Improve your understanding of herbs and their active constituents. Explore how they work and how the body responds. Learn the basic phytochemistry of volatile oils, polysaccharides, alkaloids, simple phenols, tannins, antioxidant polyphenols, and glycosides. This overview of herbal consituents will be taught in simple and friendly terminology. Topics will be presented from a framework of organoleptic assessment, phytochemical structure recognition, and commonality of therapeutic activities. Information presented can be utilized to inform formulation practice relevant to solvencies. This can be an eye-opening introduction to herbalism or it can be a revealing tool of comprehension for established herbalists.
This is a suggested breakdown of topics. Depending on the pace of the course, the actual delivery of lecture topics may vary.
Session One: Aromatics. A close look at Volatile Oils
The presence of aromatics in a plant can help an herbalist understand therapeutic activity. Aromatic herbs secrete tiny little compounds called volatile oils. Explore the effects of these molecules upon the body. Examine their structures and explore the many activities that plants with aromatic compounds have in common.
Session Two: Polysaccharides and Alkaloids
Plants rich in polysaccharides make up a significant portion of our materia medica. Explore the structure, solvency, bioavailability, and activity of various polysaccharide rich plants with a focus on inulin, mucilage and immune-active polysaccharides. Then shift over to the alkaloids, notorious around the world and common in many herbs. Take a tour of various types of alkaloids including the Solanaceous alkaloids as we reveal how they work.
Session Three: Simple Phenols and Tannins
To better understand tannins and other polyphenols, we start with a close look at simple phenols in plants. Listen to stories of herbal coumarins and salicylates and then dive into the more complex tannin polyphenols, examining structures and exploring their activities in the human body.
Session Four: Antioxidant Polyphenols and Herbal Glycosides
Continue the polyphenol journey by closely examining antioxidant polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and more! Learn the mechanisms behind these free radical scavengers. Then jump into medicinal glycosides, including the notorious cyanogenic glycosides, the stimulant anthraquinones, and the cancer scavenging isothiocyanates. What kind of reactions need to happen for glycosides to release their medicine? We will explore bitter almonds, peach leaf, cherry bark, elderberry, brassica vegetables and more! Specific attention is focused on toxicological concerns and considerations for preparing glycoside-based foods and remedies.
Mimi Prunella Hernandez, MS, RH(AHG)
Mimi holds a Master of Science in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. A Registered Herbalist, Mimi has mentored many clinical and community herbalism students over the years and has lectured at Universities and Conferences around the world. Mimi stewards a native plant sanctuary in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She has worked as the Executive Director of the American Herbalists Guild for over ten years.