Advanced Herbalism in the Vitalist Tradition

453 total hours

124 class hours + 329 independent study hours certified by NAIMH

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This program is open to all graduates of the

Footprints in Medical Herbalism program or equivalent

Registration is Open!

Advanced Herbalism

ONLINE Program 2022-23

September 7th, 2022 - May 31st, 2023

Wednesdays 11 am - 4 pm PST

​​​​​Course Description

All classes are held in real time on Zoom


Our Advanced Herbalism program prepares the herbalist for becoming a clinical practitioner in the field of Vitalist Herbalism. Students will learn how to complete a full length client intake, perform a deep level case investigation by applying vitalist assessment skills and case analysis techniques. Students will practice the art of how to apply natural therapeutics and herbs to individual cases, and gain critical insights to perform subsequent follow up visits with a client for long term health transformations. This includes the necessary technical skills to write up a case for peer review and faculty feedback in a clinical setting.

This program features audio recorded lectures with Paul Bergner as part of our flipped classroom model. Students will also receive direct experience under his professional guidance in our live online classroom. While Paul's work is known worldwide and access to his teachings are available in a number of schools around the globe, this program offers a unique expression of his works. His 50 years of accumulated knowledge have been refined bringing a heightened skillset to the development of becoming a professional herbalist. He has trained more than 400 clinical herbalists since 1996.


Students listen to Paul Bergner's audio recorded lectures as homework and then come to class where students will participate in exercises and discussions that provide valuable firsthand experience with practical applications in Materia medica, case assessment, clinical skills, therapeutic approaches, and the art of developing client practitioner relationships. The flipped curriculum offers a higher retention of learning while gaining insight from shared experiences and faculty feedback.

Heather Luna has been a student of Paul Bergner for over 20 years. She will facilitate the classroom setting and provide both insight and guidance based on her own experience of having applied the principles of vitalist medicine in her clinical practice since 1999. She is a dedicated teacher, a forever student, plant advocate, administrative director, and coordinator for community learning.


Class Topics Include

  • Advanced Materia Medica 

  • Natural Therapeutics

  • Vitalist Approaches to Chronic Illness

  • Physiology and Pathophysiology

  • Herbal Pharmacy and Formulation

  • Clinical Nutrition

  • Nature Cure practices

  • Clinical Skills for the Practicing Herbalist

​​​​​​​​​​​General Enrollment Information

  • All classes are held in real time via Zoom

  • Prospective students must fill out an application for enrollment

  • You must have previous herbal education & training to apply (see Prerequisites)

  • There is a non-refundable $50 application fee. This fee is waived for all graduates of ACORN & NAIMH

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to attend classes

  • Once your application is accepted there is a deposit required to hold your place in the program


​This program has prerequisite requirement of a minimum of 300 hours of training in Foundational Herbalism, having attended our Footprints in Medical Herbalism program or the equivalent. If you are not certain that your previous training qualifies you for our Advanced Program please contact the school to inquire. 

Academic Commitment

This program offers a rigorous study in the field of Clinical Herbalism. While class time is held live only 4 hours a week, homework and independent study hours average about 6 hours a week.  A 90% class attendance and a completion of all program assignments is required in order to graduate. ​ 

Class Schedule

1st Day of Class: September 7, 2022  

Last Day of Class: May 31, 2023

Classes are held on Wednesdays from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm PST, with a 1-hour lunch break. 

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How Class Works


Zoom Class Schedule
Our classes will be held in real-time online using Zoom. We want to replicate the in-person classroom environment as much as possible so we can grow and connect as a group. Class time is on Wednesdays 11:00 am until 4:00 pm PST. Paul Bergner usually teaches the morning class (11:00 am – 1:00 pm) and Heather Luna teaches the afternoon class (2:00 – 4:00 pm). Lunch is from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. 



Self-Study/Audio files (Course Materials)
Listening to Paul's recorded classes is an essential aspect of our herbal learning environment. His audio lectures are full of valuable information and experience that drives the entire program. You will listen to the assignment (audio file) on your own time and complete the given homework projects before the next class. The Advanced Program Course Materials is a library of digital files that will come as a download which includes: audio recorded lectures with Paul Bergner, notes and slides to accompany each lesson, data files, clinic forms, and PDF text references. We recommend saving these files to some type of external hard drive. The cost of the Course Materials is in addition to tuition and is non-refundable.

Herbal Care Packages/Medicine Kits

You will receive 3 medicine kits throughout the year with herbs to sample that are specific to topics we will be covering. All students will receive a binder with printed notes and journal forms for completing projects at home.


Total $4100

  • Deposit: $50

  • Tuition: $3150

  • Course Materials: $900

Deposit of $50 is due upon acceptance

Once you are accepted into the Advanced Program you will be emailed an invoice to pay your deposit. This deposit holds your place in the program, and is non-refundable.

Course Materials of $900 is due 8/24/22

The Course Materials must be paid in full by this date. The purchase is non-refundable.

Monthly Payment Plan

Once your deposit and Course Materials are paid for, you will have 9 monthly payments of $350, see the payment schedule below. Custom payments plans are available upon request, please contact ACORN directly to inquire. 

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Field Classes

We are excited to continue our in-person, outdoor Field Classes! These classes will be held independently from the Advanced Program curriculum and anyone is welcome to join (students or the greater community). Students enrolled in the Advanced Program 2022-23 will receive a discount for attending these Field Classes.

​For complete details, schedule and pricing see our Field Classes page

Application Instructions

Applications will not be processed until the application fee is submitted. This fee pays our time to thoroughly review each person’s application, read their essay, and then schedule a private interview to discuss their enrollment. This is a non-refundable one-time payment. 


  1. Read the Advanced Program Handbook.

  2. Fill out this Application online and save it to your computer.

  3. Take pictures or scan your Required Documentation and save as files.

  4. Write your Essay in a word processor and save the file.

  5. Then send an email with all the items/files described above as attachments to:

  6. Finally, pay the application fee. 


Within 7-14 days you will receive an email from us about your acceptance. 

​Questions? Please contact Heather Luna, ACORN Director with any additional questions or concerns. 

Step #1
Advanced Program Handbook

Step #2
Advanced Program Application

Step #3
$50 Application Fee

(one-time payment)