Our Story

The Elderberry School of Botanical Medicine was founded in 2006 by herbalists who wanted to provide a foundational lay herbal medicine education for adults in the Portland area. Since 2007 our nine month Herbalist Training Program brought people together in community with the plants and each other. Advanced courses were added to meet the need for more in-depth clinical study. In 2019 we felt the need to make our programming more versatile and flexible for people with more focused interest. We decided to break up the foundational program into more accessible pieces, so we have created new courses to meet the needs of future students and alumni. Please visit our FAQ page for answers to common questions about our courses. 


Our Mission

We strongly believe that knowledge of local medicinal plants is essential for all people, and that herbal medicine is a core component of sustainable community health and vitality. We offer a bioregional approach that focuses on increasing knowledge and awareness of the medicinal plants of the Pacific Northwest, and we emphasize the validation of first hand experience and collaboration in teaching and learning. We offer an arena for aspiring community healers to learn to bring herbal medicines and people together, and by promoting the awareness of ethical wildcrafting, we ensure the protection of at-risk & endangered plants and the continued abundance that our local flora provides.

Our Instructors


Erico Schleicher, LAc, MAcOM

Erico is a practicing herbalist and acupuncturist. He has been discovering and working with plant medicines since 1994. His studies with Michael R.S. Moore at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine put him on a path towards regional, accessible, empowering herbalism based on traditional principles. Upon moving to Oregon, he studied Chinese Medicine at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, and he has been doing clinical work with patients in Portland since 2003.

Erico is deeply committed to sustainable directions for community health.


Erico finds that when we work seasonally with locally available plants that have discovered how to thrive in our bioregion, we learn to perceive the many voices that teach us how to integrate our own health into the life of the land around us.


Erico’s herbalism workshops have been featured at the Breitenbush Herbal Conference, The Portland Plant Medicine Gathering, The Dandelion Seed Conference, the Northwest Herbal Fair, Tryon Life Community Farm and the Montana Herb Gathering


Erico has served on the Board of Trustees of Tryon Life Community Farm, and The Olympia Free Herbal Clinic, and the Oregon Acupuncture Association. He is a faculty member at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.


Kim Kelsey, FNP

Kim is a plant lover, nurse practitioner, and singer. She grew up exploring the woods and beaches of Washington State on the Puget Sound. Throughout her childhood Kim was intrigued by plants and their uses as medicine. Following her interests, Kim studied botany and ecology at The Evergreen State College. Later, she chose nursing as her healing discipline, drawn by its person-centered and holistic approach. Kim sees patients at Hand On Medicine, an integrated primary care practice in North Portland.


Kim is a founder of the Elderberry School of Botanical Medicine. She has created a unique anatomy and physiology course for herbalists that entwines her knowledge of plant medicine with her understanding of the human body.


Kim’s work with the school also includes teaching songs and fostering a culture of music in the program. Music is a traditional part of healing work, and Kim has witnessed how singing together can open new ways of understanding ourselves and strengthen community. Kim learned many of her songs from singers at the Singing Alive gathering in Cascadia.


Kim continues to explore her love for plants through gardening, wildcrafting, photography, and medicine making.


Brunem from Well Spring Remedies

"I've been teaching about Herbal First Aid in multiple contexts for the past decade. I am a 20-hour street medic trained by the Rosehip Medic Collective. In addition to being trained by this group of anarchist queer first responders, I also organized and taught classes with them for 3 years, including several rounds of the 20-hour street medic training. I coordinated and attended a weekend intensive on Disaster Herbalism with Leah Wolfe, MPH. I worked for 6 years as a personal support worker for multiply marginalized people in assisted living facilities and through doing in-home care. This necessitated keeping my first aid skills up to date, as protocols are always changing, and reducing hospital visits is especially meaningful for those with compromised immunity. I've helped organize pop-up clinics and provide herbal first aid to people in both urban and rural settings. I've been teaching Herbal First Aid for the Elderberry School of Botanical Medicine for several years and most recently presented this class at a conference called the Portland Plant Medicine Gathering last fall. 

I am also a sliding scale clinical herbalist (which means I work one-on-one with people to support their long-term wellness goals) and a disabled femme. Now in the time of COVID-19, I'm thinking about herbal first aid skills as mutual aid for our communities AND a form of preventative care for our medical system itself. If sharing these classes can prevent even one unnecessary hospital visit or help someone recognize that they do need to seek urgent care, all of my work has been worth it!"