Herbal Tonics

Supportive - Balancing - Vitalizing

Discover why some consider herbal tonics a panacea. 
"...a much-needed aspect of herbal pharmacology" 
"lots of information packed in a short class" 
"Well laid out 
and quite informative!"

What is a herbal tonic?

Turns out it is not that easy to define.

Generally, it is thought of as a preparation that is more like food in composition and acts generally and slowly to build up some tissue or organ, rather than having a sharp medicinal activity that changes functions within the organism. The whole herb is used, not the “active constituents.”

English-speaking herbalists originally used the word "tonic" to describe astringents, because they give "tone" to tissues.
Today, however, the word is more commonly used to describe a remedy that can be safely given to most people at relatively large doses to maintain or improve health.

This can include bitter, iron, blood, qi, yin, and yang tonics, as well as tonics for specific systems - brain, immune, spleen, liver, kidneys, and heart.

Many of these come to us from Traditional Chinese Medicine; Taoist medicine is largely a tonic-based approach based on building up the “precious substances” of the body.  

We discuss the difference between tonics and adaptogens and touch on questions of pharmacology, which are not prominent in this category.

We explore several such remedies, including Rehmannia and Astragalus (sweet tonics), Gotu Kola (brain tonic) and, for contrast, Gentian (bitter tonic) and how they help the body navigate stress.


Support Materials

2 pages of manuscripts from Matthew
(not downloadable)

Support Materials

Handout from Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue


2.25 hours of teaching


Certificate included
(see more below)

Pay Once = One Year Access

1 year to view and review content, ask questions and discuss

This is for you if you...

want to learn the real, practical benefits of herbal tonics, not just the hype.
value learning from seasoned experts and receive information rooted in both traditional practices and contemporary perspectives.
like knowing that teachers are available to answer questions as you put your learning into practice.

Upon completion, you will...

have a broader understanding of what is stress and how to help the body come to balance.
have more resources for a variety of chronic, deep-seated health conditions.
have an understanding of why tonics are so central to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Taoist practices.


Matthew Wood, MS

Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist for over forty years. He is an internationally known
teacher and author with more than ten books to his credit, including The Book of Herbal Wisdom
The Earthwise Herbals, Holistic Medicine and the Extracellular Matrix, and A Shamanic Herba
(July 2024). Matthew has an MSc in herbal medicine from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine 
(accredited, U. of Wales). He lives in the Midwest. 

Seán Pádraig O’Donoghue

Seán is an herbalist, writer, teacher, and Priest in two traditions. His approach to healing weaves together the insights of traditional Western herbalism and contemporary science. He regards physical, spiritual, and emotional healing as deeply intertwined.

Certificate Included

  • How to Get a Certificate

    • Complete course materials
    • Pass the test with a grade of 70% or better
    • Save or print your certificate!

    Available with subscription and individual course purchases.

  • Accreditation hours

    This course is a total of 3.5 accredited hours
    • 1 hour Materia Medica
    • 2.5 hours Pharmacy, Pharmacognosy, and Dispensing

    *Please check with your accrediting agency whether they will accept accredited hours or certificates from the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism
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Herbal Tonics

You're invited! Add herbal tonics, decrease stress, experience balance. 

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