NHAA are delighted to be the proud supporters of the program in Australia, and we are committed to encouraging and supporting naturopaths and herbalists to run a Junior Herbalist Club in their area, giving children nationwide the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that will benefit themselves and others for a lifetime.
The JHC is a 2-year extracurricular program for children aged 7-12. It runs for 90 minutes, once a month, for 10 months of the year, with the goal to help children learn about the healing plants around them in a safe and supervised environment. The program takes children on a journey of discovery, engaging all their senses with playful practical skills, whilst covertly incorporating subjects including English, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Botany, Latin and Cookery, as well as helping children to gain in confidence, improve fine motor control and develop a new skill set. There are currently 30 JHCs in operation throughout the UK, with an estimated 300 children in attendance.
Each month the club focuses on one particular healing plant. Children are taught how to correctly identify the plant, about the origins of the plant name (both common and botanical names) and about the plant’s habitat and life cycle. Next, they look at the history and folklore surrounding the plant. This may include storytelling, songs and funny anecdotes. They then discuss the medicinal qualities of the plant, the primary constituents responsible for the healing activity, and the uses for the plant, both internally and externally. Children are encouraged to participate in the discussion, adding their own ideas and thoughts. Each session, the children learn practical skills including how to make different herbal products such as teas, cough drops, soaps, bath bombs, balms, moisturising bars and more and they proudly take their creations home with them at the end of the class.
Why join a JHC?
By the end of the first year children will be able to:
- Correctly identify many of the common medicinal plants growing in gardens, parks, and streets and be able to distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous plants.
- Know the healing properties of many common plants.
- Understand how to use some of these plants in first aid and for making simple herbal remedies.
- Enjoy listening to the stories and tales of folklore and history surrounding the plants and herbal medicine.
- Know how to cultivate and harvest plants whilst respecting their environment and all of nature.
In the second year, the tasks become more complex, building on the skill set developed in the first year and include the children making marshmallows, syrups, throat sprays, lozenges, salves, creams and hydrosols.
Historically, the knowledge of herbal medicine was commonplace. Most people knew which plants they could gather and how to use them to treat minor injuries and ailments. Unfortunately, this knowledge is becoming lost, with very few people nowadays able to correctly identify and utilise our common weeds or cultivated garden plants. Junior Herbalist Club helps to preserve this knowledge, providing children with a good foundation in plant education and herbal medicine that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, a wonderful and practical gift that they will one day be able to share with their own friends and family.
How to find a JHC in your area
The inaugural Australian leader training course was facilitated by JHC founder, Mel Hornby, in October 2023 with NHAA’s support, and NHAA is now maintaining the Australian Register of Junior Herbalist Club Leaders. To find a qualified course provider in your area, please visit our leader register at the link below.
All approved JHC leaders are qualified herbalists or naturopaths who have completed this specific training in order to teach the program and who:
- Have graduated from an NHAA approved course
- Have a current membership with NHAA or equivalent professional association
- Have current appropriate professional insurance
- Have a current Working With Children Check (WWCC)
JHC is suitable for children between the ages of 7 and 12. Children are able to be left with the course leader for each session, however, children aged under 8 may benefit from having a parent or guardian stay with them during the class.
Future JHC Leader Training courses
If you are a herbalist or naturopath who is interested in future training courses to become a ‘Registered Junior Herbalist Leader©’, please contact the Australian course co-ordinator, Christine Thomas:
Ph: 0487 000 385