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My Herbology Journey Begins

Written by Dr Annie Leonard – Herb Society Trustee…

I always wanted to learn more about herbs so when I retired, I researched possible courses ….  I didn’t want to become a Medical Herbalist, I just wanted to learn more, partly on-line and partly face-to-face! I found my perfect course; the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) Diploma in Herbology Blended Learning.


I was so thrilled when I got a place starting in October 2019 – September 2021. The course involves four weekends of study at the ‘Botanics’ alongside supported distance learning. Herbology draws together several connected branches of study into one holistic discipline and is unique to RBGE.


The course started with a weekend (Friday-Sunday) in Edinburgh at the ‘Botanics’. It was wonderful to meet my fellow students! We had such a varied weekend: learning how to make our own medicinal herbarium samples (plus seeing RBGE’s collection), making Green Pharmacy recipes (including an unguentum/salve and tonics); finally learning about biodynamic gardening and planning our own Physic Garden. It was interesting to visit the Herbology Physic Garden beds at the ‘Botanics’, developed each year by the Diploma in Herbology (one-year course) students. We were able to collect seeds using the origami seed packets we had made ourselves! The afternoon finished with afternoon tea in the newly restored garden cottage.

The aims of the course are:

  • To explore and explain the world of herbs
  • To encourage the study of medicinal plants
  • To share an understanding of the earth’s herbal lore
  • To enrich awareness of/involvement with the natural world
  • To nurture the creative use of healing botanicals


The course involves both practical and theory which I love. I knew that the Botany section of Phytology would be challenging (I am a Chemist!) but I have to say the combination of notes and related videos has been superb and I no longer feel unease with the botanical practical tasks!

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More next time …