Course 11 | The History, Energetics & Spirit of Plant Medicine

An introduction to the energetics of herbal medicine: Where the mystical meets the practical application.


Length: 3 hours

Instructor: Seraphina Capranos | Herbalist, Classical Homeopath

This course is only available with the following program:

  • Community Herbalist Online

    Full Certificate Program

    view course

Meet your course instructor

Seraphina Capranos | Herbalist, Classical Homeopath

Seraphina’s European grandparents first introduced her to the healing power of natural medicine. While seasonally gathering herbs in rural Ontario, Canada they lovingly taught her about the traditional wisdom of herbs and plant lore. After suffering an injury to her spine as a teenager, Seraphina was declared by the conventional medical system to lead a life of suffering in chronic pain. Determined to heal herself, she returned to her roots and began a professional study of natural medicine at Emerson College of Herbology leading her to study with renowned herbalist Susun S. Weed at The Wise Woman Center in NY and then healers in the desert of New Mexico. She attended the University of Toronto while working with an inspiring MD who practiced homeopathy, revealing to her the brilliance of this unique and deep system of medicine. The combination and expertise of her two passions of herbal medicine and homeopathic medicine make Seraphina a gifted holistic practitioner. She brings the balance of university education in science and the magic of what wildlands and mystics have taught her to each of her classes and clients. She lives on Salt Spring Island where’s she’s had a clinical practice since 2005. She teaches herbal medicine, homeopathy & earth-based magic internationally. As an educator, she is passionate about offering empowering, heart-centered classes that are rooted in spirit. She gives thanks to all her teachers, namely Michael Vertolli (Emerson College 1998) Susun Weed, Aviva Romm, Murray Feldman, Susan Gimbel, Laurie Dack, Lianne South, Louis Klein, and the old authors of homeopathic texts from the 1800s, and the women who kept recipes alive in the stillroom books.

Course description

The history of western herbalism is a rich tapestry woven between different cultures, eco-systems, and lands. Emerging from Egypt, then Greece, and spreading west, the tradition that we now claim as western herbalism is a mix of ancient European medicine practiced in healing temples presided over by the Goddess Hygeia, the oral traditions of wise women of Europe that were at risk of being burned as witches, and root doctors men and women both, that survived and then settled in North America.

Come and take a journey through the rich tapestry of herbalism from the ancient lands of the Egyptians, the Gods and Goddesses that informed our languages such as Hygeia (where we get the word hygiene), the underground oral traditions of healing that survived the witch burnings, the Renaissance, Alchemy, and then the Popular Health Movement that brought a revitalization of natural health through the 1960s and 1970s. 

This course dives into the concepts and theories that shape our practices of herbalism, such as the 4-Element theory that inspires the framework of how we match a person to a plant. The beauty of herbalism is that we look to nature to be our guide. Earth, air, fire, and water are the elements that run through the human body, the body of plants, and our earth. The language of the earth is universal, however, specific traditions such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have formed their own lens through which they practice medicine.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Feel well informed about the historical bodies of thought that have shaped the way herbal medicine is practiced
  • Understand herbal energetics, using your own body instinct and senses as a tool for knowing herbs and the 4 elements as applied to the body
  • Understand the various approaches to practicing energetic herbal medicine 
  • Feel comfortable exploring the sensory elements of plants (sight, smell, taste, temperature, affinity)
  • Tap into your herbal intuition to foster a lifelong relationship with plants

Lesson plan

Section I | Welcome

1. Introduction

2. Course outline

Section II | The roots of medicine

3. Ancient Egypt, Greece, & the modern world

4. Going underground in medieval Europe

5. Renaissance, Paracelsus, & alchemy

6. North American Herbalism

Section III | The energetics of herbs & systems of healing

7. Communion of human & plant

8. The 5 tastes & energetics

9. Intuitive ways of knowing

10. Herbs in ceremony

11. Conclusion

Section IV | Plants in ceremony

12. Plant sit with mullein

13. Fire ritual (letting go)