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How To Become An Herbalist

How To Become An Herbalist | Growing Up Herbal | Interested in becoming an herbalist? It's easier than you might think!

Do you want to learn more about herbs and natural health?

We’ve all been there.

At the beginning of wanting to do something different… something more… something that’s out there and unknown.

We all have to start somewhere. Somewhere being wherever you’re at right now at this moment.

You can do it!

Today, I want to tell you how I did it… am doing it, and how you can do the same thing. Start today moving forward in your journey to learning more about natural health.

How To Become An Herbalist

There are a lot of different ways people learn about herbs and natural health. Some take courses for it. Some dabble here and there. Some learn and use individual herbs. Some focus on something that’s ailing them and start there.

You can do it however you want. What works best for you? What draws you in more?

Start with that.

Below are several options you can take if you want to learn how to become an herbalist yourself!

Herbal Courses

There are a lot of herbal courses out there.

If you’re new to herbs, I’d suggest starting with some local classes or jumping in on some free online classes just to get your feet wet. There’s no point spending a lot of money on something if you’re not sure if you’ll stick with it or not.

If you already know you’re interest in herbalism isn’t just a passing phase you’re going through, but it’s something you truly want to commit to, then search online for herbal schools or online training sites. Check them out. Make sure they’re reputable. Make sure you agree with their philosophy. Make sure they’re comprehensive. Check out their pricing, the teachers, how the classes work, etc. Lastly, don’t make a hasty decision. Sit on it a while. Ask around. See what other people in your circles are talking about.

I’m currently learning about herbs at The Herbal Academy, and they offer online herbal courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. Definitely check them out. I love it!

Dabbling

Dabbling in herbs is one of my favorite ways to learn, and in a way, this was how I got started. I honestly can’t remember how I actually got interested in herbs originally… as in what brought me to them, but this was how I built my confidence and how I made it fun. I started by learning how to make tea. Then a poultice. Then capsules. Then a tincture. From there I moved on to learning how herbs worked and what specific ones were used for.

One Herb At A Time

This is a great way to learn about herbs is you want to keep things simple and easy. Learning herbs can be a bit overwhelming at first because there are a lot of them out there… some in different regions of the country, and others span across the world. Many herbs do the same things so again, trying to learn them all or trying to decide which is best for what can be a bit overwhelming… at first. The more you learn, the more you see how they fit into little groups, and the easier it becomes.

So to start, pick one herb and ask yourself the following questions.

Can you recognize it outdoors? What does it look like during different seasons of the year? What’s it’s genius? What’s it’s species? What does that even mean? What is it historically used for? What is it currently being used for? How does it work? What are people saying about it online? Where does it grow? How do you use it?

Those are just SOME of the questions you can ask yourself about whatever herb you choose to start learning about first. But let me say… if you do chose to start here, be sure to get yourself a good notebook to keep your photos and notes in. It will be much easier to organize and keep up with if you do!

If you wanna learn more about herbs, one herb at a time, be sure to join me inside of Herb Folk — my program guaranteed to decrease your herbal overwhelm and increase your herbal confidence! We’ll study one herb for a month, learning some practical uses that fit into your busy lifestyle and putting what we learn to use through some hands-on projects. Get your first month on me for FREE!

Herbs For Illnesses

Another common approach to learning herbs is to start studying or researching a particular topic or illness. I like this approach because you’re not only learning about herbs specifically, but also about the body, nutrition, and other alternative therapies that can also help.

Google is a great tool. Use different ways of searching using different terms. For example, if you’re looking for information on treating heartburn during pregnancy naturally you could search “heartburn during pregnancy”, “how to treat heartburn naturally”, “herbs for heartburn”, “natural heartburn relief”… I think you get the idea. All those different search terms will bring up different results. Save your favorite sites and info using Evernote. I love it! It’s the best way for me to keep all my links in one place!

As you read and learn and search and read more, you’ll see specific herbs showing up again and again. At this point you could take some time to look into these specific herbs more in depth if you’d like. Once you decide on something, put your information to good use and make something and give it a try! The more you do, the more confident you’ll become.

Combination Learning

I thing most people learn using all these ways combined together. I know I did. I started by learning to make a tea. The tea was for something I was dealing with. Then I wanted to know why certain herbs were used in it. Finally after a good amount of learning that way, I decided I wanted to extend my herbal knowledge with some formal training, and voila! Here I am today… going down that path.

I love herbs. I’ve loved their mystery and their gifts from the first time I heard about them. The more I learn, the more grateful I am that we have them here… right here – where ever that is for you… to learn about and use to heal our bodies and to keep it in good health.

So here’s to you — a future herbalist, whether it’s for your family or your community. Go for it! We need more people like you!

What is your favorite way to learn about herbs?

22 thoughts on “How To Become An Herbalist”

  1. Thanks for the interesting article.
    I got started on herbmentor.com which has lots of great courses and articles but I couldn’t take the pagan influences.
    So I found a Christian course at Vintage Remedies. I just finished the family herbalist course which was very good and reasonably priced.
    But now I am looking for something more.
    I do a lot of study on my own and so as not to be too overwhelmed I focus on ailments and needs of my own family and herbs I can grow or obtain easily. It’s easier to work with a dozen or so and know them well than to try to memorize a large list of unfamiliar herbs that I will never use.
    I will check out the school you mention. I have been looking at Rosemary Gladstars course. I have enjoyed her books very much.

