Herbal Materia Medica Course

I have started taking a free Herbal Course from The Herbal Academy. It will teach me how to create my own Herbal Materia Medica Book.
–excerpt from Lesson One:
“One of our favorite ways to keep the spark of excitement for our herbal studies is by working on our materia medica. It gives us the opportunity to connect with individual herbs through in-depth study, and to organize what we are learning into plant monographs for future reference. If you haven’t started a materia medica of your own, we highly recommend it as a way to inspire and deepen your herbal knowledge. In support of this process, we have created this Herbal Materia Medica Course to help you create (or add to) your own materia medica!
Materia medica is a Latin term that means “healing materials.” More specifically, in herbalism, a materia medica is a body of knowledge that describes how plants have been used therapeutically. Materia medicas have been recorded and published throughout history, and include both ancient and modern tomes rich with information. Studying both recent and historical materia medicas can be a fascinating way to see how historical herbal traditions have informed modern ones, teasing out the link between new scientific research and modern practice and ancient knowledge and folk tradition.
This course will teach you how to create plant monographs and build your materia medica. By the end of this course:

  • You will know how to study a plant, how to find resources to support your studies, how to interact with a plant to gain first-hand experience with some of its characteristics, and how to evaluate scientific research on plants.
  • You will learn how to research a plant’s names, botany, harvesting guidelines, active constituents, actions, uses, taste and energetics, safety, and herb-drug interactions.
  • You will learn what a plant’s history, habitat, and growing requirements are, informing your understanding of what a plant needs and how you can become a caretaker, even if you aren’t growing the plant yourself.
  • You will gain an introduction to integrating a plant into your life to support wellness by learning about its properties and characteristics.
  • You will have a list of many resources—our favorite books and websites—for your further study of plants and development of your materia medica.
  • You will have several pages completed in your materia medica using our beautiful downloadable pages or our bound Materia Medica Journal!”

I am going to start mine by learning about some plants already growing in my garden. The class said to pick 5 to start with. Mine are:

  • plantain/dock (narrow leaf)
  • marshmallow
  • st john’s wort
  • lamb’s ear
  • florida betony

I will keep you up to date on my weekly learning here. The logo below is a link to this course and others offered.

Herbal AcademyWebsite Link


Garden Update

We’ve been busy this weekend improving the garden. We went to Bees Ferry and picked up a few loads of compost, to Home Depot for cypress wood mulch, and to various businesses for cardboard.

We laid some landscape timbers around the dwarf fruit trees, set down the cardboard and put the mulch on top. That way it suppresses the grass and weeds and holds moisture in. Gradually, I’ll be planting companion plants around the trees. Like: comfrey, various herbs and flowers that will help the trees and attract pollinators.

I’ve also started more seeds and transplanted others that have gotten too big for the seed starters. Some of the seeds are old (or I’m unsure of the quality), so it hit or miss if they’ll germinate.

Starts: borage, comfrey, broadleaf dock, summer savory, basil dill, beefsteak tomato, yarrow, and bush snap beans.

Transplants: squash (going crazy), moringa, dill, comfrey, marigold.

I am starting a three sisters bed (Native American garden trio). I’m currently waiting for the corn to get 18 inches tall, so I can plant the above beans and then when they start growing up the corn, the squash will be planted. The corn seem to be growing in spurts, some fast, others slow and some none at all, so I’m planting other corn in the place of the ones that don’t want to grow. Here is a link to an article about the three sisters.

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