Ask an HerbalistFeb 2, 2022

Where do I even start with herbalism?

We love talking about herbs and herbalism, and we especially love answering your questions about those topics. That's why we brought in our team of herbal experts to respond to some of the most common questions and concerns we hear.

Our herbalists have decades of combined experience working with herbs — and the people who take them. They answer your most pressing questions, in our regular column “Ask an Herbalist.”

Where do I even start with herbalism?

Taking on any new skill, like learning about herbs, can be overwhelming at first. Where should you begin? Interestingly, there isn’t just one clearly defined path to becoming an herbalist, which means you can choose the methods of study that best suit your lifestyle and location. Many herbalists are self-taught, learning from books and online research. Some people also enroll in online or in-person programs taught by herbalists and other health-care practitioners. You can also look for classes and plant walks dedicated to learning about native plants in your area. Herb shops, botanical gardens and herb schools are great resources for classes that range from botany and plant identification to growing your own herbs and making your own herbal products. You may also find herbal conferences led by industry leaders or formal university-level programs in your area.

Many herbalists start developing a relationship with plants by learning about vegetable and culinary herb gardening. Some may apprentice with a local herbalist, which is a traditional method of learning about herbs. A great place to start is the Resources page on our website. It lists a variety of reputable organizations, research pages, schools and conferences within the herbal industry.

One of the most important things a budding herbalist can do is to find ways to integrate herbs and plants into their daily life. This may look like making a cup of tea every morning, planting an herb garden or taking a walk through a neighborhood or local park to admire flowers and trees. The more you work with herbs, the more you experience their smells, flavors and textures. Some easy ways to get started are: using culinary herbs in your cooking, trying out liquid herbal extracts such as tinctures or checking out books on herbalism from your local library.