Thursday, May 23, 2024

Your Plant Path

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Do you ever feel lost in your herbal studies? The journey as an herbalist can seem long and daunting. There are so many books out there, courses, traditions, and of course – herbs to study. 

When your path ahead is unclear, it helps to pause and make a plan to figure out where you want to go and how to get there. With a clear map, you can handle any rough terrain, forks in the road, or unmarked trails with as few detours along the way as possible. This blog post is all about you, helping you to find yourself on the plant path and forge a trail ahead of you. 

In this week’s blog post, you’ll learn:

  • The three stages of herbal mastery and what you need to study to reach each one
  • About different types of herbalists, from home-based healers to clinical practitioners 
  • How to choose the herbalism path that suits you best
  • What courses The School of Evolutionary Herbalism offers, and how to pick the one that’s right for you

Table of Contents

As you start your herbalism adventure, think of it like a journey. David Winston is a renowned clinical herbalist with nearly 40 years of experience, yet he modestly says he finally feels confident calling himself an advanced beginner. This sentiment emphasizes how vast the world of herbalism truly is and how much there is to learn. The journey of learning herbalism can be divided into three stages: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Each stage isn’t an exact science–you may find yourself swimming between each and returning to learn more as you progress in your studies. 


During the beginner phase, you lay down the foundation of your herbal studies. This means learning essential concepts, such as the core medicinal qualities of plants and their roles in the body, which you can study from various traditional perspectives, like Western herbalism, TCM, or Ayurveda. Whichever tradition you choose, this is the time to develop a solid understanding of the basic elements of plants. 

Moreover, in this foundational stage, it’s time to link your knowledge of traditional systems with an understanding of herbal energetics. This includes studying how herbs affect temperature, moisture, and tissue tone. Another aspect to focus on in your beginner studies is anatomy and physiology. Studying these helps you understand how the body functions and how herbs influence health and illness. Although anatomy and physiology are often taught separately, learning them in an integrated way can help you see how they interweave in the body. 

Lastly, don’t forget the herbs themselves! Study the materia medica by learning from teachers, books, and, most importantly, the natural world and familiarize yourself not only in your head but also in your heart. 

The beginner stage is all about building a strong foundation for your unique herbal approach, and it’s an important part of your herbal journey that you can’t skip. By mastering these elements, you prepare yourself for the next phase of your herbal adventure.


Now that you developed a foundational understanding of herbs and human physiology, it’s time to merge this knowledge with assessment tools so you can start to work with people.  

When you understand why the body functions the way it does and have a deep knowledge of herbs, you’re ready to start working with people. While it can feel daunting, you can’t learn everything from books. Hands-on experience is essential to becoming a competent and confident herbalist. 

In this phase, you learn how to conduct client interviews and intakes, assess underlying causes of health issues, and create herbal formulas that address both the symptoms and root causes. Simultaneously, you also continue to deepen and expand your knowledge of the materia medica, including some of the basics, like Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Peppermint (Mentha piperita). Although some people view safe and accessible herbs as beginner herbs, the herbalist is forever and foremost a student of nature, and this means deepening your understanding of all plants–not just the obscure ones. 

An important part of this stage is putting the knowledge you’ve gained into practice and getting your feet wet by taking on some practice clients. You can gain practical experience by working with people you feel comfortable with, such as family members, friends, or coworkers to apply your herbal expertise and improve your skillset.


At this level, herbalism is what you do day in and day out. It’s your career and how you support yourself and your family. It involves your practice and dispensary and involves deeper client interactions, like follow-ups and creating formulations, as well as keeping meticulous case notes and having a supportive herbal community. 

Emotionally, this stage brings a degree of confidence and competence, enabling you to see clients regularly and consistently. Additionally, you’ll refine your assessment tools, pulse and tongue evaluations, interview skills, and formulations. Being an advanced herbalist isn’t about leaving behind what you learned earlier. It’s about building upon that foundation.

Remember that you might excel in some areas and need to strengthen your knowledge in others. In those moments, don’t hesitate to circle back and build upon your beginner’s knowledge to strengthen your understanding of a particular organ system or condition. 

As an herbalist, you’re always moving back and forth between these stages, but having a clear idea of where you can help you focus on what you need to focus on most to progress in your learning journey and plant path. 

