Start Your Path as an Herbalist

intens_bGo to any health food store and you will undoubtedly find a section for herbs.  They are often displayed as supplements in the form of tinctures and capsules and some stores will also sell the individual loose leaf and roots of herb.  Just seeing this dizzying array of herbs can be overwhelming and confusing for anyone who is interested in using herbs for their health effects.  But starting your personal path as an herbalist doesn’t have to be that complex.  Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

 

1-  Start experientially.  One of the best ways to get interested in herbs is to start getting to know them directly.  Pick a few herbs that you have been interested in and then get to know them through drinking them as teas, taking them in tinctures and visiting them in gardens or in nature.  Start with herbs that are generally mild that are unlikely to have any strong side effects.  Get to know them one by one so you can feel how they affect your mood and your energy.  Some great herbs to get started with are peppermint, chamomile and nettles.

 

2- Engage your five senses.  Learning about herbs is enhanced by engaging all your five senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing.   To really develop a relationship with the plant world, it’s best to get up, close and personal.  Whenever Unknownyou can, go out and visit herbs in their natural setting.  See if they prefer light or shade, if there’s only a few plants or many in a big community.  Are they tall or short?  Are their flowers large and showy or small and secretive?  Then smell them.  What kind of odor do they give off?  Pungent?  Aromatic?  Musky?  Tear off a small leaf and hold it in your hand.  Feel the texture.  Is it rough?  Smooth?  Then chew the herb for a moment.  (Make sure its a safe non-toxic herb).   How does it taste?  Salty?  Sour?  Sweet?  The smell and taste of an herb gives us clues to their personality and will help us understand what they are good for.  The last sense is hearing.  Sometimes this means hearing the environment where the herb is living.  Are there birds singing?  Children playing nearby?  It can also mean tuning in really carefully to an herb.  Maybe you will actually hear a message from the herb itself.

 

3- Make a dozen friends.  Instead of looking at an herb book and trying to learn 100 different herbs, start by choosing just 12 herbs.  As a long time herbalist I find myself returning to some tried and true herbs over and over again.  I am acquainted with hundreds of herbs, but I am still only deep friends with no more than one or two dozen.  Get to know 12 herbs by spending time reading about them in herb books and in visiting them in nature. Study them deeply, explore their uses and use your five senses to really connect to them.

 

Unknown-1

4- Start a Daily Practice.  Becoming an herbalist is like learning a foreign language.  It takespractice, practice, practice.  Learn about herbs and how to prepare them by reading herbal books, exploring on line content and watching videos on a daily basis.  I also like to prepare an infusion of tonic herbs such as oatstraw, raspberry leaf or nettles everyday as a daily way of connecting to the plant world as well as a way to nourish my body.

 

5- Share your knowledge and love of herbs.  Any chance you get, offer a cup of tea to a friend.  Talk about the herb’s benefits, what its good for and how it can help improve health.  Soon people will know you as a neighborhood herbalist.

 

6-  Go Deeper.  Once you have started your journey, there are a number of ways to go deeper.  One of the best ways to become an accomplished herbalist is to attend a school of herbal studies that will teach you about botany, anatomy and physiology, different illness patterns, plant morphology and chemistry as well as traditional and scientific uses of herbs.

 

7- You’re on your way.  There are no rules for becoming an herbalist.  It simply takes time, devoted study, regular exploration and practice.  But above all, becoming an herbalist means sharing your love of herbs.  Get started today!

 

To get started as an herbalist, here are a number of books that I love deeply and are great for beginners.


imageThe New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman.  This is a wonderful comprehensive book that describes different organic systems in the body and the best herbs for different illness patterns.  It also has nice simple write ups of many common herbs.

 

 

image-1

Healing Wise by Susun Weed.  A deeply profound and entertaining book that will introduce the reader to the Wise Woman Tradition of healing and herbalism.  The book also gives great in depth accounts of a few herbs such as dandelion, chickweed and nettles.

 

 

 


image-2Family Herbal by Rosemary Gladstar.  This is a beautiful book that details some of the best herb combinations and treatment strategies for different health conditions.

 

 

 


image-3The Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra.   If you are interested in traditional Chinese medicine as well as herbalism, Tierra has written a very easy to understand book that includes write ups of dozens of herbs as well as   the best ways to prepare them.

 

 

 


image-4The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green.  Green has written a fantastic book on different ways to prepare herbs as medicines.  As an herbalist I return to this book again and again when I am making herbal preparations.

 

 

 

 

 

P1060126 - Version 2

 

Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 3.41.30 PMThis article written by Jon Keyes.  Please go to www.hearthsidehealing.com  for more articles like this.

