Classroom Herb Projects

You can view the photos below in various ways. Scroll down the whole page to see the first photo of each ‘slideshow’. Or, CLICK on the individual photos (or use your arrow keys) within each category to see the details of our classroom projects. The list of all the slideshows is also noted to the left, and you can access each one through those shortcuts as well.

Here are some of the fun things we do as part of class…

Herbal Medicine Classes at AIMC, Berkeley

Classes at AIMC are both hands-on and didactic, which is a nice balance of yin and yang for learning the botanical pharmacopeia of our medicine. Classes for ‘single herbs’ are covered in two 14-week trimesters, which is a total of 28 weeks. At that point, the student goes on to study ‘herbal formulas’ for an additional two trimesters. Great classes, great students!

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Hands on in the Herb Room

Hanging out in the herb room is a great way to get your hands on the herbs we are studying. The herb room is filled with loads of raw herbs, powders, pills and external remedies. It can be a total adventure to pop into clinic herb room for a hands on learning experience.

We often put together formulas that we study or perhaps cook to extract the medicinal qualities that we can later taste.

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Making Herbal Remedies

Lots of fun stuff to make…

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‘Zhi Zi’ Gardenia Salve

Salves are great for external use. There are different ways to make external remedies with gardenia ‘Zhi Zi’, which is a herb that clears heat from the skin. We use an industrial grinder to powder herbs. Here we’ve used two different bases to mix with the powder. One simple method is to mix the powder with beaten egg whites. Other remedies involve mixing the red powder with various oils such as sesame or almond oil. When mixed with various bases, the powdered herbs are transformed into wonderful, healing salves.

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Dehydrating Herbs

Putting fresh herbs and foods in a dehydrating machine guarantees correct drying without molding or loss of vitality.

In these photos we have cut and dried fresh ‘Fou Shou’ Buddha’s hand, ‘Niu Bang Gen’ Burdock root, ‘Chen Pi’ Tangerine Peel, and apples and pears.

Cook the herbs and foods in the dehydrator at 130 degrees, and 18+ hours later we’ll have some wonderful dried herbs and fruits.

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‘San Huang San’ plaster

San Huang San is a mixture of several heat clearing and detoxifying herbs. Here we’re making an external paste that can be used as a plaster.

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Frankincense & Myrrh Remedies

Frankincense and myrrh are wonderful pain relievers. Their medicinal constituents can be extracted in various ways to make internal and external remedies. I like to make both salves and tinctures with these remedies.

Here we are making a frankinscense and myrrh oil and salve. Start with raw herbs, powder and place in muslin bag. Warm olive oil in double boiler and add muslin bag of powdered herbs. Warm to temp of 80-100 degrees and cook at least 1.5 hours (which is what we did here). For stronger medicine, try 12 hours in a crockpot. Strain, and then add grated beeswax to the herb oil in and heat until melted. Strain finished product into containers. I teach how to make this salve in my medicine making workshops.

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Incense – Fragrance as Medicine

Many herbs are powdered and rolled into incense, which is a form of olfactory medicine. Common medicinal incenses include cedar, sandalwood, eaglewood, rose, musk, patchouli, amber, frankincense and myrrh. When burned, the aroma has a medicinal effect on the senses and the emotions.

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Goji Berry Tincture

Goji berry tincture is a tonic medicine for strengthening the functions of the liver and kidney in the body.

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Dandelion – many uses

Dandelion is a heat clearing and liver cleansing herb that is wonderful both externally (as a poultice) and internally (as food or medicine).

The common name Dandelion is given to species of the genus Taraxacum, a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Dandelions are grown commercially on a small scale as a leaf vegetable. The English name dandelion is a corruption of the French ‘dent de lion’, meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves. The names of the plant have the same meaning in several other European languages, such as Italian ‘dente di leone’, Spanish ‘diente de león’, and Portuguese ‘dente-de-leão’. There are two Chinese names for the herb: ‘Pu Gong Ying’ which basically means ‘dandelion’, and its alternate name ‘Huang Hua Di Ding’ meaning ‘Yellow Flower Earth Spike’ which, like its European names, refers to the zig-zag edges on leaves of the plant.

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Mint Glycerite

We use organic fresh mint and vegetable glycerite to make this delicious ‘clear-heat’ medicine.

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