One drop is all it takes...
Herbal medicine comes in many forms. Most commonly, we find them in either dried or tincture form. Tinctures are herbal extracts which are made from either dry of fresh herb submerged in a solvent such as alcohol, vinegar or glycerine for 4-6 weeks and strained leaving a concentrated extract of plant medicine.
Herbalists and students of herbalism who take the time to sit with plants and listen are typically the ones whose sense of the medicinal alliance is most on point.
In my meetings with many plant teachers, I have learned that to know an herbal ally, one must give the relationship time.
When we visit a teacher in their home, we humble ourselves to their wisdom and we take only what we are given. I invite you to go out in nature to meet these teachers; sit down, and listen to the plants you wish to learn from. By spending this quality time, we are intentionally cultivating a relationship to plants as teachers, we are engaging just as we would in meeting a new friend. Another powerful way to connect is through the drop-dose or "spirit dose" where only a small amount (nibble of root or 1-2 drops extract/essence) is enough to receive the information of the plant's medicine. Sit with this dose for about 30 minutes, trying not to figure out what it may be telling you; write down whatever comes up, any images, feelings, sensations, memories, smells, sounds, physical reaction, etc. All of these perceptions relate to the medicine as it's spirit interacts with your being, with your energy.
Next, take the time to learn about the plant from other sources. Read about it's history in A Modern Herbal by Mrs. Margaret Grieve or here on the book's website: http://botanical.com/ Herbalists such as Matthew Wood, Stephen Buhner, and Eliot Cowan have much wisdom about the plant spirit medicine and how to introduce ourselves to these amazing teachers. Play with it, make your own ritual, and enjoy the exploration!