Herbology and Harry Potter: How to Become a Chartered Herbalist

The Botanist

“Herbology is the study of magical and mundane plants and fungi. In Herbology, students learn to care for and utilize plants, and learn about their magical properties, and what they are used for. Many plants provide ingredients for potions and medicine, while others have magical effects of their own right. These classes are held in the grounds of Hogwarts, in the greenhouses. The greenhouses are located below the two main Bell Towers of the castle. Classes are held in different greenhouses depending on the students’ year, with more advanced and dangerous plants typically reserved for O.W.L. or N.E.W.T.-level study.”

– Harry Potter wiki

You know it is really too darn bad that you should have to go to Hogwarts in order to get an awesome and mandatory education in magical and medicinal plant use. I came close as a Gryphon at the University of Guelph (BSc (Hons) Plant Biology) but it has taken the better part of a decade for me to figure out that plants + outdoor educator = herbalist. I fail to figure out why, even when I did a Harry Potter themed “Showing Off Our Royal Roots” for College Royal in 2004, we taught families the magical importance of the Mandrake (yes this included wearing earmuffs, and doing transplants in the Axelrod Greenhouse) and plant biology, and yet I went into research and then education.

Full circle, although my two careers have been very valuable lessons and experiences, I think I will take it one step further – combine my analytic and inquisitive nature, with my interpretive educative passion, roll in some plants and become a chartered herbalist!

Oh, I am also happy to report we received the Grand Champion award for the educational session when I was Plant Biology President. Yes I am a huge plant nerd and Harry Potter fan.

Step 1: Bsc (Hons) Plant Biology, Bsc Agr

Step 2: Research associate

Step 3: Landscaper

Step 4: Florist

Step 5: Diploma, Outdoor Education

Step 6: Outdoor Educator at a botanical garden

Step 7: Start M.Ed

Step 8: Realize my love of teas

Step 9: Epifany No.2 – Chartered Herbalist

Step 10: Research and enrol at … HOGWARTS! (Or a reputable Canadian college)

In an effort to kickstart my nerd-i-ness I will provide herbal quizzes and fun facts through my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep myself motivated, and to well, keep you interested as well.

And be sure to check out the US National Library of Medicine’s website on Herbology and Harry Potter: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/harrypottersworld/herbology.html



Marion Alyson Prokop
Marion Alyson Prokop

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