Pursuing Your Interest in Herbalism

The road to an education in herbalism can branch to many paths, and there is no one true way to mastery.

| February 26, 2014

Herbal Knowledge

An education in herbalism can be self-taught, gained as an apprentice, learned in school or any combination of these paths and more.

Photo courtesy Plant Healer Press

The Plant Healer’s Path (Plant Healer Press, 2013) addresses topics vital to an empowered, effective herbal practice, including many issues that have not been addressed by mainstream sources. Jesse Wolf Hardin, a renowned herbalist and co-founder of Plant Healer Magazine, brings to readers enchanting tales, profiles of many medicinal plants, and recipes favored by herbalists. The following excerpt, taken from “An Herbal Education,” offers invaluable advice for anyone looking to pursue an interest in herbalism.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Plant Healer's Path.

What qualifies one as a good herbalist? An ability to learn from experience, intuition or insight, intimacy with plants, and rapport with clients are certainly all credible criteria, but utterly essential is your base and depth of knowledge. Even the most intuitive practitioner could be more effective with an intense study of medicinal plants and their constituents and actions, of phytochemical and clinical research, the history of herbalism and healing traditions from around the world, botany and physiology, psychology and counseling, business management and communication skills to name only a few. Even the wisest of teachers will quickly tell you that they never stop being students, and the best practitioners continue to learn new things for so long as they live.

There would seem to be 4 main ways of learning the craft of herbalism. These are, in brief:

1. Self Education

This “do it yourself” method is largely a misnomer, since it includes not only learning by experience, but also learning from books – which means from someone else’s experiences and methods. There are many extremely effective or widely popular herbalists who have never had a teacher or completed an herbal course, however, including Susun Weed, Jim McDonald, Michael Moore and Kiva Rose.

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