Two weeks after beginning the Introductory Herbal Course from the Herbal Academy of New England I’ve passed my first quiz! It’s not that it’s taken me this long to learn the material but because I haven’t had much time to study. This is probably one of the biggest perk of this online class – you can learn at your own pace, and you can log in from whatever device suits you. Use your lunchbreak to study from your computer, your smart phone on your daily commute, or a tablet while relaxing at home.
Unit 1 of the course is made up of seven chapters, or lessons, that introduce you to the history of using herbs as medicine and for nutrition and how their essences can be extracted in Infusions, Decoctions, Syrups, and Tinctures. It also covers some basic principles of the working of the human body and introduces the idea that to treat illness the entire body needs to be addressed.
It took me about three or four hours to read through all of the material in the unit and then to take the quiz. I’ll be honest and say that it took me three times to pass it! Although it’s multiple choice, the material and the vocabulary in the first unit alone was enough to fill my brain for one afternoon. I kept going back and looking up sections and re-reading before taking the quiz again and finally I got all the answers correct. I was stuck for ages on the question about Menstruum but now I think that word and its meaning will be in my brain forever.
The way the course works is that you need to complete one section and take the quiz before moving on to the next. This is such an important feature because it means you need to learn the basics before addressing more content. I can be a bit of a book skimmer so this keeps me in line.
One important thing I learned from this section is that herbal teas and herbal infusions are different in a couple of ways. They can be made using the same ingredients but the amount of herb, how long it’s seeped in water, and the dosage make it different from a nice cuppa. This herbal infusion recipe can help improve memory, calm digestive distress, supports circulation, and gives a fresh burst of energy!
Rosemary Herbal Infusion
1 Quart boiling water
1/4 cup dried Rosemary (or 1/2 cup fresh)
1. Chop the rosemary into small pieces – you want to expose as much of the herb to water as possible.
2. Place the herb into a mason/kilner jar or a tea pot and cover it with one quart of boiling water. Leave to seep for at least 10-15 minutes.
3. Strain the herb out of the liquid and compost it. Drink the tea within a day. For acute issues (such as gas), drink 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup every thirty minutes throughout the day.