Footprints in Medical Herbalism

342 total hours

186 class hours + 156 independent study hours certified by NAIMH

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Registration for the next program starts January 2023

Footprints in Medical Herbalism

ONLINE Program 2022-23

September 6th, 2022 - June 1st, 2023

Tuesdays & Thursdays 10 am - 1 pm PST

Registration closed!

​​​​​Course Description

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

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

This is an in-depth program that provides essential training in the foundations of Western Herbalism with a total of 342 hours of study. The core curriculum was created by Paul Bergner for the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. All class hours are taught by Heather Luna. Completion of the Footprints in Medical Herbalism program grants students a certificate from ACORN for 186 hours of class time and an additional certificate from NAIMH for 156 self-study hours. 

“This is an entry level course for the study of herbal medicine, and presents the context of the vitalist approach to healing, nutrition and lifestyle, and also a basic introduction to formulation, with case-based will learn how to study an herb, which will establish a foundation for effective future learning. This is a project-oriented course, you will taste the herbs, journal their effects, make your own tinctures, devise formulas, and study actual clinical cases. Do not mistake this to be a simplistic introductory course, it contains within it the inspiration, hands-on experience, tools, terms and concepts, and methods of application, and case based learning that many contemporary herbalists missed out on in their own education.”


~ Paul Bergner, founder of NAIMH

Course Curriculum

Our rigorous Footprints Course curriculum was created by Paul Bergner, Medical Herbalist and Clinical Nutritionist, founder of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (NAIMH). Paul has almost 50 years of experience studying and practicing naturopathy, medical herbalism, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, flower essences, yoga therapy, and bodywork, including undergraduate studies in pre-medicine and psychology, and 50 semester hours of doctoral level medical studies at National College of Naturopathic Medicine. The course curriculum and supporting herbal literature provided by Paul is well researched, thorough, and draw from years of practical experience. Heather Luna, Clinical Herbalist and Clinical Nutritionist, has been a student and colleague of Paul Bergner's for over 20 years and brings her own personal herbal experience to the foundation created by Paul. Heather Luna has the experience and knowledge of a seasoned herbal instructor that brings this course to life. Classes are thoughtful, engaging, and exciting as you explore plant medicines and their applications. This course has everything you need to set you firmly on the path of the herbalist.
The Footprints Program has 4 main components to the curriculum: the 3 Courses of the original Foundations program at NAIMH plus the ACORN School's Traditional Herbalism Skill Set.

1) First Course in Medical Herbalism

  • Lesson 1. How to study herbalism, herbal forms, and herbal actions

  • Lesson 2. Alterative herbs.

  • Lesson 3. Immune-enhancing and antiseptic herbs

  • Lesson 4. Sedative herbs

  • Lesson 5. Herbs for women

  • Lesson 6. Energy tonics

  • Lesson 7. Healing strategies, with case studies

  • Lesson 8. Herbs and common medical conditions

2) ​Practical Herbalism

  • Lesson 1. Journaling Herbal Experience

  • Lesson 2. Practical Uses for Garlic

  • Lesson 3. Nutritive Herbs

  • Lesson 4. Topical Herbs

  • Lesson 5. Herbs to Support Digestion

  • Lesson 6. Moistening and Drying Herbs

  • Lesson 7. Heating and Cooling Herbs

  • Lesson 8. Herbs to Support Relaxation

  • Lesson 9. Herbs for Pain

  • Lesson 10. Herbs for Infection and Fever

3) Vitalist Treatment of Acute Symptoms

  • Lesson 1. Upper, Middle, and Lower Gastrointestinal Tract Conditions

  • Lesson 2. Blood Purifiers, Alteratives, the Bad Blood Syndrome, and the Skin

  • Lesson 3. External and Internal Treatments for the Skin

  • Lesson 4. Wounds, Burns, and Chronic Ulcers

  • Lesson 5. Catarrh, Chronic mucous, and Lymphatic conditions

  • Lesson 6. Fever

  • Lesson 7. Coughs, Eyes, and Ears

  • Lesson 8. Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia

  • Lesson 9. Pain

  • Lesson 10. Bladder and Kidney

  • Lesson 11. Menses

  • Lesson 12. Pregnancy and Breast Health​

4) Traditional Herbalism Skill Set

  • Botanical Identification

  • Harvesting Ethics

  • Flower Essences

  • Herbal Steams and Baths

  • Custom Formulation

  • Medicine Making:

    • Infusions and decoctions       

    • Tinctures       

    • Oils and salves       

    • Syrups, cordials and elixirs       

    • Electuaries (medicated honey)

    • Powders and pills

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

  • Students must fill out an application for enrollment

  • There is a non-refundable $50 application fee

  • 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

Class Schedule

1st Day of Class: September 6, 2022

Last Day of Class: June 1, 2023


​Classes are held on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm PST

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How Class Works

Regular Classes

Our regular class times are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm. Our classes will be held online using Zoom. Heather Luna will be your instructor for the Footprints program. 

