- For learners to be inspired to grow their own medicinal plants
- For learners to understand the role of design in cultivating & using medicinal plants effectively
- For learners to understand the role of sustainable wildcrafting & habitat management
- For learners to take away new herbal knowledge
1. Intro circle – name, where from, what you want out of the
workshop, level of understanding/experience with herbs
2. Popcorn – why do we need to grow our own medicine?
Write group input on flipchart paper, then add the below:
Reasons to grow your own medicine
– build self-reliance & community resilience
– empowering to learn new skills & knowledge/DIY treatment – connect with nature
– conserve endangered species/wild plants
– negate industrial agricultural production
– keep herbal medicine alive e.g. EU legislation
– save money
– ecological medicine is not polluting
– support ecological restoration & community building
Also emphasise – Food as medicine. Everyone is a herbalist!
3. Herbal washing line
Have different plants on table, ask people to place them in order – nourishing herbs to potentially poisonous herbs. Emphasise nourishing & tonic herbs used frequently & safely.
– Contain few or no alkaloids, glycosides, resins or essential oils (poisons)
– foods, dried & infused, vinegars
– nutriente, vitamins & minerals, trace minerals, EFAs, phytoestrogens etc
– Water bases in quantity
– Examples: Burdock roots, chickweed, comfrey leaf, elder blossoms & berries, fenugreek seeds, garlic, mallow leaves & roots, mushrooms, nettle leaves & seeds, oatstraw, plantain leaves & seeds, red clover blossoms, seaweeds, rosehips, violet leaves & blossoms
– safe in moderation
– May contain glycosides, essential oils, alkaloids but rarely in harmful quantities
– water & alcohol bases e.g. tinctures, wines, vinegars
– tonifying & stimulating – unique to person
– beware of mixing with drugs/other herbs
– Examples: burdock seeds, chasteberry, dandelion leaf, root & flowers, echinacea roots, ginseng, hawthorn, lady’s mantle, yellow dock
– Contains certain chemicals
– rapid & pronounced effects
– Infrequent moderate/large doses over short periods
– Examples e.g. mints, skullcap, sage, licorice root, passion flower, valerian root, willow bark
Potential poisonous herbs
– very potent with poisonous/potentially harmful chemical constituents – extracted into alcohol or small doses
– shortest time possible during treatment
– practiced herbalists
e.g. belladona, cayenne, goldensal, wormwood, tansy leaves
4. Medicine Garden Tour & Herbal Habitats
Show round medicine garden. Emphasise ecological niches. Point out medicinal trees not just small herbs. Emphasise sustainable wildcrafting.
– Wetlands e.g. Elder, Nettles, Meadowsweet, Musk Mallow
– Arid regions e.g. Hyssop, Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme
– Mountain regions e.g. Angelica, Juniper, Yarrow
– Temperate hardwood forests e.g. Ginseng, Goldenseal (endangered) – Temperate forests e.g. Hawthorn, Lime trees, Wild cherry
– Tropical e.g. Aloe, Ginger, Neem tree
– Attempt to cultivate first before using wild plants
– Only take what you need with enough remaining for healthy regeneration (5-25% max)
– Do not harvest endangered, threatened or sensitive species unless absolutely necessary
– Respect plants & ask permission
– Be active for plants in threat
– Elder, Sambucus nigra
– Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna
– Lime flowers, Tilia cordata
– Guelder Rose/Cramp Bark, Viburnum opulus
– Gingko – Gingko biloba leaf
– Witchhazel, Hamamelis virginiana leaf & twig
– Willows, Salix esp Salix alba
– Horse Chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum – circulatory system, veins
5. Introduce Medicine Garden Design Process
When designing your herb garden:
– Who are these plants for? Who will use & benefit from them? – How & how often will they be harvested?
– How easily available & abundant are they in the wild?
– How expensive or accessible are they?
– What other functions do they serve e.g. bee forage?
Introduce different forms of plant medicine to aid in design process. Emphasise frequency of harvesting:
Fresh Root Tinctures, Fresh leaf & herb tinctures, Dried root tinctures, Dried roots, Dried herb
Regularly harvested fresh herbs: Nettles, peppermint, bay leaves, basil, rosemary, lady’s mantle leaf, fennel, sweet cicely leaves, safe, parsley, borage, lemon balm
6. Work in Small Groups
Explore Case Studies in small groups with flipchart paper. Then feedback to group.
Sarah lives in a shared house with 4 other women. They have a smallish back garden & are interested in growing herbs. As a household they often experience period pains & menstrual discomfort due to their high- stress jobs & sometimes poor nutrition.
Alan works in the city. He has a tiny patio garden which is south facing and he likes to sit outside after a long day & commute. He often has a congested chest due to the pollution & finds it very difficult to unwind in the evenings.
Beth lives with her partner in the country & has a front & back garden of reasonable size. She has recently developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome and struggles with both constipation & loose bowels on different occasions as well as feeling general discomfort after meal times. She is a keen gardener and loves wildlife gardening.
Pete & Sue have three kids, they love playing outside and as such the garden does not have much in the way of plants other than a lawn. They are worried about their toddler eating random plants but at the same time want to grow some herbs to use in cooking and to help their second child get to sleep at night.
7. Clarifying questions & close. Handouts.