You already have the tools to practice herbal medicine. You just need to learn to use them. Your senses and your embodied experience can tell you how a plant affects the body, what conditions it supports and what symptoms it eases. You need only learn to pay attention to the patterns, to listen and observe. This knowledge is your birthright. When you learn to use your senses to work with plant medicines, you tap into the lived experience of your ancestors.
In this series of classes, we will discuss the foundations of herbal medicine. If you are a beginner, this series will allow you to build knowledge through direct experience of the plants as teachers. You will develop skills that form a solid basis for continued self-study. If you are a more advanced student in search of a cohesive foundational framework, this series will deepen your practice by providing a system for pairing plant energetics with patterns in the body.
Any of the three classes can be taken alone, but they are designed to build on each other. If you attend the full series you will leave with a solid set of skills and concepts that will guide and empower your work for as long as you practice herbalism.
Tastes and Energetics
Instructor: Janet Kent
Tasting an herb connects us immediately and viscerally to the nature of a plant. We directly perceive its energetic personality, and begin to discern how it would act in the body. By tasting a variety of herbs, and starting from our own sensations and intuitions, the first class in the series develops this essential way of knowing. You will learn to recognize and differentiate between six different flavors of herbs, and three impressions that herbs can leave in the mouth. We will talk about what you can learn from the flavor of a plant: its energetics, chemistry, and physiological actions.
The class also establishes a foundational energetic framework. By tasting herbs and listening to our bodies we will learn to identify patterns of heat, cold, dryness, and moisture, and to see how the energetics of plants and bodies interact.
Vitalist Healing and Herbal Actions
Instructor: Dave Meesters
All traditional systems of medicine share a belief in the body’s innate intelligence and ability to heal itself. This intelligent agent of healing and growth in the body is what we call the Vital Force. The healer’s role is to pay attention to the state of the vital force: How strong is it? Is it flowing well? Where is it blocked? Using herbs and other therapies, we can nourish the body’s vitality, direct it to organs that need it, and remove obstacles to healing. In this class we learn the principles of vitalist healing, and all the different ways that herbs can help the vital force do its work. An herb can be a stimulant, a relaxant, a diaphoretic, a vulnerary, an adaptogen… What properties do these terms describe, and how does an herbalist put those properties to use? Come learn the Terra Sylva framework for herbal actions within the vitalist paradigm.
The Six Tissue States
Instructors: Dave Meesters & Janet Kent
How do you tell a dry cough from a tense cough? And what herbs would you use for one but not the other? In the final class we take a deeper look at energetics in the body to refine a method for healing specific patterns of imbalance. We discuss what are called the six “tissue states”: Excitation (Hot), Depression (Cold), Stagnation (Damp), Atrophy (Dry), Tension and Laxity. Using practical examples we learn to identify these energetic states as they show up in the various parts of the body, and the herbs, foods and therapies that help bring the body back into balance. An understanding of tissue states provides a comprehensive framework to match an individual’s specific condition to the herbal remedies that will bring them relief.
Each class costs $45 to attend, or $120 for the whole three-class series.
The classes will meet from 11am to 3:30pm (with a 20 minute break) at the Terra Sylva main classroom at 115 Blannahassett Island, Room 209, in Marshall, North Carolina.
Space is limited! Please register in advance by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org