By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
With July 4th passed, the next big calendar date is “Back to School.” When the kids return to their studies you can, too. Make your studies about medicinal herbs.
Consider the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, an online school with a home base in the botanically rich Appalachian Mountains just outside Asheville, NC. The school offers several opportunities to learn online, including the Herbal Medicine Making Course and the Herbal Immersion Program.
“We believe that direct connection with healing plants is the best way to learn about their medicine, and so we’ve infused our programs with a plant-centered approach to herbal medicine,” says owner and teacher Juliet Blankespoor, who has a degree in botany and a life of experience.
“One of the perks of our online format is the community support from herb lovers from around the globe. Our students range from total beginners to seasoned herbalists with established gardens and businesses. We welcome anyone who wants to learn more about growing or preparing medicinal herbs.”
Juliet has had a connection to the earth since childhood. “As a child I was a geeky introvert and bookworm,” she says. “I loved to dance and spend time alone in the woods.
“When I was eighteen I became involved with environmental activism and my vision started to turn toward the natural world. Somehow, almost overnight, I became infatuated with plants and have been involved in a love affair with the green world ever since. I wanted to know who every plant around me was.”
It only made sense to formally study plants, which Juliet did at the University of Florida. “I absorbed all I could about our local flora from my professors. In school, I would learn how to identify a plant, recognize it as a medicinal,” she recalls, “and then rush home to read about its herbal uses from one of the few books I owned on the subject.”
After graduating Juliet founded and formulated a tincture line, Green Faith Herbals. She spent her twenties growing and wildcrafting medicine for her tincture business. At the same time she furthered her herbal studies.
In 2007, settled in the southern Appalachians, she started the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and began teaching from home. After time, Juliet decided that she’s “a raging introvert” and moved the school online.
The virtual format offers more flexibility to students and her staff of highly experienced instructors. Studies can begin any time. The Herbal Medicine Making Course is a six-month program, while Herbal Immersion Program—which focuses on growing medicinal herbs—is completed in two and a half years.
“My mission with the school is to encourage more people to grow herbs and enjoy their medicinal and culinary bounty,” says Juliet, who uses herbal medicine as her family’s primary form of health care. “We also go to the doctor when needed but for the most part, we address everyday ailments at home.”
“We use herbs for preventative medicine. For example, we eat raw garlic daily to help ward off colds and to reduce the chance of cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
She also drinks a homemade tea blend of green tea, hibiscus, and calendula to support the immune system and to provide plenty of antioxidant compounds (which reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and inflammation, in general).
“We make herbal pestos from lemon balm, holy basil, and bee balm and use just about every kind of culinary herb (homegrown, of course) in our daily cooking,” says Juliet.
For more information, visit The Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine.
Medicinal Disclaimer – This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any particular medical or health treatment. Please consult a health care provider before pursuing any herbal treatments.