New England Herbal Academy CourseI am so excited! A couple of weeks ago I enrolled in the Introductory Herbal Course through the Herbal Academy of New England. I'd done some reading around to get reviews on different places and courses, because we know that not all online courses are created equal. This one came highly recommended by some colleagues, so I thought I'd take the plunge. I got much more interested in herbs after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. To be clear, I opted for Western treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation — but following my treatment, I consulted with Dr. Robin Mayfield, a talented and insightful local naturopath, who treated me with various herbal supplements to regain my health. Now, there are LOTS of ways to use herbs — supplements, tinctures, aromatherapy, salves, teas...you get the picture. With all of the speaking I've been doing since the release of my book "The Cancer Survivor's Garden Companion: Cultivating Hope, Healing & Joy in the Ground Beneath Your Feet," I talk about herbs and their place in a good wellness program, so I thought I should learn a bit more about them. The Introductory Herbal Course goes over some material and information that I already knew, but I wanted to start with the basics and then move on from there. When I talk with people about how to use herbs, I want to be sure that I am speaking knowledgably and giving solid information. This past year I've started to develop a kitchen garden with lots of edibles. I have a ton of herbs -- lemon balm, chives, rosemary, thyme, basil -- plus a lemon tree, a lime tree, and some edible flowers. Herbs are very easy to grow — great for a new gardener who wants to grow some edibles and needs a sense of accomplishment fairly quickly. I plan to move through all the courses that the Herbal Academy offers, and I'll update you with my progress along the way! The course so far is very in depth, with solid information and background on herbs, and you have to pass a test in order to move on to the next section. This is not a "gimme" class — you really have to read, pay attention, and absorb the information. If you're looking to get more educated about herbs, consider this course — there are many out there, and some you can take in person in your own community. The ones I was looking at here in Austin, Texas were running about $1500 or more, so this course for me is much more affordable. To be clear, it's on online class so there are no labs and workshops to attend, but I think this is a really great way to start getting some reliable and trusted first information. Who out there is growing herbs? What's your favorite go-to herb? How about your favorite way to use them? Leave a comment for all of us to learn!