Southern Herbalist visits Agriplex

Darryl Patton, the Southern Herbalist, leads a plant tour at the North Alabama Agriplex Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Southern Herbalist, Darryl Patton, visited theNorth Alabama Agriplex Thursday, leading a Heritage Homeschool class about the uses and dangers of medicinal herbs.

The class took a walk and discussed the many plants surrounding the Agriplex. With his encyclopedic knowledge of herbs, Patton described the uses for each plant. He said desmodium is helpful for clogged arteries, passionflower is good for sleep and black gum tree whitens teeth. He pointed out herbs that can treat burns, alleviate allergies and stimulate the immune system.

Before the walk, he shared his memorization technique with the group, saying, “See if you can visualize, see in your mind’s eye, each plant we look at in the order that we see them. It’s an exercise that helps you remember plants by remembering what you did.”

Despite his vast knowledge, he said, “I’m still a student. I learn every day.”

There are more than 3,000 species of native plants in Alabama, making it the ninth most floristically diverse state.

Patton has been teaching wilderness classes for 38 years. He is naturopathic doctor (ND) as well as a Master Herbalist and brings many years of experience to the field of alternative medicine. He spent 13 years studying under the late A. L. “Tommie” Bass, a nationally recognized herbalist. During his apprenticeship, Patton said, he was taught the identification and medicinal uses for thousands of plants found in the South.

He shared, “There are certain things that help people remember things. I’ve got almost a photographic memory for the plants. The herbs, once you find that there’s this great use for them and that you’ve actually seen it help somebody, now your subconscious mind has a reason to store that knowledge away because it’s something that you want to pull back out.”

Patton is the author of “Mountain Medicine: The Herbal Remedies of Tommie Bass.” He operates a wilderness training school in the mountains of north Alabama. He can be reached through his Facebook page at

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