Roots Herbalist Certificate Course

The Roots Herbalist Training and Certificate program is a hands-on, experiential, herbalist training that personally guides you to developing a deep understanding of the profound healing abilities of medicinal plants. With what you learn here, you can immediately begin to safely and effectively use herbs in your daily life to transform your health.

The Vital Ways Roots Herbalist Courses is based on traditional wisdom, integrated with modern science, and informed by your intuition.

If you’ve tried to learn herbalism before, from books or the internet and found it challenging, you’ll really appreciate our course.

Herbalism is a Living Medicine, that can only be truly learned in a hands-on way, as you feel the effects of herbs in your own body, and make medicine from them with your own hands.

Our Number One Priority at Vital Ways Is To Support You To Truly Learn this Beautiful Art and Science, So We Provide:

  • A Hands-On Experiential Class: All of our classes are hands-on. If you’re online, we ship you herbs right to your doorstep.
  • Support of a Community: We learn better together, and when you join Vital Ways, you join a community of like-minded people, whether in-person or online who share your passion for healing and inspire, support, and encourage each other on the herbalist’s path.
  • Personal Guidance by Experts in the Field: Our nationally renowned herbalists and teachers guide you and take an active interest in your learning.

Roots Herbalist Certificate

If you want to feel confident to step into the role of a trusted healer and herbalist, able to offer effective health guidance to your loved ones, then this course may be right for you.

You know that plants are the most ancient medicine and that they are as useful now as ever, as they unlock our innate healing potential in ways that nothing else can.

In your herbal journey at Vital Ways, you also learn advanced detoxification strategies, wild plant identification, effective stress management, herbal formulation, medicine making, tongue and pulse analysis and much more.

Course Highlights:

Hands-On Experiential Learning: We Ship You Herbs Every Month

Personal Guidance From Caring Highly Experienced Instructors: We want you to learn, so take an active role.

Holistic for the Most Effective Healing Approach: For whole person healing.

Live and Recorded Classes: You can re-watch all classes, with unlimited access to recordings.

Learning with a Great Community: For Fun, and Inspiration

You can learn the skills to become the healer that you envision yourself to be, to transform your health, and that of your loved ones. And if you feel called, you can even use your herbal skills for a new career in healing.

All Classes can be taken Online, In-person and are Recorded for unlimited viewing and for self-paced learners

The Roots Program is a complete Community Herbalist Course and can be a part of our 4 year Clinical Herbalist Program.

Apply Here
Vital Ways Herbalism Training

“This class changed me from the inside-out. I never dreamed I could learn such amazing herbal healing skills so quickly. I feel so lucky to have found the Vital Ways program and to have been able to learn with such  passionate and caring instructors.”

Vital Ways Institute Health Coaching Certification

“I received an amazing education at Vital Ways that gave me new perspectives, and abilities with herbs and mental-emotional healing. Chris and the rest of the educators have the deepest integrity for healing and led the way with their commitment and passion for holistic health. I couldn’t be more thankful that I found, and was able to attend this program.”


Specific Topics of Study:

Your Guides

Roots Herbalist Certificate Program Co-Directors

Christopher Smaka, Vital Ways Director

Chris is the owner and director of the Vital Ways Center for Holistic Herbalism, our 1-4 year Holistic Clinical Herbalist School, Community Free Clinic, and The Herbal Apothecary, a community based herb store.

He has been fortunate to study herbalism and holistic health since 1995 with amazing educators in the US and in India, China and Nepal.

In his clinical practice, Chris combines traditional herbalism with modern advancements in holistic health, from nutrition, functional medicine and mind-body approaches for whole person healing. In his spare time, he is most likely to be found in the woods with his Siberian husky, sitting on a bed of moss, stooped over a patch of colorful fungi, field lens in hand.

Vital Ways Instructors Health Coach Certification

Elise Krohn M. Ed

Elise is an educator, author of several books, herbalist, and native foods specialist living in the Northwest. During her 15 years of experience teaching in tribal communities, she has worked with elders and cultural specialists to develop community gardens, food sovereignty resources, a program on healing addiction, and curricula on chronic disease prevention. She also has over 10 years of experience as a clinical herbalist, and has authored two books and numerous articles on herbal medicine and wild foods. Elise is currently a Fellow in Ethnobotany and Ethnonutrition at the Center for World Indigenous Studies.

2021 Schedule

Class Dates and Times

One Saturday and Sunday per month 

10:00AM – 5:00PM

May 22,23

June 12, 13

July 17,18

August 14,15

September   18,19

October 16,17

November 13,14

December 4,5

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$2100 includes all supplies and materials

“My time at Vital Ways deepened my understanding of holistic health and nutrition, and taught me how to use medicinal plants in a powerful way. It also gave me a sense of connection and fostered deep personal growth that I didn’t expect. It was a truly transformative journey, that I am eternally grateful for.”

Vital Ways School of Holistic Nutrition and Clinical Nutrition Health Coaching Certification

Vital Ways is a Proud Member School
of the American Herbalist Guild

The only professional organization of Herbalists in the United States.  All of our students can become student members of the Guild and all of our coursework counts towards the requirements for professional membership.

About the School:

Vital Ways is a 1-4 year Holistic Herbalism School and Education Center, Free Community Clinic and Apothecary in Portland, Oregon, that has trained over 750 people over the past 10 years. We have programs of study ranging from 1-4 years for people of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners.

Our accomplished and highly experienced faculty are passionate about herbalism, holistic health and guiding you to become an effective herbal healer. Our programs have flexible schedules to fit modern people’s busy lives, are priced to fit most budgets and we have a vibrant and inspiring online and in-person student community.

Our Location

We are located in the very lively NE Alberta Arts district at 2714 NE Alberta street, surrounded by food, art galleries, cute unique shops, coffee houses and true Portland culture.

Phone: 503-914-7908