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



elderberryElderberry is by far my number one go to herb for enhancing the immune system. If you want to stop a cold dead in its tracks, Elderberry is the one to do it. Among other things, the berries are extremely high in flavonoids which inhibit the virus’ ability to replicate.


Scientific name: Sambucus canadensis

About the Plant

Elderberry is a hardy native shrubby tree. It often grows in moist soil along roadsides andIMG_3560 streams. It is a fast growing tree from 5 to 12 feet tall with tightly clustered bunches of tiny creamy white flowers in summer, followed by large drooping clusters of small, dark purple berries in early fall. The branching stems of the shrubs are very lightweight and have a pithy core that is easily removed and for that reason were often used for making children’s flutes or toys.

Do not confuse with S. racemosa that has poisonous red berries.

Parts Used: Berries and flowers


Berries – food, syrup, tincture, elixir, tea, dye
Flowers – tea, infused oil, salve, cream, tincture, syrup, elixir


Berries – sour                                                                                                                   Flowers – bitter/sweet


Berries – antiviral, immunomodulating, antioxidant, detoxifier, tonic
Flowers – antiviral, relaxing nervine, relaxing diaphoretic, diuretic

Medicinal Uses:

Elder is a multipurpose herb and a very powerful medicine. They are especially known for their effectiveness when used at the first stages of cold, flu and upper respiratory congestion. Studies have shown that Elderberries can shorten the duration of these illnesses. Research also reveals that elderberries were valuable against the H1N1 virus as well as several other influenza viruses.elderberry tincture

  • Upper Respiratory Tract – sore throat, post nasal drip, hoarseness, sinusitis, coughs, asthma. Opens up lungs, moves phlegm.
  • Fevers
  • Herpes
  • Earaches
  • Digestive Tract – decongests liver to remove heat and toxicity. Stimulates stomach and bowels
  • Stimulates kidneys.  Removes edema, especially in legs and ankles and can correct kidney problems.
  • Used for many kinds of female problems including uterine problems, fibroids, endometriosis, night sweats
  • Mild nerve sedative
  • Pulls toxins from the body and removes internal heat through opening pores
  • Improves oxygenation of blood: breathing capacity
  • Historically was a remedy for toothaches
  • Excellent remedy for infants and children. Historically used for colic. Used as part of an ADD/ADHD formula



Latin Name: Curcuma longa

Key Elements: Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant

Turmeric has been called the “Superstar of Spices” and this herb certainly earns that title.

Related to Ginger, Turmeric is a perennial plant that grows up to five feet high in the tropical regions of Southern Asia, particularly India. With fragrant trumpet-shaped yellow flowers, the root has a distinctive, pleasant earthy taste. Like ginger, it creates a warming sensation when eaten. The dried roots of Turmeric are ground into a deep yellow spice commonly used in curries and other South Asian dishes.

The healing benefits of turmeric have been used for thousands of years but are just starting to be widely known in the US. The active ingredient that is has so many remarkable healing qualities is curcumin.

Think of Turmeric as an anti-cancer spice. Besides using it medicinally in a tincture or pill form, try to make it a kitchen staple. In India, the average person eats about a teaspoon per day or 500 mg.

Most of us are familiar with turmeric in its dried, powdered form, but in the East fresh turmeric is widely used. This herb has been found to be more effective than many pharmaceutical drugs, without the side effects!

Commercially it is used in the U.S. as an additive and flavoring for the bright yellow color in mustard, American cheese, color in butter, margarine, canned chicken broth, bread & butter pickles, yellow cake and popcorn.

Cooking with Turmeric

The deep orange color of chopped fresh turmeric root imparts a rich yellow to curries, soups and stews and rice dishes. It is also used along with chopped garlic and ground white pepper to flavor the delicious turmeric fried fish so popular in Southern Thailand.

IMG_1300 (2) turmeric powder

 10 ways to incorporate this amazing herb into your cooking:
  • Heat oil in a pan, add turmeric, add vegetables and stir fry.
  • Add to meat, poultry and fish. Plus it is good in stews.
  • Add to fried onions –they work synergistically to protect against cancer.
  • Use in cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts.
  • Add to egg dishes for taste and color.
  • Add to lentil dishes.
  • Blend it in melted butter and drizzle it over cooked vegetables.
  • Add a tablespoon of turmeric to a large pot of chicken noodle soup.
  • Gently heat it with some olive oil or butter and add to basmati rice.
  • Add 1 teaspoon to homemade chili.


