Courses

After graduating from Chinese Medical School where I received a masters degree in herbology and acupuncture, I took a full-time herbal coure at Blue Otter School. I found their class to fill in a lot of the gaps that I felt were missing from my education. I loved their emphasis on honoring the physical and spiritual aspects of the plants. Amazing experience~ — Tatiana, Full Time Program 2007

Full-time Certificate Program | Part-time Classes | Download Forms

FULL-TIME CERTIFICATE PROGRAM


The Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine full-time program runs for four months and is designed for  serious students who are ready to fully immerse themselves in the world of plants, spirit, medicine and self. Our students leave grounded in basic practitioner skills, plant knowledge, energetics and a love of and delight in the plants. This course is geared toward clinical practice.

We will be working in the garden, tending to stands in the wild, spending time in nature, making herbal medicines, spending time in classroom instruction and taking the plants internally. Additionally, we will be spending time in meditation, discussing the political context of health care, getting our hands dirty and laughing.

Curriculum includes; 400+ hours (you may download the full syllabus below):

  • Materia medica – physical and spirit medicinal properties of the plants
  • Energetics – energetic interactions of plants with each other and with people
  • Cultivating techniques – starting plants from seed or root, planting and harvesting techniques, growing plants, soil preparations
  • Medicine making – how to make herbal preparations
  • Body systems – basic foundation for understanding the body’s physical functions
  • Case studies – working cases to learn assessment and herbal formulations
  • Animal care – using plants for the health of animals
  • Practitioner skills/ethics – what it means to be a practitioner and work with people

Schedule: April – July; exact dates for 2015 will be posted shortly. 

We will not be offering this course in 2014 and will resume offering it in 2015. We encourage you to apply early for 2015!

School is in session April through July. Classes are held Monday through Thursday 9:30am – 4:30pm, with a one-hour break for lunch. We will have some field trips that take us outside of these hours. There is a one week break from school midway through the four month session.  

Class size: Classes are limited to a maximum of 16 students in order to ensure individual attention.

Tuition : $4,800 in 2013 (with class overtime, comes to less than $12/hour). Tuition covers the cost of in-class medicine making supplies. Students are responsible for their own food and lodging.

Instructors: Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes

Application process: Applications to the school are accepted year round. We fill up quickly, so early applications are encouraged. Applications will be considered on a first come and space-available basis.

In addition to the written application there is a phone interview with the instructors. Applications may be downloaded application.fulltime or requested by phone, mail or email. Contact us for exact deadlines and schedule as the dates vary each year.

Please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page as well.

Visiting
Prospective students are welcome to sit in on a class or meet with the instructors with prior arrangement. Siskiyou County is beautiful and most people enjoy their visit to the area. We only offer this to students seriously considering the full-time program.

 

 

PART-TIME CLASSES
Beginning Herbalism | Advanced Herbalism | Gourmet Herbal Vegetarian Cooking | Herbal Backpacking


Beginning Energetic Herbalism

Explore the nature of plants; their energy and emotional, spiritual and physical uses. This course will also include; medicine making, plant meditations, and how to incorporate the plants into your life. We have not offered this course for several years and are excited to announce that we will be offering it again in 2014! Application may be downloaded below.

Schedule: Saturday and Sunday 10-4 (with one hour lunch break) one weekend per month for five months, dates for 2014 are: March 15-16, April 26-27, May 17-18, June 14-15, July 12-13

Tuition: $600 . 

Instructors: Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes

Location: Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine

 

 

The following four classes will be taught by Sarah Holmes in Oakland, CA.

Spring into Spring

Learn about the energy of the season and how to bring yourself into harmony with nature. We’ll cover food, lifestyle choices and herbs that can support us to make this transition and be in vibrant health throughout the season.

Schedule: April 3; 6:30 – 8pm

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

Location: Homestead Apothecary in Oakland, CA; contact Homestead for registration

 

Plant Meditation

This is your invitation to spend an evening with the energy of the plants. Hear about the concept of herbal energetics and spend time in meditation. We will be ingesting plants and sharing experiences.

Schedule: April 4; 7-8:80

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

LocationFive Flavors Herbs in Oakland, CA; contact Five Flavors for registration

 

Menopause

Learn about natural ways to work with the challenges and celebrations of menopause. We’ll explore common experiences of menopause and how they can be approached physically, emotionally and spiritually through the use of herbs.

