Written by Meghan Rhodes MCPP MAPA
I remember when I first starting learning herbalism, I was searching for a book on materia medica - a reference of plant profiles with their medicinal uses. My criteria? Which book has THE MOST plants in it.
What I didn't know at the time is what any experienced herbalist will tell you - you tend to end up with a core set of somewhere between 20-50ish herbs that you work with regularly and get to know really well. There is far more benefit is knowing 20 uses for one herb than one use for 20 different herbs (especially if it grows locally to you).
So whether you're just starting to learn herbalism or have been getting to know herbs for a while, I'd encourage you to take it one at a time.
Spend a whole week or a whole month or a whole season on just one herb. Work with it every day - as a tea, as an oil, etc - in different forms. Listen. Observe. Make notes. Feel its effects on your body. See what unfolds.
Then go look at references and folklore and whatever resources you prefer and see how they confirm and expand your experience.
But build that direct 1:1 relationship with the plant yourself first. You'll find your knowledge of it will be both deeper and more far reaching and you won't need to 'memorise' much of anything.