The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Category Archives: Botany

Sourcing Bulk Herbs

Sourcing Bulk Herbs

Herb courses at our school emphasize the ability of students to create their own herbal pharmacy. The results are both more affordable and higher quality than purchasing finished products off store shelves. Some plants can be harvested from a backyard garden while others can be wildcrafted from the broader landscape. The ability to sustainably wildcraft… Continue >>>

Old Fashioned Botanical Prints – Part 2

Old Fashioned Botanical Prints – Part 2

For Part 1, click here. I am especially fond of the old time hand drawn and colored plant illustrations that were common before the age of *immediate.posting.of.photos.on.social.media* became the norm. Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of photography and love sharing my own plant images on the web. But there is something… Continue >>>

Laminaceae for Herbalists

Laminaceae for Herbalists

Laminaceae – Mint The square stem and opposite leaves are dependable markers for this family although there are a few exceptions: • Thymus is a genus that lacks a square stem • Verbena and Nettles are non-mints with square stems. As these exceptions are rare and easy enough to remember, these guidelines remain helpful. Many… Continue >>>

Pinaceae for Herbalists

Pinaceae for Herbalists

The Pinaceae family, commonly known as the Pine family, includes the Spruce (Picea) and Fir (Abies) genera in addition to the Pine (Pinus). Cedar is also in this family although the common cedar in the southwest is actually juniper, a member of the Cypress family. There are no true cedars native to the area. Therapeutically,… Continue >>>

Comfrey & Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids

Comfrey & Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids

Safety issues connected to the internal use of various Comfrey (Symphytum officinale, S. uplandicum x) species have been a controversial topic since I became active in the herb community in the early 1990s. Many presentations in articles, blogs, classes and conferences prefer to address the therapeutic benefits of this plant and avoid directly giving information… Continue >>>

Fabaceae for Herbalists

Fabaceae – Commonly known as the Pea, Bean or Legume Family One of the largest families in the world, large enough to have subfamilies and tribes This family has irregular flowers with the shape famously described as “banner – wings – keel” The seed pods have the classic green bean, pea pod form. Leaves are… Continue >>>

Poaceae for Herbalists

Poaceae – Grass Family Background Info -This family includes major food crops worldwide. The domestication and cultivation of grass seeds allowed (forced?) hunter-gatherer cultures to stay longer in one place and develop farming techniques and villages. -Grass stems are hollow and round with nodes where the leaves are located -Almost all grass seeds are edible… Continue >>>

Malvaceae for Herbalists

Malvaceae for Herbalists

Malvaceae – Mallow This family is well known for its demulcent qualities and is very widely used by most herbalists. Commonly used herbs and food: Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) Globe mallow (Sphaeralcea) – common at many elevations in the Southwest Malva neglecta – common mallow or cheese wheel Hibiscus Hollyhock (Alcea spp.) Okra   Continue >>>

Anacardaceae for Herbalists

Anacardaceae for Herbalists

Anacardaceae – Commonly known as the Cashew or Sumac Family Plants in this family can be poisonous, medicinal or edible Some edibles are: Cashew Mango Pistachio The Toxicodendron genus includes poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. These plants all contain urushiol oil which gives the leaves a waxy look and causes the infamous itch… Continue >>>

Latest Courses

How to Teach Herbal Medicine

How to Teach Herbal Medicine

What:A three hour live online workshop that walks you through, step by step, how to teach in the herb community.This includes information, strategies and tips learned from my 35+ years in education and 26 years of teaching herbal medicine.Detailed class notes are provided in a .pdf format. Topics Include:Why Teach Herbal Medicine?Deciding What to TeachWhat… Continue >>>

Outdoor Herbal Apprentice Program 2021

Outdoor Herbal Apprentice Program 2021

Total Beginners are Welcome!Much of the herb community is going to online education in 2021 to provide safe social distancing. While this is necessary for health reasons, I realized I would greatly miss being outside with the plant world and sharing it with fellow herbalists. The Outdoor Herbal Apprentice Program is a way to meet… Continue >>>

Educational Resources

Community Herb Store

Our Community Herb Store is a collection of small batch, homemade herbal products that have been used in my clinical, family and personal healing for 25+ years. The inventory is ever changing and often reflects seasonal availability. At any one time, you will find 100+ individual herb extracts, herb-infused oils, salves, cough syrups, herbal honeys… Continue >>>

Tincture Making: Macerations

Tinctures can also be called : Alcohol-Water Extractions or Hydro-Ethanol Extracts Vocabulary1. Menstruum – any fluid used to extract therapeutic properties from plants. Usually a water-alcohol mix.2. Marc – the herb being extracted3. Maceration – the soaking of the marc in the menstruum. The final product will be a mixture of water and alcohol. This… Continue >>>

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