Minnesota’s Herbal Festival

Welcome to the Holistic Health and Herbal Education Festival!

You’ve come to the right spot to learn about Minnesota’s own herbal conference.  Since 2006 The Holistic Health and Herbal Education Festival has been an an opportunity for holistic health and herbal medicine practitioners, students and enthusiasts from the Upper Midwest to learn from regional teachers in our own backyard. The 2019 festival will take place at Prairie Oaks Institute a retreat center on a beautiful farm in Belle Plaine, MInnesota just 45 minutes from the Twin  Cities. Instructors and participants come from all over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

The festival is organized like a conference and consists of four different sessions with participants choosing from among 3 or 4 workshops offered at each session.  We offer diverse workshops with offerings suitable for beginners as well as intermediate/advanced workshops.  The bulk of our workshops cover different aspects of herbal medicine such as  plant identification, medicine making, hands-on  kitchen herbalism or cosmetics, clinical or diagnostic topics in herbalism.  We also offer workshops from instructors from other modalities. Past years have included classes in homeopathy, nutrition, flower essences, Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong and more.

The festival includes a leisurely lunch period that features our famous dessert buffet including (gluten free and vegan options) and two  plant walks for those who want to learn even more.  Some years a local beekeeper is available at lunch selling raw, wildflower honey and beeswax and the festival includes several vendors of handmade herbal or wildcrafted products.

Scroll down to learn more about this year’s festival.

 15th Annual Holistic Health and Herbal Education Festival

Join us at a beautiful, plant filled  historic farm and retreat center in Belle Plaine, Minnesota just 45 minutes from the Twin Cities for a day of herbal and holistic health classes.

When:  Sunday, September 15, 2019

Where: Prairie Oaks Institute in Belle Plaine, Minnesota

Twelve to sixteen workshops will be offered by a variety of accomplished practitioners and educators. There will be something for everyone from beginning to advanced students, including opportunities for hands-on medicine making and plant id.  Relax on the farm between classes and join us for herbal teas a delicious dessert buffet.

Registration for the 2019 festival is open.  See our registration page for more details.

 Schedule of Events

You can download here and print the schedule at home.

8:30-9:00 Welcome Circle

9:00-10:30 Session One

  1.  Botany for Herbalists with Elizabeth Heck (outside)
  2.  Herbs for the Cardiovascular System with Erin Piorier (granary)
  3. Cooking Foraged Foods within Reach with Betsy Nelson (farmhouse kitchen)
  4. Flower Essences for Universal Experiences with Laura Sanden (Harvest House)

10:30-11:00 break

11:00-12:30 Session two

  1. Minnesota Herbs for the Musculoskeletal System with Lise Wolff (Harvest House)
  2. Easily Learn Plants by Family with Elizabeth Heck (outside)
  3. Chaga: A Remarkable Medicinal Mushroom with Connie Karstens (location to be determined)
  4. Promoting Breast Health on a Daily Basis with Katherine Krumwiede (granary)

12:30-2:00 Lunch and Dessert Buffet and Plant Walks

1. Lunch Hour Plant Walk 12:30 to 1:15 with Heather Allen (outside)
2. Lunch Hour Plant Walk 1:15-2:00 with Gerri Boyd (outside)

2:00-3:30 Session Three

  1. Herbal Matchmaking with Lise Wolff (granary)
  2. Toxic Bile: the Role of the Liver in Chronic Disease with Paul Ratte (Harvest House)
  3. Herb it up in the Kitchen: Cooking with Culinary Herbs and Spices for Better Health with Betsy Nelson (farmhouse kitchen)
  4. Herbal Basics: Tinctures and Plant Identification with Marina Povlitzki (outside)

3:30-4:00 Break

4:00-5:30 Session Four

  1. The Magical Use of Herbs with Laura Sanden (Harvest House)
  2.  Tongue Assessment for Western Herbalists with Erin Piorier (outside)
  3.  Herbs for Aging Gracefully with Connie Karstens (location to be determined)
  4. Make it Topical: Herbal Infused Oils +Salves with Marina Povlitski (outside and Farmhouse Kitchen)


Read our instructor biographies here.  Or click on the links below to see their websites or blogs.

Gerri Boyd

Elizabeth Heck

Connie Karstens

Heather Mashuga

Katherine Krumwiede

Besty Nelson

Erin Piorier

Marina Povlitski

Paul Ratté

Laura Sanden

Lise Wolff


Check back often. Workshops descriptions are forthcoming.

Botany for Herbalists with Elizabeth Heck

Understanding basic botanical characteristics is important for learning how to positively identify plants. We will wander the grounds of Prairie Oaks Institute looking closely at plant details, introducing basic botanical terminology. En route, we will discuss plant classification while teaching about the use of plant keys.

