It is springtime again, the planet yawns and begins waking up. We see small sprouts, early flowers, and baby buds ready to explode into summer growth. If you are like us, as soon as the days start getting longer and the little sprinkles of green whisper through the duff, curiosity sets in. While Google lens does an okay job of helping you identify plants, we find that it is much more fun on an herb walk!
In this article we will talk about what an herb walk is along with what you can expect when you go into nature with an herbalist from BHC.
If you are looking to sign up for an herb walk in the Bay Area, you can find our next one here.
What is an Herb Walk?
An herb walk is a guided tour, an excursion into nature. You are there to explore and learn about various herbs found in your own environment. We want to educate participants on the identification, properties, and uses of different plant species for medicinal, culinary, or cosmetics.
Our herb walks are led by herbalists trained at BHC who want to share their knowledge of plants and their traditional uses with you. We offer our walks around the Bay Area in parks, gardens, and nearby forests.
What You Can Expect to Learn
An herb walk is a great way to deepen your knowledge of plants and connect with nature. On an herb walk with BHC, you can learn about various plant species, their unique characteristics, and uses in herbal medicine, food, or crafts. Your teacher may also talk about wildcrafting, processing, and storing the herbs you encounter.
Aside from the botanical identification and medicinal uses, BHC places value on sharing plant folklore, cultural significance, and environmental conservation.
Who is an Herb Walk For?
Herb walks can be enjoyed by people of all ages! They are especially enlightening for folks who have an interest in natural remedies and plant-based healing.
Whether you have no knowledge of herbs, you are self taught, or a certified practitioner, you will always learn something new on one of our herbal walks.
What to Bring
An herb walk is in nature and you will be out on a slow-mosey of a hike. Generally, you just need comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots (depending on the terrain).
Here is a list of things you can pack in a small backpack if you are planning on being on an herb walk for an afternoon:
1. A notebook and a pen to take notes about the herbs you encounter.
2. Your smartphone, charged, to take pictures of the plants and their surrounding environment.
3. Comfortable shoes for walking on uneven terrain.
4. Sunscreen, a hat, and light-colored clothing for protection from the sun.
5. Insect repellent and/or long pants to protect against ticks and other pests.
6. Water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized.
7. A small first aid kit with basic supplies like band-aids and antiseptic.
8. A magnifying glass or jeweler’s lens to observe the details of the plants up close.
9. A field guide or reference book on local plant species.
10. A respectful attitude towards nature, taking care not to disturb or damage any living creatures or plants.
Can I Wildcraft on an Herb Walk with Berkeley Herbal Center?
No. Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural habitats for food, medicine, or other uses. While it can be a rewarding and sustainable practice, it is important to do so safely and ethically.
We don’t wildcraft on our herb walks because the places we visit are often well-traveled and too many people collecting plants can disturb the ecosystem and its inhabitants.
Generally, if you decide that you would like to wildcraft something, we always recommend making sure:
- You have correctly identified the plant.
- You ask permission from the plant. Listen closely for the no, not the yes.
- You leave an offering with the growing plant. Water is lovely.
- Do not take:
- More than you need
- More than 10% of a large stand
- From a stand too small to sustain harvesting
- In a way that will hurt the growth of the plant for future generations
Sign up for our next herb walk here. Note: Don’t Wait! They fill up quickly!