Your Plant Path

Choosing Your Path in Herbalism

After determining where you stand with your herbalism knowledge, the next step is to decide where you want to go. Think about what scale you want your herbal practice to have. Would you like it to be a hobby you can help your family with, or do you want this to be a career? Getting clear on this is important because your choice will influence how much time, money, and energy you invest in your herbal education. 

Home Herbalist

If you want to explore herbalism to improve your health or help your friends and family in minor health situations, you fall into the home herbalist category. Here, you focus on using herbs in everyday situations and substituting over-the-counter medications with natural remedies.

Community Herbalist

On the second scale, a community herbalist is more extensively trained and equipped to handle a wider range of health issues. Although they’re a lot more informed than the home herbalist, they still have a lot to learn to reach the point of being a clinical herbalist. 

Clinical Herbalist 

Here, herbalism becomes a career. Clinical herbalists see clients regularly, often from a clinic or office space, and are dedicated to helping people on a professional scale.

Consider where you currently stand on this scale. Are you just beginning your herbal journey, or have you been practicing for a while? What are the key areas you need to focus on to progress to the next level? Ultimately, think about your long-term goals and what the next stage will look like for you. There’s always room for growth in herbalism, so what’s your next mountain to climb?

There are many paths you can choose if you want a career in herbalism, such as growing or wildcrafting plants, making medicine, formulating products, teaching classes and workshops, writing books, and offering training programs. Think about what you enjoy and love to do. By choosing a sector of herbalism you feel passionate about, you can find a way to support yourself by doing something you love.

Your Plant Path

Exploring a Career in Herbalism: Choosing the Right Path

When considering your plant path, you’ll find a multitude of options, all offering a unique focus and perspective. Ultimately, the path that’s right for you is the one you feel aligned with. Let’s take a closer look at some of the programs we offer here at The School of Evolutionary Herbalism so you can decide which one is right for you.

Materia Medica Monthly: Unlocking the Essence of Herbs

Materia Medica Monthly is our most popular program, offering the most in-depth and comprehensive herbal monographs you can find worldwide. Our monographs are incredibly detailed and range from biochemical constituents to clinical indications, planetary correspondences, and everything in between. This program is a fantastic choice for herbalists at all levels, whether you are just beginning your journey with herbs and want to get your feet wet or an advanced practitioner looking to deepen your understanding of specific plants.

Esoteric Path: Exploring the Spiritual Side

If you’re drawn to the esoteric aspects of herbalism, we have several programs that harmonize science and spirituality. In each of these courses, you’ll study a lot of materia medica as well as anatomy and physiology. Although this program balances science and spirit, its orientation is directed toward the esoteric side of things.

Alchemical Herbalism: This intermediate to advanced course takes you on a profound journey, exploring spiritual and alchemical dimensions of herbs. You’ll delve into the ancient art of alchemy and discover how it intersects with herbal medicine.

AstroHerbalism: If you’re interested in understanding the planetary influences on herbalism, this program is a fantastic choice. You’ll learn to interpret astrology’s role in plant energetics and healing, adding an extra layer to your herbal knowledge.

Botanical Constellations and Elemental Herbalism: This program provides a well-rounded foundation for beginners, exploring the fundamental principles of holistic herbal medicine. You’ll learn about herbal actions, energetics, constitutional systems, and materia medica through an elemental lens. This course connects the physical world to the spiritual realm and people to plants. Botanical Constellations is a great place to start if you’re interested in medical astrology and herbalism. In it, you’ll follow a 12 month journey through the zodiacs, learning how they connect with people and plants on the physical, energetic, and spiritual levels. 

Clinical Focus: Becoming a Vitalist Herbal Practitioner

If you want to become a clinical herbalist, we have two main programs designed to give you all the tools and information you need to work with clients and set up a successful clinical practice. 

Vitalist Herbal Practitioner: This comprehensive program prepares you for all aspects of clinical practice, including client consultations and personalized herbal protocols. It covers home, family, and community herbalism, making it ideal for aspiring clinical herbalists.

Materia Medica Monthly: An ideal complement to the VHP program, this course extends your knowledge of herbal materia medica and dives into the practical application of herbal principles. You’ll also explore medical astrology and delve into spagyric preparation, providing a well-rounded clinical herbal education.

Choosing the right program ultimately boils down to your inner calling. Many have embarked on their herbalism journey because they felt that deep calling, and if you’re one of them, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for heeding that call. As you embark on this path, take a moment to reflect on those plants that beckoned to you from the forest and left an impression on your heart, for they’re an integral part of your unique healing and transformation story.

