How I Got Started Learning HerbalismOriginally published on April, 27th 2020. Last updated on April, 6th 2023
I absolutely love studying herbs! Every aspect from their healing properties, to their skincare applications, all the way to how they enhance my food dishes, I’m absolutely fascinated with. Even though I’ve been studying herbalism for a while now, I’m only getting started. It’s truly a lifelong passion and one that only gets more intricate and beautiful as time goes on. So where do you go to begin this journey into the world of plants?
A Higher Calling
It all started a couple of years ago when I was meeting with a friend who asked me a very simple question, “What do you believe your line of work was in your past life?”. I took a while to ponder that question and then responded, “I was an herbalist”. At that time, before My Tiny Laguna Kitchen, I was interested in the study of herbalism, but never really dove into the subject or even had any ties to the subject. However, I always felt that I had an intuitive connection with plants. Even as a child while gardening with my Grandma, I felt very connected to the Earth and plants.
Fast forward a few years, and I was blessed to go on a yoga retreat to the mountains of Peru. While there, I met a cocoa leaf reader who was very direct about what she saw and told me “You are surrounded by generations of ancestors, a lineage of healers”. In hindsight, that was a very pivotal moment in my life. As I began tying the statement together, with my past experience, I felt this calling to begin my training to be an herbalist. To start diving into the supportive properties of the plants that I felt an intuitive connection with. It was almost like she gave me permission to explore new and fascinating studies that align with a deeper calling.
How I Got Started
My first adventures in herbalism came from finding ways to curb stress and work with hormone balancing. I found that working with even the smallest pieces of herbal ingredients made a huge difference. I’d work with adaptogens in lattes, or throw some rosemary/thyme in a dish to enhance the flavor. These were just little experiences that we like a connecting thread and motivated me to continue on my journey.
The next thing I know, I began buying books and reading as much as I could on the subject of Herbalism. I also began taking classes (both online and in-person) which ignited the flame that will be with me forever. So, what were these classes and books? That’s up next!
Online Herbalism Schools
If you want to start learning Herbalism, there are a ton of great resources online, but hands down my favorites are The Herbal Academy and Gather & Root Online Foraging Course. Yes, I’m an affiliate for both of them, but that is because I believe in them wholeheartedly and they have made a huge difference in my herbalism journey & my life! As both online courses have truly inspired me and lit the fire for my herbalism studies.
My personal review of Herbal Academy: The classes offered at Herbal Academy are absolutely amazing! They literally have something for every facet of herbal studies. They offer everything from skincare, making your own tea, mushrooms, and adaptogens, to classes that are an overview of herbal studies. Their courses are in-depth, taught by highly educated individuals, and able to be completed online. Also coming from a background in Graphic Design, I am very impressed with the Herbal Academy‘s overall online user experience, they have a beautiful, and easy-to-follow structure, with videos, recipes & interactive learning.
The classes that I have enjoyed studying the most are:
By offering their classes online, I am able to take their classes anywhere and at any time which is extremely convenient! The classes come with videos so you can see how to work with herbs along with tips and techniques. You can even order books along with the courses that allow you to study at your own pace.
Also, this is being updated on September 4th, 2020 Introductory & Intermediate Herbalism Courses are 35% off! This will only last for one more week! So if you have been wanting to empower yourself & your family while learning herbalism. I highly recommend taking advantage of this offering! Even if you are reading this course after the stated date & time. The next course I am looking to study at the Herbal Academy is The Mushroom Course! Where you learn how to forage, identify & cultivate your own mushrooms!
Gather + Root Online Foraging Course
If you are interested in foraging your own herbs, I’d HIGHLY recommend this course! Oh, AND enrollment is open now (early spring), so go here and sign up right away! The Gather + Root course is taught by Colleen from Grow Forage Cook Ferment, who has years of knowledge and expertise in foraging, homesteading, and using herbs in everyday life.
Learning about foraging is super exciting and really opens your mind to the beauty of nature around you at all times. Before long, you will be identifying edible and medicinal plants whenever you go hiking or out in nature. It’s highly recommended to take her class to not only learn but to be safely educated about these herbs before you try them yourself. With this course, you will learn all of the tips and tricks! She is even offering a Dead Purple Nettle Freebie sheet to those who want to get a feel for the course before signing up which you can download here.
I’ve also taken a few in-person classes which I highly recommend. While I love learning online and at my own pace, sometimes being in a group of herbalists that are passionate about the subject is extremely beneficial. Not only do you get hands-on experience, but you can also ask questions right away! I’ve taken classes in both Southern California and the Midwest.
If you are in Southern California, specifically the San Diego area, I’d recommend looking out for classes by Sage Country Herbs. I took a culinary-focused class and one called “Eat Your Weeds” which showed the different ways you can use “weeds” to make delicious dishes. Both classes were absolutely amazing (they are also offered online) and I can not recommend them enough. The classes are taught by Shana Lipner and are more botany focused. She partners with beautiful local farms in the San Diego area where you can get a lot of hands-on experience.
What I’m Looking Forward to
There is so much more for me to study, and honestly, I’m so excited! Besides taking more classes online and in person with the amazing teachers that I’ve met. The next place I’d like to study is an in-person course either in San Diego or Malibu, CA I had a friend attend a botany course with Sage Country Herbs and she was just blown away. It’s a much longer commitment, but you really get to know the energy and healing properties of the plants and how to use them to their fullest potential.
Besides studying, I’m really looking forward to coming up with more tinctures, elixirs, skincare, and other ways to incorporate herbalism into recipes to share with all of you. I’m truly passionate about learning as much as I can and finding ways to share these creations with you all.
If you have any recommendations for herbal classes, please reach out to me on Instagram (@mytinylagunakitchen) or post in the comment section below! I really hope to hear some of your stories about how you became passionate about studying herbs and how that’s changed your life!