This year, our nature study is consisting of studying the medicinal, culinary and magical uses of herbs. Lil’Miss is really into making “potions”, so she’s often asking which herbs are good for which uses. Because I would like to expand my herbal knowledge as well, we’re doing it together and each of us are putting together a materia medica- or a book of herbal knowledge.
For each herb, we’re looking up the medical and culinary applications on a couple of good websites and in some books that we own. Then we’re each creating a page for that herb to keep track of that information. If we can locate the herb in nature nearby, we’ll take a walk to find it and collect specimens. We’ll also print out a photo or drawing for the herbal page.
Then, we’ll do a few recipes with the herb. Along with each herb, Lil’Miss will also learn the different ways to prepare them. We’ll explore which part of the herb is used and the best way to prepare that part.
The plan is to learn about which herbs are in season and take about a week with each one.
First you need a way to record the information:
These are the pages that I created for Lil’Miss and I to use. It’s a 2 page spread with basic information and folklore on one and recipes and contraindications on the back.
If you’d like to use them too, click on the image to download them!
Little Pagan Acorns has a set of notebooking pages with each herb already written on the page and a drawing of each herb.
The Mind To Homestead has printable herbal pages- these are geared more toward adults.
Herbal Roots has a free 2 page download of Herbal Pages (PDF).
WEBSITES TO LEARN ABOUT HERBS:
A Modern Herbal – this herbal was published in 1930 and remains one of the best books on herbs. This is a great place to start!
Rosemary Gladstar’s Materia Medica
The Practical Herbalist – this is a wealth of information
The Herb Society
Herb History – a little history and folklore about a few herbs
In addition to the above websites, I highly recommend these books. They are indispensable in our house!
– Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal: A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health, and Vitality (Affiliate link) – This is by far the best and most important herb book we use in our house.
– Kid’s Herb Book, A: For Children of All Ages (affiliate link) – this one is excellent with coloring pages and activities especially geared toward kids. It doesn’t cover a ton of herbs, but it gives really kid-friendly activities and information!
– Medicinal Plants Coloring Book (affiliate link) – this is nice to go along with printed out photos!
– Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (affiliate link) – I don’t have this one yet, but it is on it’s way. This looks perfect for Lil’Miss’s adventures in potion making!
INFORMATION ON HERBAL USAGE:
Glossary of Terms and Actions
Herbal Roots (PDF) has a free herbal bingo game!
Lots of fun activities on this site – Mama Rosemary
Rosemary Gladstar’s Formulary – she’s got amazing recipes for family herbs!
Herbalist Michael Moore’s Materia Medica PDF! – with mostly formulas.
Herb Fairies Sampler Cook-Book PDF! – this is a sample cookbook with some great recipes.
Herbs that are easy to use and find:
* Elderberries – we made elderberry tea and elderberry syrup.
* Ginger- ginger syrup, ginger chews, ginger cough drops
* Dandelion – dandelion honey