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2024 Intensive is Full! Sign up for the waitlist below for first notification of next year's intensive.

A 6-month, in-person intensive in Chicago, IL with an embodied, experiential, and bioregional approach to herbalism.

This intensive will immerse you in the living language of herbalism and ecology. We focus on bioregional herbalism, actions & energetics in western herbalism, making herbal preparations, materia medica, and community engagement related to the use of herbs to support individual and community well-being & resilience.

By exploring herbalism from these different perspectives, we will come to a deeper and more practical understanding of the use of herbs than the common association of “use this herb for that ailment”. Working beyond this approach, we will rediscover the overlapping ecologies of organ systems, body, and earth and begin to relearn the power of herbs and fungi as ‘healers of all life on earth’.

Bioregional Herbalism

Bioregional Herbalism is the practice of working with plants rooted in place, in our case, the wondrous and beautiful ‘Great Lakes Basin’ we call our home.

Practicing bioregional herbalism, we work to enter into a sacred relationship with the land we walk upon. To learn, steward, connect, and live in reciprocity to the living landscape of which we are apart. This will require us to learn about the peoples who stewarded this land before us and reconnect with the flora of our bioregion, understanding the differences between native, naturalized, and invasive species.

Towards this end, we ecological and environmental texts and share in discussion to augment our herbal learning, and explore the beautiful flora of our region through several plant walks from spring through summer and fall.

- Overview of Bioregional Herbs
- Seasonal Plant Walks
- Book Discussions
- Gardening Skills & Opportunities at Patchwork Farms

Actions & Energetics in Western Herbalism

At our class sessions, we will deeply explore Western energetics as exemplified and refined by herbalists Matthew Wood and jim mcdonald, and utilize these frameworks to understand how herbs can support different areas of health and well-being.

We explore the six tissue states and their energetic correspondences: Hot/Cold, Damp/Dry, Tense/Lax, including the nuances of application in herbal practice and their manifestations in the plants we work with.

We also cover Foundational Actions in depth: Aromatics, Bitters, Astringents, Demulcents, Relaxants, Stimulants, & Tonics while relating these to the primary and secondary actions of herbs.

• Monthly in-person class weekends (2 back-to-back class days, 4-5 hours each) on western energetics, the six tissue states, and herbal applications for common health issues.
• Monthly Blind Tea Tastings to feel into the energetics of particular herbs and develop our own perceptual awareness of herbal energetics

Making Herbal Preparations

You will have the opportunity to work hands on with a variety of herbal preparations, covering several forms of preparation and use: Herbs as-is, herbs & fire, herbs & water, herbs & vinegar/honey, herbs & alcohol, herbs & oil.

By the end of this course you will be able to take your skills home and fill your kitchen and apothecary with jars of dried herbs, oxymels, shrubs, tinctures, salves, oils, and tea blends to the delight or puzzled looks of the ones you live with.

Herbal Preparation Demonstrations with various and commonly used plant-based preparations. Information on and instruction on herbal infusions, syrups, steams, baths, oxymels, shrubs, smoke blends, tinctures, bitters, oils, salves, herbal cleaning solutions, and more! These demos are accompanied by over 100 pages of handouts detailing the process of making your own herbal preparations, along with recipes.

Materia Medica

Through the ongoing creation of your materia medica, you will have the opportunity to connect with individual herbs through in-depth study and to organize the multitudinous insights, experiences, and epiphanies related to the herbs you encounter into written plant monographs that you may refer to over the course of your life and practice as an herbalist. You will receive accompanying handouts related to the building and development of a robust and personal materia medica that will grow with you. As a group, we share plant monograph entries with each other to receive feedback, cross-pollinate different insights about the plants we are exploring, and inspire the creation of our own materia medica by seeing how our peers work on theirs.

Community Engagement & Collective Care

As a cohort we work together to plan and organize the Community Apothecary, which offers accessible, sliding-scale herbal preparations to local Chicago neighborhoods in collaboration with community gardens and urban farms that grow some of the herbs we use in our preparations. The Community Apothecary Pop-up held during the last month of the program acts as the culmination of our learning efforts throughout the duration of the course. Students work together to curate, formulate, and prepare a selection of herbal preparations intended to support our community through the transition into colder months.

Students also work together to create a ‘zine’ to accompany the herbal preparations we offer through the Community Apothecary. The zine may include recommendations on how to integrate herbs into your daily self-care regimen, recipes, practices, poems, pictures, and meditations to support community members in deepening their relationship to their body and supporting their well-being. The Community Apothecary Pop-up is also intended as a community gathering with workshops, movement, and sliding-scale herbal consultations.

2024 Tentative Class Dates & What to Expect

• April 20-21 (Class Days)

• May 4-5 (Class Day & Plant Walk)

• June 8-9 (Class Day & Plant Walk)

• July 13-14 (Class Day & Plant Walk)

• August 10-11 (Class Day & Plant Walk)

• September 14-15 (Class Day & Plant Walk)

• September 28-29 (Tentative Community Apothecary Prep Days)

• October 6 (Community Apothecary Pop-up Event!)

• October 19 (Final Class Day)

All Saturday Class Days will be held at Irene C. Hernandez Family Picnic Grove at LaBagh Woods (4498 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60630). I will request that you bring your own folding camp chair or blanket to sit on for all class days held at the picnic grove. The picnic grove is sheltered and open air, so some days may be a little chilly. Bring layers to add or remove especially in spring and fall.

Sundays will be devoted to plant walks (exluding Sunday, April 21) at various locations throughout the Chicagoland area.

