you gave some nice feedback that having some blog posts on an introduction to herbalism would be neat, so here i am! i don’t intend for this to be a form of training by any means, but rather a nice little “dip” into the herbalism pool to see if it piques your interest.
where you go from there will be up to you.
what is herbalism?
put plainly, it is the study of the therapeutic and medicinal application of plants. the field of herbalism as a whole contains a multitude of published research, so never mistake it for a non-scientific field of study. big pharma offerings often start from herbalism findings.
i personally believe there is a time and place for herbalism and a time and place for conventional western medicine. i will never delude myself into believing that plants solve everything all the time. you’d be hard-pressed to find a serious practicing herbalist that does.
where is herbalism practiced?
clinics, kitchens, backyards… sometimes you may not even realizing you’re dabbling in it. ever make yourself a cup of peppermint tea for an upset stomach or gas? herbalism. it’s an enthralling, accessible field.
why learn herbalism?
maybe you want to try an alternative approach to ailments you experience. maybe you just want to learn more about your local flora and how it can be utilized. maybe you want to really “up” your DIY game. OR – maybe you want to eventually open a business or practice.
whether you do it for your own knowledge or to help others, learning herbalism is never a terrible idea.
where is herbalism learned?
there’s always the option of entering into a formal education program, like i have, or you can do an apprenticeship, be mentored by other practicing herbalists, and/or self-teach. if you opt to self-teach to only create things for yourself and your family (no practice, no money coming in, etc), please consider finding a network of practicing herbalists to guide you and help you along the way. their wisdom can go a long way in your learnings. i have learned just as much from my small network on an ad-hoc basis as i have from my formal classes.
if you’re looking to open a practice, please learn formally and get certifications (see next paragraph), in addition to finding a network of herbalists to mentor you. the American Herbalists Guild does recommend at least 1600 hours of formal herbal medicine study, which includes a 400 hour clinical requirement.
it’s important to note that in the U.S. there are no accredited herbalism certifications available, as herbalism is not regulated. you can enroll into a program that provides a certificate (“certified herbalist”), but the certificate will not be a higher education ‘degree’ of any sort. that being said, being formally educated, in my opinion, is a much better option for you and your loved ones. there are recognized and respected schools listed by the American Herbalists Guild, so i would suggest starting there if you’re interested. i say this because there is so much misinformation out there (like “ingesting EOs is safe”- it’s not) and you want to be sure you’re properly trained to help others, if you wish to do so.
no matter what you do, always read and research. David Hoffman is probably the most revered and learned herbalist we have today, and any of his books would be a great place to start. i think this one is really great, and three others i have by him are this, this, and this. two other books recommended by my teacher were this one and this one (NOT affiliates, just trying to help you, if you’re interested).
what will this herbalism introduction series cover?
right now, i’m planning to share things like this with you:
- how to make a proper herbal infusion
- how to make proper decoctions
- a few herbal applications in DIY beauty formulas
what i am NOT planning on posting is:
- materia medicas
- advice on specific herbal applications for ailments
- advice on herbal contraindications for safety
- herbal “medical” advice of any kind for any reason
for the topics i will not be posting about, please leverage your own local certified herbalist. need help finding one? check HERE.
the last thing i will leave you with today – never assume that because you’re “just using plants” that it’s safe for everyone all the time. it’s not. that’s very important to understand.
all this being said, studying herbalism has been quite a fulfilling journey for me so far and i’m looking forward to sharing a tiny piece of it with you.
what do you think? are you excited for this? i am! if you have anything you want to specifically cover, LET ME KNOW!
maybe i can get annie back on the blog 😉 let’s talk her into it!
keep learning and BE SAFE.
disclaimer – these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. anything presented here or on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. i am not a medical doctor. i will not advise on herbal remedies for ailments nor will i advise on herbal safety. your choices are your own.