Course 4 | Materia Medica

Open up your senses to tap into the infinite wisdom of medicinal plants. This Materia Medica provides history, medicinal uses, growing and harvesting tips, and medicine-making recipes for more than 3 dozen herbs.


Length: 5 hours

Instructor: Amanda Howe | RHT, Medical Herbalist

This course is only available with the following programs:

  • Home Herbalist Online

    Mini-Certificate Program

    view course
  • Community Herbalist Online

    Full Certificate Program

    view course

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

This course takes you on a fascinating journey into the world of medicinal plants. Materia Medica is the backbone of your herbal education. It provides you with the confidence to begin working hands-on with herbs to create medicines for internal, external, and culinary use. 

Materia Medica was filmed over the span of 3 growing seasons, at various locations, and covers a wide variety of herbs in great depth. The herb lessons are structured so as to allow you time to interact with the herb, drink its tea, visit it growing, and continue your learning outside of your digital classroom. The most important part of your herbal education is the unique relationships you will build with the plants that you study.

The included lessons are about herbs that have rich histories of traditional uses from different cultures. Many of these herbs have also been subjected to scientific study. This course encompasses both contemporary scientific and traditional medicinal applications alongside the instructor’s personal and clinical experiences. Each herb has been selected based on its safety of use, ease of growing or access, and medicinal offerings. 

This Materia Medica covers herbs that can be used to support the entire body. It includes herbs for the following systems: skin, nervous, respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, urinary, and endocrine. Applications of herbs range from teas and tinctures to infused honeys and fresh plant poultices. 

Plants are an endless source of information. This course helps you open your senses to tap into their teachings so you can build lifelong relationships with many plants, to the benefit of you and those around you.

Upon completion of this course you will: 

  • Be able to identify a wide variety of medicinal plants that grow in both wild and cultivated environments
  • Feel encouraged to grow your own herbs with a newfound understanding of each plant’s preferred habitat and growing habits 
  • Appreciate the potency and power of locally, organically grown herbs
  • Gain insight into the history, folklore, and traditional uses of each herb 
  • Understand how to harvest, store, and transform herbs into effective medicines 
  • Understand how to combine herbs for teas, tinctures, infused oils, syrups, and much more
  • Become familiar with the language of herbal medicine, including the Latin names of plants, medicinal action words, and herbal medicine-making terminology
  • Understand how to select herbs for common health conditions based on their medicinal actions
  • Have awareness of cautions and contraindications of each herb to safely care for yourself and your loved ones

Lesson plan

1. Arnica (Arnica montana)

2. Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva ursi)

3. Borage (Borage officinalis)

4. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

5. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

6. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

7. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

8. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)

9. Elder (Sambucus nigra)

10. Elecampane (Inula helenium)

11. Garlic (Allium sativum)

12. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

13. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)

14. Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

15. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

16. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)

17. Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)

18. Linden (Tilia europaea)

19. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

20. Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

21. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

22. Mint (Mentha spp.)

23. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

24. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

25. Nettle (Urtica dioica)

26. Oat (Avena sativa)

27. Oregon grape (Mahonia spp.)

28. Plantain – Broadleaf (Plantago major)

29. Plantain – Ribwort (Plantago lanceolata)

30. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

31. Rose (Rosa spp.)

32. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

33. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

34. Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

35. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

36. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

37. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

38. Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis)

39. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)