Some plant walk locations we may be visiting include Somme Woods, Palos Area Woods, Schiller Woods, Indiana Dunes State Park, and various areas within the city including Patchwork Farms and Humboldt Park.

Make sure you are able to secure transportation to these areas. I will do my best to facilitate carpooling of students within the class, but ultimately, traveling to these locations is up to you. Travel times for some locations can be up to 2 hours by car. Budget for gas and time accordingly.

Both Class Days and Plant Walks begin at 11am sharp and end at 4pm-ish, although I will never go later than 4:30pm. Please bring a lunch both days, we will typically have at least one break for lunch.

We also have a few additional tentative dates scheduled in September which we may utilize as preparation days for the Community Apothecary Pop-up. These will likely be held at my apothecary in Logan Square.

Once the class begins, we will work together to schedule several days throughout the season where I will be working on our shared class garden at Patchwork Farms in Humboldt Park. These days will be more loosely structured where students are able to come as desired to gain some gardening experience, get intimate with some of the plants we discuss in class throughout their growth cycle, and ask me any questions. Attendance on these days are optional.

October dates are reserved for our Community Apothecary Pop-up event.

If a class will be held at a location other than the ones listed above, you will be given several weeks notice.

We meet rain or shine, so be prepared for exposure to the elements! Class will be held via zoom or cancelled (with make up session) in the event of extreme weather.

Be sure to read the Intensive FAQ linked below for all additional details and commonly asked questions about the course.

Intensive FAQ

How to Enroll

1. Submit your application – using the link below (applications will open again in November 2024 for 2025's Intensive)

  • Note that for 2025's Intensive, the application window will be open from mid-November 2024 to January 31, 2025. The application window may close earlier if the class fills up.

2. Interview – After you apply, I will reach out to set up a time for a brief zoom interview so we can discuss details, get to know each other a bit, and field any questions you may have about the intensive. We will also discuss further payment details including if you are interested in the shadowing add-on (see below).

  • Interviews will be held in two waves: Dec 1-15, 2024 and January 1-15, 2025.
  • Scholarships and Shadowing typically fill up early, so if you are interested in either make sure to apply as early as possible.

3. Acceptance – Shortly after this interview, you will be notified of your acceptance to the intensive. – Know that priority is given to folx who are confident they can commit to the entire program. This is not a 'course' that you are welcome to drop in whenever you feel like it. I ask for participants who are willing to show up to all classes, walks, and events that are apart of the intensive.

4. Submit your deposit – Once you are accepted, I will provide a link for you to submit your initial $400 deposit, which counts toward the full cost of the intensive, and also holds your spot.

  • All deposits are required to be submitted by 2/1/2025

5. Submit remaining balance or start your payment plan – before 3/1/2025 for early enrollment, and no later than 4/1/2025.

6. Orientation – once you either submit your remaining balance or start a payment plan, you will gain access to the Greenspell Online Community and Greenspell Virtual Garden. Get to know these online aspects of the intensive a bit by navigating through the welcome & orientation sections of each.

Intensive Cost

Intensive FAQ

Shadowing Add-On Details – All Spots filled for 2024

If you are interested in more hands-on work in the apothecary, developing a more individualized approach to working with herbs from the perspective of your own body, and want to learn more of the ins and outs of making herbal preparations, maintaining and building your apothecary, and developing practices to deepen your intuition and sensory awareness in working with plants, the shadowing add-on might be for you.

Through this work, we will explore the ways that you experience your world, being in your body, and the interconnections between your body and your environment. We will also explore how your conception of wellness has developed, and how that conception informs your experience of the world. Following principles of depth ecology, ecopsychology, intuitive practices, and heart perception, we will work together to cultivate practices that you may incorporate into your life to uproot our awareness from the limited ideological frameworks our western culture encourages, towards a more holistic and embodied perspective of self and earth.

We may engage in breathwork, imagework, dreamwork, tarot, and other practices to support you in expanding your perceptual, sensory, and extrasensory awareness to encompass the subtle messages and cues that arise from your body and earth that guide you toward openness, presence, and vital well-being.

Shadowing Benefits

• All aspects of the course as outlined above.

• Shadowing Sessions: I welcome you to work closely with me in the apothecary of the course of the intensive. I offer (4) 4-hour shadowing sessions that we will schedule together after your acceptance into the program.

In these sessions, you will have the opportunity to experience the way of work in the apothecary, gaining hours of hands-on experience in making herbal preparations and formulation. You are also free to utilize my apothecary of over 100 plant extracts, dozens of dried herbs, preparations, solvents, and all tools and equipment to work on your own concoctions which will act as your primary contributions to the Community Apothecary.

During our final months of shadowing, we will utilize this time to work on your own preparations and contributions to the Community Apothecary. You will contribute 2 herbal preparations to the Community Apothecary. I will guide you in the process of formulation, supporting you in thinking critically and holistically about the preparations you are working on.

We will also devote some time in these sessions to creating a self-care / embodied practice necessary for engaging with the nonhuman realm on a deeper level oriented around the goals above.

• Herbal Consultation: This add-on also includes 1 full herbal consultation with 2 follow up appointments in order to give you a feel for working one-on-one in an herbal consultation setting. Regardless of whether one-on-one work is something you want to pursue, it gives us the opportunity to deepen our practice of herbalism oriented from the perspective of your own body and personal constitution.

• Leadership Skills: Finally, the shadowing add-on invites all those who engage in this work to learn skills that will empower you to act as leaders within the space of this course, the Community Apothecary, and within your own community and work. You will be invited to lead one workshop of a topic of your choice at the Community Apothecary Pop-Up event(s) in October, which we will work on together and you will lead.

Cost with Shadowing Add-On