Poisonous Plants and the Path of the Clinical Herbalist with Chanchal Cabrera - September 22 + 29, 6 - 9 PM PT


Many of the most effective remedies in our materia medica are potentially toxic in the wrong patient or in the wrong dose, and practitioners are understandably wary of using them.

Unfortunately, the less they are used the less they are understood, and the less we understand them the less they are used. These herbs will be in danger of disappearing from our armamentarium if we don't make efforts to educate ourselves and use them judiciously but effectively.

Because of the active pharmacology of these herbal agents, there is, in some cases, also a risk of herb/drug interactions, and in all cases the dosing is critical and the responsible practitioner must recognize side effects and know how to mitigate them.

In this detailed two-part series, Chancal Cabrera [MSc, FNIMH, RHT, (RH)AHG] will review the principles of toxicology and the relative risk from herbal medicine and consider pharmacology as it applies to botanicals; safety guidelines, and adverse events. With examples drawn from 30+ years of clinical practice and emphasizing practical applications and safety practices for these herbs, this informative program will make you a safer and more effective herbal prescriber.

By the completion of this class the student will be able to:

  • Describe the relative risk:benefit ratio of botanicals
  • Use of toxics in clinical practice
  • Discuss dosing strategies for botanicals
  • Recognize adverse effects or side effects and know how to assess and mitigate them

Part One Curriculum:

  • Assessment of relative risk
  • Definitions of toxicology
  • Sufficient challenge and LD50
  • Causes and types of adverse reactions
  • Pharmacokinetics and the therapeutic window
  • Acute/chronic responses
  • Hepatic induction/inhibition
  • Herb/drug interactions
  • Anticoagulants
  • Safety in pregnancy

Part Two Curriculum:

  • Adverse event reporting
  • Uses and safe dosing of a variety of herbs including:
    • Atropa belladonna
    • Convallaria majalis
    • Cytisus scoparius
    • Datura stramonium
    • Ephedra sinica
    • Gelsemium sempervirens
    • Hyoscyamus niger
    • Lobelia inflata
    • Phytolacca americana
    • Piper methysticum
    • Symphytum officinalis
This class is a two-part series (Sept 22 + 29) and will not be offered separately.
This class will take place online via Zoom and there will be a recording for those pre-registered students unable to attend.


Chanchal lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she and her husband manage Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden, a 7 acre internationally registered botanic garden specializing in food and medicine plants, and where they host apprenticeships in sustainable food production and herbal medicine. Chanchal runs a private herbal medicine clinic with a specialty in holistic oncology, and offers a monthly student training clinic that provides free health services to the community. The farm also hosts Gardens without Borders, a federally registered not-for-profit society established to run the botanic garden and provide horticulture therapy.



Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (UK) since 1987. Awarded Fellowship 2009

MSc in herbal medicine at the University of Wales in 2003

Faculty chair in Botanical Medicine at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster 2004 - 2016

Senior faculty at Heartwood School of Herbal Medicine (UK)  2017 - present

Diplomas in Botanic Garden Management and Education from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2013 & 2014

Certified Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) practitioner 2016

Certified Master Gardener 1999

Certified Horticulture Therapist 2005

BC representative to the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations  2019 - present

- Registration is required for online classes. Please note that we will close online registrations an hour before the start of the class.

- This class takes place live online. Live attendance is encouraged, but we understand life happens. 

How to access the Zoom Link + Video Replay: You will receive a link upon registration to access the live class zoom link, video replay, and class materials through our online secure learning platform, ThinkificPlease check your spam folder if you have not received it and email us.

- Please make sure to register with an active email address.

- You have the option to hide your video at any time during the live class.

- It’s important that you stay muted unless asking a question at an appropriate time.

- It may take some time to get the technology working on your end. Downloading the Zoom app is recommended. And watch these Zoom instructional videos: Joining a meeting and Testing your audio settings.

Online Classes Cancellation Policy:

Our team members and teachers are committed to serving our community in those difficult times by providing affordable online classes.

Please note that our online classes are non-refundable and no class credits will be issued in case of cancellation.

We thank you for your understanding and support.


We would love to hear from you!

Please contact us using the form below with any questions or give us a call between 11-6 pm PT at 415-821-0997.

We can fill orders for you over the phone as well as online. 


Please use the form below to contact us or visit faire.com.

Thank you for your love and support! 

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