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Advanced Herbalism in the Vitalist Tradition

453 total hours

124 class hours + 329 independent study hours certified by NAIMH

Advanced Herbalism in the Vitalist Tradition program

This program is open to all graduates of the

Footprints in Medical Herbalism program or equivalent

Registration for 2023-24 is closed

Advanced Herbalism

ONLINE Program

Check back in early 2024 for next year's registration

September 2023 - May 2024

Wednesdays 11:00 am - 4:00 pm PST

(with lunch break from 1:00-2:00 pm)

Program Overview

​​​​All classes are held in real-time* on Zoom

*Students may opt to watch the recordings of classes to meet attendance requirements

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. 


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

Course Outline

Interview Skills 

  • Interview Skills in the Vitalist Tradition 

  • Getting the Story Right

  • Art of the Follow-up 

  • Healing as a Spiritual Path

Materia Medica & Formulation

  • Advanced Herbal Actions and Formulation

  • Herbal Pairing and Modular Formulation 

  • Herbal Safety 

  • Materia Medica Differentials 

  • Herbs for the Spiritual Heart 

Case Analysis 

  • Intake and Pattern Assessment 

  • Case Analysis in the Vitalist Tradition

  • Case Studies in Vitalist Herbalism 

Infectious Disease

  • Biofilms and Chronic Infections 

  • Viral Infections

Nutrition and Metabolism

  • Nutrition in the Herbal Paradigm 

  • Systemic Inflammation, Food Intolerance & Autoimmunity 

  • Insulin Resistance 

  • Obesity: Ethics and Harms 


  • Detoxification, Alteratives and the Liver

  • Fatigue Therapeutics & Adaptogens 

  • Working with the Heavy Cannabis User 

  • Hypothyroid 

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

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

  • Prospective students must fill out an Application for enrollment & pay the Application Fee of $50.

  • You must have a High School diploma or equivalency to be accepted for enrollment.

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

  • Enrollment is open until August 30, 2023. Late enrollments will be accepted at the discretion of ACORN.


​This program has prerequisite 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. 

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. ​ 

Academic Commitment

Class Schedule

1st Day: September 13, 2023

Last Day: May 29, 2024

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

Advanced Herbalism Program Calendar

How Class Works

Please read the Advanced Student Handbook for complete details. 

Regular Classes

Our weekly 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. Regular class times are Wednesdays 11:00 am – 4:00 pm PST, with a lunch break from 1:00 - 2:00 pm. Paul Bergner usually attends class during the morning to share key points, drop pearls of wisdom, and provide inspirational topics for discussion. Heather Luna will be your guide in how to apply these teachings to build an effective practice.   If you are unable to attend the live Zoom classes, you may opt to watch the recording for attendance. See below for details.

Attendance by Recordings

If a student cannot attend a live Zoom class, they may watch the Zoom class recording, take notes, complete the given assignments and submit their work within 2 weeks of the recorded class for attendance credit. Recordings will be uploaded to student drive files online for access and future reference.

Self-Study/Audio files (NAIMH 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 includes: audio recorded lectures with Paul Bergner, notes and slides to accompany each lesson, data files, clinic forms, and PDF text references.

Medicine Kits

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

Tuition & Costs    

Total Program Cost $4600

  • $400 - Tuition Deposit

  • $1200 - NAIMH Course Materials

  • $3000 - Tuition Balance (includes medicine making supplies)

Payment Due Dates

Once you are accepted into the Advanced program you will receive an Enrollment Packet with complete details, due dates and next steps to help you prepare for the first day of school.

$1600 due by 8/30/23:

  • Tuition Deposit of $400 - This deposit counts towards your total tuition. We encourage you to pay your deposit as soon as you can to help offset the initial costs and hold your place in the program. The deposit also helps keep the monthly payments affordable.

  • NAIMH Course Materials Purchase of $1200 - The Course Materials must be purchased by this date. The cost of the Course Materials is in addition to tuition, is non-refundable, and is required to attend classes. Once payment has been made, you will receive a link to download these files. 

Tuition Monthly Payment Plan
Once your Tuition Deposit and Course Materials are paid, you will have monthly payments. Tuition payments are auto-billed on the 1st Tuesday of the month (dates given below). Please contact ACORN directly to make custom payment arrangements.   

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. Student Handbook - Read the School Policies section (pgs. 10-12) of the Student Handbook, scroll to the bottom of this page for the link.

  2. Application - Fill it out online and save it to your device by adding your name in the file name, for example: “AP Application 2023-24_Jane Smith.pdf”

  3. ID - Take a picture of your ID and save it to your device.

  4. Herbal Certificate - Take a picture of your herbal certificate and save it to your device.

  5. Essay - Write a one-page essay that describes your previous herbal education and what your goals are for your herbal education. Write the essay in a word processor and save the file as a .doc, .pdf, or share it as a Google Doc file to the email address below.

  6. Application Fee Pay the application fee using the payment button below.

  7. Send an Email – Attach the following: Completed Application, copy of ID & your Essay. 


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)

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