Immersion into Black North American Herbalism

2 Day Intensive with Shereel Washington


Black North American Herbalism, and the associated African American Materia Medica, encompasses 400 years of innovation and resilience in plant science during the most difficult times in African American history. African American healers and herbal practitioners ascertained  and confirmed, possibly long before western European medical pioneers were aware, that some health issues and patterns of imbalance, as well as the ways they should be treated, were functionally different in different populations. Issues might look the same but need to be treated differently depending on the  group structures and biological breakdowns of different groups of people. In the same manner, they discovered that certain foods that were deemed healthy for one person or group of people, offered no health benefits to other  persons and groups of people. In some cases, popular plants and herbs might cause illness and even death to some individuals or entire biological groups of people. African Herbalists knew this fact centuries before western medicine practices had evolved.

That’s just one of the ways in which African American herbalists were ahead of their time in terms of both knowledge and use of healing plants.In this immersive class, Shereel will delve deep into this rich history and knowledge of African Americans herbal healers, past and present. The class will cover:


  • Overview of Black North American Herbalism (key points)

  • African and Native American Herbal Exchange

  • Historical Black North American Herbalists

  • Medicine Making


Location: Berkeley Herbal Center

Dates: October 14th and 15th, 2023

Time: 10am – 5pm each day

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