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Southwest School of Botanical Medicine Offers Distance Learning Program

Since 1979, the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine (SWSBM) in Bisbee, Arizona, has offered a 500-hour residency program where students have received training to become Certified Clinical Herbalists. In 2006, after 28 continuous years of educational training in medical herbalism, SWSBM held the last of its acclaimed full residency programs. Now, instead of a residency-based curriculum, SWSBM Founder and Director Michael Moore has produced 2 distance learning programs, each with 2 optional residency components. The majority of the educational material consists of filmed lectures by Moore, a widely respected herbalist, author, and teacher. Each program contains about 150 hours of lecture on easy-to-use DVDs. The program material also includes additional DVDs and CDs with supplemental information, research, and resources. The cost is $1200 for Program I, and $1000 for Program II.

Program I, “Herbal Therapeutics and Constitutional Evaluation,” addresses the physiology, energetics, and constitutional aspects of each organ system. Moore also explains various treatment methods and denotes tonic herbs for each organ system or stress type. Additional material includes the Constitutional Workbook, Herbal Materia Medica, patient record forms, work sheets, and intake forms.

Program II, “Herbal Materia Medica,” covers medicinal plants from “Acacia to Zingiber” (i.e., from Acacia spp., Fabaceae to ginger, Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae). Each plant is described in terms of botany, identification, preferred growing conditions and locations, growing and/or gathering guidelines, parts used, notable chemical constituents, preparation methods, guidelines for use, and any additional pertinent information. The discussion of each genus includes photographs of various species, distribution maps, and film clips.

Moore’s command of the subject matter is immediately evident upon watching his lectures. They are fully and intensely saturated with herb-related information without being dry or boring; Moore has a very animated style, replete with connections to his own extensive experiences, personal and clinical. These programs provide the opportunity to review the lectures repeatedly, which helps to fully digest the plethora of information. The SWSBM distance learning programs serve as a unique and invaluable resource for herbalists and natural medicine practitioners.

American Botanical Council Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal said, “I consider Michael Moore one of my greatest teachers on herbs and medicinal plants, i.e., based on the lectures of his I have attended over the past 35 or more years that I have known him. While I don’t have many regrets in my life, if I were to have to make a list, I would definitely include the fact that I never made the time to spend the full 5 months learning with Michael when his school was still residence-based. Now, I, and the herbalists of my generation, as well as new generations of students, will have the immense benefit of learning from Michael via the convenience of this DVD-based program.”

More information on the program is available from the SWSBM Web site at, by calling (520) 432-5855, or by e-mailing

—Jessica Guffey