Today’s blog post is all about my unique take on a method of herbalism study called “herbal simpling.” I am including a related resource at the end of this post, so please read on to learn more and see if you want to check it out!
I often call myself a “hygge herbalist.” The concept of hygge resonates with me deeply, and though I have an ancestral connection to it, I don’t think that’s necessary at all to feel hygge in your bones. Hygge has a strong link to rustic, folk DIY endeavors that you derive a deep sense of fulfillment from, and this is definitely the angle I approach herbalism from. It’s something that soothes my soul.
I also love learning and growing as an herbalist, in my self-paced, cobbled together type of self-education. In this vein, I really gravitate to the approach called “herbal simpling,” which is as simple as it sounds. Basically, you develop a relationship and deeper understanding of each herb by studying them one at a time. You take a deep dive with each herb by reading, tasting, meditating, and creating with it.
This approach can be very cerebral and academic, or it can be very cozy and grounding. I do prefer the latter. I like making friends with each herb as I get to know it. Not only does it help build a foundation in herbal knowledge you can be proud of, but it helps you feel so very familiarly comfortable and, yes, friendly, with the herbs as you learn about them. You come to know who to lean on when you’re feeling down, who to rely on when stress has worn you thin, who peps you up when you have a cold or soothes you best when you’re in pain. Each person is unique, and so different herbs work best with one’s unique needs and states.
Herbal simpling can even be a welcoming methodology for the hobby, casual, intimidated, time-constrained, or resource-lacking herbalist. (Because yes, even in any of these circumstances, you can still be an herbalist if you want to be!) You can choose your particular study methods based on your constraints, interests, and needs. You can choose herbs you have easy access to as the subjects of your study (think the grocery store tea and spice aisles). You can choose the aspects of herbs to study that interest or pertain to you.
So, if you’d like to give herbal simpling a try, I am including a link to a useful Pinterest board below this post that you can use for that very purpose! It’s a collection of free and low-cost simpling and materia medica pages or journals, so you can choose which one/s meet your needs to use as you begin your herbal simpling journey. Or, you can use these examples as a starting point to develop your own worksheet that meets your specific needs.
So, which herb are you going to get to know first?