Northeast School of Botanical Medicine

Cultivating Herbal Medicine


Wellcome to the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine's website. As we are just beginning this venture, items of interest will emerge slowly and steadily. Myself and my technological and herby cohort Rob Brown Llwyd will be posting and updating things relevant and herbal as we enter into this electronic foray.

If you're e-mailing me personally, please be patient if waiting for a reply. The main reason being that I have not a computer yet. For those who don't know me, until last month I lived without the convenience of electricity (the last ten and a half years that is), but now that livewires hook this new home up, I'll shop around probably for a reasonable PC and then learn how to use it (Rob is currently typing and entering all this for me).

Some of our ideas include posting the school's handouts and other educational resources, facilitating communication from past present and future students, herbal first aid stories, link-ups with comrades in the herb world, pertinent tidbits and basically another avenue to continue the infiltration of grassroots medicine back into mainstream consciousness. Presently, we hope you enjoy the NSBM course information, which is all that we have had time to put up as of yet.

At this point, I'd like to thank Rob, Meg and Amy for being exceptional apprentices and exceptional persons.


The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine offers three programs and an apprenticeship to help students gain a comprehensive understanding of the use and application of herbal medicine.

The first program is a six-month, three-days-per-week residency course. The second is one-weekend-per-month for seven months. These two programs offer an in-depth view of historical and traditional uses of herbal medicine comingling with current scientific thought and applicable studies. The third program is an advanced clinical training for the practicing herbalist. And lastly is a traditional-styled apprenticeship. All of these are described more fully within these pages. The primary instructor for these programs is 7Song (see biography).

There are two primary focuses of the school. The first is to train students as clinical herbalists. At this juncture in medical history, relatively few herbalists are available for people to turn to with their health concerns, even as the herbal industry sees tremendous growth. The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine looks to train students in the role of clinical herbalist, that is, having the skills necessary to help discern an individual's specific health needs. This includes learning to distinguish between acute and chronic ailments, having a systematic method of diagnosis, couseling skills, knowing when to suggest other forms of treatment and testing, and an understanding of individualized herbal formulation. It also encompasses a holistic overview of helping people with their daily activities such as diet, exercise and lifestyle.

The second emphasis is on field botany - the science of plant identification. Throughout the program we will be going on plant walks and learning to distinguish the intricate details that make accurate plant species identification possible. By the end of the program, students should have a familiar grasp on how to use a technical field guide and be able to identify plants wherever they go on their travels.

Students will also be gathering (wildcrafting) and preparing herbal medicines from some of the plants we identify on these class excursions.

The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine strives to make herbal medicine available to all. To this end, we look to train students as community-based herbalists - someone their family, town, neighbors and other community can turn to with their primary health concerns. The time is ripe to bring herbal medicine back to the forefront of health care. We are in a unique position to help facilitate that movement as skilled herbalists.


Enrollment is limited to 18 students.

Please note, as herbal medicine continues its rise in popularity, classes tend to fill up early. Please call or write early on if you are interested in any of these programs.

Classes begin May 15 and end November 1, 2000. The program is approximately 360 hours of class time. Classes generally meet three times weekly.


There is usually a one-hour lunch or dinner break.

Other classes include two eight-day field trips, craft fairs, guest speakers and special classes (see individual class descriptions for details).

Tuition The cost of the program is $1850. A $250 non-refundable deposit is due upon acceptance, with the remainder due by May 22. Please let me know if you need to make special arrangements.

Additional Costs An itemized list of the items named below will be sent upon acceptance.



Anatomy and Physiology We will cover the major organ systems of the body and how herbs influence them. A current standard anatomy and physiology textbook will be required.

Business Practicum How to make a livelihood using your skills and knowledge of the plants. Suggestions will be presented on how to develop your herbal business acumen and how to continue after this program.

Clinical Evaluation/Diagnostic Skills One focus of this program is to train students in the fine art of clinical herbalism. This is the skil drawn upon to discern an individual's constitution and personal needs. This class incorporates a variety of diagnostic techniques including client intake. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eclectic specific indications, Ayurveda, an understanding of Allopathic ('conventional') testing, pulse taking, tongue diagnosis, and reading other clues and symptoms to develop a comprehensive holistic picture of a client's health.

Counseling Skills Well-developed counseling skills are an important aspect of practicing as a clinical herbalist. Listening skills, gaining clients' trust, and deciphering a client's needs are some of the concepts taught here.

Craft Fairs and Other Events 7Song participates in craft fairs, symposia and gatherings as an herbal consultant and teacher, offering advice and first aid (free clinic) to the public. Students are encouraged to attend these practical learning experiences - at least one is required.

Field Trips There are two types of field trips. The first are weekly day hikes through the local environments around Ithaca. The others are two extended field trips in which we travel as a group for eight days, initially setting up a base camp and then exploring the surrounding area. Past trips have included Southern Ohio and the Adirondacks. On these expeditions we hone our skills in plant identification, wildcrafting and medicine making.

First Aid This class will focus on practical applications of herbal medicines and other therapies garnered from years of experience working at first aid stations. We will learn how to design and prepare a first aid kit for the treatment of stings, rashes, pain, diarrhoea, burns, injuries, and other mishaps.