Turmeric’s Therapeutic Value

Therapeutic uses of turmeric go back to traditional Chinese and Indian medicine as early as the 7th century AD. Historically, Asian folk medicine used turmeric to treat diarrhea, fever, bronchitis, colds, parasitic worms and leprosy, as well as bladder and kidney inflammations.

In India and Malaysia, homemade turmeric paste is applied directly onto the skin to resolve nutritional deficiencies typically found in cancer patients. Since the skin is the largest organ and absorbs a lot, this method makes a lot of sense.  In these countries, Turmeric powder is also a home remedy for minor cuts and burns, cuts and bruises.

For many, Turmeric may very well be considered today’s most powerful healing herb. There is no shortage of research being done on this potent herb. In fact, it has so many healing properties that there are literally thousands and thousands of peer reviewed articles published showing its benefits.


The Multiple Healing Properties of Turmeric
  • The most powerful antioxidant protection against free radicals of any spice
  • Natural body/blood cleanser
  • Anti-inflammatory and helps to ease arthritis
  • Helps promote healthy skin. Many use it for acne control.
  • Supports overall eye health as it protects against age related macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Provides immune system support
  • Aids skeletal system and joint health and pain
  • Encourages healthy liver function, excellent detoxifier
  • Digestive AidTurmeric Root (2)
  • Aids support of healthy blood and circulatory system
  • Helps maintain normal cholesterol levels to support cardiovascular system
  • Great for the heart (turmeric is anti-clotting)
  • Assists the neurological system’s healthy response to stress
  • Promotes a healthy female reproductive system
  • Helps maintain blood sugar levels that are already within the normal range
  • Shows promise for Alzheimer’s Disease as it seems to helps memory and brain function
  • May help Parkinson’s disease
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral


The Science Behind Turmeric

According to Cancer Research UK:
A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.”

Moreover, the American Cancer Society agrees with the promising results of using the compound for the disease and the states:
Laboratory studies have also shown that curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread. Researchers have reported that curcumin blocked the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents. Recently, curcumin has received a great deal of focus because of its ability to reduce tumor size and kill cancer cells.”

While it appears that there is conflicting information surrounding the laboratory studies on the effects curcumin has on cancer, most studies seem to indicate that there are certain types of cancer that respond better to this botanical substance. These include skin cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer and stomach cancer.

Lowering blood sugar and reversing insulin are other benefits curcumin has to offer. In 2009, a study was published in Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications that showed how turmeric can help reverse diabetes. This study demonstrated that curcumin was 400 times more potent than the common diabetes drug Metformin in activating AMPK which can help to reverse type 2 diabetes. That is impressive.

Safety concerns

Like anything else, use it in moderation, excess amounts of anything can have harmful results. Curcumin is generally said to be avoided for those with bile duct problems or gallstones.This caution stems, in part, from a small 1999 study (of 12 people) which found that curcumin in low doses stimulated contractions of the gallbladder. This means that turmeric could potentially harm a person with gallbladder problems.
American Cancer Society. Turmeric. Available at:

Cancer Research UK. Can turmeric prevent or treat cancer? Available at:

Kuncha M, et al. Curcumin potentiates the anti-arthritic effect of prednisolone in Freund’s complete adjuvant-induced arthritic rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 2014; 66(1): 133-44.


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.




Latin Name: Taraxacum officinale

Key Elements: Digestive Tonic, Blood Cleanser, Diuretic

Dandelion-iStockphoto_1Dandelion is easily identified and is seldom confused with other plants. Surprisingly, this much hated weed offers interesting food with all parts of the plant being edible, not just the familiar greens. It can taste slightly to strongly bitter depending on when gathered. If you look closely at the flower, you will notice just how beautiful the flower really is and you may even begin to have a greater appreciation for this detested plant. It has been said that the flower of the Dandelion resembles the sun with its bright yellow, disc shape and the petals that extend out like the sun’s rays. The Dandelion is commonly used both as a wild edible and medicinal.

Parts Used for Medicine: Roots and leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
  • Bitter spring tonic for stimulating digestion, bile, liver and pancreas
  • A traditional blood purifier
  • Used for chronic constipation with long, thin, clay colored stools
  • Helps metabolize fat
  • Good for sluggish liver and gall bladder
  • Used for water retention (leaf has diuretic affect)
  • Congested kidneys
  • Urinary tract ailments
  • Muscular rheumatism (Dandelion flower infused oil) – muscle aches, tension
  • Infections in bones (especially jaw)
  • Jaundice
  • Skin
  • Folk remedy for gallstones: eat 5-6 freshly picked flowering spring stems daily for 2 weeks.
  • For warts, express milk sap from stem and wipe wart often.

