(Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I am not paid by any of the below mentioned herbal resources.)
I am a fledgling herbalist on a strict budget. I also want to make sure I am diversifying my educational sources. And, as someone whose goal is to practice home / folk herbalism on a personal level, I don’t need any specific certificate to legitimize my studies. (If you’re someone who does need those things and has funds to invest in your studies, I think that’s awesome! My point is just that it’s only one of many possible herbalist paths.)
Rather than spend what for me is a prohibitive amount of money on in-depth herbalist courses, I’ve taken a different approach. I have put together my own low-cost, piecemeal system for studying herbalism that moves at my chosen pace, prioritizes my values, and feels right to me. If this type of approach speaks to you, I encourage you to do the same! I am going to share a bit about my own journey here to perhaps give you a spark of inspiration and some possible starting points. But, I encourage you to try different methods and resources based on your own situation!
Books are kind of an obvious resource, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start! That can obviously be very personal and dependent on your goals, too. To that end, here is a brief list of a few of my favorite herbalism books—
• Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee de la Forêt
• Wild Remedies by Rosalee de la Forêt
• Healing Herbal Teas by Sarah Farr
• anything by Rosemary Gladstar
• The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll
• DK Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine
I have recently begun following a couple herbalists on Patreon who share a wealth of monthly resources at reasonable prices (with varying tiers based on your needs and ability to give). There are many herbalists doing this on Patreon, and I think it is an amazing approach! I so appreciate these herbalists’ work and how they make herbalism affordable and approachable.
Definitely do your own searching and find the herbalists on Patreon whose offerings are right for you. I have chosen to give my patronage to BIPOC herbalists—here are the ones I follow, in case you’d like to check them out—
• Medicine Mija, who is local to me, which is an added bonus in my case! You can also find her on Instagram at @medicinemija and she has a shop you can buy herbal goods, too.
• Folk Herbalism for Everyone, who goes by @thehillbillyafrican on Instagram. I love that she includes videos and podcasts, too!
Building on that, Instagram is another great resource. There are too many herbalist accounts for me to even begin listing them here, but believe me when I say you can learn so much from them on insta. I’d recommend beginning by searching for the authors of your favorite herbalism books.
Actually…I can’t not share one particular Instagram account. Alexis Nikole, who goes by the handle blackforager, is a joy to watch. Her passion for educating others about foraging for wild and often overlooked foods is fascinating! Do yourself a favor and go follow and learn from her.
Apothecary At Home
I’ve blogged about it before, and I will continue to do so because it is such a great herbalism learning resource! Apothecary At Home is a monthly subscription study box that brings you herbs, supplies, educational materials, and more to help you further your studies at whatever your preferred pace is. It meets you where you are. And you have the option to select individual months based on your desired topics, if you need to be a bit choosy due to funds. The cost is fully worth it considering all the supplies and herbs you get for building your apothecary while you’re building your knowledge, though!
There are really good herbal schools that conduct online courses, but the cost can be a bit much for some (like me). However, I’ve found a unique and affordable resource in the platform Herb Mentor from LearningHerbs.com. It brings together a host of articles, monographs, videos, podcasts, herb walks, recipes, video courses, and more for herbalists of all levels and walks. The cost is really reasonable, the scope of information is useful, and the interface is easy to navigate. This is my go-to place to look things up and I love working through the courses at my own speed.
Whew! That was a lot. And it’s only the tip of the iceberg. If you are looking to further your herbal studies, there are so many paths to take, and not all of them have to cost a lot. What are some of your favorite ways to study herbalism?