Guest Speakers Knowledgable teachers will be offering their experience and expertise throughout the program.

Herbal Formulation This class is to teach and demonstrate how to prepare individualized herbal medicine to meet clients' specific needs.

Herbal Pharmacy/Medicine Making Students will learn to gather and prepare their own herbal medicines including tinctures, oils, salves, and teas. This class will cover the continuum of herbal pharmacy, from gathering the proper plant through processing and refining it and learning how to best extract its properties.

Herbalist as Educator Herbalists are almost by definition teachers, as we usually help instruct our clients, family, and community how to effectively use herbal medicines in our daily lives. In this class, students will be making presentations and learning the skills necessary to be good teachers.

Materia Medica An in-depth look at the plants themselves. We will discuss the habitats, botanical characteristics, chemistry, medicinal preparations, and uses of over 100 plants. There will be a focus on plants which students can identify and gather themselves.

Networking and Resources This class is to help students learn how and where to search for further information. We will discuss books, mentorships, computer networking, conferences, and other ways to stay engaged in the lifelong endeavor of herbalism.

Plant Identification/Field Botany This is one of the major emphases of this program. Students will gain a thorough understanding of how to identify plants using field guides, botanical keys, and the tools of field botany. The goal of this class is for students to feel comfortable to accurately identify plants anywhere.

Student Clinic This is a supervised clinic led by 7Song to help students learn the fine art and skill of constitutional assessment and treatment. We will see clients and learn the skills to make effective recommendations and formulations.

Wild Edibles Meeting and eating our wild plant friends.

Wildcrafting Wildcrafting is the root of herbalism - travelling, identifying, gathering and getting a feel for the plants where they grow. We will cover harvesting techniques with a strong emphasis on the practicalities and ethical considerations of gathering wild plants.


The weekend program is held one weekend per month for seven months, from April through October. Its format and classes are similar to those of the regular program, though condensed. The first weekend is April 21-23, 2000. Class enrollment is limited to 14 students.


Tuition $875 covers the basic tuition. A $200 nonrefundable deposit is due upon acceptance. Other costs include lodging, tools, books, alcohol, and herb supplies. A more complete list of total expenses will be sent upon acceptance.

Location Classes will be held at my house near Ithaca, NY. Directions will be sent upon acceptance.

Housing For the weekend, Ithaca is replete with bed and breakfasts, motels, and camping options. You will probably need to make reservations for some of these.

Applications and Questions If you have any questions about this program or would like an application, please call (between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm EST) or write.



This program presents an opportunity for practicing herbalists to broaden and hone their skills in clinical herbalism. Clinical herbalism as defined here pertains to understanding a client's physiological and energetic constitution/body type as seen through the lens of Eclectic medicine, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Allopathy. It also includes learning to ascertain which herbs and formulations are needed to help correct disease and imbalance.

Class time is divided between discussion of practical and theoretical ideas of constitutional evaluation, student clinic and preparation and formulation of herbal medicine. In the clinical setting, students will be assessing individual clients and helping to formulate herbal medicines and adjunct therapies for their needs. 'Western' herbs will be emphasised in their treatment protocols and preparations. Future classes will involve discussing these clients' progress.

Students will also be asked to send in and present case studies to be reviewed in class to reinforce practical suggestions and medicines.

Basic herbalism will not be covered, as this program is geared toward the practitioner and serious student of herbal medicine.

Dates This program will be held in three sessions of four days each in the Spring (April), Summer (August), and Fall (October). Classes will begin on Thursdays at 4:00PM and end on Sundays at 3:00PM. Please write for specific dates.

Tuition $700. Deposit of $200 due upon acceptance.

Please Note Class is limited to 16 participants. For an application or more information, please call or write.


The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine offers three positions for apprentices. This is not a casual work/study program, but rather a demanding, active apprenticeship where you will be working closely with 7Song from April through December and learning the daily ins and outs of being an herbalist. Longer apprenticeships are also available.

I look for people who are interested in training as clinical herbalists. Apprentices are invited to sit in on client consultations when appropriate.

There is no tuition cost for apprentices, though they must provide their own housing, books, tools, etc.

They are also welcome to attend other programs and conferences in which I teach, including the weekend and advanced western clinical herbalism programs.

If interested, please call for an interview.


7Song, director of Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, has been studying, teaching, and pursuing his love and interest of plants for over 15 years. He is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild and has taught throughout the United States. He has attended the California School of Herbal Studies (1983) and the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine (1994) as well as devoting much of his time to self-study.

He has a clinical practice in Ithaca, NY, specializing in men's health, long-term constitutional health care and first aid.

7Song has made an in-depth study of field botany and enjoys traveling, keying-out, and investigating the intricate details of plants as well as wildcrafting and preparing his own medicines.

7Song has a deep passionate love of plants. He believes in working to bring herbal medicine back into mainstream and everyday health care. 7Song envisions a world where herbalists are an integral part of their community.


Nestled in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Ithaca is an engaging college town. The surrounding area contains many beautiful Northeastern habitats including meadows, marshes, forests, fields, streams, and bogs and of course, those wonderful common medicinal weeds.

This is but a brief synopsis of our program at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. Please write or call (between the hours of 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM EST) if you have any questions or would like an application.