How to Make an Herb Journal (Plus a Free Herbalism Class)

| 1/6/2017 10:24:00 AM

Herbalists often create a special type of herbal journal, called a materia medica, which is an inspiring way to stay connected to our studies and to our plants to ensure we are always learning and growing as herbalists. It’s a great tool for all types of herbalists — and that includes homestead herbalists, too!

One thing you can never have too much of on the homestead is knowledge, and that’s true of everything from keeping up with repairs, to working with livestock, to gardening, and even learning how to use herbs to support your health.

Most homesteaders prefer to have a selection of good books and magazines on hand rather than relying solely on a computer or other electronic resources. Power outages or spotty connections are often a reality on the homestead! Because a materia medica can be a journal, a three ring binder, or other hard copy format, it’s an especially valuable learning tool for homestead herbalists.

Plant  - Herbal Materia Medica Course by Herbal Academy

What is a Materia Medica?

A materia medica is a collection of in-depth plant profiles, or monographs, that herbalists use as a tool for learning and reference. It’s a phrase that, roughly translated, means “healing materials.” Materia medicas have been created since before the Middle Ages as accessible repositories of herbal knowledge.

Materia medicas have taken many forms, from hand illuminated manuscripts to typeset volumes and modern books. Here at the Herbal Academy, we encourage our students to create their own personalized materia medicas as part of our Intermediate and Advanced Herbal Courses, and it’s a practice we highly recommend to anyone who is interested in learning herbalism.   

An herbal profile in a materia medica typically includes several useful categories. In a well-rounded monograph, information about what a plant looks like, which parts are used, and important facts about safety are all carefully researched and recorded. Other information, such as how to grow or harvest an herb can also be included.

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