Become a Home Herbalist

A 9-Month Educational Program

 Learn how to create your own herbal products for yourself and your family. Herbalist & Holistic Health Educator, Connie Karstens, MS will instruct a nine-month intensive program that will empower you to become your own herbalist. This series of classes takes you through the seasons so you can prepare an entire apothecary of safe, gentle and effective herbal products.

This program will include a solid foundation for plant identification, wild food foraging, numerous preparation techniques, and knowledge on proper usage. By the end of the class, not only will you have stocked your own botanical pharmacy, but you will know and understand how and why to use the herbal preparations that you have created.

This is a rare opportunity for hands-on learning and gathering plants with a local herbal practitioner. Sign up today to become a part of this amazing program! Certificate of Completion awarded at last class.


2018 Class Dates

All 12 classes are currently scheduled for Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm.

Most months have 1 class per month except May, June and July where there are 2 classes because of the abundance of plants to gather and make into preparations.

  • March 24
  • April 21
  • May 5 & 19
  • June 9 & 23
  • July 14 & 28
  • August 4
  • September 29
  • October 27
  • November 10
Details on the Course:

This course is essential for those wanting to take charge of their own health and who have a desire to become informed, educated and more independent.

The class will explore the historical roots of herbal medicine and will help you learn how to use botanical medicines for basic natural healthcare. The student will gain an understanding of simple herbal aids for many common ailments and first aid uses. This course will teach the basics of preparing herbal medicines in your own home. You will also learn about planning, planting and using your very own medicine garden.

You will learn about the following over the 9 -month course:

  • Fresh & Dried Tinctures
  • Bark Tinctures
  • Root Tinctures
  • Glycerite Tinctures
  • Medicinal Herbal Wines
  • Medicinal Herbal Syrups
  • Medicinal Herbal Teas
  • Herbal Pastilles
  • Herbal Lozenges
  • Medicinal Vinegars
  • Herbal Infused Honeys
  • Herbal Oxymels
  • Drying Herbs & Storing Herbs
  • Freezing Herbs
  • Make a “Green Jar”
  • Poultices
  • Compresses
  • Liniments
  • Oil Infusions
  • Salves & Ointments and Formulas
  • Herbal Hydrotherapy & Formulas
  • How to Use Specific Herbs for Organ Systems
  • Herbal Actions & Corresponding Herbs
  • Learning Basic Tongue Indications
  • Facial Analysis Foundations
  • Organ System Emotional Relationships
  • We will touch on Pulse Testing
  • How to Put It All Together to Select Herb for Common Aliments
  • Using Herbs Safely

This course will require some independent work and research. Along with quizzes, presentations and group collaboration, there will be a great deal of hands-on learning.

By the end of the class, your will have well over 50 herbal preparations for your own personal herbal pharmacy. Plus, the knowledge on how to safely and effectively use every preparation that you made.

As a bonus, you will become well-informed on how to wild forage with common plants in the local area. We will do much hands-on collecting of plants for medicine and food.

If this class sounds like a match for you, do not delay. Sign up today and reserve your spot! The first 20 students will fill the class quickly.


Program Instruction Cost:
  • Deposit of $50 to hold your spot due 1/1/18
  • Total of $975 (check or cash only), due 3/1/18
  • Add $25 for credit card payments



If there is enough interest, we will offer it again next year. Thank you for the support.


Registration Form - Become a Home Herbalist


Lovage Soup Recipe


Cook with lovage for more quercetin.

Lovage is one of those garden herbs that are bold and strong growing. It looks like a huge Italian parsley plant and has flavors that also mimic parsley or celery. It survives the cold Minnesota winters and comes back each year with force.

This garden herb is one of the richest sources of quercetin.

Quercetin is a natural occurring substance that is found in plant pigments called flavonoids that give many fruits, flowers, and vegetables their colors. It is known to inhibit the release of histamine which is said to be responsible for the symptoms of allergies in addition to having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.


Fresh Lovage

Fresh Lovage

Here is a fabulous lovage soup recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped or wild leeks
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup lovage leaves, chopped
  • heavy cream (to serve)


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in onions. Fry until translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Pour in chicken stock and stir in chopped potatoes. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in lovage and simmer, covered, a further five or six minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
  5. Season with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Stir in a spoonful of heavy cream and serve.

5 Reasons to Grow Cayenne

Cayenne is easy to grow and has many remarkable healing properties. Whether you grow it in a pot on your terrace or in your garden, there are so many uses for this plant. Cayenne has both culinary and medicinal purposes. These starter plants are currently available at The Lamb Shoppe. But hurry, they will be gone soon.

