• An Indigenous Perspective on Wildcrafting

    Join host Karyn Sanders as she shares her perspective on wildcrafting, or gathering plants from the wild; exploring the politics and ethics of this practice.

  • Interview with Robin Wall Kimmerer

    Sarah Holmes interviews Robin Wall Kimmerer about her new book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.

  • Getting your Digestion Ready for Winter – November 21, 2013

    Sarah Holmes discusses strategies for good digestion. Replay from previous week due to last minute schedule change.

  • The Herbal Highway – November 7, 2013

    Karyn Sanders answers listener’s questions as they call in.







  • Honoring our Ancestors and Strengthening Community – October 31, 2013

    Listen in to Sarah Holmes as she talks about honoring and connecting with our ancestors, how this can help us to strengthen community, and the plants that can support us in this work.

  • Breast Health – October 24, 2013

    Sarah Holmes discusses cancer prevention and breast health.

  • The Conservation of American Ginseng – October 17, 2013

    Sarah Holmes interviews Susan Leopold of United Plant Savers about their conservation efforts for American Ginseng.

  • Interview with Deb Soule – October 3, 2013

    Karyn Sanders interviews author and herbalist Deb Soule about her new book: How to Move Like a Gardener

  • Welcome to Fall! – September 19, 2013

    Join Sarah Holmes for suggestions on staying healthy this fall. Sarah will talk about the energy of the season, how to be in alignment with it and herbs to support you in this process.

  • The Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine provides a unique learning experience blending grounded knowledge of the plants with an understanding of energy and self. At Blue Otter, we are dedicated to passing on a First Nations’ understanding of how energy and light flow through the body to create our balance and we look to the plants to facilitate this process.

    In order to attain balance, the mind, body, spirit, family, community and the greater connection to all must be in harmony. As is true with healing, we believe that to learn the practice of herbalism, we need to be engaged on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.

  • Our goal is to train individuals in the Native American tradition – providing knowledge and skills, and nurturing the individual student’s talents. We approach herbalism from an indigenous perspective; offering a non-Western, non-scientific perspective of viewing medicine, health, the plants and the earth.

    The plant people were the first beings, our elders and teachers, and hold the oldest knowledge. Plants were also people’s first medicine and we are committed to passing on this knowledge. We offer a full-time four month certificate program as well as part-time courses. Class size is kept small to ensure a productive learning environment.

  • Many people ask us, ‘Why Blue Otter?’ We spent a good deal of time thinking of a name as we were envisioning our school. Since the heart of the school comes from the Native American teachings Karyn was raised with, we included one of her family plants, blue cohosh, into the name. Besides being a beautiful and elegant plant, blue cohosh is deer medicine; heart medicine. The energy of the otter brings a grace, gentleness, playfulness and generosity to the school that we also felt was key to the learning environment we were creating.

    We had been teaching for many years prior to the creation of this school, but this was a new level of immersion into the world of plants that we wanted to create for our students. We moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the mountains of far, Northern California and opened the doors of the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine in 2003.

  • At the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine we offer a variety of learning experiences from week-long intensives to one (or a few) weekend or one evening. We have courses for the person who wants to incorporate herbs into his or her own life for personal use to advanced clinical levels of training.

    We approach teaching from a Native American, energetic perspective; that learning as well as healing needs to engage us on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. We keep class size small in order to ensure a productive learning environment.
    For further information about our courses, click here: Blue Otter Courses

  • The Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine is located in the mountains of Siskiyou County in Northern California. Siskiyou County borders Oregon and is home to Mount Shasta, the Marble, Scott, Cascade Eddy and Trinity Mountain Ranges and the Klamath, Scott and Salmon Rivers. Numerous creeks, alpine lakes, animals and plants abound in this county sparsely populated by people.

    Our land is seven miles outside the town of Fort Jones in the beautiful Scott Valley. Just over nine acres, the land holding the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine has a forested hillside, open meadow, a creek, stunning views of Mt. Shasta and is adjacent to the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

  • The Herbal Highway is a weekly radio show that is dedicated to providing free herbal information to the public. The Herbal Highway enhances the community’s knowledge of herbal medicine and alternative choices to standard medical practices for healing. The producers of The Herbal Highway actively support and promote Indigenous land rights, protection of sacred sites and the sustainability of the Earth as integral parts of individual, community and global healing.

    The Herbal Highway was Karyn Sander’s vision which she now maintains through the support of Sarah Holmes who also hosts the show. Both Karyn and Sarah volunteer their time to produce and host the program. The Herbal Highway has been airing live on public radio since 1997. In 2018 Emiliano Lemus and Renee Camila joined the team of hosts.

    The Herbal Highway airs on KPFA, the oldest public radio station in the country. KPFA is completely listener sponsored and is located in Berkeley, California. You can listen live through the web and listen to the archives anytime. Episodes have been archived on the KPFA website since 2003.