What is a materia medica, you may ask? Before I started my herbal studies I had never even heard of the term. Materia medica is Latin for “medical material” and is typically tied to pharmaceuticals and other drugs used in the practice of medicine. In the case of herbal medicine, it is tied to plant medicine and lists the constituents, activities, and preparation of herbal medicine. I also added energetic (when available) and growing and harvesting information of the plants in my materia medica.
Visit our Materia Medica (now called Plant Profiles), with terms defined in our glossary.
Medicine & More
There are lots of herbal books that teach you how to make herbal extracts, teas, creams, salves, and more. I occasionally share experiences on making medicine in this space, as well as information on human biology.
Want to learn more? Below are some of my favorite herbalists and herbal references.
Sage Mountain – this is Rosemary Gladstar’s herbal correspondence course. This is the course I took to learn herbalism.
Botanicwise – an herbal community for connecting and learning. They hosted a great COVID-19 webinar series.
Herbal Academy – has classes and a great blog. I subscribe to their Herbarium.
Evolutionary Herbalism – this is an herbal school that brings energetics and astrology into the practice. Sajah Popham, the teacher, wrote a book on the topic, and periodically offers mini courses.
Learning Herbs – lots of good stuff on this site. I bought their Wildcraft! board game for kids and my grandson loved it. So did I! At one point they had a podcast that I loved. I think it might be part of their subscription program now.
A Modern Herbal – this is a 2-volume reference I bought, before I realized it is available online. It is a very thorough plant reference.
Henriette’s Herbal Homepage – a lot of great references on this site, including a forum that I’ve heard herbalists reference in their talks.
These are the books I reference most often when doing my materia medica or when someone asks me “what herb is good for….”
- The Earthwise Herbal Repertory
- The Earthwise Herbal, Volume I & Volume II
Stephen Harrod Buhner
David Winston, FNIMH, AHG
- The Way of Herbs, by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D.
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC (this speaks of herbal treatments alongside other treatments)
- Homegrown Herbs, by Tammi Hartung (a book on growing and using herbs)
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