Our knowledge on the past use of herbal medicine is mainly derived from cultures which had a written language, recorded on clay tablets, carved or painted on stone, papyrus, later as manuscripts, and in more recent times, as books. Hunter-gatherers had an intimate understanding of their environment and an especially keen knowledge of the indigenous plants.

The invention in Germany of printing, from movable type in a printing press c. 1440, was a great stimulus to herbalism. The new herbals were more detailed with greater general appeal and often with a Gothic script and the addition of woodcut illustrations that more closely resembled the plants being described. There were three important herbals, all appearing before 1500 and printed Germany.

Through my love of research and discovery, I collected many rare, out-of-print books on herbs and their uses, and have discovered many valuable recipes and ancient formulae that may otherwise have been forgotten. Whenever I return to Germany I search for herbal books and manuscripts which have been locked away in libraries and, being able to read these books in their original language, has been an enormous advantage for me. Searching through herbals for cures long-forgotten cures adds to the excitement of re-discovering what our ancestors took for granted, which makes me wonder how effective some these cures would be, if used in place of modern medicine?

Over the years I have learned a lot about herbs and their practical uses, but I have also come to realise how little I, as one person, can do. What we need are people with herbal knowledge who are happy to share that knowledge, which prompted my decision to create a practical course on herbs and health, for I am more convinced than ever of the therapeutic value of herbal medicine and I want everyone to benefit from it.

The history of the Australian School of Herbal Medicine (ASOHM).

In 1990, I founded the Australian School of Herbal Medicine when I realised that many people knew little about the benefit of herbs and it has always been my aim to educate others about herbs as an alternative medicine.

The Australian School of Herbal Medicine can help you to understand the fascinating subject of herbs – knowledge that could prove vital in your role as caregiver to your friends and family. My comprehensive course is designed to give you a better understanding of the healing power of herbs and the place they should have in our everyday lives.

In just 12 easy lessons, students will discover how the major systems of the body work; how they can fail or be compromised through lifestyle choices and the environment around us; and why the powerful properties of herbs can play a role in maintaining a healthy body, as well as heal life-threatening disease and sickness. Students will find the course involving and rewarding and on completion, they will be able to display a Certificate of Fundamental Herbology with justifiable pride.

It is my belief that herbal medicine is the rightful medicine of all human beings. Caring for yourself and your family by using herbal medicines is an empowering experience—it allows you to tap into the power of nature and to take a new sense of responsibility for your well-being. I am sure that you will enjoy using this booklet and learning more about the wonderful world of herbs. Most importantly, I know you will enjoy experiencing the positive contribution that herbs can make to your health.

One of the greatest pleasures I have as patron of the Australian School of Herbal Medicine is sharing in the mutual joy that results when a health problem is solved through the use of herbs. I have received thousands of telephone calls and letters from readers of my books that again and again confirms the therapeutic value of ancient, and not so ancient, herbal wisdom.