Course 3 | Materia Medica Introduction

Learn what a Monograph is, how to access reliable information, and how to create your own Monographs.


Length: 1 hours

Instructor: Amanda Howe | RHT, Medical Herbalist

This course is only available with the following programs:

  • Home Herbalist Online

    Mini-Certificate Program

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  • Community Herbalist Online

    Full Certificate Program

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Meet your course instructor

Amanda Howe | RHT, Medical Herbalist

Amanda Howe has been a Herbalist for over thirty years. She trained in England in the early ’80s and became a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. She went on to receive her MSc in Herbal Medicine from the University of Wales. Amanda worked in England in a multidisciplinary clinic before moving to Vancouver Island twenty-five years ago. Since moving to Canada Amanda has been active in practice as a herbalist and as a herbal educator. She has served on the board of the provincial Canadian Herbalists Association of BC as well as the national Herbal Practitioners Council - the Canadian Council of Herbalists Associations (CCHA), working to ensure continued access to herbal medicines for Herbalists and the general public. And she also sat on Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Expert Advisory Committee. Amanda spent several years teaching at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC. as a teacher in their excellent full-time Herbal Practitioner training program, and was involved in funded research projects with the Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology at Royal Roads University. Amanda is passionate about herbs and herbal medicine and about sharing the connection to the natural world that can be found through connecting with and learning about the healing power of plants. Amanda loves to teach and is happiest when she is in the garden teaching people how to grow, harvest, use and listen to the magic of the plants that are thriving there.

Course description

The study of medicinal plants is a continuum of learning that has spanned thousands of years. The collected knowledge of the actions and uses of medicinal plants that have been accrued through practice, folklore, insight, and science is known as the Materia Medica.

Monographs are an accessible format to organize and share plant knowledge for each species of medicinal plant. A compilation of monographs is what comprises the Materia Medica.

In this Introduction to Materia Medica, you will learn key information that is included in monographs and why each piece of information is considered important.

Learning about herbs is a very hands-on experience. The more you understand how herbs smell, taste, look, and feel in your body, the more deeply you will understand the healing properties of herbs, actions, and energetics.

Compiling your own monographs and recording your own experiences is a vital part of your ongoing learning with Herbs. We guide you in the creation of your own monographs and explore how to access factual, reliable information to include. Monographs are not dry, unidimensional reference materials; they are living documents that you enliven with your own evolving experiences with each plant over your lifetime of learning.

Each of the herbs we study in this course has a monograph for you to access and use as a resource. Use these monographs to deepen your learning and as templates to create your own monographs.

Upon completion of this course, you will understand:

  • What the Materia Medica is
  • What a monograph is
  • What information is contained in a monograph
  • Terms used in monographs and how to access the glossary of terms
  • How to find reliable information for monographs
  • How to track references and the importance of keeping references
  • How to create your own monographs
  • Plant energetics terms used in monographs

Lesson plan

Section I | Welcome

1. Introduction

2. Course outline

Section I | Welcome

3. Monographs

4. Using herbs safely

5. Energetics of the plant

6. Organoleptics

Section III | Herbal harvesting