Educational Services

Warm Herbal Greetings, and Welcome to Herbs on the Side!

Most people ask "Why 'Herbs on the Side'?" It just happened. I was teaching herbs part-time here and there and people would ask if I had a practice, or was I an herbalist. I would explain that my main job was teaching Wellness and I just did herbs “on the side”. It started as a hobby and ended up being so much more!

I remember a special gift from my parents, "Magic and Medicine of Plants" (Reader's Digest, 1986). The editors introduced the book as "..a portal to the endless variation of the plant kingdom, a repository of the myths and legends surrounding even the most inconspicuous plants, and an introduction to the fascinating world of herbal medicine." It opened my eyes to the possibilities! I still use the book on my Herb Walk Workshops for its excellent photographs.

Originally I taught Wellness with a focus on activity and nutrition, following the teachings of my undergraduate degree. That view has evolved into a paradigm that promotes supporting your health from as many different directions as possible including living actively, eating well, positive thinking and enjoying herbs on a daily basis! This Wise Woman tradition is rich in nourishing wisdom and it's a simple and empowering way to stay well!

It wasn't until after I had my first child that I turned to plants for nourishment and medicine. Mercedes Telles, my first herbal teacher, introduced a whole new world using plants as green allies and my interest and fascination just kept growing from there. Herbalism is a rapidly growing field, much like nutrition, where research is scientifically validating how effective herbs can be in our quest for good health, as the wise women before us had long discovered. I love the history, the diversity, the many stories of herbal-lore and the people I meet along the way.

Since that first introduction to the many ways of plants, I've kept my promise to indulge in Herbal conferences, seminars or workshops annually. I've learned so much at the educational Wise Woman Centre in Woodstock NY, with Susun Weed, herbalist and Wise Woman extraordinaire. I've been privileged to have the opportunity to learn from incredible herbalists at the International Herbal Symposiums in Boston and the wonderful Women's Herbal Conferences in Keane NH. Over the summer of 2006 I was blessed to be part of the Advanced Herbal Training Program at Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center & Botanical Sanctuary in E. Barre, Vermont. I thank Dr. Bill Mitchell, Matthew Wood, Stephen Buhner, Deb Soule, Margi Flint, Candis Cantin, Laurie Freeman, Rosemary Gladstar and Isla Burgess for sharing their wisdom which I refer to in my notes and lectures. It’s been a delight to share my passion and knowledge with students in Montreal, at Marianopolis College, in Vanier College’s Native Skills courses, at Institute NHC, and with participants in holistic workshops at Blue Skies Music Festival in Ontario, Professional Development programs and employees in Ericsson's Wellness Program.

Now I'm deeply honoured to share these workshops with you, offering a holistic approach to Wellness that includes incorporating herbs into your lifestyle on a daily basis for additional nutrients, medicine and vitality!

Be Well,



The following herbal workshops are among Monica's favourites which she presents as either a display booth or a "hands-on" discussion/lecture, always trying to engage as many senses as possible in the learning process. All sessions include hand-outs, and a variety of herbal preparations to touch, see, taste or smell! Please contact her for availability and prices.

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Holistic Herbal Healing & Support
Herbal Delights
Herbs in the Kitchen ~ Eat and Drink to your Health
Herbs for Health
Nourish your Nerves
Nourish your Immune System
Nourish your Heart
Nourish your Children
Preventing and Caring for Colds and Flu
Preventing and Caring for Hay fever and Allergies
Making your own Herbal Medicine
Making your own Herbal Vinegars (Vitality Vinegar!)
Identify the Healing Herbs in your Backyard
Skills for Living with the Earth ~ Nature Observation, Tracking and Primitive Skills
Enjoying Winter from the Cross Country Ski Trail

Monica Giacomin plays, and works, in her wild garden throughout the growing season preparing herbal remedies that nourish the body, mind and soul. At the International Herbal Symposium a panel of judges has recognized the excellence of her wild herbal creations in a variety of categories over the years.

1998- Cordial & Elixirs Award Dandelion Cordial
2000- Cordial & Elixirs Award Soaring Spirits, a St. Johnswort Elixir
2002- Anything Goes! Award Garlic & Ginger Pickles
2002- Cordial & Elixirs Award Amber Magic – A De-Stress Blend
2005- Purely Medicinal Award Heart’s Delight Tincture
2007- Anything Goes! Awards Pickled Burdock & Seaweed
Dandelion Wine
2009 – Anything Goes! Honour Hawthorn-Ginger Syrup

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