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Review of Susun Weed and Rosemary Gladstar's correspondence courses

  • Jadeswan

I am currently taking Rosemary Gladstar's Science and Art of Herbalism correspondence course and Susun Weed's ABC of Herbalism correspondence course.

I began Susun Weed's course about a year ago. At first I was disappointed that there was very little reading material in the course book, mostly only assignments. It began to make more sense once I recieved the herbals I chose and as I began to see how vital it was to actually work with each of the herbs. It wasn't, however, until I listened through Susun's recordings on The Seven Rivers of Healing on Herb Mentor that the course really began to fall into place for me. I highly recommend listening through that or taking the Seven Rivers course at the Wise Woman University before taking the ABC course. Understanding the Seven Rivers of Healing is essential to understanding Susun's approach. One thing I found difficult about the course is the amount of fresh plant material required to do it properly. I have a decent herb garden and was able to grow or wildcraft most of the plants but there were several I was unable to find or grow and that is what is holding me up from finishing the course. Another thing to keep in mind is that it takes quite some time to receive the course materials. Overall, I'm really glad I took this course. If I had to do it over again though I think I would take the Seven Rivers course and then move straight on to the Plant Ally course or the Spirit and Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition course. The reason I say this is that Rosemary Gladstar's course covers a lot of the basic "medicine making" aspects and materia medica and if you are taking that as well it would be most efficient to go straight to understanding Susun's approach to plants and working with them. I intend to take more courses from Susun in the future.

I am almost half way through Rosemary Gladstar's course. It is very thorough and professionally laid out. It has a great balance between science (chemical constituents, anatomy and physiology, etc.)and what I think of as the magic of herbalism. I think both right-brained and left-brained people would enjoy and benefit from it. There is also a good balance between doing research on the herbs and doing hands-on projects. Her directions for the projects are very clear and her recipes are wonderful. I've been using some of her recipes for a couple of years and they are simply the best! I enjoy the homework assignment reports and questions and find it helps me review the material better. It also keeps me moving through the course to have to send in homework periodically. (There is no set time. I just try to send back the next lesson as soon as I receive the previous lesson back which is about five weeks time.) She does utilize helpers to correct the course work so anyone taking it should check over it to make sure any corrections are actually correct. In my first lesson I recieved back a correction that puzzled me because my answer was correct according to the course material. I emailed about it and got back a very helpful reply stating the correction was merely the opinion of the person reviewing my work. It wasn't a big deal but it's something to keep an eye out for. This course does require a siginificant amount of dried herbs. I have an extensive herb pantry but I still spend about $50 a lesson for supplies. I recommend ordering from somewhere you can get the herbs in small amounts. I made the mistake of ordering all my supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs at first and now I have a lot of herbs such as lobelia which I don't plan on using after the course. Now I only bulk order the herbs I plan on using more often and use somewhere like Rosemary's Garden for the other herbs so I can just order an ounce at a time. I highly recommend this course whether you are fairly new to herbs or quite experienced. It might be a little overwhelming to someone completely new but I think if you took it more slowly it would be a good place to start. Even with a lot of experience under your belt, you will get lots of inspiration and new ideas.

I'm also a member of Herb Mentor and have found it invaluable for doing herbal research (you get access to a generous variety of herbs on Herbalpedia) and for continuing my education with herbs. There is a great herbal community there as well. It is an amazing value for the money.

A few year ago I purchased the first lesson of Demetria Clark's Heart of Herbs correspondence course. I wasn't especially impressed with it and never purchased more lessons. It may have improved since then but I thought I would mention my experience with it as well.


Replies to this topic

  • DragonflyDew
  • DragonflyDew

Thank you so much Jenny for such detailed reviews! I often wondered about correspondence courses for herbalism but wasn't really sure how the hands-on versus textbook learning was accomplished but I now I have a much better idea. I hope the you finish your courses in a timely matter and I'm sure you have learned so much already.



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  • edensong
  • edensong

What a great review.  Thanks so much!

  • LavenderBlue
  • LavenderBlue

Thank you for taking the time to review these courses. Looking at how many views this post had generated, I can only assume there is great interest in studying herbs via correspondence and on-line courses.


