DIY Materia Medica Binder
A materia medica binder is where an herbalist keeps all the notes he/she acquires over the years. We all organize ours differently but I find two primary parts are key.
- Anatomy + Physiology (I put protocols for specific health concerns in the corresponding body system but you can have a separate area for that if you like)
- Materia Medica articles by the plant name. I use the latin name, others use the common name. Use what you prefer in a way that you can find it again and again.
The idea with the 3 ring binder is that you can keep adding pertinent information into the binder as you find it. You will find binders aren’t large enough after a while. I now keep mine largely on the computer as it is more convenient for me but I still refer to my old binder occasionally.
When we are getting to know a new herb and taking notes for our own materia medica binder there are some main questions we need to ask. I have created an easy printable form for you to print out and take notes in so you can make your own materia medica for each specific plant.
Take a picture of the whole plant including the flower, leaf and root if you can and paste it in the top left box.
Write in the common names for the plant and the latin (binomial) name for easy identification. Be sure to identify the botanical family your herb is in as well.
Then, make notes on the energetics, uses, and other important information. I especially make a point to make several preparations of the herb and see how each preparation (infusion, decoction, vinegar and oxymel, tincture and glycerite) and see how each works differently to find my own preferred methods of extracting each herb.
Now add this to your binder as the base of your herbal monograph and add more information as you build your relationship and understanding with each plant.