Episode-2125- Getting Started with Herbalism

When I mentioned this show in passing a few weeks ago I figured it might have some interest, it turned out to have a LOT of interest so today we will take a dive into this subject.   Let’s start out with something that should be self evident.  Man has been using herbs safely for thousands of years, for as long as recorded history for that matter.

Now there have always been “doctors”, “shamans”, etc with specialized higher knowledge.  At times genuine and at times not so much.  The key is though while there have always been some with specialized knowledge relying on them was the exception rather than the rule.

Up until about 100 years ago every society from the early hunter gatherers up to the average American had knowledge of and used herbs in their daily life.

Why?  Simple really…

  • They work
  • They are generally safe
  • They are readily available
  • They cost little to nothing

And so it was until man created refined medications, shaped them into pills and capsules and put them in bottles on shelves in stores.  Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of medications I am grateful that we have access to, but that doesn’t mean herbs stopped working on humans.

My point is though that modern society has taught us to fear anything we do not fully understand and think only special people can be trusted with it.  Take teaching, do you really think it requires a 4 year university degree to teach first grade?  Of course you don’t.

Well guess what you don’t need to be a M.H. (master herbalist) to make up a salve for a scrape on your arm or a tea that helps you relax either.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • To start out, just what is herbalism anyway
  • Why should you develop knowledge in herbalism
  • Lets look at the culinary herb oregano and see what it can do
    • Anti Viral & Anti Fungal (carvacrol and thymol)
    • Eases Upset Stomach
    • Antiseptic
    • Antioxident
    • Reduces insect bite itch
    • More
  • So if oregano can do all of that why doesn’t anyone seem to know about it
  • My suggestions for becoming skilled and knowledgeable with herbs
    • Knowledge – 1 herb a week, 10 minutes a day 5 days a week, for one year
      • Day one what does it do
      • Day two in what forms should it be used
      • Day three where do you get it, how to grow it, etc
      • Day four and five – learn about two “unknowns”
    • Application – minimum two new applications a month, some to consider are
      • Start by adding fresh herbs to your cooking as often as possible
      • Make simple culinary herbal oils
      • Make an herbal salve (the oil has you half way there)
      • Use an essential oil diffuser
      • Use an essential oil with another oil
      • Make a tincture
      • Develop a tea or an “herbal water” (that’s an infusion btw)
      • Purchase an herbal product to complicated to make yourself
      • Make a decoction (its just a tea you boil for 10-15 minutes)
      • Find herbs that grow wild where you live
    • Why I really recommend The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook
    • Why you should consider starting to teach others right away
    • Final thoughts

Resources for today’s show…

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13 Responses to Episode-2125- Getting Started with Herbalism

  1. Great show Jack.


    You’re right.  My kids semi embrace my herbal nerd-ery…  SSDD

    2 examples of how kids Love this stuff…

    I have talked to my daughters girl scout troop on trees.  Afterwards I heard from one mother who said her daughter was at a museum and was asked what tree is our state tree.  The 2nd grader remembered it is white pine and then went onto explain white pine tea and its high vitamin c content.

    Last summer our boy scouts went to Boundary Water’s for a week.  Skeeters were thick as thieves.  One boy fought his dad to wear bug dope until his legs were torn up.  Before they used triple antibiotic I pulled out a baby food jar of plantain salve I had packed.  Applied a few times and his legs were a lot better.  He and his mom asked for a jar when we got home…

    Anyway… Thanks for the show Jack.  I took you up on a statement from last week…  Its currently being built but will share once I get it presentable. It is in the theme of this show.

    John in Michigan


  2. I love the slow and steady approach to learning – not only herbs, but financial literacy, entrepreneurship, etc etc.  If we are playing the long game, obstacles quickly shrink.  I’m starting with rosemary.  Thanks Jack for the great show, you totally rock!

    • Modern Survival

      FWIW Rosemary is an amazing herb. Few things to start your journey. Grinding some into powder and including it on any rub for high temp grilled meats will reduce (not remove) some of the health concerns with grilling, specifically by reduction of HCAs and PCHs. Source is from a real study http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/health/01real.html

      Its herbal actions include tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, stimulant. You get more actions with oil of rosemary, specifically acting as a carminative and is an excellent stomachic and nervine.

      Like I said it seems tragic that people don’t know this! 13 years they keep our children in minimum security prisons with work release (called schools) to “educate them” and they learn nothing of how food is and can be medicine? Instead we take 109 steps to solve a simple arithmetic problem in 2nd grade.

  3. Cool!  I will make some rosemary oil this weekend.

    I share your vitriol for the government education system.  It breaks my heart that we are more concerned with the brutal enforcement of relentless rules than compassion and love of learning.  Alas.  But it gives me all the more incentive to learn for myself and share with others.

  4. Hi Jack, in the episode you mentioned a book on medicinal herbs you recommend.

  5. Jack,

    Great show and very good advice.  You mentioned a handbook in the show, but don’t see a link to it in the notes.  Did I miss it?


  6. Did I miss the link for the diffuser you said you’d put in the show notes? (If I did, forgive me, guys.  I did my best to navigate with my speech synth and didn’t hear any links that seemed to be diffusers.)

  7. Fyi do not put oregano oil in your ear to clear up an ear infection. It will work but it will feel like you lit a cigarette and stuffed it in your ear.

    • Oil of oregano is a “hot” oil (like peppermint).  It should never be used straight like that.  Lavender oil, on the other hand, is awesome for stuff like that.  I use it in ears all the time, and it can go directly onto open wounds without causing pain or irritation.

  8. Good show. Here is a link to a site I have used for years as a reference:


  9. I,m looking forward to the follow up Podcasts on specific herbs,  great idea.

  10. CandyGram4Mongo

    I like this approach very much, but I did it somewhat backwards.  I started with “what are my symptoms” (migraine, abrasion, etc) and identified herbs that might help.
    From there I identified what else those herbs could do .
    I like your structure better. Thanks much!