The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Category Archives: Botany

Ranunculaceae for Herbalists

Ranunculaceae for Herbalists

The Ranunculaceae family, also known as the Buttercup family, is not as common as some other families on the Colorado Plateau but is an especially interesting family. The herbal medicine from these plants tends to be strong; either a strong taste (acrid) or a strong action so a lower dose is often called for. These… Continue >>>

Rosaceae for Herbalists

Rosaceae for Herbalists

The Rosaceae family, commonly known simply as the Rose family is one of the most important families for both the herbalist and forager to know. One of our very best nourishing heart tonics is in this family along with many edible fruits that are high in anti-oxidants. For the herbalist, plants in this family are… Continue >>>

Ericaceae for Herbalists

Ericaceae for Herbalists

The Ericaceae family, also known as the Heath family, has fewer plants that are in common use in herbal medicine but they are widely used and an important part of our materia medica. In general, they like acidic soil and are often some version of a shrub or tree with evergreen leaves. In addition to… Continue >>>

Apiaceae for Herbalists

Apiaceae for Herbalists

The common names for the Apiaceae family are either the carrot or parsley family. The old family name was Umbelliferae; some books still show this and occasionally botanists still use this older name out of habit. This is an *extremely* important family to know. One reason is that it has abundant herbs, spices and foods.… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Poison Hemlock

Plant Profile: Poison Hemlock

Whether foraging for greens or wildcrafting herbs, knowing the few toxic plants in one’s environment is essential. Poison hemlock is a potentially deadly plant that is frequently encountered in the forests and meadows of northern Arizona. This article and collection of photos is meant to help you identify this plant in your outdoor explorations and… Continue >>>

Compositae for Herbalists

Compositae for Herbalists

Formerly known as Asteraceae, the Compositae is one of the largest families in the world with approximately 20,000 species. Is it commonly known as either the Aster, Daisy or Sunflower family. Because of its size, there are many plants that are useful to both foragers and herbalists.  This family is large enough that one cannot… Continue >>>

Hypericum perforatum – St John’s Wort Monograph

Hypericum perforatum – St John’s Wort Monograph

Monograph of St. John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum Caitlin Stoner, a recent graduate of the “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” course, chose this multi-use therapeutic herb for her final research project. I am very happy to share her expertise on our school’s website. Click the link below to read her work. Hypericum – St. Johns Wort… Continue >>>

Brassicaceae for Herbalists

Brassicaceae – Mustard This family is characterized by flowers that have four petals and are shaped like a crucifix, hence the previous family name of Cruciferae. These plants are often edible and tend to have a spicy, hot energy and flavor although some of the domesticated varieties have been bred for a mild flavor. Besides… Continue >>>

Botany Resources for Herb Students

Botany Resources for Herb Students

Botany Books Whether one is foraging for food or wild crafting medicinal herbs, the primary botanical reference for our region is “Botany in a Day” by Thomas J. Elpel. It is extremely well written and user friendly.  Several of the following internet sites build off the foundation of this book. It should be the #1… Continue >>>

Latest Courses

Colorado Herbal Medicine Field Study

Colorado Herbal Medicine Field Study

This is the itinerary for the optional field study trip offered to students enrolled in the Foundations of Herbal Medicine program for 2019. More details will be shared at the first class meeting in February. Students are responsible for food, lodging (camping or hotel) and transportation. The dates for the 2019 program are July 22-25.… Continue >>>

10 Month “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” Course for 2019

10 Month “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” Course for 2019

Many people begin using herbs in small steps – something for sleep, a cold or maybe a headache. As one continues on the herbal path of independent study, information is pulled from many sources. After a few years, this person begins to identify as an herbalist and continues to increase both the learning and use… Continue >>>

Educational Resources

Resources for Therapeutic Mushrooms

Resources for Therapeutic Mushrooms

There are many mushrooms used therapeutically in the herb community with Reishi (Ganoderma spp.) being the the best known. One of the challenges to effectively using these gifts from the fungal world is knowing how to process them. While plants have cellulose, mushrooms have chitin. This substance is extremely hard and makes extraction difficult. The… Continue >>>

Diet Strategies for Reducing Chronic & Systemic Inflammation

Diet Strategies for Reducing Chronic & Systemic Inflammation

Included below are the notes used during the Diet, Nutrition and Inflammation portions of our curriculum. It is a succinct look at how the foods we eat affect our internal inflammatory state. While the actual classes go into more detail, the foods listed here are good places to begin improving one’s health in this area.… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Usnea

Plant Profile: Usnea

Botany: Usnea spp. (Parmeliaceae) Usnea is a lichen, not a plant. Looking closely at its structure, one sees the internal core to be a white thread which is a fungus while the bluish-green outer surface is algae. The algae of its outer skin enables it to utilize sunlight and carbon dioxide for food production. The… Continue >>>

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