Class Descriptions

We've put together a stellar line-up of classes for the 2021 Online Symposium Experience! Here are descriptions of all the Symposium classes.

Recovery, Resistance, Resilience: Trauma-Informed Herbal Healthcare is our Symposium theme this year. Symposium topics include protocols for healing trauma and its wide-ranging impact on health, clinical approaches to specific health conditions such as cancer care, menstrual health, end of life care, herbs for rescue animals, and even – on the lighter side - inspiration for making herbal cocktails. Herbal beginners, herb school students, and experienced practitioners alike will discover new ways to expand their understanding of botanical healing at the Symposium.

But there's more! Use these links to learn about our Pre-Symposium Intensive Webinars and Post-Symposium Intensive Webinar Series on Trauma-Informed Herbalism in Practice and the two keynote presentations from David Hoffmann and Dr. Anjali Taneja.

To learn more about all of our Symposium speakers, see their bios here.

Earn a Certificate in Trauma-Informed Herbalism

Symposium attendees can earn a certificate in Trauma-Informed Herbalism by attending themed sessions in addition to the post-Symposium webinar series. Learn more here.

Botanical Allies for Entheogenic Journeys

Psychedelics have been used throughout millennia for healing are now becoming more integrated into modern psychiatry. Learn more about how clinical herbalists can support their clients currently engaging in psychedelic therapy and think about the ways herbal medicine can be a part of integrative mental health treatment, and as a way to help clients prepare and integrate their experiences. We'll discuss protocols drawn from Western and Chinese herbal strategies as well as other holistic modalities.

Bursera microphylla in Healing Intergenerational Trauma

This class is multi-modal exploration of the medicinal and spiritual aspects of Copal/Torote (Bursera microphylla) in healing intergenerational trauma, incorporating Western and Indigenous approaches, and introducing a new model of engagement with the natural world, A Renewed Indigeneity. It also explores current commercial and environmental threats facing populations of Bursera microphylla in the Borderlands region and explores ethical implications for Western Herbalists.

Clinical Use of Plants for Neurological Disorders

Steve has developed protocols at Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience using herbs, spices, and plant constituents to help neurologic disorders. Learn about his successful clinical trial to combat memory loss and Alzheimer’s dementia. Attendees will explore excitotoxicity, epilepsy, and how certain herbs reduce seizures. We will explore how polyphenols and carotenoids are neuroprotective, slowing progression in Parkinson’s disease. This class will investigate what common herb works as well as a powerful drug in migraine pain and how can we help traumatic head injuries.

Comprehensive Care for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is on the rise globally, driven by deepening allostatic loads and an increasingly toxic environment coupled with newly discovered genetic susceptibilities. Once acute symptoms start, disease trajectory is rapid and unrelenting. Given adequate training in developing resilience through dietary and herbal support, adjunct treatment modalities, and comprehensive directed mental health treatment, the disease trajectory for IBD can be slowed, giving clients a greater sense of aegis over their treatment resulting in a better quality of life and possible remission.

Constitutional Medicine

This class will focus on sharing the evolution of a constitutional, humoral, approach for the eclectic Western herbalist to treating illnesses in the modern age. The better we can understand and treat the terrain and the person behind the condition, the better our results can be in holistic medicine.

Crafting Kickass Cocktails

Let’s face it, if you’re going to indulge in an occasional cocktail, you should make sure that you’re concocting a mouthwatering, masterful mix. Whether you muddle or mist, chiffonade, zest, or twist, Christa will inspire multiple methods of invigorating your cocktail hour. Christa will explore herb-inspired twists on classic cocktails. She will weave in ideas and techniques for preparing herb-, fruit-, and floral-infused alcohol, syrups, shrubs, salts, bitters blends, absinthe, and cordials.

Creating Lasting Plant Partnerships for Clients

As herbalists, we want to make a lasting impact on a client's health and wellbeing. How do we do this? We select plants that speak to the client's deepest longing. In this workshop, Ashley will teach participants how to map out plant actions, energetics, signatures, stories, and create specific preparations that will generate the greatest impact for long-term health. Ashley will draw from her 12 years of clinical practice to help you draw out your own stories and images for clinical application.

Deep Resilience: Beyond Nervines & Adaptogens

Herbalists have incredible tools to address neuroendocrine, immunologic, and digestive dysregulations, as well as psycho-spiritual challenges, that are associated with stress and trauma. The complexity of trauma is met beautifully by the complexity of plants. Weaving psychobiology, pharmacology and traditional use, we’ll discuss key actions and herbs, energetic differentiations and trauma response patterns, formulation, and the roles of somatics, narrative, and relationship in building deep resilience.