 

 

Share This:
facebook

Comments

  1. Hi, I dream of selling from my apothecary; ointments, creams, tinctures, blends etc. Do I have to have herbalist training and acreditation to do this legally? I cannot find the legal requiements for this, save ‘cosmetics’ or ‘food’. Do you know what I need? I have looked everywhere and am getting nowhere. Any advice appreciated.

    Many thanks, Miss Shadow Phoeix

  2. hearthside says:

    Hi Shadow- you do not have to have any formal training to start selling herbal products. But you are legally required to adhere to “Good Manufacturing Practice.” This basically means you have to assure the identity, age of harvest and manufacture, quality and that you have prevented contamination of any of your products if you say- start a store or sell at your local farmer’s market. So far there hasn’t been any crackdowns on single herbalists selling a few tinctures on the side (that I am aware of), but there have been crackdowns on small scale herbal businesses so its important to do homework on these legal issues. One of the best write ups I have read comes from Rosalee de la Foret’s blog. Here are her notes: http://www.methowvalleyherbs.com/2009/08/fda-on-gmps-notes-on-lecture-by-roy.html. Hope that helps.

  3. marsha woods says:

    I am only interested in herbs/plants in Iowa. what is the best book for this?? Thank You

  4. It iis truly ? great and helpful piece ?f ?nformation. I’m glad that ?ou simply shared
    t?is helpful info wit? us. Pleade stay us informed ?ike
    t?is. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Yo? hav? made soe decent point? t?ere.
    ? look?d on the internet f?r m??e info ?bout t?e issue and f?und mo?t people wilkl ?o along with ?our views ?n this site.

  6. You are so cool! I don’t suppose I have read anything like this before.

    So great to discover another person with some genuine thoughts
    on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This site is something that is needed on the web, somkeone with
    some originality!

  7. Great post.

  8. ?reat post. I ?ill be ?oing thro?gh a f?w ?f these issues a? ?ell..

  9. Hello Dear, a?e you actually visiting t?is
    website regularly, ?f so afterward ?ou will witho?t doubt ??t nice
    know-how.

  10. Hello, I enjoy reading all of your post. I like to write a little comment
    to support you.

  11. I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good
    content as you did, the web will be much morte useful than ever before.

  12. Howdy superb website! ?oes running a blog l?ke t??s requre ? lot ?f work?

    I ha?? no understanding ?f coding but
    ? h?d b??n hoping to start m? own blog soon.Any?ays,
    if yo? ha?e any recommendations ?r tips for new
    blog owners ?lease share. I know this is off
    subject ?owever I simply ?ad to ?sk. Cheers!

  13. Howdy! Do you know if thesy make any plugins too safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard
    on. Any recommendations?

  14. G?eat blog here! Additionally your site rather a lot up very fast!
    What web host are you the usage of? Can I am g?tting y?ur affiliate link to
    yo?r host? I wish my website l?aded up ?s fast as you?s
    lol

  15. Usually posts some very exciting stuff like this. If you?re new to this site.

  16. below you?ll come across the link to some web-sites that we consider you need to visit

  17. please visit the web-sites we comply with, including this 1, as it represents our picks from the web

  18. very couple of websites that transpire to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly worth checking out

  19. Great delivery. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing spirit.

  20. that could be the end of this post. Here you will discover some websites that we consider you will enjoy, just click the links over

  21. naturally like your website but you need to test
    the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the truth on the other hand I’ll definitely
    come again again.

  22. here are some hyperlinks to internet sites that we link to due to the fact we believe they’re worth visiting

  23. Here are a few of the websites we recommend for our visitors.

  24. always a massive fan of linking to bloggers that I love but do not get a great deal of link adore from

  25. usually posts some quite fascinating stuff like this. If you are new to this site

  26. Sites of interest we have a link to

  27. that could be the end of this write-up. Here you?ll obtain some web pages that we think you?ll appreciate, just click the links over

  28. we came across a cool web-site that you simply could possibly get pleasure from. Take a search should you want

  29. Always can remember the type off your ring must rely on taste of the lady.
    Love is among the most breathtaking stuff that occur in everyone’s
    life once we grow up. It ‘s better to determine which cut you desire previously
    itself.

  30. Here is a good Blog You may Come across Intriguing that we Encourage You

  31. The data mentioned in the article are a few of the best available

  32. usually posts some really exciting stuff like this. If you are new to this site

  33. here are some hyperlinks to sites that we link to simply because we consider they may be worth visiting

  34. always a major fan of linking to bloggers that I love but really don’t get lots of link really like from

  35. although sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we feel they are really worth a go via, so have a look

  36. we came across a cool web site that you might appreciate. Take a search if you want

  37. check beneath, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, on the other hand, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use

  38. I simply want to say I am all new to blogs and actually savored this blog site. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your site . You really have wonderful articles and reviews. Thanks for revealing your website page.

  39. Here are a number of the web-sites we suggest for our visitors

Speak Your Mind