Family Herbalist Program – Fall 2024 – Live, In Person


Our Family Herbalist Program empowers students to care for the everyday health imbalances they face through a comprehensive herbal curriculum. It is an excellent program for those wishing to serve as their family’s primary care provider, to prevent illness, and help alleviate both acute and chronic conditions, through holistic and sustainable approaches.

Dates: One weekend a month, September through December, 2024
September 14-15, 2024 – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
October  12-13, 2024 – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
November 9-10, 2024 – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
December 14-15 , 2024 – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Final Medicine Making and Graduation

Times: 10am – 5pm / Saturday and Sunday

Location: Orlando, FL
Classes take place at our registered United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary. Due to the location of this sanctuary being within a private residence, the exact address will be sent via correspondence only after registration and closer to when the program begins. For finding accommodations if you’re coming from out of town, search zip codes: 32801, 32803, and 32804 to find places to stay that are nearby.

If meeting in-person does not work with your schedule, please let us know if you would be able to meet virtually via Zoom during the class times.

48 CEUs are available to Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Dietitians, Nurses & Midwives in the state of Florida through CE Broker for students who successfully complete the course through attendance and submission of assignments. To add CEU credits to your enrollment, click here. An additional $15 educational credit processing fee will apply.

New to your herbal journey?

Visit this link to learn more about signing up for the prerequisite Roots of Herbalism, or visit this link to learn more about joining both Roots of Herbalism and the Family Herbalist program in a discounted bundle to save $100.

Tuition options (choose one – Pay in Full or Payment Plan with $200 Deposit): This four-month program is $1250 tuition when paid in full; Payment plans are available for an additional financing charge, with a non-refundable deposit of $200.

Early Bird Tuition: Early Bird Tuition is only $1111 when paid in full before August 14, 2024.

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Providing students with a comprehensive and hands-on herbal education, the curriculum covers over 150 individual herbs, as well as herb cultivation, anatomy and physiology, plant chemistry and botany, nutrition, detoxification, medicinal formulation, and a wide spectrum of herbal preparations.   This dynamic tapestry of teachings weaves together ancient culture and modern science to prepare students for the practice of sustainable health within our modern times. This course is part of our Herbalist Training series and follows our Roots of Herbalism program in building on a foundation of self-care to branch out towards our care of others. This course may be the greatest investment you will ever make in the long-term health of you and your family.

The program is offered in-person.  Our class meets one weekend a month beginning September 14, 2024.  Students will be invited to gather for in-person plant walks, garden talks, and plant processing in addition to in-class meetings.

Students who graduate from this program leave with the experience and knowledge to care for themselves and the health of their families’ most common illnesses. It is our philosophy that to care for the health of others, we must first learn self-care. Thus, we have structured our program to provide you personal tools and experience which form a strong foundation on which to center your personal practice of caring for those you love with herbal applications, and on which to continue your education to build a future professional practice.  Successful completion of this course is a prerequisite to enrollment in our Community Herbalist program.


Core Modules

The Family Herbalist program is arranged into a dynamic series of core modules that focus on practical applications and philosophies within family herbalism. These include:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Bioregional Herbalism
  • Botany for Herbalists
  • Chemical and Nutritional Constituents
  • Detoxification and Purification
  • Diagnostics for Herbalists
  • Flower Essences
  • Herb Gardening 101
  • Harvesting, Drying and Storing
  • History of Herbalism
  • Home Remedies and First Aid
  • Medicine Walk
  • Medicinal Formulation
  • Nutritional Preparations
  • Personal Wellness I and II
  • Topical Preparations

Herbal Therapeutics

Herbal Therapeutics are a series of modules that focus on the anatomy and physiology of body, along with Materia Medica corresponding to each system. These modules include:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Children’s Care
  • Digestive
  • ElderCare
  • Endocrine
  • Immune, Lymphatic, and Prevention
  • Integumentary
  • Men’s Health
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Nervines
  • Nourishing & Restorative Tonics
  • Respiratory
  • Urinary
  • Women’s Health


Value Added Bonuses

  • Herb Mentor 3 month subscription ($36 value)
  • Roots Roundtable Season Subscription – includes monthly live online via Zoom gatherings with herb teachers and fellow students plus loads of digital resources including video audio and ebooks ($100 value over four months)
  • Enrollment in Emotional First Aid Series ($50 value)

The Fall 2024 Family Herbalist program meets in person – one weekend a month for 4 months, starting September 14-15, 2024.  Digital resources, supplemental videos, hands-on exercises, and medicine-making demonstrations offer diverse forms of learning. Students retain access to their digital materials for one year from the start date of the class.

PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of our Roots of Herbalism classis a prerequisite to enrolling in our Family Herbalist program.  This course may be completed in person at our Orlando campus via one of our 2-Day Intensives, or through our Home Study course.  Students who have completed Roots of Herbalism prior to 2013 should contact our office to learn how your previous coursework applies within our new program format. Students with previous herbal education from other herbalists may submit an application for an override of this requirement through the transfer of other educational experiences.  Please contact our office for more information.

Please note, these dates are subject to change – refer to the detailed schedule you will receive prior to the start of class.

CEUS: This course offers 48 Continuing Education Units to Florida Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Dietitians, Nurses, and Midwives in the state of Florida through CE Broker for students who successfully complete the course through attendance and submission of assignments. To add CEU credits to your enrollment, click here. An additional $15 educational credit processing fee will apply.

Completed course hours can be applied to professional recognition in the American Herbalist Guild.

TUITION: Early Bird Rate for tuition is $1111 paid in full by August 14, 2024 or $1250 if paid in full by the start of the class. If you choose to pay the $200 non-refundable deposit to hold your seat, please contact the office at: We can then either invoice you for the difference or work out a payment plan that will work best for you. Please note that the Early Bird Special rate of $1111 is only applicable for paying in full and is not applicable toward payment plans. Students who choose the payment plan option and pay the full amount by the start date of class pay $1250, if you would like an extended period of time to pay after class begins, you will pay the regular price of $1250 plus $150 for extended installments ($1400 total). The non-refundable $200 deposit to hold your seat counts toward your total tuition.

Space is intentionally limited, and these classes do fill up quickly. We encourage you to register early to hold your space. You can refer to our cancellation policy for any further information regarding the cancellation.


Please review this link for our school’s tuition and cancellation policies.

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Instructors: Maggie O’Halloran, Emily Ruff, and guests

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Maggie O’HalloranExecutive Director,  is an herbalist and educator in Central Florida. She comes from a large family where chaos was the norm. She always found peace outside watching things grow or climbing magnolia trees. One of her older brothers was considered hyperactive and had a hard time staying in school. Because of the impact food had on his behavior they had no sugar in the house, including ketchup! She learned in her mother’s kitchen that the things you put in your mouth impact your mind and your body.

In the early 90’s she first found her own inspiration to view health from a holistic perspective while working as a teacher assistant at a mental health hospital for children. From that experience, she decided that there had to be a better way to help kids beyond medicating them to a zombie state with pharmaceuticals. She started college studying education and psychology and ultimately received a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Master’s degree in Education Leadership.

In 1999 she took her love of plants to Oakland, California where she worked with inner-city elementary students and teachers, learning and teaching about violence prevention and anger management through physical education and body awareness. She explored working with food, exercise, breathing, and communication skills. She continued to study plants and their medicine by sharing with friends.

In 2006 she moved to Florida to find a slower pace in life. Though her love of teaching hasn’t waned, she took the opportunity to focus on deepening her plant knowledge in a more intentional way with herb walks with Emily Ruff. Since then she has found inspiration from teachers like Phyllis Light, Rosemary Gladstar, David Winston to name a few, completing the Community Herbalist Program with Emily Ruff. She continues her passion for helping people find peace by sharing her knowledge with whoever will listen. She enjoys working with friends, family, and strangers seeking a more holistic way to be healthy.

These days she can be found hiking on trails, tending her garden, creating something good for you in her kitchen, teaching in her community about plant medicine, and learning from her twelve-year-old herbalist and his friends.



Emily RuffFounder, 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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