503 914 7908 | info@portlandherbalschool.com

Foundation Holistic Herbalist Training Program

Vital Ways is a dynamic and exciting multi-year Holistic Herbalism School and Education Center that has trained over 700 people over the past 10 years in herbalism, nutrition and holistic health. We have programs of study that range from 1-3 years for people of all levels from absolute beginners to advanced clinic practitioners.

Our accomplished and highly experienced faculty are passionate about herbalism, holistic health and education. 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 student community.

Foundation Herbalist Training Program Overview

The Foundation Holistic Herbalist Training program teaches students all the fundamentals of holistic herbalism including traditional and modern use of medicinal plants, Holistic Evaluation Skills, Medicinal Herb Cultivation, Wild Plant Identification, Essentials of Nutrition, Stress Management, Herbal Formulation, and Medicine Making.

Our comprehensive holistic herbal program enables students to use medicinal herbs that grow in our environment with confidence to help themselves and others be more vibrantly healthy. Our programs open avenues for further exploration and lay the foundation for advanced study.

Upon successful completion of the Foundation Program students are eligible to apply to the Advanced Holistic Herbalist Training Program.

Specific Topics of study:

  • Medicinal Plants: Traditional and time honored European, Asian and Native American herbal medicine combined with cutting edge modern scientific and state of the art clinical understanding of medicinal plants.

  • Botany for Herbalists: Northwest Wild Plant Identification

  • Wildcrafting: Harvest your own medicinal plants and mushrooms.

  • Essentials of Physiology for the Holistic Herbal Healer

  • Foundations of Nutrition: Applied, Individualized, Body Positive Food as Medicine

  • Holistic Approach to Stress Transformation and Emotional Balance: Holistic approach to a vibrant mind-body balance.

  • Medicine Making: Infusions, decoctions, infused honeys, oils, salves, tinctures, herbal vinegars and more.

  • Holistic Evaluation Skills: Tongue, Pulse, Reading the Body

  • Northwest Wild Foods: Identification, Harvest, Preparation

  • Ethnobotany & Ethnonutrition: Northwest cultural ecosystems and native plant foods

1 weekend per month for 9 months from March-November
Friday 230PM-600PM
Saturday and Sunday 10AM-500PM

2020 Dates

March 20-22

April 17-19

May 8-10

June 5-7

July 17-19

August 21-23

September 25-27

October 9-11

November 6-8

None, this program is for people with no prior experience, and for those with holistic health or herbal experience looking to broaden and deepen their skills and knowledge.


Yes, that’s exactly what Vital Ways teaches. We educate people on how to use medicinal plants for healing, in a holistic way, that includes natural living, nutrition, and mental emotional health.

Yes, The Roots Holistic Herbalist Training Program was created specifically for people with less time and who don’t want to invest a lot of resources. It has a flexible, part time, once monthly weekend schedule, is very reasonably priced, and still teaches comprehensive and thorough holistic herbalism.

We created our classes to be a diverse, engaging and balanced educational experience so that our students were constantly learning, and evolving their abilities and skills. Our dynamic classes engage our herbal students in many different activities to ensure that learning is maximized, and students are never bored. We place significant emphasis on learning things first hand so that our herbal students acquire a significant amount of real world experience with herbs, nutrition, tongue and pulse evaluation, medicine making, and more.

We spend 25% of our time in the field, in the beautiful forests, fields and mountains. In addition, we take regular breaks from our classroom activities to go on local herb forays in the city or to nearby parks.

Between classes students continue to grow and develop their skills on their own schedule with a guided homework assignment that reinforces what was learned in class and prepares them for the upcoming class. In addition, for those with extra time, there are many opportunities to do more, by participating in our online message board, attending events at the school, apprenticing in the Apothecary, and having a clinic appointment. Students also regularly organize study groups, go on plant walks outside of class, and get together for medicine making gatherings or library usage at the school. Though all that is necessary is covered in class and in homework, there are lots of opportunities for more involvement for those interested.

We completely agree that holistic health’s lack of oversight has created an environment where it can be hard to know what to trust. We take the responsibility of providing trustworthy, efficacious and safe holistic health information extremely seriously. Our faculty only teach things that we’ve learned and vetted from our own in depth research, and training, and our extensive clinical experiences. Our student’s safety, and that of those they help, is always top priority. To that end, we feature herbal safety classes including toxic plant ID, pharmaceuticals-herb interactions, and research methodologies.

Both programs cover very similar content but the Foundation Program has more months and days per month and more educators. Both programs offer students a dynamic and extensive introduction to all the fundamental aspects of holistic herbalism.

Our vibrant and inspiring school community is a great place to meet and connect with amazing like-minded people. Many friendships are fostered and connections are made in the school that continue to last after graduation. We believe that support and inspiration from connection to like-minded health conscious individuals is another of the transformative aspects of Vital Ways. For people wanting to develop friendships and benefit from community there are ample opportunities in the school, center and apothecary.

At Vital Ways, we’ve seen that proper nutrition is an essential part of holistic health. Herbalists trained at Vital Ways are given an extensive nutrition skillset and toolkit, that is based on the most useful and latest information that has been tested in our clinics and practices.

Yes! About ¼ of Roots Program students go into the Advanced Herbalist Training Program, to deepen their holistic herbalism skills. And after the Advanced Course, they can become a Clinical Herbalist Student Practitioner in the Free Clinic.

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

Email: info@portlandherbalschool.com

So, would you like to become a Holistic Herbalist in 2020?
Class is filling up fast, so apply now!

Click here to apply.

To Contact us for a tour or to ask questions, please send us an email at info@portlandherbalschool.com or give us a call at 503-914-7908


“Vital Ways has been the most positively impactful program in my educational pursuits in nutrition, herbalism and wellness with each year adding another deep and important layer to my knowledge and skills. It has provided me with the ability to use herbs and nutrition with a methodology and structure to help clients with confidence. It has been invaluable and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Farrah, Class of 2016

“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.”

Lila, Class of 2015

“This class changed me from the inside-out. I never dreamed I could make such progress so quickly. I achieved permanent results and gained knowledge that will last me a lifetime. “

Celeste, Class of 2016

“My time at Vital Ways deepened my understanding of holistic health and nutrition,gave me a sense of connection and fostered deep personal growth.”

Amelia, Class of 2016