The Business of Herbalism with Erin Piorier

A passion for  plants and a desire to help others is often what motivates us to study herbal medicine, but running an herbal practice or business requires other types of knowledge and skills.  Join me for a discussion of some of the fundamentals and important things to consider.  This workshop will be driven by participant needs and questions.  Topics I expect we’ll cover will include filing as a registered business with the appropriate state agency, sales tax, federal employer identification number, the relevant statute governing complementary and alternative health care practitioners, options for accounting, banking, payments, online sales and more.

Chaga: A Remarkable Medicinal Mushroom with Connie Karstens

Chaga is a wild mushroom that grows on birch trees in northern climates that can be made into a pleasant tasting tea or tincture. It has been used for centuries as a health tonic and now is being re-discovered for its amazing medicinal qualities including anti-cancer activity, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune-stimulating properties. Come and find out all about Chaga, take home some great recipes, learn about extratction strategies and discover what Chaga can do for your body.

Cooking Foraged Foods within Reach with Betsy Nelson

Wild edibles are all around us…foraging isn’t just elusive morel mushrooms and obscure wild edibles.  Plants that grow abundantly, such as nettles, dandelions, purslane, creeping charlie, plantain, garlic mustard, prickly ash, wood sorrel, yellow dock and burdock are delicious and nutritious and may be growing right under your feet!  Betsy will demonstrate some easy cooking methods with some abundant and delicious wild edibles.

Easily Learn Plants by Families with Elizabeth Heck

This plant walk will cover how to easily and quickly get to know plants based on families. Gather a great amount of wisdom about healing plants in a short amount of time using simple to learn techniques. We will explore patterns in both botanical characteristics and medicinal properties.

Flower Essences for Universal Experiences with Laura Sanden

Why do Walnut or Star of Bethlehem flower essences get used up more quickly than others? Some flower essences get used more than others. One explanation for this is because these flower essences contain the ability to directly address universal experiences that are necessary for human development. It is common to get stuck in some of these life lessons and that’s where flower essences can help. In her practice, Laura noticed patterns and themes and researched these universal themes, developing a repertoire of flower essences to address core life issues that most of us have, or will, face at some point. Laura will present her top remedies and share some of her favorite discoveries such as: the “Catholic Cocktail”, “Divorce Potion Number 10”, and “Dieter’s Delight”.

Herbal Matchmaking with Lise Wolff

Matching plant to person is at the heart of the practice of herbal medicine. This can be so much more than simply suggesting a certain plant for a certain disease.  Transformation can happen by helping a person restore balance to their constitution, allowing them to fall into a more balanced version of themselves physically and mentally. In this workshop I will discuss the profiles for herbal medicines that match the personalities of the clients. These portraits developed over 22 years of combined herbal medicine and flower essence practice, allow the practitioner to choose with precision and effect changes throughout the client’s entire self, body, mind and spirit. Herbs discussed will include some of my most frequently used  herbs in practice, including blue and hoary vervain, prickly lettuce, agrimony, goldenrod, black walnut and motherwort.%MCEPASTEBIN%

Herb it up in the Kitchen:  Cooking with Culinary Herbs and Spices for Better Health with Betsy Nelson

You’re spice cabinet is full of herbs and spices that are loaded with health benefits.  Learn about how to incorporate more herbs and spices into your daily cooking and how they can benefit your health and well being.

Herbal Basics: Tinctures and Plant Identification with Marina Povlitzki

Herbal Medicine is accessible to everyone!  Join us for a walk around the farm and learn to identify some of the many edible and medicinal plants that grow around us.  Ethical wildcrafting guidelines will be explored. Then learn the simple techniques to turn fresh herbs into a medicinal tincture. Participants will make their own tincture for home use.

$5 supply fee payable to instructor

Herbs and the Cardiovascular System with Erin Piorier

In this workshop we’lldiscuss how to safely use herbs for mild to moderate hypertension, herbal alternatives to medication for lowering cholesterol and varicose veins and hemorrhoids and heart palpitations associated with anxiety or menopause.  There will be a special emphasis on local plants like Sweet Melilot, Self-Heal, Linden, Artichoke leaf and more.  Of course, we’ll discuss Hawthorn, including recipes and lots of ways to incorporate this classic nutritive heart tonic into your life.

Herbs for Aging Gracefully with Connie Karstens

Imagine strengthening your bones, cleansing your body, clearing your mind, building immunity and becoming healthier as you age. In this class, we will have an in-depth discussion about the best herbs and nutrition that supports the aging process. You will also go away with special recipes for tea blends and suggestions to develop a protocol that you can use as your life transitions.

