Part-Time Classes

I’ve been to other herbal schools and what I found unique about the Blue Otter School is that Karyn and Sarah not only share their wisdom about how plants heal you on both physical and spiritual levels, but they offer very deep and meaningful training on how to be a healer. That is, how to walk in your power and hold yourself, your clients and your community so that we can all realize the potential to be our brightest selves. It’s a rare gift to find an herbal program that takes you beyond studies about the plants and holds you through a deeply transformational experience. This is training for life, not just for being an herbalist. — Tracey Brieger, Full-Time Program 2010

Working with Trauma

In this class we will explore how stress and trauma impact a person physically, emotionally and spiritually. What are some short and long term issues?  How do we identify and unwind these patterns? Treatment approaches and herbs for addressing these issues will be covered. For further details and registration go to Five Flavors.

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

Date: offered twice; February 24th and February 28th, 2016.

Location: Five Flavors Herbs, Oakland, CA


Deep Presence

How do we develop and maintain a deep presence in our lives? Why is this so important? In this class we will explore what gets in the way of being present; physically, emotionally and spiritually. We will uncover the roots of our ‘checking out’ and discuss the importance of being present so that we can show up in our lives and the world with all of our gifts. This experiential class will include visualizations and plant meditations. For further details and to register go to Five Flavors.

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

Date: February 25th, 2016, 7-9pm

Location: Five Flavors Herbs, Oakland, CA


Digestive Health and Formulating Bitters

We will explore the aspects and importance of good digestion and focus on the bitter herbs. This class will also include a tasting and hands on portion exploring different bitters and how to blend them. Class size is limited. For further information and to register go to Alembique.

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

Date: February 27th, 2016, 2-4pm

Location: Alembique Apothecary, Berkeley, CA


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.  Application may be downloaded below.

Schedule: Saturday and Sunday 10-4 (with one hour lunch break) one weekend per month for five months. We will not be offering this course in 2016. We are only able to offer this class in the rare years that we do not offer our Full-Time Course.

Instructors: Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes

Location: Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine


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 Friday morning through Sunday afternoon; at this time we don’t have a trip scheduled for 2016.

Instructor: Sarah Holmes

Location: Marble Mountain Wilderness, California

herb school




giant lobeliaEnergetic 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: Not offered in 2016;  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.

You may download a registration form here: registration.intensive.2014


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


Gourmet Herbal Vegetarian Cookingholistic health
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


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: not currently on our calendar for 2016; Saturday and Sunday 10 – 4