Systems Supported: Liver, spleen, digestive system, kidney, bladder.

Plant Preparations: Food, Infusion, Tincture, Oil, Syrup

Minerals/Vitamins: Dandelion is a good source of calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Root contains inulin which balances blood sugar and stimulates healthy bowel flora. One serving of dandelion greens has as much calcium as a 1/2 cup of milk.

Herbal Actions: Alterative, Cholagogue, Diuretic, Hepatic, Mild Laxative, Nutritive, Tonic

Dandelion as a wild edible….

dandelion (2)

Whether it be the fresh or cooked tender Dandelion leaves, stir fried blossoms with garlic, Dandelion flower muffins, jelly or syrup, roasted roots, or traditional Dandelion wine, this plant offers a smorgasbord of wild edible options. Try to take advantage of the many food possibilities of this plant. There really are as many options for eating dandelions as there may be plants in your yard!


Parts Used: Young tender leaves, stalks and roots.

Harvest Times: April-May and October-November (Greens), April-Early June (Flowers), April-Early May (Crowns), April-November (Roots).

Leaves: Pick the tender young leaves in early spring before it flowers to avoid bitterness. If plant is in full sun, the leaves tend to be less desirable. Leaves often used as a spring tonic and are highly nutritious.  May be eaten raw or cooked.  In salads, mix with milder greens to alleviate the stronger flavor.  As a potherb, steam or cook for 5-10 minutes, drain water and season.

Flower Buds: In early spring, the flower bud forms a crown which grows close to the ground. Cut out this crown deep enough to hold it together, clean, peel off outer leaves, and eat raw or cooked.

Flowers and Stalks: The long tube-like stalk can be picked when they are light green in color and have young blossoms. The taste can vary from very bitter to slightly sweet. The stalks can be munched on separately raw or cooked and seasoned. The flowers may be removed, cooked and seasoned.  Also the yellow petals may be removed and used in salads, cooked with other vegetables, or made into Dandelion wine.

Roots: Young roots may be dug, cleaned, boiled or used as other root vegetables.  Roots can be dried and made into a coffee substitute.




IMG_3446Chickweed is lovely, low growing plant that is very common and grows in cool, damp places. With oval shaped leaves, it has a succulent and juicy appearance to the stem with a slight enlargement at the joints and bears white star-like flowers from March-September. A close look reveals hairiness to the stem. Chickweed is a member of the Carnation family that grows from 6 to 15 inches long. At first appearance, it may seem weak and straggly looking and very delicate. But don’t let this appearance fool you as it has enormous power both medicinally and as a plant to grow rampantly if conditions are in its favor. Its medicinal properties are many and varied.

Latin Name:Stellaria medica
Key Elements – cools, soothes and relieves

As a Nourishing Food: Eaten raw in salads, both plain and mixed with other salad greens. The flavor is often compared to corn silk or corn-on-the-cob. It is also good steamed as a vegetable (save and drink the water as a tonic). It is considered to be a favorite wild plant for making fresh pesto.

Taste: Moist, cool

Parts Used: Leaves, stems, flowers.                                     

Medicinal Uses: Internal and External.

  • Use  in early spring for a mild kidney and liver cleanse
  • Relieves sunburn
  • Soothes itchy dry skin, eczema and psoriasis (good for any inflammation)
  • Heals wounds
  • Improves fat metabolism and digestion
  • Diuretic (regulates water)
  • Draws out splinters
  • Excellent pulmonary (expectorant for dry coughs due to bronchitis or pleurisy)
  • Circulatory tonic
  • Known to be used for rheumatism
  • Mild laxative
  • Fibromyalgia (aids mitochondria function)
  • May help with rosacea
  • Useful for pink eye, or sore or inflamed eyes
  • Helps with some asthma issues
  • Blood cleanser
  • Used to break up fatty tumors and deposits
  • May assist thyroid function with along with other herbs
  • Historically used for swollen testicles

Systems supported: Immune, lungs, stomach, skin.

Plant preparations: Food, infusion, tincture, oil, salve, poultice, compress

Minerals/Vitamins: Calcium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sodium, silica, sulfur, copper, and zinc. Vitamins C, D, B-Complex and beta-carotene.

Properties: Alterative, Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Demulcent, Diuretic, Diaphoretic, Emollient, Nutritive, Refrigerant, 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.

The Lamb Shoppe has tinctures of Chickweed for $10 a bottle, plus handcrafted salve from the fresh plant.