Monday, April 28, 2014

{Herbal Learning Guide} Creating Your Reference Binder and Materia Medica

As part of this guide you will be creating a reference binder. The basic reference binder will include creating a Materia Medica.

Materia Medica
Each lesson will include a select number of herbs for you to research and study on your own. It is suggested that you use at least 3 reference guides (see list here) to research the herbs. Based on this research you are going to create a Materia Medica. The Materia Medica you create will be your own personal reference guide on the herbs you have studied; you will record pertinent information on the herb which will help you identify if the herb is right to use in your situation. The following information is necessary to include in your reference file on each herb:

1. Botanical Name
2. Common Name(s)
3.  Habitat and Growing Conditions
4. Pertinent Information on the Plant
5. Your Personal Experience with the Plant
6. Sources - The Reference Books Used, Author, and Page

I also highly suggest including the following in your Materia Medica as well:
1. Part of the Plant Used
2. Affects
3. Medicinal Actions
4. Temperature
5. Taste
6. Constituents
7. Cultivation
8. Description and Uses
9. Cautions
10. How to Prepare
11. Suggested Dosage

I do not think it is necessary to fill all this out at once. Many reference books do not list all this information on each herb. Just add the information to your Materia Medica as you find it.

I have created a blank Materia Medica form for you to print and fill out as you study and learn about each herb:

One of the most important aspects of your research is for you to purchase (or harvest) a small amount of each of the herbs in your Materia Medica and try it. You will want to record your experience such as taste, feelings, any emotions, and personal experience. For this research purpose, purchase or harvest ½ to 1 ounce of each herb.

Reference Binder
The Materia Medica (and its accompany research) will be the most important part of your reference binder. As I, personally, research and study, I am also going to include other sections in my reference binder.

This is how I personally am organizing my herbal binder:
Section 1: Materia Medica (in Alphabetical Order)
Section 2: Body Systems
(a) The Nervous System
(b) The Liver
(c) Respiratory System
(d) Urinary System
(e) Female Reproductive System
(f) Male Reproductive System
(g) The Digestive System
(h) The Immune System
Section 3: Problems (In Alphabetical Order) (examples: headache, earache, cough, etc)
Section 4: Favorite Recipes
Section 5: How To Make (Tinctures, oils, salves, etc).
I created a printable binder cover and tabs for you to use to create your binder. 

I hope this all makes sense to everyone following along. If you need any clarification or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

To view the main page of our Herbal Learning Guide, including the link to other pages, please click here.


  1. This will definitely help down the road when you don't quite remember about a specific herb or if it gave you any adverse reaction.

  2. Thanks for providing this template to help organize an herbal binder - very nicely done.

  3. Fantastic idea and great printable! There must have been a time that early peoples had to experiment this way. Many times it must have been by trial and error.

  4. this is such great information! thanks so much for sharing

  5. This is great! I love that you provided print outs and references as well!

  6. This is definitely a great idea to know what herbs and to keep it organized. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. I think i need to get on the stick with this.. thanks for the reminder.

  8. This is a great resource. I am definitely sharing it!

  9. This herbal guide is a great idea and a helpful guide as well.

  10. This binder is really a GREAT idea. I am not an herb master so I would need to take as many notes as possible:)

  11. What an interesting concept. The guide is perfect for someone hoping to incorporate herbs into their medicinal needs.

  12. The reference binder is a good idea. I would need that for reference for sure.

  13. I love this idea, a great way to personalize what would be a very long list of herbs/foods and their uses in medicine!

  14. I just read about you and Hats off to you. You survived Cancer, and now... you not only living a healthy life but inspiring hundreds of people to live a healthy life. God Bless You!

    1. Its actually my friend Holly (who also writes on our blog sometimes) who survived cancer not me. She is amazing!

  15. I think doing it a little at a time is a great idea so it's not overwhelming!

  16. This is really cool. I don't know that much about these so this would be a great help in getting me on track to understanding them all better. Thanks!

  17. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing this, and for free!

  18. I love herbs and try to use them as often as I can. I still have a lot to learn though

  19. I love using Herbs it's the only thing I can grow in my apartments and keep alive lol
    I love cooking with dill, parsley and thyme.

  20. It's definitely a smart idea to have all your information in one place like that. Wonderful way to stay organized!

  21. How useful for those learning about Herbs and it's uses. There so much to learn so having a binder is really useful.

  22. This is a great way to stay organized with your herbs! There are so many, so hard to learn everything!

  23. I love finding natural cures for things so we are constantly using herbs and essential oils at our home. There is a huge learning process though as you know.

  24. Now this is awesome especially when you want to have a clear list of your herbs.

  25. I am going to share this. This is a great idea. Amber N

  26. Great information ... should help make everything easy to find and the learning process go much smoother!

  27. This is very interesting I don't think I have ever seen or heard of anyone with a herb binder. This post really got my interest.

  28. Thank you for this download. I have been wanting to make a notebook and this really helps.

  29. Thank you for the information. I love to grow a lot of herbs and plan on growing more in my garden this year. This idea to create my own binder with full reference information is terrific. Can't wait to get started!