A place where plants and your curiosity intersect. Where you can open your mind to what the plants have to teach you about themselves. They are the best teachers, you know. A place where you can experiment, make observations, and come to your own conclusions without any wrong answers. Where your plant intuition has room to develop.
That’s what “simpling” is.
When I first began to study herbs, I tried to cram as much information on herbs into my head as possible, but as you can guess, that didn’t work too well. I continually found myself having to return to my notes and herbal books, again and again — relying on these resources instead of my own intuition and knowledge. What I needed was to learn about herbs in a way that stuck with me — making the information easy to recall.
Eventually, I learned the value and necessity of spending time with a single plant until it became an ally — something I could rely on in times of need. Something I knew well and felt confident using. I learned that this was called “simpling” — a traditional herbal technique that our herbal ancestors used to help them learn about plants. By using one herb regularly over a period of time, they became intimately familiar with that plant on many different levels.
“Simpling” is one of the best ways to learn about an herb in a comprehensive way no matter your experience level in herbalism.
In this in-depth six-week course, I’ll lead you through the process of “simpling” using an herb of your choosing (a safe one, of course!). Each week, we’ll dive deeper and deeper into our plant — studying it from high-quality herbal resources we have available to us, using it in various herbal preparations, and evaluating it based on our personal experience.
There are many ways to learn about herbs. “Simpling” just so happens to be one of my favorite techniques, so I’ll be sharing my own personal way of doing it — a mix of traditional art with some modern science thrown in as well. By the end of this course, you will have studied one plant in-depth, created an herbal monograph for future referencing, made several herbal preparations using your plant, learned how it can assist you in different situations, and ultimately, developed an intuition that will call this plant back to you time and time again over the years to come.
This was just what I needed! I’ve been wanting to get to expand my knowledge and wisdom of herbs, and I feel this course did just that. I now have the tools to use with any herb I choose to study. This was an immense help! — Pat Dean
Who This Course Is For
ABSOLUTE BEGINNER HERBALISTS
If you’ve never used herbs, are scared of side effects, or can barely make a cup of tea using a prepackaged tea bag, this course is for you. You will find plenty of safety information along with a list of herbs that are thought to be generally safe for persons of all ages (including those who are pregnant or nursing, those taking medications, and those with previous health conditions). I’ll also show you how to test your herb for a potential allergy, and I’ll walk you through making each herbal preparation with detailed, step-by-step directions. Not only that, but I’ll be right there with you throughout the course in our student-only Facebook group where you can ask questions anytime.
OCCASIONAL DABBLING HERBALISTS
If you’ve used herbs here and there throughout the years and are familiar with making various herbal preparations, but you’ve never taken the time to get to know the herbs you’re using one-on-one, this course will help you structure a routine for your learning. Sometimes we need a guiding hand to walk with us before we feel ready to walk on our own.
If you’ve been using herbs regularly for years and have a good solid knowledge base to draw from, you will already know much of the information I share in this course as far as creating monographs and making herbal preparations go. However, if you feel like you’ve yet to develop a relationship with the plants you’re using, this course can help you find your sweet spot between your book knowledge and your own personal intuition. Not only that, but it can be nice to set aside all of the “right answers” for a while and simply let the plants teach us. Am I right?
What You Can Expect
- In-depth email lessons, five days a week
- Hands-on herbal exercises to bring your lessons to life
- Engagement prompts to help you dig deeper into each lesson
- Interviews with herbalists on how they’ve benefitted from “simpling” and how they use it in their herbal practice
- Guidance and fellowship in a student-only Facebook group
- A lovely PDF download of the entire course to keep forever
The format of this course was perfect for me! I loved that the lessons came directly to my inbox each day, serving as a reminder that they were there. Each lesson was short enough to complete in a day, but I liked that I was also able to save the lessons and tackle them all over the weekend if I needed to. Another thing I really enjoyed was the various learning styles incorporated into this course, such as the text lesson itself, the writing exercises that made me think deeply, and the hands-on projects for personal experience. Thank you, Meagan, for creating a fun course that really took me back to a more traditional practice of herbalism. I really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to do it again with you next year! — Maggie Winston
Week By Week
SESSION ONE: Laying A Foundation
In session one, we will lay a foundation so we are prepared to get to know an herb intimately over the coming weeks. This is the time to gather and prepare for the coming weeks ahead.
