Any beginner herbalist - or any experienced practitioner, for that matter - needs information from a variety of sources on a whole host of topics. You might, for example, want to consult a phtyochemist's assessment of the most effective extraction medium for a particular herbal constituent, a clinician's notes on botanical treatments for influenza from 1918, and a recent email from a discussion list - all within the same twenty minutes.
Here are some resources for learning and for sourcing herbs that we turn to ourselves, and think are especially valuable for students of herbalism.
Free Course! The 4 Keys To Holistic Herbalism gives you a foundation for whole-person approach to plant medicine and healing.
Here is the model we use in all of our teaching in our clinical practice. When we look at an issue systematically we have the best chances for success.
So when you're choosing an herb to work with you can understand how the medicine works in different bodies and different situations.
Holistic Herbalism Podcast!
Conversations and Q&A with clinical herbalists Katja Swift & Ryn Midura of the CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism.
Subscribe to our podcast and learn about holistic plant medicine
Book Recommendations & Reviews
Check out our favorite books about herbalism!
Also, we have an entire extra page dedicated entirely to book reviews! It's true, we have a lot of books.
You can learn a lot with self-study, and there are a lot of free resources out there that are good - here are some of our favorites!
We release a new episode of the Holistic Herbalism Podcast weekly on Fridays - you can find them all in iTunes, your favorite podcast app, and on our website here!
We are building a selection of free herbal education videos on our YouTube channel.
- Herbmentor - has radio segments, video segments, things to read and more! If you are enrolled in one of our programs, ask us how to get a free three-month trial!
- HerbRally is a growing website with monographs, blog articles, and podcasts all produced by various herbalists in the community.
- Henriette's Herbal Homepage is a fabulous website with lots of resources - it's especially good for getting information from historical sources on herbal practice in the Western tradition. Just use her search bar and you'll get results from many historical texts, along with her own excellent blog and articles. She runs an active email discussion list as well. Dig in, there's a ton of information here.
- Medical Herbalism - "A Journal for the Clinical Practitioner", is edited by Paul Bergner, our mentor and friend. The North American Institute of Medical Herbalism is the site for his distance learning programs - his recorded classes are the best you can get.
- Tammi Sweet and Kris Miller run Heartstone Herb School, and they have a blog as well as online classes, in particular some free ones on colds and flu and liver health. Their list of free webinars is constantly growing too, so check it out! We ♥ Heartstone!
- Thorn & Wonder is the blog of Rebecca Altman. Her prose is enthralling and delightful, like the herbal products she makes as Kings Road Apothecary.
- Sam and Suchil Coffman run Herbal Medics Academy and The Human Path, and they've got great online courses in addition to a lot of free videos, podcasts, and now videocasts also!
- herbcraft.org - heed the advice left to you by the previous students: "Read everything Jim McDonald has ever written. Twice." He also has a very extensive curated list of the writings of other herbalists on various topics here.
- Enchantments is Kiva Rose's blog. It includes a lot of content excerpted from Plant Healer Magazine, but even better, it has years of Kiva's monographs - just search for basically any herb and she's very likely to have written about it in detail!
- Matthew Wood has great articles about herbalism, and specifically about energetic patterns in the Western herbal tradition.
- Northeast School of Botanical Medicine is run by 7Song, and this site includes an abundance of his handouts and class materials. Check out his blog, too!
- The Southwest School of Botanical Medicine is the late Michael Moore's website, with tons of useful stuff. (Michael Moore the herbalist, not Michael Moore the filmmaker.)
- The Physiomedical Dispensatory, William Cook (1869) - This is a particularly useful example of an herbal text from the herbal physicians of the 19th century United States. Know your history!
- Native American Ethnobotany Database, by Dan Moerman at University of Michigan.
- Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases, by James Duke at USDA Agricultural Research Service.
- Ryan Drum is a seaweed man and long-time practitioner. He has a very quixotic selection of interesting writings! If you want to buy seaweed from the Northeast, we recommend Atlantic Holdfast for hand-harvested, high quality seaweed.
- Rosalee's herbal blog roll will keep you busy for a good while!
- The American Herbalists Guild maintains a student email list which anyone can join, and we recommend that you do! No question is too "newbie" so don't hesitate to ask for help on anything!
Here are some of our recommended places to source herbs for medicine.
Boston Area Herb CSAs
Boston Area Stores
- Cambridge Naturals in Porter Square has a nice selection of bulk herbs, and tinctures.
- Essential Body Herbs in Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury carries bulk herbs in at least two of their stores, and herbal products in all of them.
