Teaching Herbal Medicine
We have always wanted to make herbal / plant medicine as accessible as possible. We love sharing our knowledge and skills with others so that they can make their own medicines at home. Our members have been teaching herbal medicine courses in Scotland and other parts of the UK for over a decade and we never imagined at the start that so much of our teaching in 2023 would be online. Herbal medicine is a wonderful way to form a stronger nature connection and is also an opportunity to grow your own medicines.
Wild Things – A Year of Wild Food and Medicine
Our seasonal course, Wild Things, grew from shorter workshops and foraging walks. People were regularly asking us for more in-depth, detailed classes so that they could take their learning journey further. We looked into this in more depth and found that people wanted regular classes and walks to encourage them to develop and to keep accountable with their peers. They also wanted lots of hands on content, making remedies so that they could use them with their friends and family.
Of course, in 2020, things changed. Just as we were due to start our seasonal offering from March – October, Scotland and the rest of the UK was in lockdown. We were lucky enough to have some funding support to adapt our model and, as well as offering COVID support in the form of medicines and masks, we started building our online course. 2020 was a time of great learning for many of us and we certainly learned some new skills, including video editing and presenting.
What has surprised us is that, in some ways, moving online has made Wild Things more accessible – opening it up to anyone in the UK with internet access and a postal address that we can send their Mystery Teas to. We have always tried to make our in-person courses as physically accessible as possible, but venue type and size and the nature of outdoor foraging walks has always been a barrier in some situations. Equally, having the capacity to attend fortnightly sessions in person can be really challenging for folk in a range of situations, carers and shift workers in particular. Find out mroe about our 2024 course here.
Kitchen Herbal Medicine – More Accessible Options
We’ve also added to our online offering in recent years. Although we developed Wild Things in response to demand for longer courses, we’ve also had people ask us to put together shorter courses. Many folk feel a bit overwhelmed by the thought of a longer commitment and want a course that they can maybe share with their kids for some hands-on medicine making. For this reason, we developed Kitchen Herbal Medicine – 12 recipes across 4 topics which can be made using ingredients and equipment already found in most kitchens. This was a really fun course to make – all based in Catriona’s kitchen with the occasional canine cameo. The course comes with recipe cards, monographs for the plants used and links to a range of resources relating to the topics covered. We also give £4 from each course sold to Movement in Thyme – an organisation that supports people in the immigration system with herbal medicines. More details here
Wild Things 2024 – Fully In Person is Back
From 2021 we have been able to offer in person walks for people in Edinburgh and Glasgow and this has been a lovely opportunity to meet more of our students in person. We do miss all sitting in a classroom and getting hands on with herbs and in 2024 we’re offering an in-person option in Glasgow. This will comprise a monthly full day of herb walk and classroom medicine making and teaching on a Saturday in the southside of Glasgow. More details on our online course portal. We hope offering the course in this way will open it up to a broad range of people – we have had folk travel from as far as Ayrshire and Aberdeen for foraging walks.
Also in 2024 we are planning to add further options for online-only students, including accountability buddying, student-led meetups and more opportunities for feedback.
Looking to the Future
As a Co-operative we also continue to provide in person workshops and we’d love to offer more with new organisations – let us know if that’s something that you would be interested in. Also, if there’s an online herbal medicine related course that you’d be interested in exploring, do tell us, we’ve got all of our best ideas from other people.
In Edinburgh, Ally, Jillian, Rhona and Soraya work with:
Since joining us in late 2020, in Glasgow, Catriona has been working with: