Herbs are much more than just "weak drugs".

Their activity is not reducible to a single "active constituent".

Frequently, though, that is the unchallenged assumption about how they work. That conceptual model breaks down in a number of ways when you try and apply it to herbs, and it's important for herbalists to understand those. Fortunately, it's not too difficult, either!

Understanding a few basic ideas around things like synergy and variability within herbs and formulas, compatibility between different types of constituents and extraction media, and how to train your senses to become more phytochemically discerning, will allow you to formulate much more successfully and to better apply herbs to specific situations.

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Course curriculum

  • 1

    Philosophy of Phytochemistry (78:33)

    • Welcome to Phytochemistry!

    • How to use this platform

    • How to use the Discussions feature

    • Prior Phytochemistry Discussion

    • Introduction to Phytochemistry

    • Introduction to Phytochemistry [audio]

    • Taxonomy

    • Taxonomy [audio]

    • Phytochemical Taxonomy [printable]

    • Where's Katja?

    • Where's Katja? [audio]

    • Phytochemistry from the Plant's Perspective

    • Phytochemistry from the Plant's Perspective [audio]

    • Phytochemistry on the Macro Scale

    • Phytochemistry on the Macro Scale [audio]

    • Journal Prompt: Soil Quality

    • Resource: The Metabolic Plant Feedback Hypothesis

    • Related Resources

  • 2

    Organoleptics: How the Senses Reveal Chemistry (146:46)

    • Color and Chemistry

    • Color and Chemistry [audio]

    • Taste: An Overview

    • Taste: An Overview [audio]

    • Tastes: Salty

    • Tastes: Salty [audio]

    • Tastes: Sweet

    • Tastes: Sweet [audio]

    • Tastes: Demulcent / Mucilaginous

    • Tastes: Demulcent/Mucilaginous [audio]

    • Mucilage & Demulcency reference chart [printable]

    • Tastes (and Smell!): Aromatics

    • Tastes (and Smell!): Aromatics [audio]

    • Journal Prompt: Aromatics

    • Tastes: Pungent

    • Tastes: Pungent [audio]

    • Journal Prompt: Pungent

    • Tastes: Diffusive

    • Tastes: Diffusive [audio]

    • Tastes: Bitters

    • Tastes: Bitters [audio]

    • Tastes: Sour

    • Tastes: Sour [audio]

    • Journal Prompt: Sour

    • Tastes: Astringency

    • Tastes: Astringency [audio]

    • Journal Prompt: Organoleptic Experimentation

    • Tastes: Acrid

    • Tastes: Acrid [audio]

    • Experiments in Organoleptics

    • Experiments in Organoleptics [audio]

  • 3

    Characteristics of Constituents (160:26)

    • Characteristics of Constituents

    • Characteristics of Constituents [audio]

    • Molecular Weight

    • Molecular Weight [audio]

    • Resource: Tisserand on Frankincense Essential Oil

    • Solubility

    • Solubility [audio]

    • Solubility Notes [printable]

    • Journal Prompt: Solubility

    • Compatibility

    • Compatibility [audio]

    • Variability

    • Variability [audio]

    • Resource: Ginseng and Gut Flora

    • Synergy

    • Synergy [audio]

    • Common Misconceptions

    • Common Misconceptions [audio]

    • Desirable Details About Constituents

    • Desirable Details About Constituents [audio]

    • Desirable Details About Constituents [printable]

  • 4

    Major Constituent Groups (272:58)

    • Constituent Groups Introduction

    • Constituent Groups Introduction [audio]

    • Diagrams Ahoy!

    • Carbohydrates

    • Carbohydrates [audio]

    • Lipids

    • Lipids [audio]

    • Amino Acids & Derivatives

    • Amino Acids & Derivatives [audio]

    • Phenolics 1

    • Phenolics 1 [audio]

    • Phenolics 2

    • Phenolics 2 [audio]

    • Phenolics 3

    • Phenolics 3 [audio]

    • Terpenes

    • Terpenes [audio]

    • Alkaloids

    • Alkaloids [audio]

  • 5

    Phytochemical Monographs (62:07)

    • Salicylates

    • Salicylates [audio]

    • Salicylates Monograph [printable]

Course Tuition

  • Tuition for this course is $120.
  • Your access never expires, and when we add new material to your course, you get it at no additional charge!
  • With our zero-risk return policy, you get 14 days to try it out after signing up. If at any point within those two weeks you decide it’s not right for you, just let us know and we’ll issue a refund, no questions asked.
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Your Teacher


Ryn Midura

Ryn has been a practicing herbalist since 2010. He came to herbalism by way of martial arts, where his first experiences with herbs were focused on getting back into the game and becoming more flexible, adaptable, and resilient. Passing that experience on to others is what keeps him motivated every day.

Students are saying...

A better understanding of plants

Alison Bateman

Basic Phytochemistry will help you understand plants on a deeper level. Learning what the constituents do for us in our bodies and what they do for the plant...

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Basic Phytochemistry will help you understand plants on a deeper level. Learning what the constituents do for us in our bodies and what they do for the plant made me appreciate the power of nature even more than I already did. After taking this course I feel more confident in choosing which plant to work with for different situations because I have a better understanding of the constituents and their effects. Ryn did a great job teaching this course in a way that makes it easy to understand.

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Find out how understanding basic phytochemistry can help you be a better herbalist!

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