshops. This means that for you these workshops will be nine to ten days in length.

Curriculum

The content of the Level 2 advanced workshops consists of the following content from the original weekly class version of the Traditional Herbalist program:

  • Herbal Materia Medica: Practical content.
  • Bach Flower Therapy: Clinical content.
  • Advanced Herbal Field Studies
  • Case Studies
  • Supervised Clinic

In addition to the hourly requirements for the supervised student clinic component of these workshops, you must also complete a required clinic project and guide at least four clients through to the final stages of treatment. During your student clinic, you must also become a client of the clinic in order to experience the results of the treatment first-hand.

Clinical Apprenticeship

In order to complete the requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program, you are required to complete 100 hours of apprenticeship with a qualified herbal practitioner. Apprenticeship hours must be attended in a clinical setting where you are helping and observing your mentor in their clinical practice (observing consultations, making formulations, etc.). Clinical apprenticeship hours must be taken with experienced herbalists who are professional members of the Ontario Herbalists Association or some other qualifying professional association, or with naturopaths for whom Western herbalism is their primary modality. All potential mentor practitioners must be approved by the Program Director.

If you are interested in more deeply developing the energetic component of herbalism, you may wish to attend the Advanced Spirit of Herbs and/or Applied Spirit of Herbs workshops. Although these are not required workshops in the Traditional Herbalist program, each of these workshops will satisfy the equivalent of 50 hours of clinical apprenticeship.

Other Requirements

In addition to the Level 1 and 2 courses and workshops, Traditional Herbalist students must complete several major projects outside normal classroom time. These include, but are not limited to: two herbal monographs and preparing wild-harvested fresh herb tinctures for the school dispensary.

Marks

Upon completion of any course, you will be awarded a final mark or other designation that reflects your final standing in the course as follows:

  • For courses for which you have completed the academic requirements for which it is the policy of the School to award a final mark, you will be given a percentage mark out of 100 that reflects your final standing in the course.
  • For courses for which you have completed the academic requirements for which it is not the policy of the School to award a final mark, you will be given a 'Pass" designation.
  • For courses for which you have not completed the academic requirements, you will be given an "Incomplete" designation.

You will be given the opportunity to view all quizzes and exams once they have been marked, but the quizzes and exams remain the property of Living Earth School. A complete record of your marks will be accessible on our online student database. All assignments will be returned to you once they have been marked.

For Traditional Herbalist college courses, the marking policies will vary depending on the educational institution that offers the course. You are required to provide official transcripts indicating your attendance at these courses and your final grades.

Academic Requirements

In order to successfully fulfill the academic requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program and receive a program diploma, you must satisfy the following

  • Complete and hand in all assignments for each course and workshop in the program.
  • Receive a minimum final grade of 60% for all outsourced college or university courses and Pharmacology.
  • Receive a minimum final grade of 75% for each of the remaining courses and workshops in the program for which a final grade is awarded.
  • Attend a minimum of ten Herbal Field Studies field workshops.
  • Complete the equivalent of 250 hours of supervised clinic.
  • Complete 100 hours of clinical apprenticeship.
  • Complete and receive a minimum passing grade of 75% on all special projects required for the program. These include two herbal monographs and tincture preparation for the school dispensary.
  • Write a final written exam for the program and receive a minimum passing grade of 75% for each subsection of the exam.
  • Write a final oral exam for the program and receive a minimum passing grade of 75% for the exam.

If you are a General Interest student or are enrolled in the Holistic Herbal Studies program and you wish to continue your studies and enroll in the Traditional Herbalist program, you must have met the minimum academic requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program in all courses and workshops that you have taken.

Exam Rewrites

If you are unable to achieve a minimum passing grade on the final exam and/or as a final mark for any online course, you will be granted one opportunity to rewrite the final exam for the course. If, upon rewriting the final exam, you are unable to raise your final mark for any course sufficiently to meet the minimum academic requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program, you may be required to repeat the course.

The decision to require a student to repeat a course is under the sole discretion of the Program Director.

Repeating Courses

If you are required to repeat a course you must make arrangements with the School Administrator. The tuition fee for any course that must be repeated is 50% of the regular fee for the course.

Course Exemptions

You may be eligible for course exemptions from one or more courses in a program. In order to qualify as exemptions, the course must include a similar curriculum, and be equal to or of greater length and depth than the course for which you are applying for an exemption. You must also have achieved an academic standing in the course that meets the academic requirements of the Traditional Herbalist program. The decision regarding the acceptability of previously attended courses as exemptions is under the sole discretion of the Program Director. 

Course exemptions for the Traditional Herbalist program are only allowed for the Level 1 college courses and Pharmacology. In order to be eligible for an exemption, you must provide official transcripts from the school that offered the course, including your final grade for the course

Graduates of the Traditional Herbalist Program

If you successfully graduate from the Traditional Herbalist program, you will receive a Traditional Herbalist diploma and be qualified to use the Traditional Herbalist (TH) designation. In addition, the Traditional Herbalist program is recognized by the Ontario Herbalists Association (OHA). You will also be eligible for professional membership in the OHA and, upon acceptance, to use the Registered Herbalist (RH) designation as long as you remain a professional member in good standing.

It is strongly recommended that all graduates of the Traditional Herbalist program who live in Ontario become professional members of the OHA.

Graduates who do not live in Ontario are also strongly recommended to become a professional member of a professional herbalist association within their province, state or country.

Other Academic Policies

Click here to review the Academic Policies.