Wild Cherries – Intro to Herbal Medicine Homework

For: JuneMayApril

Check back on this page for monthly homework assignments for our 2024 Intro to Herbal Medicine class.

Turning in Your Homework

Homework can be turned in in-person, emailed to homework@wildcherries.org (to share privately with the teachers), or uploaded to the shared google drive (to make it available to the whole class).

For July

Roots of the Medical Industrial Complex by Cara Page (6 pages)

The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret by Bethy Squires (8 pages)
Alternately, a past student made an audio recording of this piece for us – 12 minutes

The following two writings on the history of the American Medical Association and how it strategically destroyed women’s roles in healthcare and healing. The first writing is very Eurocentric and doesn’t include a comprehensive history around practitioners and healers of color in the USA. We’ve included the article about race and the AMA to add some parts of that history, but haven’t found a comprehensive resource covering both. The brief history that the Witches, Midwives, Nurses covers of the destruction of lay healers and witches in Europe, can also be traced into any culture around the globe that was colonized by Europeans — one of the first tactics in colonization is to destroy healers and their knowledge.

Witches, Midwives and Nurses (Text or Pamphlet) by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English (68 very short pages, plus a 25 page introduction you can read if you want)
Or listen to this (77 minutes) or this (92 minutes) audio recording

The culture war between doctors and midwives, explained by Ranjani Chakraborty
(6 minute video)

Where did all the granny midwives go? (4 minute video)

Reflection Questions and activity

How does patriarchy show up in your experiences of western medicine?
How does patriarchy show up in your relationships with plants?

Invite magic and anti-patriarchy into a healing ritual for yourself and maybe others this month.  What do you do?  How does it feel?

Tend to the Garden – weed, water, spend time with the plants, harvest as needed and make communal medicines. We’ll go over more notes about making medicine as the plants get bigger, so look out for that tutorial

Digestion – pick ANY ONE intervention we talked about (eg. try taking bitters or aromatic bitters before meals, or keeping a food and symptom journal, or slowing down and paying attention while you eat, or using herbs that tonify your mucus membranes, or…) and try it out regularly for the month! How does it go for you?

Plant ID – key out 5 brand spankin’ new plants in Newcombs – what’s flowering near you now?


The American Medical Association and Race by Robert B. Baker, PhD (10 pages)

Mary Coley’s 1953 film All My Babies- A Midwifes Own Story (54 minute video)

For June

  • Read the tea hand out, make 2 kinds of tea.  How did it go?
  • Connect with oats and motherwort medicine this month.  Make a tea or take the tincture 1-2 times a day to support your emotional health.  How does it feel?  Are there short term or long term changes?
  • Put a loved one in a foot soak.  How does this act of community care feel?
  • Tend the garden 1-2 times this month
  • Key out 5 plants

Video/Audio – Fatphobia

  • This American Life, Episode 589: Tell Me I’m Fat (audio – 67 min)
    • (We feel the interviews in this episode are really meaningful, but we apologize for subjecting you to Ira Glass’ commentary, which we find unbearable.) 
  • Maintenance Phase, The Body Mass Index (audio – 69 min)Apple Podcasts, Spotify
  • The Roxanne Gay Agenda, Best of Hear to Slay: The Fat Tax, w/ Sabrina Strings and Sonya Renee Taylor (audio – 78 min) – Apple Podcasts
  • Or if you need a shorter listen, Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body is Not an Apology ~ Radical Alchemy (video – 22 min)

For May

Capitalism, Mental/Emotional Health

Reflection – pick two or more of these questions to think/write about

  • How has capitalism shaped how you think about your own health?
  • How do your ideas about health perpetuate health stigmas?
  • How do we build anticapitalist care networks?
  • How do the stigmas around mental illness affect your relationship to your own emotional health?

Materia Medica

  • Seek out plantain or violet — finding it in the world, observing, keeping it company, eating it, using the medicine, meditating with it, daydreaming about it. Write about your experience.
    • If you pick the flowers or leaves, notice how it feels to do so. Notice the impact you have on the spot the plant is growing. Also be mindful that you’re not eating plants from a location that’s likely to be polluted with lead or chemicals!
  • Bonus: Make a tea from fresh violet flowers! Add a little lemon, and watch the color change! Cool! Take a video of it and post it to the discord!

Plants and Botany

  • Key out five plants. (Turn in a sample or drawing of the plant, plus the steps you took in newcombs and your id.)

Change Work

  • What does care look like in your life, and the lives of people you care about? How can we give and receive the best care possible? What are the barriers? What are the resources we have for our care or to share with other people?
  • What role do you feel more comfortable in: a caregiving role or a care-receiving role?  Reflect on that. How could you feel more comfortable in both roles?

Additional Readings and Recordings

Podcast: Trauma, Healing, & Collective Power with generative somatics (adrienne maree brown, Prentis Hemphill, Spenta Kandawalla and Staci K. Haines) – 44 min

For April


Cultural Appropriation


Write ½-1 page about a family healing tradition you grew up with.

What ways do you strive to or want to practice a culture of gratitude?

What are ways you want to have relationships with wild plants that don’t involve gathering them?

What are the impacts on us when our cultural practices are appropriated? What healing do we need around that?

What are the impacts on us when our cultural practices are lost, and what healing do we need around that?

Materia Medica

Make wild cherry tea, tincture or syrup this month.  What tastes and energetics do you notice?  How does it make your body feel?  Where do you feel it in your body?  What do you like about it and what do you dislike?  Try drinking it 4-8 times.

Bonus: spend time with wild cherry trees in the woods.

Plants and Botany

Go look at trees, choose two trees and spend 15 minutes with each tree.  Observe. Write down all the observations you make of the tree so that someone else could go find that tree.  


  • Get on the discord! Find the #introductions channel and post an introduction!
  • Try connecting to the google drive

We also love these resources:

When We Talk About Cultural Appropriation, We’re Missing The Point by Ijeoma Oluo

Past Homework Assignments from Bygone Years