Lunch Hour Plant Walk with Gerri Boyd

If you’re hungry to meet the plants but don’t know where to start – start here!  Join a local herbalist on a plant identification walk.  Meet some of the wild all-stars of Minnesota and learn a few of their most important uses.  Though we will stop often for identification, we’ll try to cover some ground.

Lunch Hour Plant Walk with Heather Mashuga

During part of your lunch break come join Heather Mashuga on an informative plant walk.  Heather will help you connect with nature, identify medicinal plants, what those plants can be used for, and to empower yourself to put your health and wellness into your own hands.  You may also be able to collect some identified plants to start building your own herbal remedies.

The Magical Use of Herbs with Laura Sanden

Herbs have always been linked with magic and for good reason. In addition to their medicinal properties, many Herbs contain special, subtle properties that work on energetic levels. Learning the properties and applications of these herbs can help in a surprisingly large number of common and also totally paranormal situations. Drawing on experience and seasoned with original anecdotes from her practice, Laura will give both general and specific information about how to use herbs for clearing, protection, removing curses, ending nightmares, dealing with ghosts, and more.

Make It Topical: The Medicinal Ointment with Marina Povlitzki

Oils and ointments are wonderful means to applying herbs directly to the spots that need them.  Come learn how to make your own oils and salves.  We’ll collect useful herbs and make our own oils, and you’ll also bring home a sample ointment.  All materials are included.  $5.00 fee payable to instructor for materials

Minnesota Herbs for the Musculo-Skeletal System with Lise Wolff

Many local and available plants are incredibly effective remedies for healing and easing the pain of arthritis, sprains, strains, tight muscles, whiplash, bone breaks, repetitive stress injuries and so much more.  Come learn what, where and how to use these effective and simple remedies.

Promoting Breast Health on a Daily Basis with Katherine Krumwiede

It’s time to replace Breast Cancer Awareness with Breast Health Awareness. Learn to identify the issues that adversely affect breast health and steps to take to promote breast health. Comprehensive handout on Breast Health included.

Toxic Bile: The Role of the Liver in Chronic Disease with Paul Ratte

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a growing epidemic in the United States. This progressive disorder is a harbinger of obesity, diabetes, autoimmune, and cardiovascular disease. The production, movement, reabsorption, and elimination of bile is part of the functional physiology that underlies this epidemic. Stagnant enterohepatic circulation and toxic bile result from the burden of the Western diet and poor lifestyle habits. This class will review the important role of choleretics, cholagogues, bitters, demulcents, and mucilages to improve liver function.


  1. Hi Nicole, Registration is not open yet but Lise and I are working on selecting our teachers and workshops for the 2016 festival. This year’s festival will be held on Sunday, September 18th.

    1. Hi Lira,
      Here’s the link. https://minnesotaherbalist.com/minnesotas-herbal-festival/minnesota-herbal-festival-registration/
      It’s on the main herbal festival page, but it’s one of those links you have to put your cursor over in order for it to illuminate. Sorry if that was confusing!

      Scroll down to pay via paypal and I will send you a confirmation email. Or print the page, fill it out and mail it with payment. Let me know if you have other questions.

  2. Is there scholarships or volunteering available to lower the cost of the ticket? Myself and two other women who have been teaching ourselves herbal medicine are very interested in coming, but can’t afford the price due to our low incomes.

    1. Hi Kelley, Preregistratn is not necessary. In fact, you can switch workshops mid-session if a particular class is not what you had in mind. Note that, you up may want to plan ahead with a few bucks cash for the tincture and oil/salve making class if you plan to attend those because there is a supply fee and you leave with a tincture or infused in for home use.

  3. Hi there,
    I’m curious if y’all have any work-exchange or volunteer options for reduced registration? I’m really hoping to be able to attend, learn, and participate in my herbal community!

    Thank ya kindly!!

  4. I’d love to bring my 14 yr old son. Would he be considered a child upon registration, or would I need to purchase a ticket for him as well. Thanks!

    1. Hi Val,
      Kids who are coming to play around ouside or babysit younger kids or babies in arms are free. If your son is coming as a participant to take part in classes and workshops, please register and buy a ticket. Let me know if you have other questions! You can reach me directly (where I respond a lot faster) at herbalist.erin@outlook.com

  5. Hello,

    My name is Rachel Delphine Berndt and I am a bioregional herbalist in Des Moines, Iowa. I have been writing for Plant Healer Magazine since 2015 and have taught various classes at both the Good Medicine Confluence and the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference.

    I would love to apply to teach at the next Minnesota Herb Festival. Any information you can provide me with as far as when and where I can apply would be wonderful.

    Thank you!

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