School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion

School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion

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Ayurvedic Herbalist: Advanced Strategies, Formulas, & Pharmacology

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Enroll in the most advanced course in herbal energetics (biocharacteristics). Get unparalleled clinical herbal training as you study herbal strategies from Ayurveda, Chinese, and Greek Medicine (the roots of Western herbalism). 1 year online program starts Tuesday, August 27th, 2024.

Class starts in 34 days!

Ask a question about the course.
See tuition

The abundance and diversity of herbs provides natural medicine for innumerable ailments. As they shift the body's vital energies and biochemistry, each herb reveals the natural patterns of disease and healing. Herbs unlock unique experiences of the body's healing relationship with the natural world we are surrounded by. Knowledge of herbs is an essential step in the training of a master clinician.

In this clinically focused, rigorous 10 month course on the medicinal use and pharmacology of herbs, you will learn the incredible language of healing with herbs. This is the most advanced course in herbal energetics (biocharacteristics) available. You will gain unparalleled training in clinical herbal strategies from Ayurveda, Chinese, and Greek Medicine (the roots of Western herbalism).

You'll explore classical formulas and the materia medica of hundreds of herbs using intuitive, active learning methods. Every step of the way, this course will supplement ancient intuition with modern accuracy and advancements in phytochemistry. As you learn to heal others, you will also gain subtle body awareness, increase your vital energy, and discover herbs that not only reduce disease, but are a perfect fit to your body type.

Every community needs a master herbalist who can support clients with insight and accuracy. Herbs remain the chosen medicine of 2/3 of the world. As community understanding of health & wellness grows, herbalism has become a rapidly growing field (see career options for herbalists). Enroll now to become the master herbalist in your community. Soon you will be blending formulas, seeing clinical patterns emerge, and gaining the expertise to heal those around you, naturally.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Total tuition & application fees for this 1 year Ayurvedic course if you register now will be $4,499.

Click here to apply for a partial scholarship. Financial aid is offered based on income. Scholarships may not be combined with other discounts.

For complete tuition & fee information, please see our course catalog. Application / registration fees are non-refundable unless your application is denied.

Schedule & Format

This 10 month program is entirely online, and does not require any travel. Class starts in August and runs through the 3rd week of June. Students should expect to spend 8-10 hours a week in study, on average.
  • Entirely online, meets 3x/ week for discussion
  • Prerecorded presentations designed by a team of herbalists and Ayurveda clinicians
  • Active learning based homework to facilitate application & experiential knowledge
  • All classes are recorded for those with schedule conflicts
  • See our faculty.

Herbal Skills & Competency

By graduation you will be able to:
  • Build clinically effective herb formulas drawing from herbal strategies and perspectives in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western herbalism.
  • Address pathology in each organ system of the body.
  • Build individualized herb formulas for each constitution with the right energetics (biocharacteristics).
  • Make herbal products, poultices, skin rubs, medical oils, tinctures, infusions, and more.
  • Assess the medical benefits (pharmacology) of new herbs you encounter, using the principles you've learned from the course, along with your direct experience using your 5 senses.
  • Assess phytochemistry in a clinical setting, and analyze herb research, ensuring the herbs you select are an exact fit to the disorder, with scientific evidence.
  • Start seeing clients and educating them about herbs, formulas and medicine to improve their health & wellness, with the same legal qualifications as a health coach.
Watch the Course Intro

Featured in the Course

  • Formulations & Materia Medica

    • Clinical herbal strategies from Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western Herbal traditions.
    • 125 herbs and formulations from the Ayurvedic materia medica, including botany, phytochemistry, energetics (biocharacteristics) and clinical use (pharmacology).
      • We use an experiential teaching model so that the information you learn will be living, nut just encyclopedic.
    • Extensive knowledge of Western herbs, herbal actions, and their clinical use.
    • The essential herbs of Chinese Medicine.
  • Botanical Awareness

    • Botanical field work includes identification of local plants & their biocharacteristics.
    • Tasting and sampling 42 herbs and Ayurveda formulas to enhance discovery & experiential knowledge of herbal energetics (biocharacteristics).
    • In-depth herb-body awareness experiments each week to master intuitive learning of herbs.
    • The main organic compounds of phytochemistry, and their effects on the body, improving your accuracy in the clinic.
  • Clinic

    • 33 live in class herbal consults, 18 private clinical consultations
    • Legal considerations and laws surrounding a clinical herbal practice and medicine making.
    • Herbal medicine making - Formulating your own herbal medicines in your kitchen.
    • Herb-drug interactions and contraindications.

Who Should Apply?

  • Ayurvedic professionals, from health counselors to BAMS graduates, seeking to up-level their clinical practice of herbs.
  • Herbalists and enthusiasts who want to excel at formulations and take herbal energetics (biocharacteristics) to a whole new level
  • Naturopaths, nutritionists, nurses, yoga teachers, massage therapists, and other health & wellness professionals who want a solid foundation in clinical herbal strategies.
  • Any student seeking Ayurveda Practitioner Level Certification.
See pro-rated tuition discounts below for those who already have herbalist training.

What if I already have a degree in Ayurveda, or have taken herb courses?