Regardless of the program you choose, I recommend starting with just one mini-course at a time. It’s a wonderful way to dive into the content without feeling overwhelmed. And if you ever need access to more, remember that you can explore them at your own pace during another time. If you prefer to receive our blog posts and engaging podcasts, be sure to join our email list at the bottom of this page. We at The School of Evolutionary Herbalism believe that herbal education should be accessible to everyone, and that’s why we work so hard to create a wealth of free content for you to enjoy. Whatever your choice, we’re honored to be part of your plant path.

Your Plant Path

The post Your Plant Path appeared first on The School of Evolutionary Herbalism.

By: Emily Doyle
Title: Your Plant Path
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2023 20:00:00 +0000

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between basil and oregano?

Both of these herbs belong to the Lamiaceae family. They share similar flavors, but the differences are obvious.

Oregano is more pungent than basil. It also adds an extra layer of flavor to foods.

Basil leaves are smaller than oregano leaves. They are also softer and less aromatic.

The two herbs are often used interchangeably. Although they are quite similar, each has its distinctive qualities.

What is the mother of all herbs?

The answer may surprise you!

It is a common garden herb known as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary has long been associated with fertility, longevity, and protection from illness. In some cultures, it was believed that the fragrance of rosemary could ward off evil spirits.

As such, it has been used for centuries in various medicinal, culinary, and spiritual applications. Rosemary has a unique flavor that pairs well with many dishes, making it a popular choice in the kitchen. Its fragrant leaves also add flavor to sauces, herbs, and meats.

Rosemary is a powerful medicinal herb used throughout the centuries to treat various ailments. Rosemary essential oil can treat respiratory tract infections, digestion problems, skin irritation, and inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it helpful in treating headaches and muscle pain as well. In addition, the oil has been used to improve cognitive function and memory recall. Rosemary can also be taken as a supplement, tea, or tincture for its many benefits.

It's no wonder rosemary is known as the mother of herbs! It truly is a versatile and valued herb.

Which spices from the kitchen are used to cure diseases?

There are more than 4000 medicinal plants that are widely distributed throughout the world. Some of these plants contain active compounds that may help treat various ailments.

In India alone, there are more than 1000 species of herbs that are used for medical purposes. This includes Ayurvedic medicine, Unani medicine, Siddha medicine, Homeopathic medicine, and Chinese medicine.

The most common ingredient found in these medicines is ginger. Ginger contains volatile oils that give it its aromatic flavor. These oils contain anti-inflammatory properties that make them useful against arthritis, fever, vomiting, and indigestion.

Ginger also helps relieve nausea and stomach cramps caused due to pregnancy. Pregnant women often consume ginger tea to reduce morning sickness. Ginger is also commonly used for cough and cold relief.

Another spice that is known to have medicinal value is turmeric. Turmeric contains curcumin which has been shown to inhibit tumor growth. This makes it an effective cancer treatment.

Turmeric is also considered to be very beneficial for joint health. It relieves inflammation and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It is also believed to prevent osteoporosis.

Garlic, too, is another herb that is extensively used in traditional medicine. Its healing qualities include treating infections, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes and even reducing cholesterol levels. Garlic oil is also used to treat wounds and insect bites.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic that fights bacteria and viruses. The antibacterial property makes it ideal for treating respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

It is also helpful in preventing urinary tract infections.

Other spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cayenne, mustard seeds, fennel, and coriander are also used to treat different illnesses.

Why do some love coriander and others don't?

Some people hate coriander, while others love it. But why?

Coriander is an herb that grows in warm climates throughout the world. It is native to both North America and Europe.

The leaves of the plant are used in cooking and can also be found in condiments such as salad dressings and dips. When added to food, coriander provides a spicy flavor.

Many people love its taste because it adds a fresh flavor to dishes without overpowering them. Others dislike the smell and taste of coriander because they find it too strong.

But there is more to coriander than meets the eye. There are two types of coriander – sweet and hot. Sweet coriander is milder and sweeter tasting compared to hot coriander.

Sweet coriander is usually grown for its seeds, often called cilantro. This type of coriander is easy to grow and is very low maintenance.

Hot coriander is most commonly used in Indian cuisine. Hot coriander gives a rich flavor to curries and sauces, making it popular among Indians.

Some people say that hot coriander tastes better than sweet coriander. However, the opposite is true for those who prefer sweet coriander.

