DWB Weekend Intensive on Herbal Cultivation, Use, Food & Healing
We are not offering these classes at this time.

Program Description

This program is designed to meet the needs of those who wish to study medicinal herbs for home health use part-time in lieu of our regular apprentice program. It will include the basics on growing & wildcrafting plants, their safe use in a variety of products, & guidelines for the implementation of healthy food choices to enhance the effectiveness of herbal remedies.

The classes will be devoted to 3 general tracks:

  • Cultivation
  • Herb use for home health care
  • Food & healing

Classes will take place 1 weekend a month for 9 months all day Sat & Sunday, roughly 9-4:30pm with 1.5 hr break for lunch & rest. The schedule will be adjusted as the temperature dictates.

This is a weekend INTENSIVE. Six-seven hours a day of class is LOTS! I will make an effort to provide frequent breaks & a variety of activities to hold your interest & attention.

Each weekend will include: 3 hours cultivation, 3 hours product making, 3 hours materia medica, 2 hours of body systems review & plant ID, 2 hour food & healing. Total class time: 13 hours per weekend.

Options for participating:

  • 1st Option:
    Commit to all 9 weekends: The tuition will be $1800 (includes tax) per person per 9 week session. This includes instruction, some meals, all handouts & materials, access to herbal library. Payment for this option: A deposit of $500 is due upon commitment to the program. The remainder is due at the first class.
  • 2nd Option:
    Sign up for one entire weekend, all day Sat & Sunday. Tuition: $225. Due at time of registration for the weekend.
  • 3rd Option:
    Sign up for individual portion of a weekend, usually in 3 hour segments. For example, you might want to sign up for the cultivation class on Soil Improvement. The cost will be $65 (includes tax) per 3 hour segment. See schedules for topics on cultivation, product making, physiology & materia medica.

Please make checks payable to: Desert Woman Botanicals OR 
Use PayPal to send payment.  Go to, click on "send money" tab.  You can send $$ to anyone who has email. This is very easy.

Tuition does not include lodging, breakfast, snacks, beverages, etc.  Some local lodging may be available at reduced cost. Camping in the Gila area is a possibility.

Additional expenses may include transportation, books, personal expense.

Refund policy:
Class tuition cannot be refunded. Classes will take place rain or shine.

What to bring:
Serious work gloves (not the cloth type with roses or trowels on them), hand pruners (I prefer Felco #8 but it’s your choice. Cost approx $60), water bottle, hat, sunscreen, long sleeves, notebook, bathing suit optional; flashlight, magnifying lens.

Additional Info:
Students will participate in meal prep & clean-up, as well as lab clean-up.

Students may purchase DWB products at wholesale prices. Each will get to take home some of products made during class. By the end of the program, students will have accumulated a complete home health herb kit.

Students will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the class.

No dogs, please!

Weekend Intensive / Track 1: Cultivation & Use

See detailed schedule below.

February - Introduction:
Why grow your own? Basic principles of herb cultivation, plan for the class series. -Off to a good start in the garden: making soil mix, seeding in GH, ongoing care, Use & care of tools.

March -Transplanting & Care of Seedlings:
Transplanting seedlings to pots & ongoing care; transplanting onions into soil; care of recent transplants, water, light, temp requirements, bed prep, hardening-off, mulching, preventing transplant shock. Introduction to plant ID.

April - Wind and Sun:
Strategies for facing the challenges of wind & sun, using shade cloth, remay, cold frames, wind barriers; creating shade. Transplanting into soil.

May - Soil:
Soil improvement, soil testing, amendments to maintain plant health, prevent disease, maximize yields. Using weeds as a resource. Making & using compost.

June - Garlic to Gophers:
Garlic: when & how to harvest & dry, use for medicine & kitchen. - Dealing with garden pests without poisoning yourself, recognizing when to take action. Trapping gophers, using plant protectors.

July - Wildcrafting:
We'll heading to the Mogollon Mountains July 15-17 where I will be teaching this class with Naava from Bear Creek Herbs. The action-packed weekend will include ethical wildcrafting, plant ID, making insect repellant, wilderness first aid, field medicine & materia medica of whatever plants we discover.

Bring your own camping gear. A list of what to bring will be available later.  We will share a potluck dinner Fri & Sat pm.

Cost: $180. Deposit $75 due at sign up. Balance due July 15.
Make checks payable to: Desert Woman Botanicals, mail to: POB 263 Gila, NM 88038
or use PayPal  to send money.
For more info, contact  Monica at 575.535.2860 or Naava at 575.388.5035.

August - Lavender Cultivation and Use:
This class will be held in Gila at a lavender farm where lavender will be in full bloom. We will harvest, then distill to create a hydrosol & essential oil. Learn the requirements of lavender cultivation, best varieties, drying, storage, use in aromatherapy, household products, personal care, cooking and medicine. Enjoy lavender lemonade & food. Recipes. 8 to noon.  $45 due at registration.

September - Seed Saving:
How & when to harvest seeds for a variety of vegetables, flowers, herbs; preventing cross-pollination; best techniques for cleaning, drying, storage to maximize viability. Planning your garden with seed-saving in mind. Maximizing germination.

October - Garlic and Root Crops:
How to plant and grow garlic: History, soil prep, ongoing-care throughout the winter & spring. Watering & feeding. How to know when to harvest next May or June. Best varieties for our area. Eat garlic!  Root Dig: Echinacea, Burdock, Comfrey, Jerusalem artichokes, Licorice. Eat. How to use fresh or dried; drying & storage.

