The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Category Archives: Plant Profiles

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

Herbal Skin Care Workshop

Herbal Skin Care Workshop

Join us for this informative class that shows you how to make: -skin lotion -healing salve -herbal oil in your own kitchen. These herb-based skin care products and techniques have been used for 20+ years in my own herb practice. Using only the best quality ingredients, these products surpass any available off the store shelf.… Continue >>>

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 >>>

Educational Resources

Variables in Determining the Strength of Herbal Pharmacy

Variables in Determining the Strength of Herbal Pharmacy

1. Time – within reason, the longer the better. The specific time duration depends on the solvent. 2. Heat – Warmth increases movement. Warming a carrier oil, honey, water or sometimes even alcohol increases extraction 3. Agitation – either continuous or intermittent 4. Surface to Volume Ratio – Within reason, the smaller the herb particles,… Continue >>>

Healing Resources for PTSD and Moral Injury

The following links provide resources for a better understanding of these issues and show examples of the work that people are doing to promote healing in their own communities. I want to acknowledge that both PTSD and Moral Injury exist outside the military combat experience. I have chosen to keep the links on this page… Continue >>>

Herbal Support of the Nervous System in Chronic Disease

It is well known that being stressed causes dis-ease. But the fact that disease causes stress is often overlooked. This is why supporting the nervous system is helpful in many (most, all?) health conditions even if the Chief Complaint is not directly related to nerves. The engagement of the nervous system is seen in multiple… Continue >>>

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