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in this plant. Cayenne is known as a supreme herb for warming and circulating. Remember a small amount goes a long way.

Here are some medicinal uses:

1. Relieves Muscle Pain.

An excellent analgesic (relieves pain), Cayenne is great to use topically on sore muscles. It is really simple to make a tincture from Cayenne. Just pick the red peppers, cut them up and loosely fill a jar, cover with vodka, let sit for 6 weeks and strain off plant material. That’s all there’s to it. Store this herbal extraction in a dark bottle and it will keep for years.

2. Normalizes Blood Pressure

Research has shown capsaicin to be an effective antihypertensive (blood pressure reducing) agent. You can either take a few drops of the tincture under your tongue to help normalize your blood pressure, or you could use the dried form. If you are using the dried form, add 1 teaspoon cayenne powder to 1 cup hot water. Mix and drink.

3. Soothes Ulcers.

Many people can get some relief from the pain of stomach ulcers by mixing a teaspoon of cayenne in a cup of hot water and drinking.

4. Help for Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Because capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory, it is often used as a traditional remedy for arthritis. A widespread recipe for this is to add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar. Mix together and apply to affected area. Many people find relief to inflamed joints by using this home remedy.

5. Sore Throats or Laryngitis.

The antibacterial properties of cayenne are useful for to help sore throats. Use 5-10 drops of the tincture or 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne powder to 4 ounces of warm water and gargle. This may need to be repeated a few times to alleviate the condition.


Learn more about Cayenne Pepper.


Note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice from your professional healthcare provider. Please consult your qualified healthcare provider for treatment of medical problems.


Latin Name: Salvia officinalis

Key Elements: Water Balancer, Digestive Aide & Antiseptic

Edible, External Use, Internal Use


sageGarden Sage is a common perennial garden herb easy to identify with its wrinkled looking, aromatic leaves. This herb is found in nearly every kitchen cupboard, but should also be in every medicine cabinet.                                   The Latin word Salvia means “to heal” or “Saviour”. Historically, Sage was a meat preservative and it was believed to enhance memory and wisdom. It was once said that if Sage thrived, it was an indication the business owner was prosperous too. Sage is a good companion plant for rosemary, cabbage and carrots.

How to grow: Started plants, root cuttings, layering older plants.

Safety: Limit usage if nursing.

Taste: Bitter, warm oily and drying, astringent.

Harvest: June-October. Spring, summer, fall icons

Parts used: Leaves.

Preparations: Food, infusion, tincture, poultice, oil, salve.

Medicinal Uses:
  • Digestive support for the weaksage (2)
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Improves digestion and absorption of dietary fats
  • Liver tonic, stimulates bile
  • Helpful for chronic diarrhea including coli, dysentery, food poisoning
  • Helps cardiovascular and circulatory function
  • Used as a simple sore throat remedy
  • Use at onset of cold and flu symptoms, tonsillitis, swollen glands, laryngitis, sinus congestion or dripping, post nasal drip, canker sores, fevers, chest infections.
  •  A powerful remedy for regulating water balance (either too much water or not enough)
  • Known to reduce perspiration, bladder infections.
  • Traditionally used for night sweats, hot flashes
  • May improve and regulates hormone function for men and women
  • Good for drying up mother’s milk
  • Use a poultice for sprains and swellings, cuts, wounds, burns, sunburn, sores, ulcers.
  • Rebuilds strength and vitality
  • Good elderly remedy
  • May help bleeding gums
  • Used  as breath freshener
  • Well known hair tonic

Herbal Actions:

Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-galactic, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Carminative, Immunostimulant.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Latin Name: Borago officinalis

 Key Elements: Cooling, detoxifying strengthens & tones heart


borageBorage has vibrant blue-purple star shaped flowers and bristly leaves with a cucumber-like scent and flavor. Touching the leaves, it is not surprising that Borage is a member of the Comfrey family.

This annual is frequently grown in the vegetable or herb gardens because it attracts bees and it is said to be a good growing companion for other plants such as tomatoes while improving their flavor.

Flowers and very young leaves are edible, use quickly to prevent wilting.

How to Grow: Seeds or started plants. Self seeds freely. Full sun or light shade.

Safety: Leaf hairs may irritate skin. Use low doses, contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may cause liver toxicity.

Harvest: June-September

Parts Used: Buds, flowers, leaves.

Preparations: Food (flowers, tender leaves), infusion, tincture, poultice, syrup (flowers).

