Herbalism, Foraging, and Holistic Medicine: Guest Aron McNicholas

On Today’s Podcast Episode Harold Has A Conversation With Functional Medicine Practitioner and Clinical Herbalist, Aron McNicholas About Herbalism, Foraging, and Holistic Medicine.

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 213 – July 24, 2023

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Aron McNicholas is a Functional Medicine Practitioner and Clinical Herbalist. He began his herbalism journey by studying with Constance Ferry of Hobbit Gardens in Fillmore, Indiana. Later, he went on to study with 7Song at the Northeastern School of Botanical Medicine, focusing on clinical herbalism and plant identification. In order to provide a scientific background to natural remedies, Aron completed his Masters in Functional Medicine and Nutrition through the University of Western States. He has enjoyed attending workshops and trainings through Sam Thayer, Morley Robbins, Thomas Easley, and many more.

Today, Aron serves the community by offering wildcrafted herbal medicine through his company Hartwood Herbals and conducts plant walks, monthly classes, and one-on-one consultations.

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Exploring the Power of Herbalism with Aaron McNicholas of Heartwood Herbals

Introduction to Aaron McNicholas and Heartwood Herbals

A Passion for Nature and Herbalism

Host Harold Thornbro introduces Aaron McNicholas, a functional medicine practitioner and herbalist based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Aaron shares his journey into herbalism and his desire to reconnect people with nature through his business, Heartwood Herbals.

The Path to Herbalism

From Personal Tragedy to Natural Healing

Aaron recounts how a family tragedy sparked his interest in alternative healthcare. Dissatisfied with traditional medical education, he pursued herbalism, studying under various mentors and eventually delving into functional medicine.

Foraging and Herbal Knowledge

Embracing Local Plants and Ethical Foraging

Discussing the importance of local plants, Aaron emphasizes ethical foraging practices, which involve sustainable harvesting without disrupting natural ecosystems. He advises beginners to learn plant identification and start with familiar plants like dandelion and chickweed.

Herbalism in Practice

Treating Chronic Conditions with Herbs

Aaron sees clients with chronic conditions, often those dissatisfied with conventional treatments. He stresses the importance of understanding the root cause of ailments, whether emotional, environmental, or dietary.

Lab Work and Functional Medicine

A Deeper Look at Health

In his practice, Aaron offers specific lab tests to analyze mineral status, hormone levels, and microbiome health. He criticizes the broad ranges used in conventional diagnostics and prefers a more targeted approach in functional medicine.

The Herbal Industry

Choosing Local and Fresh Herbs

Aaron discusses the shortcomings of the commercial herbal industry, where herbs can sit in warehouses for extended periods, losing potency. He advocates for using locally grown or wildcrafted herbs for their freshness and potency.

Learning About Herbs

Resources and Recommendations

For those interested in learning about herbalism, Aaron suggests plant walks with local herbalists, field guides like Peterson’s and Audubon, and books by authors like Sam Thayer. He also recommends engaging with the community to deepen one’s understanding of local flora.

Practical Health Advice

Simple Steps for a Healthier Life

Aaron shares three essential tips for better health: spending time outdoors in sunlight, ensuring clean water intake, and fostering loving relationships. He believes these simple practices can significantly improve one’s quality of life.


Embracing Herbalism for a Better Life

Harold concludes the interview, appreciating Aaron’s dedication to promoting a holistic approach to health. Aaron’s work at Heartwood Herbals exemplifies the potential of herbalism to enhance well-being and reconnect people with the healing power of nature.

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