Plant-based Healing Around the World

May 13, 2022

If you’re looking for a humanities course that will breathe new life into your class schedule, check out Comparative Herbalism (HIS 195), a fun new course that’s anything but typical.

Students work in Global Kitchen

In this popular, hands-on class, you will meet once a week in the Marcus Family Global Kitchen to learn how to do the work of an herbalist working with herbs grown in the medicinal lab at Grinnell. You will work with these plants to make tinctures, infused oils, and teas that can be used to support healing.

You will explore the historical and modern uses of plant-based healing practices around the world, studying how various cultures use plants in their healing traditions. During the course, you will follow what Associate Professor of History Carolyn Lewis calls the Euro-American Folk Tradition. You will also participate in makers’ labs, write short essays, and create a digital story focusing on the uses for a particular plant, now or in the past.

You’ll leave the course with practical knowledge of plant-based healing and how other cultures have employed it. While the course offers a foundation in Euro-American herbal practices, time is also devoted each week to considering the use of plant-based healing methods in cultures worldwide, Lewis says. At the end of the course, you will have made six different herbal products that you can use in your daily life.

Learn more about studying history at Grinnell

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