- Harvest Co-op in Central Square and Jamaica Plain both have some bulk herbs and tinctures as well.
- Soluna Garden Farm has a shopfront in Winchester and a space at the Boston Public Market; also does online ordering.
- Seven Arrows Farm has a shopfront in Attleboro, also does online ordering.
- Artemisia Botanicals is an herb shop in Salem.
- Crose Nest in Lowell hosts a botanical pharmacopoeia and a lovely collection of curiosities.
- Whole Foods markets all have some tinctures, and some may have bulk herbs too.
- Daily Table, while not herbal, is an important resource for those in the Dorchester area - a non-profit grocery store which keeps prices low by recovering food from supermarkets, growers and food distributors that would otherwise have been wasted.
in the Northeast:
- Herbal Revolution
- Atlantic Holdfast Seaweed
- Zack Woods Herb Farm
- Heartsong Farm
- Jean's Greens
- Woodland Essence
- Healing Spirits Herb Farm
- Flack Family Farm
- Foster Farm
- Mountain Rose Herbs - has nearly everything; often cheaper if you're buying many herbs at once. They also maintain a list of local growers around the country here.
- Starwest Botanicals - another reputable national-scale supplier.
- Pacific Botanicals
- Cortesia - for solomon's seal.
- Aketta - recipe-ready crickets and cricket flour!
Also check out Jim McDonald's list of wildcrafters, growers, & medicine-makers.
There's more to it than just herbs - the food you eat and the way you move your body (or don't!) also play a big role in staying healthy!
- Mark's Daily Apple, one of our favorite "paleo/primal" blogs. Mark also talks a lot about appropriate exercise, and he should know, given that he's a former professional athlete.
- Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet is perhaps the most intellectually engaged paleo blog/book out there.
- Chris Kresser keeps another great blog, complete with podcasts. listen while you - whatever!
- Paleo for Women by Stefani Ruper is an important resource as a lot of the paleo conversations are conducted using info only tested or relevant in males.
- The Whole 30 challenge is a great website for straight up, simple dietary instructions, with plenty of good explanation.
- Evolutionary Psychiatry - a pretty great blog with lots of alternative psychiatry commentary, often based on nutritional approaches, written by a psychiatrist.
- The Cholesterol Myths, a website by Uffe Ravnskov (a well-respected scientist and researcher), explains why the lipid hypothesis (dietary cholesterol causes heart disease) is completely bunk. Click the "about me" link for an exhaustive linked list of interviews, papers, books, etc.
- Examine.com is a good resource specifically oriented towards making sense of the available scientific studies on supplements & products. Keep in mind, when you see them discuss herbs, that they are only considering those sources of information.
- The Weston A Price Foundation has good information about soy and fat, and about traditional preparations of foods, but does not address food allergies or the issues surrounding carbs/sugars and insulin resistance.
- Nutritious Movement, the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman, is a great place to learn about alignment, biomechanics, and natural movement.
- It's All In How You Move and Alignment Monkey are a couple of good blogs from folks who've studied with Katy.
- Sock Doc is written by a chiropractor with a clear understanding of the importance of alignment and natural movement principles.
- Traci provides a good list of resources in her blog post, Work! It! Out!
We use these resources, along with the manufacturer information and some good books about drug-herb interactions, to help us understand the effects of pharmaceuticals and how they might interact with herbs.
Use these websites as resources to learn about some of the Big Issues in our world today, but don't just read - make it real, do something!
- United Plant Savers
- Health Freedom Action Massachusetts - a group working to pass a "safe harbor" bill for alternative practitioners in MA.
- Integrative Medicine for the Underserved
- Boston Doula Project
- Organic Consumers Association - a watchdog/activism group for the organic market.
- The Cornucopia Institute
- Fair Foods
- True Food Now - a food watchdog group.
- MA Right to Know GMOs
- Boston Area Gleaners
- Permaculture Principles
- This Changes Everything - Beautiful Solutions
- Aurora Lights
- Coal River Mountain Watch
- Boston Area Beekeepers Association
- 350.org - climate-focused campaigns & actions.
- North American Indian Center of Boston
- United American Indians of New England
- Indigenous Action Media
- Pine Street Inn - Boston's biggest homeless shelter.
- St. Francis House
- New England Center for Homeless Veterans
- Sancta Maria House - a shelter for homeless women.
- Fluoride Action Network
- Prison Policy Initiative
- In the Public Interest - "a comprehensive resource center on privatization and responsible contracting."
Join our newsletter for more herby goodness!
Get our newsletter delivered right to your inbox. You'll be first to hear about free mini-courses, podcast episodes, and other goodies about holistic herbalism.