There are many reasons why people enjoy different varieties of coriander. For example, one person may love the taste of coriander, while another enjoys the aroma.

Whether you like sweet or hot coriander, you might be surprised to learn that you can buy both types of coriander online.

How is basil used for medicinal purposes?

In ancient times, doctors would prescribe basil leaves to treat colds and coughs. Today, basil contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal remedy for arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, eczema, gout, hay fever, indigestion, migraines, menstrual cramps, sinus infections, sore throats, ulcers, varicose veins, and more.

Basil is also known for its ability to help protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, skin conditions, and even aging.

Basil is often referred to as "the herb of grace" because it helps us relax and unwind after stressful situations. It is also said to improve memory and concentration, boost energy levels, increase libido, and enhance athletic performance.

The list goes on and on. Basil is a versatile plant that offers a wide range of benefits for our health and well-being.

What herb heals all wounds?

The answer to this question varies depending on the type and severity of the wound.

The herb comfrey (also known as knitbone) has long been used for its healing properties, particularly for skin injuries such as cuts and bruises.

Studies suggest that comfrey contains allantoin, which helps speed up healing. Other herbs commonly used for healing wounds include calendula, plantain, and yarrow. These herbs help to reduce inflammation, stop bleeding and speed up the skin's healing process.

In addition to herbs, honey has also been found to have powerful antimicrobial properties that can help prevent wound infection.

Herbs for wound care is an age-old practice that continues to be used today. However, herbs should not replace medical treatment, and always consult your doctor before using herbs for healing. With the right herbs, you can give your body the support it needs to heal naturally.

Is basil good for kidneys?

The answer is yes. Basil is an excellent food for kidney health. It contains potassium which helps reduce high blood pressure. It also contains vitamin K, which is essential for bone strength. As well as this, it is rich in antioxidants which help protect against heart disease.

Basil is great for digestion too. It contains digestive enzymes that break down protein and carbohydrates. This makes it easier to absorb nutrients from your meals.

Basil is a wonderful addition to any diet. Try sprinkling some over pasta dishes, salads, soups, and sandwiches. Or add little stir-fried vegetables, chicken, fish, meat, and tofu.

It's delicious in pesto sauce and fresh in salad dressings. You'll find many recipes online where you can learn how to cook with basil.

Try making basil oil by adding a few drops of pure olive oil to a jar filled with chopped basil leaves. Let it steep overnight, and then strain out the leaves. Use the oil as a massage oil or rub it onto your skin.

It will leave your skin soft and smooth.


  • The global herbs market is expected to reach more than $125 billion by the end of 2025.
  • The herbs market is highly competitive, with over 1,000 herb suppliers and over 15,000 herbs products available in the United States alone.

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How To

How to Use Herbs and Spices in Cooking?

Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor without adding calories. If you've been cooking for years, you already know how easy it is to make even bland foods taste delicious. Try these tips to add more flair to your dishes.

Herbs and spices are essential ingredients in any kitchen. In addition to making food taste better, they also help keep food fresh longer. From enhancing the flavors of soups and sauces to infusing drinks with exotic tastes, herbs and spices go far beyond traditional cooking.

The most important thing to remember when using herbs and spices is to use them sparingly. Even though they may seem like powerful ingredients, they have a strong scent. So, sprinkle them on top instead of piling them onto a dish.

You'll find that the best herbs and spices come in small containers. This makes them easier to measure out, so there won't be any waste. Plus, you'll save money because you won't have to buy large amounts.

Another tip is to avoid placing herbs and spices directly on hot pans. Heat will quickly dry out the herbs and spices, leaving a bitter aftertaste. Instead, place them on paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

Use herbs and spices liberally in recipes where they naturally complement each other. For example, cinnamon pairs well with apples, while garlic complements tomatoes. Once you learn how to combine flavors, you'll be able to create your signature dishes.

Try experimenting with different herbs and spices to spice up meals. For instance, mix thyme, rosemary, oregano, and basil in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then toss the mixture with pasta, chicken, or fish.

After the meal, store leftover herbs and spices in airtight jars. This will prevent them from drying out. Also, wrap unused herbs and spices tightly in plastic wrap. They should stay fresh for at least three months.

If you're looking for ways to improve your diet, consider trying new herbs and spices. You can experiment with different blends until you discover your favorite combination. The possibilities are endless!


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