Rachel-Berry-Students-fieldIntro to Herbal Medicine 4-class Series

Instructor: Rachel Berry

Dates: Tuesdays, October 7, October 21, November 4, November 11, 2014


Location: HAALo Herb Shoppe, 412 Commercial St., Nevada City, CA

Class Fees: $35 per class or $130 for the full series ($120 early bird by September 23)

This series is designed for beginning home herbalists who want to feel more confident using self-prescribed herbal medicine for health and wellness. Topics include general principles of home-scale herbalism, tools of the trade, discussion of various forms of herbal medicine, safe and appropriate application, as well as how to make your own herbal preparations at home. An emphasis will be placed on locally available plants with a long history of safe and effective use.

  • Class 1: Introduction to Home Scale Herbalism
  • Class 2: Tincture, Tea, Powder or Pill? How to take Herbal Medicine
  • Class 3: Making Medicinal Tinctures
  • Class 4: Making Medicinal Oils & Salves

These classes are designed as a complete series, building on content from one session to the next. Students must sign up for the full series, no individual classes offered at this time. Maximum class size is 13 people. Full class descriptions below.

Class 1: Introduction to Home Scale Herbalism

Date: October 7, 2014

Herbal medicine offers an effective, safe, sustainable and joyful alternative to many over-the-counter drugs. How do you confidently use herbs at home for health and wellness? This class will offer a broad overview of home-scale herbalism and provide techniques and guidelines for incrementally expanding your herbal repertoire in a fun, joyful, and safe manner.

Topics include: introduction to the practice of home-scale herbalism; an introduction to commonly used garden, landscape and kitchen herbs; a discussion of common ailments that are reasonable to treat at home with herbs, and safety issues.

At the end of class, you will have a deeper understanding of home scale herbalism and specific ideas as to how to incorporate more herbal medicine into your daily life. You will also receive a list of trusted references to expand your practice.

Class 2: Tincture, Tea, Powder or Pill: How to Take Herbal Medicine

Date: October 21, 2014

There are many ways to take medicinal herbs – through tinctures, teas, powders, pills, herb balls, syrups, honey, butters and more. What methods are right for you or your family? What are good options to have at home this winter for cold and flu season?

In this class, we will review (and sample!) these different methods of taking herbal medicine, and discuss issues of: cost effectiveness, convenience, ease of ingestion, and appeal to infants and children.

We will also discuss methods appropriate for specific health conditions, and cost-saving DIY alternatives to store bought products. An emphasis will be placed on how to take herbs for the upcoming cold and flu season, but all questions are welcome. At the end of class we will make immune-boosting herb balls – a delicious and nutritious technique for taking powdered herbs.

Class 3: Making Medicinal Tinctures

Date: November 4, 2014

Tinctures are an easy and convenient way to take herbal medicine, especially for people who are on the go. Making your own tinctures at home can be easy – using fresh plants from your own garden or with store bought herbs – and they cost only a small fraction of what you pay at the store. This skill is a great way to economically make herbal medicines at home that last for decades.

During this class, you will you learn how to independently make your own medicinal tinctures using:

  • the popular folk method (which takes about 2-weeks)
  • the herbal percolation method (which takes about a day)
  • fresh, dried, or powdered herbs
  • a variety of bases, or menstruum, including alcohol, glyceride, and vinegar

We will also discuss resources for getting herbs, alcohol, and other supplies you may need for your home apothecary. At the end of class, you can make your own 3 ounce tincture to bring home. Please bring a 4 oz jar. Herbal percolators will be available for purchase.

Class 4: Making Medicinal Oils & Salves

Date: November 11, 2014

It is easy to make your own medicinal oils and salves at home. As long as you know a few key principles, you can make high quality massage oils, lip balms, skin salves, medicated rubs, and more.

During this class, you will learn:

  • how to make a quality medicinal oil from fresh or dried plants
  • how to make a medicinal salve
  • how to choose appropriate oils, beeswax, and other optional ingredients
  • various herbal applications for first aid, muscle repair, pain relief, skin repair, infant care, colds, and more.
  • how to make culinary oils for the kitchen and to promote general wellness

As a class, we will make a multipurpose first aid salve with 100% regional ingredients, and each participant will take home a 1 oz. jar.


Rachel BerryAbout the Instructor:
 Rachel Berry blends her background in community health, women’s health, medicinal herbs, and sustainable living practices to inspire and promote home-scale herbalism. Her herbal training includes apprenticeships with Donna D’Terra, Kathi Keville, and Candis Cantin; studying health and health care practices among traditional healers in Chiapas, Mexico; and years of self-study and practice in home-scale herbalism. She teaches out of her home outside of Nevada City, and is a guest instructor at the Regenerative Design Institute, Esalen, and other Northern California locations