A “Follow Me Through Herb School” Update

It’s been a year since I started working my way through the distance learning program at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, herbalist Michael Moore’s DVD course.  My hope was to complete it in a year, and I’m not too far from that goal, although I must say completion within a certain time frame is no longer important to me.  The course contains 12 lessons in Therapeutics, 10 in Materia Medica (I’m preparing to begin Lesson 10), and as I near the end, I’m starting to feel saddened that eventually there’ll be no more classes left! I estimate I’ve gone through somewhere around 200 hours of lectures already, and after so much in depth and almost daily study, “hanging out” with both teacher and students, it definitely has become a part of my life – one of the more fulfilling parts to say the least.

This year as I delve into harvesting herbs, both in my yard and in the woods, I find I have a more thorough knowledge than last year.  It’s amazing to me the plants that seem to jump up and say “Here I am!” whereas last year, I may have passed them by over and over while on woodland walks without knowing what I was missing.  Most certainly  the world of plants has opened up before me in a way I never felt in the past when perusing petunias or weeding around my rosebushes. There’s something about wild plants and medicinal herbs that seems alive in ways I never imagined. Where once I would laugh up my sleeve when an herbalist would mention talking to the plants of the forest, I now catch myself saying, “Hello there, beautiful mullein! Don’t you look lovely!” (Don’t tell – no one’s around when I’m doing it.  I think the mullein enjoys the company, though…)

I still have romantic visions of growing to be an old woman in some small log home filled with herb bundles hanging from the rafters, maybe a goat tied up out front.  And I’d have a really cool walking stick, not one of those fancy store bought models, but something wooden, found and polished.  But for right now I’m perfectly content being a suburban herbalist who talks to the magical plants I used to call weeds.  And when soon I’ve completed the SWSBM course, I’ll know at that moment my studies have only just begun.

6 thoughts on “A “Follow Me Through Herb School” Update

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  2. That’s wonderful to hear, and no, I don’t think you’re crazy talking to the Mullein (which I can actually identify!). I’m impressed that you accomplished this. I did a bit of plant identifying in my 20s but really want to get back into it again. I fondly remember digging burdock root from rocky soil in order to make some of it stewed in soy sauce, which was so yummy.

    Anyway, I think it was the poet Gary Snyder who said that in order to be a poet, one should know the names of all the flowers and plants native to your area. I never forgot that advice, and even today I want to know the weeds growing out of the sidewalks.

  3. I think in this crazy world you are gaining very valuable skills. If we should undergo an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) which disables all electrical activity over North America then you and your services would be sought after.
    I mean vehicles wouldn’t run because most of the vehicles on the road now have electrical parts and switches that help to keep the motors running. So medicines would be greatly delayed getting to various areas from manufacturing industrial plants to the people who needed them.
    You would know what plants may help to keep blood pressures down in someone with a previous diagnosis of hypertension.
    That is just one example.
    Man if I could afford to take a course like this I would. I’d also get land where I could raise a few horses and actually have a buggy for them to pull, like the Amish have.
    I’d also maybe have an old crank truck that I could drive during the day if needed. I’d be prepared with stocks of dried foods and herbs, stored water. Yet, that’s a daydream because I don’t have the income.

  4. Lauralee, I think one of the coolest things about learning herbalism is definitely the ability to be more self-sustaining. There are all manner of possibilities out there where one might need to know how to take care of one’s family without all the modern day conveniences, that’s true. Whether your town has a natural disaster like a tornado, or something more drastic, it’s definitely reassuring to me that at least I know what we can eat and where to go for a plant good for blood pressure!

    And you may not be able to afford a horse and buggy or a crank truck, but you could definitely set up an emergency stock – always a good idea for any circumstance. I remember my parents stockpiled dried goods, water, etc. during the whole Y2K scare. They got laughed at, but I tell you what, shortly after that scare blew over, they found themselves in need of food due to a tight economic spot. They had shelves full of food they were able to rely on for quite sometime! My mom always taught us to keep a stock of goods just in case of nasty snowstorms, tornadoes, and anything else! Of course now I have a nice stock of herbs…
    Diane´s last blog post ..A “Follow Me Through Herb School” Update

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