I have been approached by many people wanting to know how I became interested in herbalism. For me, the answer is simple, it is because of my love of plants. There was also a time in my life where I needed another way of healing that modern medicine could not help me with. Sometimes, we just need to let our body heal itself rather than pay thousands of dollars for an invasive procedure, or hundreds of dollars for drugs to just cover up the symptoms. I believe in the healing capabilities of our plant allies, and have many experiences proving their worth.
You might have your own reasons for being interested in becoming an herbalist (or the very least a desire to learn more about herbs). Or, you might have your own healing journey in need of some of the basics of herbalism to help you along. Whether you are interested in helping your family naturally, helping out the community, starting your own herbal manufacturing business, or a new career; the information is there for you like never before. When I started my training, there was only one school available as a correspondence or online certification. If I wanted to learn about herbalism, I had no other choice but to either attend there, or study on my own. I didn’t have the benefit of generations teaching me as a child, nor do I have any other experienced herbalists in my area that could mentor me. Even after my certification, I realized how much I wasn’t taught. It was then that I proactively searched for the information and training I needed to fulfill my chosen path as a Clinical Herbalist. Today, there are many good online schools and many more to choose from depending on your personal interests. If you are lucky, you could attend these schools in person if they are near you.
There are many avenues you could take to learn herbalism. You could buy a multitude of books available now in growing, harvesting, herbal preparations, practicing herbalism, herbal remedies, science-based herbalism, folklore herbalism, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), TAM (Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine), indigenous healing, etc. In other words, you could start with self-study. Another avenue could be certification or earning a diploma from many of the fine schools available. I would start by visiting the American Herbalist Guild for a list of those schools. Take advantage of their membership benefits, or their webinars to learn about many topics. The AHG is also a good resource to find a Registered Herbalist in your area if you are in need of a personal consultation. Another avenue would be to find someone in your area that is willing to teach you whether it is an herbal school, or an individual herbalist willing to share their own knowledge. There are also a number of herbal conferences held each year all over the United States that you could attend. The Great Lakes Herb Faire is the closest in my area and is held in Chelsea, Michigan every year the first weekend in September. Information can be obtained on the internet. HerbRally is a great source for these conferences. An individual could also use every one of these avenues of training to achieve more knowledge if they are able to. Some of the training can get costly, and if that is an issue, the library is always free. It is also possible to volunteer at many of the herbal conferences for a reduced/free registration fee. I don’t want you to forego the barter system either. I have offered training to individuals that cannot afford the classes for a skill I am in need of, or material needed at that time.
Be assured that the information and knowledge you are seeking is available to you online or in person. You just have to know where to go to find it. I am in the process of writing my book, “Simple Training for the Modern-Day Herbalist” for the individuals looking for direction in learning herbalism. It is a reference in the basics of herbalism and a collection of my herbal recipes to experience making firsthand. I have seen such a need for this with my own students when they become overwhelmed with information, and I wish to help simplify this process for beginners. It will be available soon. You will find more information here in the upcoming months. Here’s what I have to say in this book about beginning your learning adventure:
“I hope to inspire the reader to begin their journey into herbalism, or help those that have to simplify all of the information they have gathered. It is all up to you on how you want to use this knowledge, and where you want this knowledge to take you. There are many good books and information about herbalism on the market today. I highly recommend that you continue to increase your knowledge, and practice herbalism on a daily basis. Experience is the best teacher! It can look like there is too much information to know in order to work with herbs. Don’t overwhelm yourself with this information. Take it slow and easy. Begin with just a couple of recipes, or work with just a couple of herbs at a time. Once you feel you are ready, you can take your learning further. Take classes, read books, grow your own herbs, harvest responsibly, make your own herbal preparations, use them, and reconnect with nature! Best of all, make sure you have fun!”