Full Circle Healing

Full Circle Healing embodies a learned Puerto Rican-based tradition of exploring and cultivating complete wellness. It encompasses the essential elements of traditional healing based upon needs, views, and resources. Of importance to note is the connection between the environment and the people/things that inhabit it.  While each person's perception of healing is uniquely their own, we all share these elements as a common bond. We will explore these elements which are required for full healing.

Functional Lab Values: An Important Tool for Harm-Reduction

Invalidating a patient's complaints can lead to compounding trauma of not only having to deal with deteriorating symptomology, but also having one’s direct experience of their body be invalidated and dismissed as well as eroded trust in the patient-practitioner relationship. Pairing a functional approach to lab work interpretation with an herbalist’s pattern-based recognition of illness can assist an herbal practitioner in reducing further harm when working with clients in clinical practice.

Helping Clients Through Trauma, Distress, & Bereavement

When a very traumatised client presents in a clinic, herbalists can feel unprepared and lacking in the experience or language to cope with it. Like disease in any physical part of the body, training and guidelines give you a framework upon which to recognise potential hazards, act safely, and base your treatment plan. This presentation aims to treat emotional trauma the same way, helping you work with herbs in this key area.

Herbal Care at End of Life

With the aging of our elders and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has come a growing need for family and community to provide support to those nearing the end of life. This workshop introduces herbal remedies, nourishing recipes, and foundational holistic knowledge for end-of-life caregivers. Students will cultivate a deeper awareness and understanding of holistic tools to support caregivers, family members, and patients nearing the end of their life.

Herbal Support for Rescue Animals

The class will focus on health issues that one might anticipate with rescued dogs and cats. Attendees will leave with information on Western herbs that support internal health. Tenby will discuss how to use aloe vera properly to avoid harmful overdosing. The class is appropriate for a general audience as well as practitioners with animal clients. Questions regarding other animals will be welcome during the discussion time.

Herbs for PTSD

Mental health and nervous system wellness can be affected by many things including diet, exercise, hereditary trauma, stress, and severe upheaval. Join herbalist Elaine Sheff to delve into herbs and natural remedies to strengthen the nervous system. With a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder, Elaine will share short case studies, tips on working with psychiatric medications, protocols for supporting clients wanting to wean off medications, and when to refer clients.

Holistic Grief: A Personal Journey

In this presentation, I will illustrate how I addressed the symptoms of grief using herbal formulas recommended by clinical and/or registered herbalists; and, others who have assisted me in the development of healing practices which gradually alleviate the trauma of loss. Labyrinth meditation, dream and oracle card journaling, plant memorials, altar-building, herbal formulations, homeopathic remedies, and plant walks can be successfully applied to help families memorialize their loved ones.

Holistic Support for Trauma-Associated Sleep Disorders

Trauma-associated sleep disorders (recently acknowledged by the medical community) are a significant contributor to deteriorating health in the general public and need to be addressed more specifically than simple insomnia. Though sleep is incredibly important to our health, we understand very little about it. Because of this, many therapists struggle to find adequate solutions for their clients’ need for peaceful sleep. Let’s explore holistic answers to this unique challenge.

Kinship and the Mycorrhizal Networks of Plants

Long ago, plants followed fungi out of the ocean. Ever since, most have formed mutualistic relationships with fungi and bacteria. What do we know about how these microorganisms help plants produce medicinal compounds? What are their stories? Are there mother plants like there are mother trees? Do plants share their nutrients with each other through fungal connections? What wisdom can we learn from their strategies of thriving even during severe environmental conditions? Join us for a discussion on mycorrhizal networking among plants.

Legendary Lion’s Mane!

We will discuss how this phenomenal fungus may be an indispensable tool for the clinician working with neurological trauma and recovery, neurological integrity, cognitive decline, mood imbalances, and more. We will explore the ethnomycology, scientific discoveries, clinical trials, case studies, and testimonials about this marvelous mushroom. Learn how to incorporate Hericium erinaceus with its herbal allies for cognitive resilience, neurological recovery, neuron integrity, and gut health.

Lichen Sclerosus: Traumatic to Management

Dana was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune condition in 2011 called Lichen Sclerosus. In this presentation, she will outline her clinical perspective on having and supporting this condition in her private practice. She will provide practical herbal protocols that support LS and uncover energetic emotional therapy modalities that were essential to her recovery and management. Learn how to identify system imbalances and admire the imperative role of emotional healing in any wellness journey.

