The Introduction to Herbalism Home Study program is a twelve lesson course intended to support the journey of the beginner to intermediate herbalist, with a broad range of topics covered, and no time limit as to when you need to complete it. My aim is to teach practical skill using local and readily accessible herbs, while covering the foundational elements of herbalism that are so important to a truly deep appreciation and knowledge of plants and their medicine. Rather than simply* using* the plants, you will develop a relationship with both them and the land they spring from; deep knowledge comes from this relationship and is always, in large part, a personal one.. the journey to mastery may be long, but it should also be joyful and exciting as well as a fair bit of hard work and application. It is my goal for this course to provide students with an introduction to all aspects of the work,that each one may find their own personal expression within.
Here is what you can expect from the program.
1) A combination of fun/practical exercises and projects designed to reinforce the more academic aspects of the course
2) Thorough and cohesive Readings and Assignments designed to build your knowledge methodically,always with support from me as you go
3) A classroom of fellow students, where you can share questions, experiences, insights and general exploration of our topic
4) An amazing amount of knowledge! while having a highly enjoyable experience
5) A gorgeous certificate of completion at the end of your studies
The Twelve Lessons will cover the following topics:
1) Lesson One covers the history of Western Herbalism, from Greek humoral medicine through the great medieval European texts and across the sea to North America,,where ancient knowledge met with Native American wisdom and plantlore. ..the recent “herbal renaissance” and various schools of thought/approaches, leading voices in modern Western herbalism. We need this context to fully understand the science and the art of herbalism, and it’s often a real eye-opener for students.
2) Herbal Actions – understanding the terms of herbal actions is foundational to any serious pursuit of this field. When we think of herbs only as replacements for medications, we don’t even scratch the surface of what herbalism truly can be. Many plant we associate only with one action (Echinacea for immune stimulation, for example) we limit our choices enormously. This all-important Lesson will help you learn the actions, the terms and why they’re important – to get you started with a solid base for future work with herbs.
3) Plant constituents – Not nearly as “dry” as it might seem, once basic plant compounds are placed into groups we have a filing system that helps make it manageable. Understanding plant constituents helps with decisions about which herb to use, how to dose, and how to prepare the plants for internal use. From this unit you will take away a working vocabulary on the topic and a reference sheet you can use anytime.
4) Energetics – For the many folks who think the Western tradition lacks a system of energetics? Think again. We have fun in this unit, tasting herbs and working with food pairings and generally experiencing what is meant by energetics (temperature, moisture, stimulation). This unit teaches the theory but helps you internalize the knowledge by practical exercises and experience.
5) Body Systems – An overview of human body systems, with focus on herbs that have affinity for each. Using your knowledge of herbal actions, you can start to put together how to select the right herb for the right system. Again, foundational knowledge so you can work not only with individual herbs, but understand the basics of formulation.
6) Getting Started – your Home Apothecary – this is a super-fun Lesson , wherein you get to take all your new knowledge and select your own start-up apothecary. Along with the most important dried herbs, tinctures and other supplies, we’ll look at jars, tins, scales, storage and all aspects of setting up a truly efficient home apothecary.
7) Making Medicine – It is my belief that to truly know our plants, we need to work with them as well as simply learn their actions and how to administer to others. In this information-packed unit you will learn the foundations of medicine making – how to select and prepare herbs for salves, lotions, liniments, ointments, teas, infusions and decoctions, compresses and poultices, as well as make medicinal and delicious preparations using honey, vinegar, brandy and more. A core skill of the herbalist, this is a Lesson you will refer to and use for years to come.
8) Botany 101 – All serious herbalists need to know a bit about botany! We’ll look at plant families, learn to “key out” characteristics that help us identify wild plants, and work with a few examples in your own area/garden. This is a core aspect of herbalism that can be overlooked by some programmes – not here! You’ll come away empowered with some of the basic language and skill of botany to start you on a journey of ever-deepening plant wisdom.
9) Growing and Wildcrafting – what you need to get started. Everyone who works with herbs will want to grow some, and learn to identify them in the wild. Both are skills that take time and practical experience to develop, but some tools can help expedite the earning process greatly. (I spent years an years with a Field guide, learning each plant as individuals and not knowing that learning characteristics of the FAMILY would make this process so much easier!) Whether you have access to a garden and want to grow many medicinal plants, or simply wish to have a few favorites in pots on the deck, the act of nurturing herbs form seed or seedlings to full grown and then transforming them into healing medicine, is a beautiful journey.
10) Working with Animals – most of us love animals and most of us who practise the art of herbalism, want to know how to care for them naturally as well. It’s been my privilege to 15 years now to work with dogs and cats, using nutrition and herbs, and in this unit I will share some of the most important aspects to know- species sensitivities, the role of diet, dosing and delivery methods. I offer a full certificate course on this topic, but this unit will be plenty to get the home herbalist started. Treat recipes and nutrition information included here.
11) First Aid – Preparation is key when travelling, camping, or any situation where herbal first aid might be useful (and sometimes incredibly so). I carry both a mini-herbal bad and a full kit with me anytime I spend even a day in the forest; you will learn what to use for a wide range of common first aid issues and how to handle the more serious ones as well…sometimes using plants that grow nearby, too. Includes animal first-aid – of course!
12) Recipes and Review – This last section (unless you are doing Lesson 13) is an overview of everything you have learned, putting it all together and consolidating what you know. It’s review time, question time and one assignment time(major, but you have my full support). You can either do this Lesson after #11 or after the “Bonus” Lesson #13. Either way, it’s critically important to draw the strand together and review: what aspect did you enjoy most, excel at most, where do you still need work?
In addition to the core topic, each module contains five herbal monographs, special recipes to get you started and a bonus section on wild plant identification.
BONUS LESSON: Because many, but not all of my students have an interest in the spiritual aspect of herbalism, I decided to make this Lesson a bonus – not necessary to obtain your certificate, and you are not marked on it as such, but something I personally feel strongly about. In this Lesson, I’m sharing some of my own path, experiences with both plant and animal spirits, and how my own animistic, neo-Pagan path influences and intertwines with my herbalism. Put simply: one can be a very good herbalist without any spiritual path at all, and so I wanted to keep this element separate. However, for many of us – irrespective of how we define ourselves – Spirit plays a huge role in this work. So for you – exercises, stories and teachings from my own path. Consider it a gift from me, of gratitude that you considered me worthy to teach you. There will be a whole course on this aspect in future, but for now, take this walk as it calls you.
Cost of the course is $300.00 US.
We will start on Monday, June1. Early registration is recommended.
For a full breakdown of the curriculum, or to register, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org