The Herbal Academy: Educating Budding Herbalists

Learn the art and science of plant medicine from anywhere in the world.


| Summer 2017



Materia medica

Botany is an important part of herbalism, so students of the Herbal Academy learn how to identify various plant parts and understand botanical nomenclature.

Photo courtesy the Herbal Academy

I first became interested in plant-based medicine while I was working at a tea shop during college. We sold more than 300 tea blends, and I learned very quickly which teas to recommend to customers who were having trouble digesting a big meal (chamomile), or were needing some help falling asleep (lavender), or were hoping to calm their nerves before a big exam (lemon balm). I loved opening the aromatic tea jars, researching the ingredients, and helping to ease the customers’ minor discomforts. I started reading as many books on herbalism as I could get my hands on, and a few years later, I enrolled in a six-month apprenticeship with a local herbalist.

My apprenticeship was everything I had hoped for, and with my teacher’s help, I established a working knowledge of how to grow, harvest, and use native medicinal plants. A few years after my apprenticeship ended, however, I found I was hungry for a structured environment that would allow me to expand my herbal education even more. I don’t have any intentions of opening my own clinic, so pursuing a full-blown medical degree was both unnecessary and beyond my financial means. I simply wanted to learn as much as possible about medicinal herbs, help my friends and family members make smart decisions about their health, and potentially start selling herbal body-care products locally.

I spent days researching online herbalism programs, and after much consideration, I enrolled in the Entrepreneur Program through the Herbal Academy. I chose the Herbal Academy because of its impressive teacher lineup, respected presence in the herbal community, wide variety of affordable course options, and focus on organically growing and sustainably foraging plant material.

The Herbal Academy

Herbalist Marlene Adelmann founded the Herbal Academy in 2010 to provide a supportive learning space for aspiring and advanced herbalists alike. “Our school started with a dozen students gathering together on weekends in a small lakeside cottage in greater Boston,” says Adelmann. “Who knew that one day our local community would flourish into thousands of students gathering online? I certainly didn’t, but I’m humbled to be a part of such a rewarding mission.”

Since 2010, the Herbal Academy has evolved into a robust online platform that features a number of work-at-your-own-pace courses ranging from mini-courses on niche topics, such as fermentation, to more involved curricula that train herbalists of all skill levels how to grow, process, and safely use herbal products.

Each of the school’s larger courses is divided into a number of small, approachable units that focus on specific topics, such as first aid or lung health. Students gain access to each consecutive unit by passing an online quiz and posting in the school’s community forum.





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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