Our Story

The Ohlone Herbal Center encourages and renews a living knowledge of the healing powers of plants through the study and practice of traditional Western herbalism. The Center is committed to educating healers in successful careers as practicing herbalists and herbal educators. Established in 1995, the Ohlone Center of Herbal Studies is a leading educational and clinical center for sustainable systems of Western herbal-based healing. Based in Berkeley, California, the Center offers the most comprehensive, integrated education in Western herbal medicine and practice, and is one of very few schools nationwide with clinical internships in Western herbalism.

Western herbalism provides critical healing solutions to economic, physical, mental, and spiritual challenges in a changing health care environment. Based on time-honored traditions practiced worldwide today, Western botanicals offer a highly effective, affordable healing modality that is in balance with our natural resources. Throughout history, plants have been central to all forms of medicines; worldwide, 20,000 documented species are used for medicinal purposes. Approximately 75 percent of the world population depends on botanicals for their basic health care needs, according to the World Health Organization. In addition to providing primary healing for a wide range of health challenges, herbs can increase the effectiveness of modern drugs, decrease their side effects, and sometimes replace them.

The indigenous knowledge of plants and plant medicines is based on a deep relationship to the land, place, and home. This understanding is handed down through many generations using natural wisdom and scientific study. While allopathic drugs burden our natural resources and create waste contributing to global pollution, the use of local plants deeply benefits the body and the earth.

What makes the Ohlone Center’s program unique is its focus on experiential learning.  Students taste, touch, smell, cut and dig plants. Our intent is to give students personal experience with the effects of herbs in their own bodies.  They are educated on the usefulness of each plant and its application for physical, mental and spiritual healing.  Programs are carefully designed to be exciting, intellectually stimulating and fun.

The Ohlone Center offers two distinct professional tracks to prepare students for careers in clinical herbalism:
A three-year program of Foundational, Therapeutic, and Clinical training through evening classes designed for working adults.  As well as an intensive two-year Apprenticeship program for full-time, daytime students covering the entire 3-year program tracks

Graduates of either program have all the knowledge they need to practice effective clinical herbalism. They take care of their communities by serving non-profit clinics, developing private practices, working with medical professionals, and teaching the next generation of practitioners.

Ohlone specializes in teaching graduates how to develop successful careers in herbal healing practices. Our support for students continues long after they complete their program, with peer practitioner groups that provide ongoing collaborations, a sense of professional community, and lifelong learning.

For more information,  see our 2014 Brochure – or –  contact the Ohlone Center to request a printed copy to be sent to you by regular mail. Don’t forget to provide your name and address!

Pam Fischer, Director
Ohlone Herbal Center
(510) 540-8010