Course review: Herbal Immersion Program
I originally signed up for Chestnut’s Herbal Immersion Program right around the time that they were advertising their online foraging course for the first time. I was already experienced in herbalism, foraging, and growing herbs organically in my own garden, but I’m always looking to grow and I knew I had plenty of room for improvement in botany, which I understood would be covered a bit in the course. I went ahead and purchased the full immersion program knowing that it included the foraging course so I could review the whole program for you here.
I enrolled in this program in January of 2018 and worked through the coursework in the mornings before work and in the evenings after dinner. I completed my last quiz in February 2018. I had hand-written all of my homework assignments and needed to wait until the growing season was well underway to complete a couple of hands-on assignments. I turned in my last assignment required for course completion in August 2018 after spending a couple of months typing up my hand-written assignments and completing the more seasonal requirements here and there as I had free time.
Overall Rating: 5/5
About the course
The Herbal Immersion Program is advertised as a 1,000 hour, comprehensive herbal program that includes many aspects of herbalism, including medicine making, foraging, and growing your own herbs. It’s centered around a western systems-based approach. At the time of writing this review, the program costs $2,148 US if you choose to pay with monthly payments or $1,950 up-front.
Who is this course best suited to?
I believe this course is best suited to people who are just getting started with herbs and are not yet experienced in foraging, medicine making, growing herbs, or organic gardening.
What I liked about the course
I love the course manual. I love that I can print it out and save it so that even after I’m finished with the course, I still have a beautiful printed copy of the course materials to keep for my herbal library.
I really appreciate the lifetime access to the online portion of the class (access to the instructors for questions expires after 2.5 years).
The student community is Facebook-based, which makes it really easy to interact with each other on a website I already have to access on a regular basis for other things.
I love that the video portions of the class are also available as audio downloads. I like to listen to podcasts and audio files while I’m watering the garden in the mornings or driving on a road trip, so having access to these audio files is a great bonus.
I love the beautiful photography. You probably already know that photography is one of my “things.” I used to work as a professional photographer prior to transitioning to a career in the herbal field, so I really appreciate all of the effort that went into creating the beautiful imagery for this course.
The production quality for this course is outstanding. I’ve taken a few courses that have skimped on video or audio quality and, while those things can be overlooked, it’s always nice to come across a school that strives for excellence in these areas. I appreciated that the videos showed me the people who were speaking to me. It made the whole course feel much more personal.
I loved the variety of instructors who were brought together to share their own expertise in the different arenas that were covered throughout the course.
I really appreciated that the school incorporated growing the herbs and working with the plants yourself into the course. This is something I’ve always tried to include in my own educational materials and the curricula I started writing last year, but it’s not something that I often see schools focusing on, so I appreciated that Chestnut made it such a priority in their course.
What I thought could be improved
I personally believe that the 1,000 hours claim is inaccurate, at least if you’re someone who already has an established garden and apothecary. I completed my coursework and assignments in a total hour amount that was far less than that. I do have an established garden, though, and had already had experience with most of the herbs and all of the herbal applications covered in the course, so perhaps if you are just now getting started with herbs and gardening, it will take you a bit longer to complete the course requirements.
There is no interaction with the course instructors in this class. All interaction is done through the student liaison team, who are all friendly and helpful. If you’re someone who likes one-on-one interaction with your instructors when you take a course, you’ll want to email them directly. A couple of them do pop into the Facebook group now and then.
Feedback on student assignments was more abbreviated than I’ve experienced with other schools. Most assignments were returned to me with a short paragraph of casual feedback (2-5 sentences) for the whole module’s assignment. One of my assignments received one sentence of feedback. After receiving much more thorough feedback on my assignments and case studies from several other schools, this was a bit surprising.
If you already have quite a bit of experience growing and using your own herbs and have taken other herbal courses and self-studied for years, this course will probably be redundant for you.
However, if you’re a beginner or are relatively new to foraging, growing herbs, or working with herbs on a deeper level, this would be an excellent course to help you get started.
The course is well written, well produced, and excellent in quality. It’s also really enjoyable and engaging to work through, even if you’re familiar with a lot of the content already, so I found it to be a valuable reinforcement tool.
I would recommend this course.
If you’re interested in taking this course, or any of the other smaller courses offered by Chestnut (which are included in this larger course) and would like to enroll at a discount, please email me to ask me for my coupon code to receive 10% off your tuition fee. Due to student referral agreements, I’m unable to post the coupon code here, but I’m happy to send it to you if you’d like to save a bit on your class.
For those who are concerned: there are references to witchery, evolutionary theory, and photos of (eastern) religious statues scattered throughout this course.
Disclaimer: I paid for this course myself and completed all of the course requirements prior to writing my review.