Ongoing themes:
Herb harvesting, drying, storage, processing, herb quality; organic methods; Echinacea cultivation. Herb safety. Variations in plant cultivation requirements, evaluating plant health & needs.

Special project:
Each student will select 3 herbs to grow at home for the duration of class to learn their specific cultivation requirements, problems, etc & report to class each month.

Weekend Intensive Track 2: Herb Use for Home Health Care

Introduction and General plan:
Overview. Medicinal herb terminology. Weights & measures. Lab orientation. Sanitation. Record keeping. Safe use of herbs.

Product Making:
Infusion, teabags, capsules, decoction, cold infusion; tinctures fresh, dry, acetous, glycerites; infused oils, salves, lip balms, massage oil, bath salts, salad oils; essential oils; hydrosols; emulsions (cremes, lotion); syrups, cough drops; poultices, suppositories.

Materia Medica:
Detailed discussion of plants, use, preferred forms & method of preparation, strength, solutions, dosage, contraindications. Constituents & their implications for medicinal action. Herbal energetics.

Body Systems Overview:
Brief review of anatomy & physiology of body system pertinent to illness & medicinal herb use. This not a detailed A&P class. Student review of system in A&P text before class recommended. Study guidelines will be provided.

Legal & Regulatory Issues:
For herbalists (optional) depending on student interest.

Plant ID:
Identification of families containing medicinal herbs most commonly used. Constituents & their implications for medicinal use.

Weekend Intensive Track 3: Food & Healing

Food & Healing
3 meals will be prepared each weekend with focus on various aspects of nutrition & healing through food choices. Students will present a class & meal on selected topics. Meals will feature fresh vegetables, whole grains, culinary herbs, seafood & poultry options. Food preferences can be accommodated.

Nutrition topics:
Healing foods, ie, ghee, garlic oil, miso, seeds, gomasio, greens, kudzu, sprouts, tahini, shitake, fermented foods, sweeteners, oils, seaweed; eating for happiness; food combining; detox, fasting, juicing; supplements, green foods, water; amino acids, carbs, fats, fiber; politics of food (world hunger), Food safety & labeling; Too busy to cook strategies. Food additives, gluten sensitivity. SAD (standard American diet), implementing dietary changes.

Ongoing themes:
Strategies for dealing with STRESS; using solar oven.

Recommended Reading and Reference
  • Carter, Jack et al. Common Southwestern Native Plants: An ID Guide; revised edition.
  • Cech, Richo. Making Plant Medicine. $15.00. Available to purchase from DWB at the first class.
  • Elpel, Thomas. Botany in a Day
  • Foster, Steven. Herbal Renaissance
  • Hartung, Tammi. Growing 101 Herbs That Heal
  • Ivey, Robert DeWitt. Flowering Plants of New Mexico. 5th edition
  • Marieb, Elaine N. Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology, 7th edition
  • Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Desert & Canyon West
  • Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West
  • Moore, Michael. Materia Medica, avail from instructor
  • Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods
  • Weed, Susan. Wise Woman Healing: Healing Wise

Resources for glassware, herbs, labels, ingredients, etc.

Weekend Intensive Schedule

Dates Cultivation Topic Product making Physiology / Organ System

Introduction. Principles of herb cultivation. Soil mix. Seeding in GH. Care of tools. Introduction. Terminology Simple infusion, decoction, cold infusion, poultice, tea bags, capsules. Intro. Skin, membranes, cells, tissue

Transplant seedlings & ongoing care. Bed prep, transplant onions into soil. Intro to plant ID Tinctures from fresh & dry plants. Macerations. Intro to herb quality Digestion & metabolism. Liver, GB, pancreas, intestines

Strategies to deal with sun & wind. Transplanting. Salves, infused oils, essential oils Cardiac, circulation, blood

Soil basics. Amendments. Compost. Cover crops. Using weeds as a resource. Lip balm. Acetous tinctures. Glycerites. Respiratory system

Garlic harvest. Pests. Emulsions: lotion & creme Nervous system

CampiDates TBA.  Please call if you are trip to Mogollon mountains. Plant ID. Ethical wildcrafting. Insect repellant, Wilderness first aid, Field medicine Immune, lymph, body defense.

Lavender cultivation & use.
Lavender products. Hydrosols. Herbs de Provence. Endocrine system

Seed saving, cleaning, storage. Germination techniques. Cough syrup, cough drops. Super Echinacea extract Urinary tract

Garlic planting. Root dig. Eat. Suppositories. Reproduction

About Monica Rude...

All classes are personally taught by Monica Rude, owner of Desert Woman Botanicals in Gila, NM.  Desert Woman grows nearly 100 medicinal & culinary herbs for use in the DWB product line. Monica has extensive experience in cultivation, gardening, herb use & general messing around with herbs. In addition to creating and marketing her products, Monica takes a very active interest in herbal education. 

Monica has been an instructor at the NM College of Natural Healing and also teaches classes in various aspects of Herbal Medicine, Organic Gardening and Alternative Agriculture at the home of Desert Woman Botanicals. She has also given classes and workshops at various locations throughout the Southwest including Albuquerque, Phoenix, Las Cruces, and Silver City and as a special instructor for institutions of higher learning.  Monica is also available as a speaker for your group. Contact us for details on  scheduling a class or event for your group.

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