Medieval Apothecary and apprentice in the garden- courtesy the Guttenberg Project.
Medieval Apothecary’s Garden- courtesy the Guttenberg Project.

The Apothecary’s Apprentice is a hands-on “how-to” series of workshops in Hamilton that focuses on the practical and applied side of herbalism.  In the style of old fashioned apprenticeships, participants are invited to work with the apothecary on each of the seasons herbal products as the year unfolds. The goal of the series is to teach participants the best methods, both modern and  traditional, of making a variety of high-quality herbal products. This includes an introduction to ethical and sustainable wildcrafting, Astrodynamics and Plant Alchemy.

Practical Herbal Workshop series in Hamilton

The first workshop takes place at:


142 James St. North 

2nd February 2014 from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm


The workshops follow a full year of herbal work, including projects traditionally reserved for winter such as making The Great Northern Cough and Chest Rub. Participants will learn, among other things, how to identify, when and how to properly harvest and preserve wild herbs, how to prepare nutritious and healing food from the wild, how to make wild wines, salves, essential oils, tinctures, preserves, and other traditional natural products.


The old-time apothecary had a role, similar to our modern-day pharmacist, except that the apothecary was often involved directly in growing and harvesting herbs, and would prepare crèmes, salves, tinctures and balms from raw materials. This gave the apothecary,  the dispenser of medicine, full control over quality. Though today they are mainly stylized and formal (more for show than practical use), apothecaries’ gardens functioned historically as reliable, controlled environments for production of the highest quality materia medica.


The first workshop, making The Great Northern Cough & Chest Rub, will take place Sunday, 2nd February 2014, at Humblepie, 142 James St. North, between 2:00 and 5:00 pm.

Great Northern Cough & Chest Balm-Spruce-Pine & Fir sap salve
Great Northern Cough & Chest Balm-Spruce-Pine & Fir sap salve

This session will guide participants through the process of making an effective winter chest rub from local evergreen saps.   From how and when to harvest from nature, to how to make the best products, participants will learn the best practices of making their own herbal salves from scratch. They will leave this workshop with a fragrant, winter medicine that they can share with others and duplicate in the future. Notebooks are mandatory.

Dandelion Wine at Work-Primary Fermentation- 2013
Dandelion Wine at Work-Primary fermentation 2013

As the season of 2014 unfolds, the sessions will cover topics such as:

  •  Identifying medicinal and culinary wild plants & mushrooms:
  • Wildcrafting: ethical and sustainable practices for harvesting in the wild.
  • Plant energetics:  the hidden worlds of nature
  • Planetary rulerships and Astrodynamics.
  • Gardening by the Moon.
  • How to make herbal, wild berry and flower wines.
  • How to make medicinal oils, cremes and salves.
  • How to prepare medicinal tinctures from fresh and dry materials.
  • Making herbal teas, infusions and decoctions.
  • The art of distillation.
  • How to build and use an essential oil still.
  • How to make perfume ingredients from wild and garden plants.
  • Plant alchemy: making spagyric tinctures.


  •  Children are invited and  welcome. They are free to attend all outdoor workshops at no extra cost. Talk to me ahead of time for indoor sessions since children’s participation depends on safety, space, and cost of materials.


The cost for this first workshop is $60.00.  Materials are included. You will go home with  a wonderful winter chest rub, richer in knowledge and experience.  If possible please reserve a spot, either with me- 905-541-2956, or with [email protected] Humblepie- 289-389-7208.

  Payment can be made here through Etsy, or at the time of the workshop.

I hope to see you there.


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