Schedule: April 6; 10 -1

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

LocationFive Flavors Herbs in Oakland, CA; contact Five Flavors for registration

 

Sexual Health

For a truly healthy reproductive system we need to look at the broader picture of sexual health and what that means. This class will explore the societal context of sexuality and gender as well as look at strategies for working with reproductive health imbalances from an energetic perspective; which includes physical, emotional and spiritual.

Schedule: April 6; 2-5

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

LocationFive Flavors Herbs in Oakland, CA; contact Five Flavors for registration

 

garden

The following three classes will be taught by Karyn Sanders at Sacred Plant Traditions: A Center for Herbal Studies in Charlottesville, VA.

Healing and Releasing Trauma, Pain and Victimness

Schedule: June 27, 2014; 10 – 5

Instructor: Karyn Sanders

Location: Sacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, VA; contact Sacred Plant Traditions for registration and details

 

Energetic Healing from an Indigenous Perspective

Schedule: June 28, 2014; 9 – 5

Instructor: Karyn Sanders

LocationSacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, VA; contact Sacred Plant Traditions for registration and details

 

Working with Animal Medicines

Schedule: June 29, 2014; 9-3

Instructor: Karyn Sanders

LocationSacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, VA; contact Sacred Plant Traditions for registration and details

 

 

 

Herbal Backpacking Trips
Spend a weekend backpacking in the mountains and learning about herbs. In addition tobackpacking in a beautiful setting we will be identifying plants, learning about medicinal uses of plants, discussing a minimal impact on our environment and doing plant meditations.

A registration form must be submitted with your deposit and may be downloaded backpack.registration or requested below. Each trip is limited to 6 people.

Schedule: July 18-20, 2014 Friday morning through Sunday afternoon.

Tuition: $275 per trip (includes group dinner on Friday and Saturday)

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

Location: Marble Mountain Wilderness, California

 

 Plant Meditation Weekend

Spend a weekend immersed in nature and the healing energy of plants. We will spend time sitting in meditation with plants, observing our own energy and feeling the energy of different plants moving through us. We will spend much time outdoors as well, as weather permits. No prior herbal or meditation experience is required.

Instructors: Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes

Schedule: fall 2014 dates TBA; Saturday and Sunday 10 – 4

Tuition: $180; You may download the registration form here: registration.meditation

 

Energetic Herbalism Intensive

Come learn about Native American energetic herbalism during this week long intensive. Here is a chance to immerse yourself in another perspective toward herbal healing. This class is for herbal practitioners. The week will include plant meditations, indigenous perspectives on health and healing, relating to the plants and nature, working with people and working their cases from an energetic perspective. Class time will include:

  • plant meditations and sitting with the plants
  • practicing energy techniques
  • finding the root of an imbalance
  • how to be/work with clients energetically
  • putting a formula together
  • case studies; bring your cases to work energetically

Instructor: Karyn Sanders, primary instructor assisted by Sarah Holmes

Schedule: November 3 – 8 , 2014   9 – 4 daily (This class is for herbal practitioners only.)

We may go longer some days if we are in a flow and we will have a one hour lunch break.

Tuition: $800. Price includes lunch and dinner each day. Meals will be vegetarian and students will assist with meal clean-up. A list of local lodging options will be provided upon registration.

Contact us for registration details. Registration deadline is October 3, 2014. Contact us after that date about space availability. You may download a registration form here: registration.intensive.2012


Advanced Energetic Herbalism
Our part-time advanced program is by teacher approval only, and is only open to students who have successfully completed our four month, full-time program. This course is offered to allow our graduates an opportunity to advance and deepen their skills; and serves as a mentor-ship as our students begin their practices as herbalists.

We will be focusing on working with energy, chronic and serious illness,  advanced formulation,  interview skills, plant cultivation/gardening, deepening work with self and practitioner skills.

Instructors: Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes

Schedule: this class meets for four days, four times per year

 

holistic healthGourmet Herbal Vegetarian Cooking
This class will focus on basic gourmet cooking techniques such as: cutting skills, reductions, flashing, how to create recipes, cooking and creating herbal foods. Come learn how to incorporate your medicine into amazing looking and tasting meals!

A registration form must be submitted with your deposit and may be downloaded here or requested below.

Schedule:  10-4 with one hour lunch break. Bring your own lunch. Students will get to taste all food made, but full meals are not provided. This course is not scheduled at this time.
Tuition: tba
Instructor: Karyn Sanders

 

Download Forms:

Syllabus | application.fulltime | beginning.registration | Backpack Registration | Gourmet Application | Gourmet Registration