I too am mid-way through Rosemary Gladstar's course. I have nothing but good things to say about it and feel one could not go wrong with it, whether a beginner – in which case it would be an incredibly exciting introduction to herbalism, or a seasoned herbalist who is looking for a different perspective and input from knowledgeable teachers. I love the way the course is presented and how well-written and fascinating the written materials are. The wealth of recipes included in each lesson is fantastic – I've yet to use a remedy or product formulated by Rosemary Gladstar that I've not found effective. It is true that there is some extra expense incurred when procuring the necessary herbs for the materia medica/herb profile aspect of the course; however, the overall cost of the course is very reasonable and direct experience with the herbs is perhaps the most essential part of a herbal education.


Before I began this course, I took a much more thorough and intensive on-line program called The Herbal Practitioner Program offered through the College of the Rockies in Creston, BC. It is a one-year program that takes a body systems approach and focuses primarily on therapeutics. I found I got so much more than I could have expected out of this course and could not believe how much I knew by the end of it. The teacher is an experienced herbalist trained in the British Medical Herbalist tradition. I really appreciated that the on-line and homestudy aspect of the course was complemented by invaluable on-line classes three evenings a week where you interact directly with the teacher and other students, and an optional week long summer seminar at the college focusing on medicine making, wildcrafting, plant ID, and proper harvesting and processing techniques. I couldn't recommend this course enough, the only warning would be that it is for serious students who have sufficient time to devote to their studies. The next intake dates are September 12th and November 14th, 2011.

Again, thanks for starting this thread, I know many people who have struggled to find a correspondence course that suited them and have had some disappointments along the way, sometimes costing them a good deal of money - but there are some high quality courses out there and it would be great if others could contribute their opinions about courses they have taken to help assist with what can be a bewildering decision making process.

Laurel Glitherow, Herbalist: http://theforestgarden.wordpress.com/
LavenderBlue {hand-made herbals}: http://lavenderblueherbals.wordpress.com/
  • blakelymabel
  • blakelymabel

I have done all three courses and loved them all for different reasons.

Susun Weed's really needed self exploration from the student.

Rosemary Gladstar's covered all of the basics. A little outdated, but great material overall. You can't go wrong with this course.

Demetria Clark's was by far the hardest. Just reviewing the first lesson, which is an intro to the course is a little unfair I think. It is like 25 pages, out of almost 600. It is a good course, not perfect, none are, but the student support is top notch, you can call, email, facebook and she handles all over your needs personally. So I really liked that. Heart of Herbs also now has a complete multimedia eLearning classroom that all students can use, so that is cool.

  • ayo
  • ayo

I am interested in the Heart of Herbs Master Herbalist course to further continue my education.  I am currently finishing up Rosemary Gladstar's course, and have found it excellent, but really want to continue studying herbs, as I feel we never stop learning, especially in the world of herbs.  I don't live anywhere near an herbal school, so my only choice is distance learning.

Can anyone tell me if the Heart of Herbs Master course would be good to continue on with after taking Rosemary's course?  It's hard to tell from the synopsis if it will offer more, or different information beyond Rosemary's.  

Also, can anyone recommend any other Master Herbalist courses?

I'd appreciate any insight so I may continue my herbal education! :)

  • ayo
  • ayo

Also came across Midwest School of Herbal Studies' Master Herbalist Diploma Program.  Might anyone have any experience with that one too?


  • kbredin
  • kbredin

This is great! Thanks Jadeswan for volunteering your review, and to all the others for sharing about their correspondence courses! I too have been looking for a good correspondence course, but not sure exactly what I want. I think I'm leaning toward something more shamanistic as I prefer to work with the plants and people on a spirit level, and I'm looking to help people in places where access to Western medicine/diagnosis is limited, so I'm especially interested in figuring out ailments/healing solutions and/or matching plants with the people and what's going on for them. I could stand to gain more insight on the science side of things as well, but sometimes I wonder if studying too many modes can be conflicting. Anyway, the BC course sounds great. I've apprenticed with Robin Rose Bennett and worked with Ryan Drum, but I'm hoping to get a third course to become certified by the AHG. If anyone knows of any other correspondence courses in line with what I mentioned above, or can share any insight on working toward membership in the AHG, I would be glad to gain more insight/recommendations!

I'm happy to speak more on Robin's apprenticeship if anyone is interested in studying with her.


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