Materia Medica - What do you use?

Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

I have been studying, learning herbalism and natural healing but I have yet to find a comprehensive source for a Materia Medica. What do you use? Do you write you own or do you use a printed book?

I have been journaling and researching plants as I find them wild and add research notes for those I purchase because they do not grow near me.

My notes are not in any order, more like as I learn a new plant, new remedy, new formula, etc. I would like to get some organization together.


  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 678 ✭✭✭✭

    I bought a bunch of herb books and take notes from each of them as I write what seems most relevant to me. I made a huge binder, but I wish I had done it all on a computer so I could edit it easily as I find new information. If I were to start all over I would have an alphabetical section by plant and another section by ailment or body system. I also keep a binder with my favorite recipes that I’ve used and loved. I’m not a great organizer, so I don’t know if that’s any help, but that’s what I wish I had done. It’s really hard to know in the beginning how to organize something you haven’t studied yet!

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Desiree I too am starting out nd writing things down on paper. I was able to find a place that had a print out to help me better sort my materials. It's on the website But I know this book, I've seen many use/recommend, Materia Medica of Western Herbs by Carole Fisher.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    There are lots of materia medicas on the market. A Modern Herbal by Maude Grieve is a standard but was written in the early part of the last century so is a bit out of date. The benefit of this particular book is that it is available in entirety online at:

    I have a huge library on alternative medicine modalities. I started my own Herbal Materia Medica quite awhile ago. It is done on the computer as it is much easier to copy and paste as I come across new information. I have it organized by families. But I also have a section called Body Systems, Symptoms or Conditions. Most of the homeopathic materia medicas are set out that way. Very efficient.

    I have a separate file called Pharmacopeia where I list all my recipes for tinctures and formulae. It is done alphabetically by Latin name of the plant. Because there are so many different versions on making tinctures depending which herbalist you are referencing, I keep track of all the ratios, alcohol strengths, methods and any recommended dosing info as well as a notation about which herbalist I got the info from. That way I can come up with which recipe I think it most suitable for the plants I have.

    I try to include photos (particularly ones that I have taken) in my materia medica, along with a GPS location.

    This is a link to the Herbal Academy for suggestions on building your own Materia Medica.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are several available online in both books and just searchable online sites. They are quite helpful while learning how to build your own and as references.

    Rosalee de la Forêt has a good one on her site (did not post link as I'm not sure if that is allowed.)

    One I use frequently is:

    This one is a site that has free books and I have done a search on "Herbal" this is the results:

  • Wendy
    Wendy Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    I have seen a few herbal fact sheets that are available through different web sites. I made my own, gathering most of the info from The Herbal Academy website. These are my quick reference sheets for the herbs I am learning about t the moment. Someday I will have enough to bind into a book of sorts.

    Most of my information on the plants is gathered on the internet or from herbal books in my library.

    I write my herbal recipes in a composition notebook. I record what I am making (Lemon Balm Tincture), the recipe and amounts I used, notes on how it was concocted, and a batch number. It is dated so I can see when to strain, if necessary, and a space is left for notes on how I used it. Next summer I will be able to see what I had success with and remake the recipes.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have many books on herbs and herbs for medicine, I also have taken classes and for online information I use TGN or the Herb Mentor for monographs.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    All great suggestions! Thanks!

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you all for the helpful leads on behalf of those of us making our own materia medica.

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 968 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm in an online herbal study program. I use that plus herb mentor as well as books to compile my materia medica. I keep track of it online so hopefully I can print them out and keep them together in a binder.