The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Category Archives: Plant Profiles

Plant Profile: Yarrow

Plant Profile: Yarrow

Botanical Name: Achillea millefolium, A. lanulosa  There is an ongoing discussion whether these species are the same. A. millefolium is more commonly used. Named after Achilles the warrior, the plant has a long tradition of stopping external bleeding. Millefolium refer to the alternate leafed ‘thousand leaves’ of the foliage. Blooms from May through September in… Continue >>>

A Special Yucca at the Grand Canyon

A Special Yucca at the Grand Canyon

 I had a nice surprise in mid-March during a hiking trip in the western end of the Grand Canyon. My group came across “Hesperoyucca newberryi” in full bloom. This was a first for me and quite special. This plant used to be (and sometimes still is, depending on the source) in the Yucca genus, where… Continue >>>

Comfrey & Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids

Comfrey & Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids

Safety issues connected to the internal use of various Comfrey (Symphytum officinale, S. uplandicum x) species has 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 >>>

Plant Profile: Shatavari

Common Name: Shatavari in Ayurveda Tien Men Dong in TCM Botanical Name: Asparagus racemosa – Shatavari Asparagus cochinchinensis – Tien Men Dong Energy & Taste: Cool, moist Traditional Uses: Increases breast milk Reproductive tonic, it is best known for women but works well with men also Supports endocrine system which helps to balance hormones Moisturizes… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Hawthorn Berry

Plant Profile: Hawthorn Berry

Botanical Name: Crataegus spp. There are many Crataegus species. While there are personal favorites among many in the herb community, there are no definitive therapeutic differences among the various species. Family: Rosaceae Common Names: Hawthorn(e). The small tree flowers in May so some form of this month’s name is often used such as Mayflower or… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Red Root

Botanical Name: Ceanothus fendleri and Ceanothus. spp. Many species are used and most herbalists use their local species. Ceanothus fendleri is common in the ponderosa forest around Flagstaff and in northern Arizona. This species has a low bush, ground cover growth habit. It grows about 2′ in height and 2′-5′ in diameter. Family: Rhamnaceae Common… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Pulsatilla

Plant Profile: Pulsatilla

Botanical Name: The botany can be confusing. It is sometimes referred to as Anemone and other times labelled Pulsatilla. In the herb community, I learned it as Pulsatilla. I consider the two names interchangeable. Many species are used therapeutically including Anemone patens, A. tuberosa and A. occidentalis. With some extra TLC, I have been able… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Globe Mallow

Plant Profile: Globe Mallow

Botanical Background: The Malvaceae family has many plants familiar and useful to herbalists. Marshmallow is Althea officinalis but this is not found in the dry Southwest and is a challenge here even as a cultivated herb. More common in the Southwest is one of the Sphaeralcea species with blooms of various shades of orange. Hibiscus… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Yerba Santa

Plant Profile: Yerba Santa

Botanical Name: Eriodictyon angustifolium is the narrow leafed species found around Sedona, the Verde Valley and the Superstition Mountains. This is the one I have used the most. E. californicum is a much broader leafed species from northern California. It is more common in the wholesale herb trade. I consider these two species to be… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: Catnip

Plant Profile: Catnip

Botanical Name: Nepeta cataria Family: 

Laminaceae Common Names: Catnip Primary Characteristics for Field ID: The classic square stem and opposite leaves of the mint family. Part Used for Medicine: 
 The leaves are the primary parts used although flowers and fresh tips can also be included. The stems are large enough that they should be… Continue >>>

Latest Courses

10 Month “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” Course for 2020

10 Month “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” Course for 2020

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 >>>

Rocky Mountain Herbal CampOut

Rocky Mountain Herbal CampOut

This is the itinerary for the optional field study trip offered to students enrolled in the Foundations of Herbal Medicine program for 2020. Photos from previous trips can be seen on Facebook here. More details will be shared at the first class meeting in February. Students are responsible for food, lodging (camping or hotel) and… Continue >>>

Educational Resources

Plant Profile: Mullein Leaf – Flower – Root

Plant Profile: Mullein Leaf – Flower – Root

Mullein has specific uses for its leaves, flowers and roots. This Plant Profile includes all three plant parts and some of the many uses for Mullein. Botany: Verbascum thapsus (Scrophulariaceae) Common Names: Mullein Southwest Habitat: Mullein loves disturbed soil and is one of the first plants to move into a burned area. It is often… Continue >>>

Plant Profile: St Johns Wort

Plant Profile: St Johns Wort

  Botanical Name:
 Hypericum spp. H. perforatum is most commonly used in herbal medicine. The species commonly found growing in northern Arizona is H. scouleri. Family:
 Hypericaceae Common Names:
 St. John’s Wort Primary Characteristics for Field ID: H. perforatum has tiny holes in the leaves that are visible when held up to the light, hence… Continue >>>

10 Month “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” Course for 2020

10 Month “Foundations of Herbal Medicine” Course for 2020

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 >>>

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