Community Herbalist Program 2022-2023


Have you been called by the plants into service? … amazed and transformed by the wisdom of the plants …. desire to share their teachings with others …

If the green path is speaking to you, then you are a student whom the Community Herbalist Program is designed for. Please note, students are required to have successfully completed the two core curriculum prerequisites, Roots of Herbalism and the Family Herbalist Program in order to participate in this class.

The Community Herbalist Program is a nine-month journey into the world of professional herbalism. We deeply explore the herbs in our Materia Medica, and the herbs in the wild around us through research, presentations, and plant walks. We guide our family and the community, supervised by professional herbalists, to grow more confident in our sharing of this wisdom with others.

The Community Herbalist Program includes rich, guided hands-on study, as well as group discussions and lectures, herb walks, clinics, written assignments, and ceremony. We seek to call forth the spirit of nature within us and ask it to be present with us to guide us along the path. Each student will have the opportunity to explore those aspects of Community Herbalism that are most important to their journey – be it medicine-making, herb cultivation, or client consultations – while all students will be deeply immersed in all areas for a comprehensive experience.

Our next nine-month program will begin with the first-weekend session of October 1, 2022. Classes are then held weekly through Zoom, with additional reading, audio & video assignments in between. Students also attend clinical roundtables during the second half of the program scheduled with their cohort for review of case studies.




Traditional Herbal Medicine

Ethics of Community Health including understanding Power Dynamics and Mutual Aid

Integration of Folk Traditions and Scientific Standards

Western Herbal Energetics

Medicine-Making Practicum

Native Plant Identification and Ethical Wildcrafting

Gardening for Herbalists

Clinical Protocol and Formulation

Finding your Voice as an Herbal Teacher

Discovering Your Plant Allies

Herbal Research and Library Guidance

Personal Wellness and Self-Care in Healing our Community

Spiritual Practices to Ground our Herbal Practice

Diagnostics and Assessment Skills

Legalities within Herbalism in Florida

Nutritional Healing

Contraindications and Herb-Drug-Supplement Interactions


Clinical Practicum

Teaching Practicum

Medicine Making

Garden Immersion

Case Conference Roundtables

Spiritual Disciplines

Group and Individual Studies

Guest lecturers

And more…

Completion of our Family Herbalist program or transfer of relevant education from other institutions is required for enrollment.

For more information or to register, please contact 407-595-3731 or

Digital books, audio classes, video resources, and additional handouts are included with each module. Course tuition is $2,950 if paid in full, or $3,200 if paid in monthly installments.  A $200 deposit is required to reserve your space and is non-refundable / non-transferable. Space is intentionally limited, and these classes do fill up quickly. We encourage you to register early to hold your space. Completed course hours can be applied to professional recognition in the American Herbalist Guild.

Student with previous herbal education from other herbalists may submit an application for override of this requirement through transfer of other educational experience. Please contact our office for more information.


Emily Ruff, Executive Director, is a community herbalist who has practiced the art and science of plant healing for over a decade. Her studies have taken her around three continents where she has studied under healers of many traditions. Her background in gardening and botany came in childhood while wandering the wilderness and digging in the sandy soils of Florida with her grandfather, a tobacco farmer turned urban gardener, and her father, a botany and astronomy professor. Her journey into herbalism continued through apprenticeships in Guatemala under the tutelage of local healers on the southern coast of Lake Atitlan, in the mountains of Vermont at the feet of Rosemary Gladstar, and in the Central Florida apothecary Leaves & Roots with herbalists Carolyn Whitford and George D’Arcy. Emily’s academic studies include Ethnobotany, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies at the University of Central Florida and Curanderismo with the University of New Mexico. She is a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner.

Emily’s dedication to preserving bioregional medicinal plant traditions and ecosystems led her to become active in the organization United Plant Savers. Inspired by a need for greater connection among her regional community, she founded the Florida Herbal Conference event in 2012, an event that continues to sell out annually. In past years, she served multiple terms as president of the Herb Society of Central Florida and as co-founder of Homegrown Local Food Cooperative. Most recently, in response to the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, Emily founded the Orlando Grief Care Project. From the community relationships cultivated through the national response to this tragedy, Emily formed the Herbal Action Network to continue weaving the web of compassionate herbalism into community engagement. Sharing her time between Florida and Vermont, she currently serves as director of the Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary.

Emily’s classes have been described as “heart-filled,” “enriching,” and “empowering,” creating a bridge between the teachings of our ancestors and the technologies of our modern world. Emily can be found in joy cooking, practicing yoga, writing, photographing flora, creating music with family and friends, and digging her fingers in the dirt. The plants continue to be her greatest teachers.

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