Medicinal uses:

  • Strengthens and tones heart
  • Heart palpitations
  • Feeling of heavy-heartedness
  • “Gives Courage”
  • Bronchitis
  • Aids in mucus elimination
  • Colds, coughs, asthma, congestion, pleurisy
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Exhaustion
  • Helps with grief, sadness and convalescence
  • Increases urine flow
  • Cleanses the body through removal of toxins through the skin and urine
  • For gastric disorders
  • Jaundice
  • Cools and soothes inflamed skin (leaf poultice, fresh juice or infusion), oozing sores and rashes.
  • For sore irritated eyes (eye wash or compress from tea)
  • Stimulates adrenal glands
  • Encourages sweating
  • Increases milk flow
  • Reduces fevers, hot flashes

Herbal Actions: Anti-depressant, Demulcent, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emollient, Expectorant, Galactagogue, Tonic.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.





Calendula-iStockphotoCalendula is a favorite, hardy annual with bright yellow or orange flowers which hold strong medicinal qualities. If picked regularly, they will bloom throughout the entire summer. The more you pick, the more they bloom. When picked, the blossoms leave a sticky resin in your hand. Frequently used as a culinary herb, it became known as the “poor man’s saffron”. Calendula flowers can be used in salads, added to soups and stews, or to omelets.


Latin Name: Calendula officinalis

Key Elements: Lymphatic & Wound Remedy

How Used: Edible (petals), Externally & Internally

Preparations: Food, infusion, tincture, oil/salve, lotion.

Parts Used: Flowers.

When to Harvest: June-September

Contains: Bitters, carotenoids, flavonoids, muscilage, resin, saponins, volitile oils, iodine (leaves).

Medicinal Uses

  • Famous wound remedy, especially swollen, hot, painful and wounds with pus
  • Antiseptic
  • Cuts, abrasions, sores, wounds
  • Burns, sunburns
  • Stops bleeding
  • Heals scars
  • Soothes pain and irritation
  • Earaches
  • Toothaches
  • Decreases inflammation of sprains and swellings
  • Stings and bites
  • Cat scratches
  • Helps rebuild connective tissue
  • Excellent remedy for lymph glands swollen with lingering infections
  • Enhances immunity
  • Blood purifier
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Old infections
  • Inflammatory digestive problems including colitis, peptic ulcers, stomach irritation, nausea
  • Liver and gall bladder cleanser
  • Enhances digestion, absorption and liver function
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Detoxifier for skin disorders such as acne and eczema, shingles, measles, chicken pox
  • Bacterial or fungal skin infections such as athlete’s foot, thrush or ringworm, diaper rash, cradle cap
  • Mouthwash for gum disease and teeth
  • Eye infections
  • Hemorrhoids and varicose veins
  • Menstrual problems
  • Fevers

 For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

St. John’s Wort

St. John's WortSt. John’s Wort is a sun loving, hardy, easily spreading, perennial with cheery yellow flowers that leave a resin with a purple-red stain on the hand when picked. If you look closely at the leaves and they are held up to the sunlight, you will notice little glands containing the resin that look like perforations the size of pin pricks.

It is typically in full bloom in midsummer and will continue to flower through September. It has been used medicinally since ancient times and is still prized today for its remarkable healing properties.

Latin Name: Hypernicum perforatum

Key Elements – Uplifting, Heals Wounds, Nerves

How to grow: From seeds, dividing roots in spring or taking cuttings in summer

Taste: Sweet, oily, warm, dry

Freshly picked St. John's Wort Flowers in a jar ready to make into an oil.

Freshly picked St. John’s Wort flowers in a jar ready to make into an oil.

Parts used: Bud, flower, and leaves

Plant preparations: Infusion, tincture, salve, oil, compress, liniment, lotion, capsules

Key constituents: Flavonoids, glycosides (hypericin), resin, saponins, tannins, volatile oils

Safety: Can cause photosensitivity in some people, may interact with prescription drugs



Medicinal Uses: Internal and external.

  • Traditional remedy for wounds, particularly puncture wounds and bites from animals
  • A key remedy for the nervous system
  • Used for nerve pains and injuries, inflammation and pain (sharp, shooting)
  • Sciatica, pinched nerves
  • Post operative pain and neuralgia
  • Slipped disc
  • Often used  to relax tension, stress and anxiety
  • Know for uplifting spirits (Seasonal Affective Disorder remedy/SAD); antidepressant
  • May be helpful for insomnia
  • Tetanus
  • Boosts immunity. Used for viral infections including influenza, shingles. herpes, polio, hepatitis C, HIV
  • Radiation protection
  • Frostbite
  • Considered a liver remedy, detoxifies, used for jaundice
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • May help eliminate parasites
  • Heavy, painful, irregular periods and  PMS symptoms
  • Diuretic
  • Bladder issues and bed wetting remedy for children
  • Clears phlegm from respiratory area
  • May make skin more sensitive to sunlight
  • Use salve or oil topically to soothe and heal burns, cuts, wounds, inflammation, sores and ulcers

Systems supported: digestive, nervous, respiratory, liver/gallbladder, kidneys/bladder, lymphatic, muscular and skeletal.

