Past Meetup

Extra Class Added: Wild Foods & Herbal Medicine for Home & Backcountry Travel

This Meetup is past

3 people went

Price: $10.00 /per person
Location image of event venue


This meetup is being cross-posted and rsvp's will be cut off once a total of 20 people have paid in advance, although we can take up to 30 people in all. Also, if you would like to take home hand-outs, a tin of the herbal salve or other remedies we make together, we will be asking for an additional $1 donation for each of those.


6:45 Please arrive early, as we will display and discuss recommended books at this time, plus answer questions about specific herbs that interest you.

7:00 Herbal Salve: We will start by infusing various herbs into olive oil that are good for health and skin ailments like chapped lips, sun burn, rashes, scrapes and minor wounds. The herbs will steep over the course of class, at the end of which we will add bee's wax as a hardening agent, and pour the concoction into tins for you to bring home. Please note that we will not provide written recipes today, so be sure to take good notes if you would like to repeat these activities at home.

7:15 Tenets of Herbal Medicine: We will continue with a lecture on my Tenets of Herbal Medicine which you can read about in advance at ( where you will also find a list of 30 herbs from my herbal apothecary and how I use them for Backcountry First Aid. If you are an herbal novice, the first part of the article is important to read, whereas the list of herbs and their uses may be better to read after class. Again, we won't be handing out printed copies today in order to keep (environmental and financial) costs low, so be sure to check my suggestions online and feel free to print them out yourself if you like. To stay a bit active, we'll also walk to view at least one plant in the park that you would want to know in the backcountry.

7:30 Learning Plants in 15 Minutes: We will continue in the lecture format for the next few minutes in order to provide context for learning about plants in general, with an informational goal of making it super easy for you to learn plants at home. Information will be based on the book Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel, and we'll have some copies of his book available for purchase, but in the meantime, please read the first part of my article at ( if you would like a real jump-start on this information. The part below the sub-title "Is it an Aster" might be better absorbed after class if you are a plant novice. To continue to stay a little active, we'll walk to view at least one more plant in the park at this time that you would want to know in the backcountry.

7:45 Choosing Plants to Learn: If you are like most people, it is easy to become overwhelmed when you realize(d) how much there is to learn about plants. The two articles mentioned above should start to help you choose an area of wild edible/medicinal plants to focus on, but what I recommend is to back up even further and read my article posted at ( which suggests that you think about which plants have the greatest number of edible, medicinal, environmental and utilitarian uses for you personally. I will give you my Top 10 list, and you can read about some of those plants by clicking on the page(s) referenced above. To continue to stay a little active, we'll walk to view another plant that you would want to know in the backcountry.

8:00 Top 10 Plants: We're going to shift gears and do some more hands-on activities, including passing around samples of species in the fern, moss and conifer divisions of the plant kingdom, plus species of fungi/lichen and algea/seaweed which will accomplish two things: 1) show you the easy way to start learning plants or if you are already fairly well versed, then a great way to do some remedial learning to ensure that you haven't missed anything, and 2) show you how to positively identify examples of species you might want to include in your Top 10 list or Wilderness Apothecary which have important edible and medicinal qualities. We'll also walk again to view another plant that you would want to know in the backcountry.

8:15 Survival Situations: We're going to continue with samples of the most important plants to know during survival situations, and you may have the opportunity to eat some of them as well. Some of these plants will include cross-over from the samples we provided during the last 15 minutes of class, but others (like cattails) will come from the monocot class of the flowering plant division, and we'll also use this as an opportunity to explore the next step in your learning about how to cover the whole plant kingdom following the book Botany in a Day. Again, we'll walk to another plant you would want to know in the backcountry.

8:30 Time to Eat: Last but not least, we will introduce the dicot class of the flowering plant division with samples of plants from some of its families whose characteristics are absolutely critical to know like asters, plantain, mint, carrot, rose, willow, cactus and nettle, among others. You will have a chance to sample some of the edible plants in this class, learning which are best for medicine, which for potherbs, and which ones taste great raw, including instruction on how to eat nettles raw! A discussion of poisonous plants will also ensue.

8:45 Questions: Now it will be time to finish the healing salve any any other remedy we decided to make together, with time left-over for questions.

9:00 End

Upcoming Topics through the Academic Year include:

September 2011 - Natural Navigation, Lostproofing & Orienteering

October 2011 - Dealing with Wolves, Cougars & Bears in the Wild

November 2011 - Top 10 Wild Foods: Cooking & Eating Seaweed, Cactus & More

December 2011 - Making Fire Tinder, Healthy Tonics & Holiday Crafts from Fireweed, Cedar & Rose

January 2012 - Wilderness Survival Skills

February 2012 - Herbal Medicine in the Backcountry

March 2012 - Wild Edible Foods in the Backcountry

April 2012 - Birds Along the Trail by Sight & Sound

May 2012 - Wildlife Tracking Along the Trail


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