At Midwest School of Herbal Studies, students receive so much more than an ordinary education. We pride ourselves on creating a unique, exciting environment that embraces all types of learners and promotes growth both academically and personally. Students and families are also welcomed into a dynamic and supportive community.
Matthew Alfs, MH, RH (AHG), Founder & Director
Our School was founded in 2003 by Matthew Alfs, MH, RH (AHG), an herbal educator and clinician--now for over a quarter of a century. As a clinician, he is one of only about 300 practicing herbalists to have achieved the status of Registered Herbalist (R.H.) after having undergone a rigorous peer review of his education and clinical practice by the major professional body of practicing herbalists in the USA, the American Herbalists Guild. He has been in clinical practice since 1997 and is the founder and director of an integrative, natural-health-care clinic located in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota (see "Herbal Clinic" on our menu).
As an author, he has written MWSHS's textbook (300 Herbs: Their Indications & Contraindications. Rev. Ed. 2020) and its 1500-page series of Workbooks. He has also written the highly-acclaimed, regional, wild-plant guide entitled Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants of the Midwest (Third Ed., 2020) and has been published in a wide variety of both scholarly journals (incl. Journal of the American Herbalists Guild, Medical Herbalism, Journal of the American Chiropractic Association) and popular magazines.
As an educator, he has served as a faculty member of two major universities and two colleges in the Twin Cities area. However, the Midwest School of Herbal Studies is now his chief instrument in sharing the joys and rewards of herbal healing with as many people as possible. As the school's founder and director, he is dedicated to making it the foremost forum for herbal education in the entire world!
Other Key People Who Have Played a Role in the History of Our School
Laurie Swadner, BS, MH, Senior Student Coordinator
Laurie Swadner has served as the Senior Student Coordinator for MWSHS since 2005. As such, she has coordinated with individual students to ensure that they have been progressing smoothly in their studies―providing assistance and encouragement where needed.
She has also coordinated many of MWSHS' workshops and special events.
Laurie has a rich background in natural health-care, including both formal education in herbal healing and considerable experience in the natural-products industry.
Annika Christensson, BA, RN, Assistant Student Coordinator
Annika Christensson has served as an assistant student coordinator with MWSHS since 2011. She has graded quite a few of the student papers and coordinated some of our workshops. Annika has also served as a clinic assistant in the School's attached clinic, the Midwest Herbs & Healing center, where her calm spirit and gentle manner have been much appreciated.
In past years, Annika enjoyed the enviable experience of working on an organic farm in Iceland, where she was responsible for the medication and nutrition of disabled adults. Her tasks there included the cultivation of gardens onsite and the harvesting and processing of various herbs.