    1. Yeah I’ve heard great things about Vintage Remedies so I’m glad you liked it. The Herbal Academy of New England has been great for me so far. It’s a bit more advanced, and I’ve not really seen anything that bothered me at this point. Check it out… and I hope you like it!

  2. I want to open up my own herb store. It would be a dream come true. Right now I focus on herbs that people need around me. Either from Thrush…or babies with upset stomachs…or seasonal allergies. I research research and then jump in. I find myself more and more on your website. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication!

    1. You’re so welcome! That’s what GUH is all about. I want it to be a resource for natural mamas as well as myself. It’s impossible to remember everything in your head so it’s nice to have it all cataloged somewhere… although that will take a lot of time to do, but I’m working on it! I hope your dream of an herb shop comes true. We need more local shops. You never know when it may be difficult to get them online!

  3. You mention that there are different approaches. Is there a book that provides an overview of what you are talking about? I want to take a beginner herbal course in the next 6 months or so- but I don’t even know “my approach” if you know what I mean. Thanks!!

    1. I’m not sure if the different approaches are summed up in a book or not… the ones I mentioned were off the top of my head. Dabbling is where I started… just learning how to make the different herbal preparations. After that, I moved on to learning about individual herbs here and there as well as what herbs were specifically used for certain situations (like for thrush or wounds or itching). Next I started getting books from herbalists I’d heard of. As I read more of that, I became more interested in more advanced herbal practices so I ended up signing up for the online herbal courses HANE offers. I will say that their introductory course covers the dabbling, individual herbs, and basic herbs for certain situations while the intermediate course covers more in-depth practices. I love that school so definitely check it out if you’re looking into them. They’re one of the lower priced, yet higher-quality ones online. HTH!!

  4. How I learned about herbs…
    I’m trying to concentrate on what I can grow in my area and use them the best I can… What I can’t grow in my garden, I would have to buy. Yes, I really get overwhelm learning what is out there online, like I need a mentor who lives nearby.. Lot of times I’m seeing different herbs that I never heard of…like in mountain rose company; still never found jewel weed…Then I try to look for a herb that will do the same thing in my area…
    So what my method? Growing up Herbal..I love your site Meagan, you have open my eyes… I’m learning slowly… Right now I’m trying to start my own plants…seriously, I’m freaking out in buying anything from the stores.. I want control of my holy temple, but I want to know what I ‘m doing first… What is safe to buy? Can I do this myself and safely canned for my family…To help others is not as easy as I thought.. I feel I need to learn, right now I buy books and read..this year I’m hoping to companion planting..why? To keep the bugs from eating my herbs, vegetables… Yes this is a start… I would like to take courses later, because I love learning…

  5. Good article, Meagan! I’m a grandma whose interest in herbalism first sparked about 5 years ago. I am another practicing herbalist with a focus on foraging, what I can grow, and what I can easily reproduce. In addition, I have a great resource in our local natural foods co-op.
    The hardest part for me was having the selection of remedies I wanted at my fingertips, with the vital information and recipes in a format that was easy for me to use. I finally have my book together and it has made all the difference.
    Thank you and keep up the good work!

    1. I can totally relate to the struggle of finding remedies to keep stocked at home. I want to make everything! It’s definitely a process… one I’m still working through. I’m also still working on my materia medica book too which I think is a lifetime work. I’d love to know more about how you’ve put yours together, what you include, how you organize it, etc. Thanks for your comment!!

  6. Hey, I am 15 and a freshman in high school. I started my journey of living naturally last year in September of 2015 I weighed 186 and was not eating right and wanted to change my lifestyle so I would have energy and be healthy. It is now October 2016 and I weigh 139 I now eat organic, watch portions, obsessed with reading natural health and nutrition articles and now want to be a nutritionist or dietitian to help others like my past self. I know I have to wait until college for taking courses for becoming a nutritionist. But I was wondering if I could take the herbal course you mentioned? What are good free courses?

    Thanks
    Rachel

    1. You can definitely take herbal courses now! I’m not sure about good free options, but Herb Mentor has a low monthly fee and there are lots of free courses on herbs there. Hope this helps, and best of luck, Rachel!!

  7. Found you through pinterest & love the advice! I’m a young mom & have been learning about herbs on a need to know basis for treating health issues and learning what is safe for pregnancy/nursing/babies. My big challenge is not learning about herbs as much as actually biting the bullet & buying what I need so I have supplies on hand to treat my family quickly!

    1. I hear you, Alissa. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that a handful of herbs can go a long way. You don’t always need tons of herbs in your apothecary to use herbs successfully in your family. Many herbs in recipes can be substituted, or you can learn to formulate your own blends based on what you have available. Best of luck, and I hope you find a ton of helpful info on GUH!

  8. Have you heard of Dr. Christopher’s School of Natural Healing? If so, what’s your opinion on it? I see they have online/correspondence courses…

    1. I have! I believe it’s a well-respected school, and his products are of high-quality… at least as far as I know. I can’t speak from personal experience, but I have a good friend who went to that school and felt like it gave her a great start as a family herbalist. If you wanted to be a clinical herbalist, you may need further education (if you’re looking for a thorough education, that is), but I’m not sure.

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