We will cover:
- What “simpling” is and how it can help us
- Herbal safety
- How to dose herbs
- How to choose the herb we will study over the coming weeks
- How to source herbs
- How to test for herbal allergies
- What supplies we need to have on hand
SESSION TWO: Getting Messy In The Kitchen
In session two, we will head to the kitchen and dive into herbal preparations. We will get our hands messy as we learn from herbs through some hands-on exercises. We’ll also have our first herbalist interview with herbalist and author Rosalee de la Forêt as well!
We will cover:
- How to create an herbal monograph
- How to make an infused herbal oil: Part 1
- How to make an herbal tincture using fresh and dried herbs: Part 1
- Alcohol substitutes
- How to get to know your herb more intimately using your five senses
- What the taste of an herb can tell us about how to use it
SESSION THREE: Time For Tea
In session three, we will step into the world of water-based preparations. Not only will we enjoy the simplicity of these preparations, but we’ll touch on some deeper herbal concepts as well.
We will cover:
- Our plant’s name, family, description, and cultivation and harvesting information
- Herbal actions and energetics
- How to make herbal teas using fresh and dried herbs
- How to make herbal infusions with hot and cool water
- How water temperature affects extraction
SESSION FOUR: The Sweeter Side Of Herbalism
In session four, we will venture over to the sweeter side of using herbs where we’ll explore a variety of sweet preparations and tackle some sugar, preservation, and shelf-life topics as well. We’ll also have our second herbalist interview with Appalachian folk herbalist Phyllis Light as well.
We will cover:
- Our plant’s constituents, actions, energetics, tastes, and sustainability concerns
- The difference between herbal teas and herbal infusions
- How to make two different strengths of herbal syrup and how to preserve them
- How to use herbal powders on their own and in other types of preparations
- What the benefits of simple preparations are and how to use them effectively
- How to benefit from folk herbalism
- How we can learn from plants
SESSION FIVE: Putting On The Finishing Touches
In session five, we’ll be putting the finishing touches on our lessons and herbal preparations — tying up loose ends and getting everything in its place. We’ll also hear from the grandmother of American herbalism in our third herbalist interview with Rosemary Gladstar!
We will cover:
- The various ways our herb can be used and what science is saying about it
- How to make an infused herbal oil: Part 2
- How to make an herbal tincture using fresh and dried herbs: Part 2
- How herbal tinctures compare when using fresh and dried herbs
SESSION SIX: Developing One’s Herbal Intuition
In session six, we’ll wrap things up and come back around to how simpling helps us develop one’s herbal intuition. We’ll also finish the week off with our last herbalist interview of the course with folk herbalist Kiva Rose Harden!
We will cover:
- Herbal formulas that our herb is often used in
- Simpling practices and rituals
- What is herbal intuition and how can we heighten ours
- The difference between spontaneous and applied herbal intuition
- How we can be a student of herbs and how they can be our allies
- The beauty of folk herbalism
I really enjoyed this course. It was organized and thoughtfully put together, and I feel that it really wove aspects of traditional and modern herbalism together so well. Thank you so much! I loved the bite-sized lessons, and the interviews with the herbalists was such a nice way to end each week. And wow—what a list of inspiring herbalists! I loved hearing their thoughts on studying herbs one at a time and developing one’s herbal intuition. So good! I also enjoyed having access to you via email and in the Facebook group to ask questions. It was nice to connect with other students in the Facebook group as well. Thanks again for sharing this information. I now feel like I have a good foundation for getting to know a new herb and developing a personal relationship with it. — Sharon H.
REGISTRATION OPENS: Sunday, May 3rd START DATE: Monday, May 18th DURATION: 6 weeks FEE: $67 USD
Frequently Asked Questions
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m Meagan, a registered nurse turned herbalist, homeschool mom, and lifestyle blogger at Growing Up Herbal. I want to embrace a seasonal, natural lifestyle that is filled with beauty, meaning, and intention, and I’d love for you to join me! There’s nothing better than having a good hiking buddy with a compass!