Attendance Policy

We encourage students to attend the live Zoom classes. It is an interactive environment where we can share and learn together. 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.  An overall attendance rate of at least 90% is required to pass the Footprints Program. Read the Footprints Handbook for complete details.


Self-Study/Audio files

Listening to Paul's recorded classes is an essential aspect of our herbal learning environment. These lectures are full of valuable information and experience that drives the entire program. You will listen to the assignment (audio file) and write a reflection paper to discuss in class. 


Medicine Making/Herbal Formulations

Feeling, smelling, and tasting herbs are important aspects of herbalist training. Normally we would make herbal medicines together in a classroom setting. Since we are now holding classes online, all students will receive a Medicine Making Care Package at the beginning of each Course (4 packages total), that will contain all the herbs and medicine making materials needed to complete the lessons for that Course at home. In each chapter of the material, students will read the lessons and make the herbal preparations on their own time, then do the tasting and journaling exercise at home, and finally we will have a discussion and comparison together as a class online.

Required Class Materials

1) NAIMH Course Materials
The NAIMH Course Materials is a library of digital files that will come as a download. We recommend saving these files to some type of external hard drive, since the files are approximately 8 GB of data. The cost of the Course Materials is in addition to tuition, must be paid in full and is non-refundable.


NAIMH Course Materials includes: 

  • Audio recorded lectures with Paul Bergner for each of the main courses

  • Course study guides

  • Lecture notes

  • PDF Library of herbal references and classic herbal texts including Culpepper, Grieve, Lloyd, Felter, Cook, Ellingwood, Kneipp, and more

  • NAIMH Actions Database of 150 herbs

  • Healing Power of Minerals and Trace Elements by Paul Bergner (abridged)

  • The Healing Power of Ginseng and the Tonic Herbs by Paul Bergner

  • The Folk Remedy Database by Paul Bergner

  • More than 800 pages of article reprints from the Medical Herbalism Journal

2) Medicine Making Care Packages ("Supplies Fee")
The Medicine Making Care Package will include herbs, bottles, menstruums (alcohol, oil, honey, vinegar, etc.), labels and other necessary items. 

  • ​Long distance students: We will mail your Care Package just before the next Course begins.

  • Local students: Pick up Care Packages at the ACORN School!

    1. ​You will receive an email when your Care Package is ready to be picked up.

    2. Then go to the ACORN School during normal business hours to receive your package. Go to our Contact page for directions & school hours.  


Total $4100

  • $610 - Deposit

  • $590 - NAIMH Course Materials

  • $900 - Supplies Fee (Medicine Making Care Packages)

  • $2000 - Remaining Tuition

Total of $1300 due by 8/23/22 includes:

  • Tuition Deposit of $610 - We encourage you to pay your deposit as soon as you can to help offset the initial costs for the program. This deposit counts towards your total tuition. The deposit helps keep the monthly payments affordable.

  • Course Materials Purchase of $590 - The Course Materials must be paid in full by this date. This purchase is non-refundable. These forms will be in the Enrollment Packet you will receive. Once payment has been made, you will receive a link to download these files.

  • Supplies Fee Deposit of $100 - You will be emailed an invoice to pay the deposit, and this counts towards your total Supplies Fee.

Tuition Monthly Payment Plan
Once your deposits and Course Materials are paid for you will have monthly payments, see the payment schedule below. Monthly payments are auto-billed on the 1st Tuesday of the month. You may contact the school at any time to change your payment method. The schedule below is recommended and helps make the monthly payment affordable. Custom payment schedules can be made to meet your financial needs. Please contact ACORN directly to make specific arrangements.        

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Field Classes

These classes will be held independently from the Footprints curriculum and anyone is welcome to join (students or the greater community). Students enrolled in the current Footprints Program will receive a discounted price on Field Classes.


For all the details and registration 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 Footprints Student 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 a one-page essay describing why you want to attend the ACORN School of Herbal Medicine. Include any previous herbal or botanical experience/studies/apprenticeships.

  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
Footprints Program Handbook

Step #2
Footprints Program Application

Step #3
$50 Application Fee

(one-time payment)