The Plant Medicine School came into being as the result of a happy merger, collaboration and marriage between Veriditas Hibernica and Grá Nádur. The school is a nature-centred and a community-based enterprise devoted to reconnecting people with nature and particularly with the plants around us.
Veriditas Hibernica was set up by Nikki Darrell in 2008 in response to requests from people who had done introductory courses on herbs with her and who wished to deepen their journey with herbal knowledge; it also was a response to those who were saying that one needed a Masters to be a clinical herbalist, which seemed in direct conflict with how herbal medicine practice had been passed on for thousands of years.
Initially, a 2-year part time face-to-face course was offered for those who wished to empower themselves to work with plant medicines for their community, and their environment, weaving together the art and science of herbalism. It focused on local indigenous and naturalised plants but included some more exotic species since people and plants have been travelling the world for thousands of years.
In 2010, requests to run a practitioner training course resulted in the second stage of training being developed under the name Colaiste Luibheanna, bringing in some excellent additional lecturers and clinical supervisors to expand the teaching team. In 2016 these programs merged with Grá Nádur, set up by Alex Duffy, to create the Plant Medicine School - a centre for studying herbal medicine and nature wisdom.
Alex used his skills in film making and website design to enable blended learning streams to be offered, which combine the best of online learning with face-to-face classes.
In 2020, the mother school moved to Hollyfort, County Wexford into a purpose-built building with 5 acres of land which includes an acre of deciduous woodland, a river running along its border, a 2-acre community field which is being brought into cultivation so that the school can become more self-sufficient in herb supplies and an acre of water meadow which will become a native species sanctuary.
In 2020, the Exmoor branch of the school opened and is flourishing under the gentle care of Jane Wallwork. Last October saw the opening of other two branches of the school - one in County Cork, run by Majella O’Riordan and Siobhan Norton, and one in Scotland, run by the Grass Roots Remedies Cooperative.
We are passionate about developing sustainable herbal medicine, encouraging the promotion of biodiversity and the protection of our ecosystem, whilst helping to bring us back into remembering our place in the web of nature and into a healthy relationship with the Earth.
The school is dedicated to gathering, researching, and sharing plant teachings back into our communities and culture as a Commons and a birthright that helps us become healthy humans participating wholesomely and sustainably in our environments once again as we did for thousands of years before the lies of separation and superiority caused a wounding of our relationship with the rest of Nature and we lost sight of our own true Nature.
We find that each student brings wonderful insights, and we love the work of supporting people as they step back to remembering their natural relationship with the green beings.
We are passionately engaged in the re-weaving of the tapestry of herbal medicine, giving acknowledgement and credit to many of the peoples who have been erased from the story over the years, their relationships with the plants and ensuring that the knowledge and wisdom of so many indigenous people and peoples of ethnicities that have been plundered by colonialism and given their due credit and a place that their voices and stories will be heard. Due to the level of colonialism in the Western world, this will of necessity be an ongoing evolution.
We love being part of the process of encouraging diversity in the ecosystem of plant medicine.