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Resources to Learn About Herbs

Updated: 6 days ago

While there is seemingly infinite information on the internet about any subject you can imagine, including herbalism, it can be difficult to find reliable and well-researched resources about different herbs.


That's one reason I have been writing a slew of materia medica blog posts about various herbs. My goal with these posts is that we can all have access to more reliable and easy to navigate online information about our favorite herbs. This is also part of the work I do managing the blog for my herb school, Artemisia Academy.


If you're wondering what a materia medica is, it's an herbalist's compilation of research and knowledge about the herbs they use in their apothecary. This can include information read in books, learned in classes and gleaned from personal interaction with the plants themselves.


A table full of bowls filled with various herbs

As part of my herbal education with Artemisia Academy, I've compiled over 80 materia medica documents about common herbs and turned some of that research into blog posts to share online. If you're an herbalist yourself, I highly recommend cultivating your own personal materia medica about the herbs you work with. I have a Google Drive folder where I keep all my files, but use whatever organizational system works best for you.


Herbal Materia Medica


For ease of access, here is a hyperlinked list of all of the herbal materia medica blog posts I've written, all of which can be found on Artemisia Academy's website. My approach to herbalism includes an astrological and magical perspective that goes beyond what's taught at Artemisia. Because of this, I'm planning to create expansions of some of my materia medica blog posts to be shared via this blog. They'll include lots of witchy and astrological tidbits about my favorite herbs, so stay tuned for more as time moves forward!


Calendula:

Cayenne:

Cleavers:

Comfrey:

Dandelion:

Elderberry:

Eleuthero

Marshmallow:

Nettles:

Oats:

Plantain:

Red Clover:

Rosemary:

Schisandra:

Skullcap:

St. John's Wort:

Vitex:

Yarrow:


A collection of herbs in small vases


Herbal Books for More Research

Besides forming direct relationships with the herbs in your apothecary, developing a well-stocked library is a great way to build your knowledge and understanding of the herbs with whom you work. Here is a list of some of my favorite resources for researching the qualities, personalities and functions of herbs:

  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier

  • A Working Herbal Dispensary by Lucy Jones

  • Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman

  • The Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

  • Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra

  • A Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper

  • Herbal Vade Mecum by Gazmend Skenderi

  • Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech

  • The Earthwise Herbal series by Matthew Wood

  • Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore (he has written many regional books, so if you live somewhere other than the Pacific West I recommend getting the book most relevant for your geographic region)

  • A Peterson Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs (again - get the Peterson book most relevant for your region as there are many)


About the Author

A headshot of the author, Alicia Cielle Heiser

Alicia Cielle Heiser is an Herbal Astrologer who helps folks navigate their lives with the wisdom of the stars and plants. She offers astrology readings, crafts personalized herbal tea blends and also has a podcast called Conversations with the Planets. Alicia's practice is focused on facilitating a greater understanding of life's cycles through encouraging empowerment, safety, and helping folks deepen their relationship with themselves and the more-than-human world.


 

Disclaimer: Information presented on this webpage is for educational purposes only, and does not include the diagnosis and treatment of disease nor replace the advice of a licensed physician. Please refer to a licensed health professional for any illness or persistent symptoms before using herbal remedies.


Herbs can sometimes cause discomfort or side effects, and may interact adversely with pharmaceutical medications. Do not use herbs internally without the approval of a doctor or medical professional if you are currently on medications or have a history of medical conditions.

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