Whether you are just getting started in the amazing world of herbalism, continuing with your studies, or a seasoned herbalist desiring to go deeper with hands-on field work, the Botanical Primer is an excellent opportunity for a deeply rooted exploration of wild plants, with a focus on ethical harvesting practices, understanding plant energetics, and the positive impacts plants have on our anatomy and physiology! We also cover plant constituents and why knowing them is vital to making effective medicine.
Students will acquire skills to support their own health and wellness and that of their loved ones by creating and using hand-crafted herbal remedies. There will be many opportunities to sample herbal remedies throughout the course as well as building a well equipped home herbal apothecary. It’s a transformational experience!
Each week unfolds with a unique lesson from a particular plant or plants. You will engage in an array of holistic botanical experiences that will take you deeper into the practice of herbalism through:
You will learn to practice plant identification using all your senses and basic botany, and what it means to practice sustainable and ethical wildcrafting (where, when, how, why, what part). We also explore herbal actions and energetics to gain understanding about how and why herbs have a positive effect on your health in a holistic way. You will learn effective medicine making techniques and practices through knowledge of phytochemistry basics, learning how to pair plants with the correct menstruum for proper extraction that honors the gifts of the plants and yields exquisite remedies that “get the medicine to the people in ways they’ll enjoy taking, so that healing can occur.” You will also learn about using food as medicine and develop your own materia medica, all while practicing radical self-care through herbalism!
Knowledge of plants and their medicines is based on a cultivating a deep relationship to the land, place and home. That means meeting and learning from the plants where they live. In the Botanical Primer, you are invited to experience a profoundly life changing relationship with nature and immerse yourself in the community you are already a welcome part of.
Get ready to meet new herbal friends, both plants and people, and experience for The Best Fridays Ever!
Classes are held outside-rain or shine-in beautiful fields, forests, parks and beaches. Each Friday we explore different ecologies and plant communities.
Where we go each week depends on what is abundant and ripe for picking! Some typical places we may travel to for the Fall Primer are areas in and around Seattle, including on the Sound and inland, up the Snoqualmie and Green River, to Camano or Whidbey Island, and possibly the Cle Elum/Ellensburg area.
WHAT TO BRING:
Tools and Equipment
Bear in mind that students may not need everything every week, but the following are good to have on hand.
- Half pint (8 ounce) and one-pint (16 ounce) wide mouth jars with screw top lids.
- Sharp knife, scissors and cutting board
- Hand clippers (Felco is a good brand)
- Fabric grocery bags or basket
- Camp chair or blanket to sit on
- Notebook and pencil/pen
- Masking tape or stick on labels and sharpie pen
- You may need to have a Discover Pass and a Northwest Forest Pass
Hand washing station and sanitizer for each outing will be supplied.
Remedy Making Ingredients
This list will help you to get an idea of things you might need to have on hand for medicine making. See below for a list of sources. Each week students will be notified in advance what to bring for each particular lesson.
- 1 bottle (750 ml) 151 proof alcohol (unflavored). Vodka or rum.
- 1 bottle (750 ml brandy (80 proof)
- 1 quart olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 quart apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized)
- 1 quart raw, local honey (not creamed)
- 2 ounces food grade vegetable glycerin (optional)
- 16 ounces witch hazel (unscented-for making topical remedies)
- 6 ounces beeswax or shea butter (for making salves)