Studying or practicing herbalism is a vibrant, deeply fulfilling and action-oriented art, and is easily accessible to most people. While there is a wealth of information to be found through online learning and in books, there's something to be said for tapping into the plant community around you. Here are some ways to get started.
1. Find the herb shops or healing centers in your town
Herb shops are staffed by trained herbalists who are happy to answer questions you may have. They usually host weekly classes and events on herbalism, healthcare, nutrition, spirituality, and more, and are often the homes of community herbal clinics. Herbal Clinics are designed as an accessible resource for people on a budget and as a place for somebody interested in learning how herbal medicine can support their health and well-being. You will meet one-on- one with a skilled herbalist, and talk about your health goals, and leave with a custom-blended herbal formulation.
In Burlington, we frequent the Railyard Apothecary, which offers a wide variety of monthly classes, has a beautiful and diverse inventory of herbs, and an in-house herbal clinic!
See what's happening in your own city and give them your support!
The American Herbalists Guild (AHG) is a great resource to find an herbalist local to you if there isn't an apothecary close by. Or, sign up for the American Botanical Council Newsletter as they always keep you in the loop about events or conferences that are upcoming. HerbRally lists herbal events across the country and is a great way to find and connect with other plant lovers in your area.
2. Know and support your herb farmer
See if there is an herb farm in your area, or do a little research--many local vegetable farmers also grow herbs. Ask at your local farmers market where you might be able to find the plants you are looking for. Your dollar speaks louder than words, and when you support local organic agriculture, you support community members, the local economy, and it ensures a balanced, thriving ecosystem with the planet, the pollinators, and the plants—all while nurturing the health of the people involved, from the farmer to you.
Ask your local herbalist where they get their herbs, there are probably more farms near you than you think!
3. Host an herb night with your friends!
When you embark on the study of plant medicine, you’ll start to notice that many people have an interest in this area. Host a group of people and learn to make something together! Herbal craft nights are a good opportunity to make tincture blends, elderberry syrup, or herbal treats, and it's so much fun with friends, and everyone brings a unique perspective to the creation. You can also start an herbal new or full moon circle which offers a monthly time to connect, share skills and enjoy plant medicines with friends.