 Herbal Actions: Antidepressant, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Astringent, Expectorant, Nervine, Sedative, Vulnerary.


For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is a common garden plant that is member of the nightshade family.  It produces hot, fiery, red fruits used to flavor dishes and for medicinal purposes. The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. The word Capsaicin is believed to have been derived from Greek, meaning “to bite”.

This common spice herb has earned a reputation as a kind of “cure-all”. If you have ever cut yourself with a knife in the kitchen, next time think about trying cayenne powder from your cupboard to quickly and effectively stop the bleeding. Cayenne’s anti-microbial properties can also prevent infections.

This is one herb I would not be without in both my kitchen cupboard and my medicine cabinet. For foods, I love to add just a touch of Cayenne to add a little zip to the food. It is also one of the herbs I think of when it comes to pain relief. Applying the extract or tincture to the skin encourages circulation to that part of the body. Looking at the list of medicinal benefits below will convince you, too, to add it to you commonly used herbs.

Cayenne and other spicy peppers were once falsely blamed for causing ulcers, but now are accepted as a natural treatment for ulcers. Cayenne supports the health of the lining of the stomach, promotes tissue healing by bringing blood to the area, and addresses secondary infections such as H. pylori that are often common along with ulcers. It also blocks substance P, a pain receptor neurotransmitter, causing pain relief associated with ulcers.

Note: When using topical capsaicin products be sure to avoid touching eyes or other sensitive areas. It is best to start in very small doses and build up tolerance due to its irritating nature that some people may react to.

Latin Name:Capsium annuum
Key Elements – Warming & stimulating

Taste: Hot and acrid.

Parts used: Fruit (ripe peppers) and seeds.

Plant Preparations: Food, tincture, infusion, liniment, oil, salve.

Medicinal Uses: I consider Cayenne a healing food or a medicinal food. It can be used both internally and externally. Here are some well know used for Cayenne.

  • Opens and strongly stimulates circulatory
  • Known as a heart tonic because it normalizes and strengthens cardiovascular system
  • Regulates blood flow in the body
  • Considered a blood pressure equalizer – both hypertension (high) and hypotension (low)
  • Reduces blood clots due to stimulative circulatory properties
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Varicose veins
  • Traditional asthma remedy
  • Promotes secretions from the mucous membranes (helps push out mucus)
  • May help pneumonia
  • Useful for bronchitis
  • Good general remedy for colds because it fights viral infections
  • Gargle with a tea for sore throats or tonsillitis
  • Warms cold hands and feet
  • Promotes sweating
  • Used for rheumatism
  • Commonly used for arthritis
  • Will stop bleeding (hemostat) and nosebleeds
  • Known to stimulate digestion – For people with cold and stagnant digestion have a difficult time transforming food into nutrients. This condition is indicated when tongue is swollen, wet, with possible heavy white coating. There is likely bloating, gas, belching, loss of appetite and loose stools with undigested food.
  • Increases appetite due to digestive stimulating properties
  • Used to relieve constipation
  • For expelling worms and parasites
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • May be useful for Parkinson’s disease, convulsions, and paralysis
  • Useful for diabetics because it regulates blood sugar levels
  • Shingles
  • Migraine headaches
  • Used externally on weak nerve force or painful area and muscle weakness
  • For frostbite, sprinkle a small amount of powder on socks to prevent frostbite
  • For shock, heart attack or trauma use 1 dropper full of the tincture under the tongue. For heart attacks it works by opening the peripheral capillaries and increasing circulation to the extremities of the body while reducing the pressure of the heart.
  • For wounds and sores, especially old ones
  • May help with weight loss because the body’s thermal burn is increased

Systems Supported: Brain, Cardiovascular, Circulatory, Digestion, Nerves, Respiratory, Skin.

Minerals/Vitamins:  Potassium, manganese, vitamin A, B2, B6, C and E.

Plant Properties: Analgesic, Antiseptic (anti-microbial), Anti-fungal, Antioxidant, Carminative, Coagulant, Diaphoretic, Expectorant, Hemostat, Hypotensive, Rubefacient, Stimulant, Styptic, Tonic, Vulnerary


Note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice from your professional healthcare provider. Please consult your qualified healthcare provider for treatment of medical problems.