Herbal Education in the Vitalist Tradition

North American Institute of Medical

North American Institute of Medical Herbalism

Paul Bergner, School DirectorRainforest trip with raingear students-old-growth

Portland, OR

  Classroom and clinical training   Self Study  Distance Learning    Certification Programs     Stand-alone Courses      

Upcoming Clinical Training
Primary Care Clinical Herbalism in Nicaragua
Spanish not required, previous experience not required
Practice according to the level of your training or license

Continuing education credits available

Our latest audio course
Practical Herbalism: The Practical Uses of 50 herbs
18 audio CDs
48 hours CE with certificate

Education at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism

Education leads to a skill set, and/or a piece of paper. You may earn a diploma or degree in today’s educational system without actually learning any practical skill set to go with it. You may also become highly skilled in a field without earning any sort of diploma at all. In the modern era, no diploma, degree, or certification for herbalists leads to licensure or any state-sanctioned practice of herbalism. Educational certification, such as we offer at the NAIMH, documents the hours and courses of study you have taken. It may be useful for demonstrating your training to employers, clients, or patients. At the NAIMH we offer top level training in the skill set of vitalist herbalism (See Vitalism and Herbal Medicine at the side). Our programs and methods have been developed and perfected over nearly two decades and establish a proven foundation for successful clinical practice. Most of our audio courses are actual recordings of pre-clinical classes preparing students to work in a residency in a public clinic.

Herbalism is:                                                                                                        

A life skill

A connection to Nature and the Greater Life

A skill set for self care

A skill for service to family and friends

A skill for service in a community setting

A skill for service to the general public in an occupational setting

For some, a

From the director

The apple is the mother of the apple tree. Not simply because the fruit bears the seed of the tree, but because desire for the apple leads the farmer to plant the tree. The farmer knows the apple, a good one from a bad one, the flavors of the different kinds, the risks of pests or a late frost to the crop, the species best suited to the climate. The image of that ripe delicious apple comes first, and with this image in mind, the farmer selects seed and tends the orchard with skill, determination, and patience to overcome obstacles. In the same way I have in my mind an image of what you will look like as an effective herbalist, I know a successful one from one who merely is getting by, or from some who fail to succeed in any significant way. I know this because I have personally trained more 800 students in medical herbalism through my schools, mentoring more than 250 of them through residencies in public teaching clinics, and seen what training methods lead to success in the real world of the clinic. I have done this full time for almost two decades, and have also taught or presented at more than 20 different schools, and 70 different conferences on three continents, and seen the quality and methods of practice there.  With this experience-derived image of a successful and effective herbalist in mind, I have developed, revised, tested, re-tested, and perfected educational methods which lead to a high degree of success, whether in herbal self care, assisting family and friends, serving a community, or practicing as a professional.  Whether you are an entry-level student, a folk herbalist, an advanced student, or a professional practitioner, every one of our courses will give you additional inspiration, information, insights, and grounded practical methods that will make you more successful.   ---Paul Bergner

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Vitalism and herbal medicine
Vitalism in healing is a clinical strategy based on the principle that Life, Nature, and the Great Spirit from which they arise are fully present in all the tissues of the body, and also in the psyche, the spiritual heart, and the soul, sustaining life and health, providing inspiration and momentum for personal evolution on all levels, and for the fulfillment of the highest purpose in social and spiritual life. Vitalist practitioners employ clinical strategies and methods which support this life power through encouragement of nourishment, digestion, rest, and appropriate activity, identification of purpose in personal life, connection with nature, an active spiritual life, identification and removal of obstacles to cure on all levels, and avoidance of methods which suppress or distort life processes. The Vitalist incorporates all aspects of science, especially physiology and pathophysiology, but equally values knowledge from traditional medicine, empirical observation, instinct and intuition, and is not confined to the narrow materialistic world view that dominates much of modern science, medicine, and social life. Vitalist herbal medicine is the use of herbs in support of this approach and these processes.