Herby Gardens



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Hello and welcome! Today I am going to go over how to create your materia medica. It is a collection of your herbal knowledge written in a journal, notebook, binder, index cards, etc. Herbalists build their collection over time as they study and use each herb. These collections are very personal and tailored to the herbalist’s needs. It is a bit like an old family cookbook containing personal anecdotes, hand-drawn sketches, and recipes reflecting the family’s culture and history. It is a beautiful way to keep records of your knowledge and progress.

Stack of herb Journals for Materia Medica

Materia Medica Formats

Materia medicas are usually written in journals, three-ring binders, notebooks, or even on index cards. However, some may find it easier to build a digital collection using word processing apps like Google Docs or Canva. You can find tons of templates on Etsy to print and keep in a binder. I prefer using plain lined journals because I don’t like the creative restrictions of  templates. There are pros and cons to all the formats, so think about what type is best suited to your needs.

writing in journal

What to Include

Most materia medicas contain basic information about the herb like the common name, scientific name, family, properties, and preparations. Additional information is up to you. I include information about identifying and growing the plants because I grow or wildcraft most of my herbs. I also add aromas, flavors, and energetic effects I experience.

Try to add useful details about preparations, doses, effects, or any other information that will help you in the future. It’s meant to be a reference guide and tool for your practice. The aesthetics, design, and content are all up to you. Be as creative with it as you wish!

open book on a table with tea and potted plant.

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Hello and welcome! My name is Kate and I am an herbalist and backyard farmer. If you are a beginner herbalist or just looking for information on plants, I write about gardening, natural remedies, and herbalism.




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