This course has very little overlap with any previous training. BAMS graduates will be exempt from the Ayurveda Formula module and receive a $600 credit towards tuition.


North Carolina School License

AADP Accredited

The Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda has provided advanced clinical training for Ayurvedic professionals since 2008. We are licensed to teach Ayurveda by the state of North Carolina, and accredited through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). We partner with the American Association of Biocharacteristics Clinicians (AABC) to support our graduates' clinical success in Ayurveda (Why AABC?). We are a member school of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG). Joyful Belly is also recognized by the National Association of Ayurveda Schools and Colleges (NAASC), and the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA). Our founder, John Immel, is the current president of NAASC.

Students in good standing and who complete all course materials will receive a 500 Hour certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Herbalist. This certification enables you to legally see clients.* Students are also eligible for certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Herbalist through AABC, and as a health coach through AADP after passing their board level exam. Once you have completed 400 hours of at-home clinical experience, AABC will also certify you as a Biocharacteristics Herbalist. This course is required for those who are seeking an Ayurveda Practitioner level certification at Joyful Belly.

* Laws vary by state and country. Ayurveda is an unlicensed profession in the United States, which means that Ayurveda is not regulated by any organization or agency. By the end of the program, you will be legally able to see clients in the United States. A certificate of completion is given to those graduates who successfully complete the program. This program does not give you a license to practice medicine. Please text John at 828-785-8213 if you have questions in this area.

Course Curriculum Includes


Students will learn the basics of botany including leaf shapes, flower types, plant families.

Graduates will be able to identify a plant, or its plant family, which will greatly facilitate their intuition surrounding herbs.

Herb Fundamentals

This course presents fundamentals of herbalism and herbal approaches to disease - including from Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Western herbalism, Native American, Wise Woman, Eclectics, Vitalists, Western Medicine, and modern phytochemistry, etc. It will introduce the student to various models of disease in these traditions, as well as clinical strategies for building herb formulas.

Graduates will be conversant in fundamental herb and Ayurveda concepts, and begin to apply these approaches in lab exercises and in a clinical context. Students will explore various methods of herb formula design.

Pharmacology of Herbs

The course introduces phytochemistry, herbal actions and grouping, classes of herbs in Ayurveda, and herb-drug interactions.

Graduates will understand the mechanism behind pharmacological actions, significantly improving their accuracy of applying herb energetics in a clinical setting. They will be able to anticipate the pharmacological actions of herbs knowing their constituents, greatly simplifying their ability to learn new herbs.

Medicine Making & Ayurvedic Products

This course teaches the student how to make tinctures, skin powders, medicinal oils, poultices, ghee soaks, and eye-washes.

Graduates will gain confidence and proficiency in medicine making beyond simple teas, opening up a wide variety of therapeutic options.

Ayurveda Fundamentals (Energetics, Guna, Taste, Dosha, Pathogenesis, Tissues, Organ Systems)

This course introduces clinical application of Ayurveda energetics including guna, taste, element, and dosha - giving the student broad knowledge of Ayurveda fundamentals.

Graduates will be able to apply introductory knowledge of Ayurveda energetics, constitution, and anatomy in a clinical setting.

Herbal Strategies for Pathology & Vitality

This course includes Ayurvedic, Chinese medicine, Greek medicine, and Western herbal strategies and/or materia medica for these conditions below, and many more. Graduates will be able to educate clients about herbs and classical formulas in these areas. They will be able to craft custom formulas to accurately support, and restore balance in their clients' vital energies in these areas. They will be able to employ formulas that were classically used in these areas:
  • Allergies & Autoimmune
  • Female Reproductive Health (Menstruation, Pregnancy, Menopause)
  • Bone & Muscle Health
  • Cardio-vascular health, Heart, & Circulation
  • Cleansing (Laxatives, Emesis, Urinary, Skin, Blood, Sweat)
  • Digestion
  • Endocrine System / Hormone Imbalances
  • Infections, Parasites, and Wound Healing
  • Liver, Spleen, & Anemia
  • Lungs, Immunity, Ear, Nose, & Throat
  • Fluid Management & Elimination (Kidney, Urinary, Lymph, Blood Plasma)
  • Nervous System / Mental Health (Sleep, Depression, Anxiety, Tension)
  • Tonics (Agni, Metabolism, Nutritives, etc)
  • Male Reproductive Health
  • Metabolism & Vitality
  • Pediatrics
  • Skin, Beauty, and Natural Aging
  • Healthy Weight Loss / Gain

Materia Medica - Specific Herbs

In this course students will learn, sample, and complete study on 73 Herbs and 42 Formulas, with 36 Internal Body Awareness Herb Experiments, and 16 External Body Awareness Herb Experiments.

Graduates will have an in-depth understanding of materia medica including hundreds of herbs on an academic as well as experiential level, so they can apply these herbs accurately in a clinical context.

Meeting with Clients

Graduates will fine tune their herbal recommendations through extensive, live clinical experience. This will include 33 live in class herbal consultations, and 18 consultations you will conduct personally. You will also have an opportunity to be the client for an additional 13 sessions.
Ask a question about the course.
See tuition

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Asheville, North Carolina