Models for Group Clinical Practice

Trauma-informed herbalism must be financially accessible to those who are most impacted by the effects of systemic exploitation. This presents a unique challenge to herbalists in North America, the vast majority of whom are working in private practice on a fee-for-service basis. How can we offer care to those who need it most while making a reliable living? This is the question that fueled energetic clinical herbalist Gina Badger’s development of group consultations.

Gina will reflect on the strengths and challenges of this model as they have seen in their own practice, as well as sharing some of their inspirations and similar offerings. The first section of the presentation will be anchored in the why of group work: what are the unique benefits it offers to both clients and clinicians? In the latter portion of the presentation, Gina will share some of the nuts and bolts of how they set up their offerings and where they see it going in the future.

Oneirogenic Herbs & Dreaming

An oneirogenic materia medica highlights some major dream-inducing herbs: mugwort, kava, the betonies, bittergrass, diviner's sage, ubulawu, and snowdrop. This class will be a simple introduction to techniques for improving dream recall, observing patterns in the content of dreams, and inducing lucid dreaming. A schema for understanding dream herbs, induction techniques, and imagery/experiential patterns according to the four elements.

Panel: A Place to Breathe - A Discussion of the Film with Street Level Health Team

A PLACE TO BREATHE ( is a documentary exploring the universality of trauma and resilience through the eyes of immigrant and refugee healthcare practitioners and patients. This 86-minute film intertwines the personal journeys of those who are transcending their own obstacles by healing others. Our panel discussion on the film will include members Street Level Health Project’s integrative, trilingual clinical team who collaborate using herbs, nutrition, traditional healing practices, and Western medicine to improve wellness in immigrant communities through culturally responsive approaches.

Recovering Health in the Context of Chronic Illness

'Resilience' can conjure different feelings for different people. This presentation explores three case studies to illustrate how a client-led approach to defining resilience can be made specific to the individual and how the situation allows us to provide support that empowers them in rebuilding health and strength. We’ll focus on herbs appropriate at each point in recovery and how to choose herbs that can smooth out blocks in the rebuilding process.

Roots of Resilience - Asian American Herbalism

A workshop on Asian American culture, herbalism, and healing practices for resilience. Erin will share an introduction to Eastern energetic theory and how to apply these energetics to common, domestically grown herbs. We will learn about oral history traditions in East Asian herbalism to illuminate why sharing our stories is essential to building resilience. And Erin will share clinical gems, her favorite roots, and formulas to work with to cultivate resilience.

The African Roots of Energetics: Exploring the Impact and Legacy of Medicine from the Nile Valley

Often, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine are credited as the oldest forms of medicine. These statements tend to disregard the legacies of medical procedures and philosophies originating in East and North Africa. This workshop will explore the legacies of African physicians of the Nile Valley and their impact on the practice of TCM, Ayurveda, and Western medicine.

The Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign: How Stress, Trauma, Environmental Exposures, and Circadian Rhythms Influence Menstrual Health

The menstrual cycle is a key indicator of whole-body health. This session will begin with an in-depth review of menstrual cycle physiology. We’ll discuss how stress, trauma, environmental exposures, and sleep can affect menstrual cycles, and how to interpret menstrual cycle alterations. Finally, we will also cover the role of herbs in supporting menstrual health. The language used in this session will be trans-inclusive. 

Topical Treatments for Cancer Care

The skin is our largest organ and topical herbal applications provide a great opportunity to deliver remedies safely and effectively. From escharotics to healing poultices, from liniments to foot baths, herbs can be applied to the skin in many ways to induce healing. In treating cancer topical herbs can provide direct anti-cancer effects, or assist in managing the consequences of other treatments e.g. radiation burns, hand and foot syndrome, or post surgical scarring. This class will provide recipes and formulas, strategies, and safeguarding.

Whose Health? Sourcing Complexities with Rhodiola, Turmeric, and Nettles

Botanicals are an important component of building personal resilience and wellness. Do they also help build resilience in the communities that grow, harvest and process these plants for the global market? In this presentation, Ann will tell the stories behind rhodiola, turmeric, and nettles to provide windows into key issues and challenges companies face in sourcing medicinal plants in the global market. I will discuss rhodiola as an example of when threats to overharvesting make investing in cultivation the responsible sourcing strategy. Turmeric will be a way to explore issues of social equity and right livelihood as well as efforts to integrate regenerative farming practices into growing botanicals. And finally, Ann will talk about nettles to discuss issues of domestic cultivation/bioregional and wild harvesting from traditional collector communities in eastern Europe.