Herbalism Kit 5e: All You Need to Know!

Herbalists in the D&D game use a Herbalism Kit to offer their teammates invaluable healing potions. It is one of the handiest and most versatile toolsets. The proficiency with the Herbalism Kit allows the characters to identify the right plants to make useful potions and helps get the proficiency benefit in nature. The usability of the Herbalism Kit has been left open to interpretation and discretion of the Dungeon Master (DM) and the players. 

This article will guide you about the Herbalism Kit: what it contains and how to use it effectively to make helpful potions for your teammates. 

What Does an Herbalism Kit Do?

Page 82 of the Xanathar’s Guide for Everything states that the Herbalism Kit acts as a supplement to other abilities. It contains various instruments such as clippers, mortar pestle, leather gloves to collect plants, and pouches to store herbal plants. 

If you are proficient with the Herbalism Kit, you can add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to identify or apply herbs. You can also investigate by inspecting an area overgrown with plants. Use your proficiency and knowledge of nature with Arcana checks to skillfully identify plants with quick inspection and spot potential food sources. 

Attributes of the Herbalism Kit

Item Rarity – Standard

Item Type – Adventuring Gear Tool

Weight – 3 lbs

Price – 5 Gp

Uses of the Herbalism Kit

There are many predefined uses of the Herbalism Kit mentioned in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything that you can apply in the game. Many other uses depend on the discretion of you and your Dungeon Master (DM). Here are a few uses of the Herbalism Kit:

The magical investigation involving plants

If you get stuck in a forest, you can mention to your DM that you have the expertise in plants due to your proficiency in the Herbalism Kit to determine which plants are a valuable source of food and could be handy for you and your team using DC 15 skill check. You will gain an advantage or proficiency bonus on the roll. 

Create Medicines

You can use the medicinal skills you get from the Herbalism Kit to create medicines from herbal and medicinal plants to cure illnesses and injuries of your companions. Some DMs may allow you to use the medicine for a couple of hit points rather than stabilizing them at 0hp and also can gain a bonus to the initial medical check. 

Create healing potions

According to the Crafting Item Rules in Chapter 2 of Dungeon Master’s tools in XGte, you can craft healing herbs and potions, but you need to buy the consumed resources to craft relevant herbs and potions. 

Your DM can ask you to make an appropriate check when you want to identify a herb to create a healing potion or antitoxin. However, there are no hard and fast rules for recognizing and gathering plants; instead, you will need to use your wisdom.

Identifying plants/poisons

You can use your knowledge with DC 20 skill check to identify poisonous plants with a quick inspection and smell. It might differ depending on the poison, and it could only apply to venoms that need understanding herbalism. You can identify most plants with a quick inspection of their appearance and smell.

What Are the Potions You Can Brew Using an Herbalism Kit?

Potions you can brew:

PotionCostTime Taken to craftUses
Goodberry Potion30gp8 hrsIt contains 10 swigs, of which each swig heals 1 hp to provide enough food for one day. 
Potion of Healing25gp8 hrs If you drink it, you regain 2d4+2 (minimum 6hp) points. It’s red liquid gimmers when flustered. 
Potion of climbing25gp2 hrsIt grants you a climbing speed equal to your walking speed for one hour. You also gain an advantage on Athletics (Strength) checks you make to climb. 
Potion of Solace20gp 6 hrsIt shows its effect immediately to help you regain one expended 1st level spell slot and reflects blue light, granting it a slight sheen. 
Potion of Magic 40gp 10 hrsIt restores magic points of two first level spell slots or one second level.
Potion of the sleepless mind50gp12 hrsIt removes your ability to sleep for the next 48 hours, and you would not suffer from exhaustion from the lack of sleep. Until the potion’s effect ends, you feel rejuvenated as if you have woken from a deep slumber.
Antitoxin Potion10gp2 hrsA creature that drinks this potion gains the advantage of saving throws against poison for one hour. It does not give any benefit to undead or constructs. 
Poison20gp1 hrIt is a single blended melee weapon or 10 pieces of ranged ammunition. It keeps the effect for the next ten successful strikes. If you struck your opponent with a poisoned weapon, you would give 1d4 poison damage. 

How Can I Obtain a Herbalism Kit and Acquire Proficiency in Using It?

You can gain tool proficiency by character creation. It can be endowed by your race, background, or class. Druids gain proficiency with the Herbalism Kit at level 1. You can gain proficiency with the Herbalism Kit through your background if you are not playing a druid

The PHB, page 125, states some rules for tailoring your character’s background according to your needs. You can also use your downtime to train proficiency with tools like a Herbalism Kit. However, it requires access to an instructor that might be a local druid or a witch. The training requires a few workweeks equal to 10 minus your intelligence modifier, and you need to pay 25pg per workweek to your instructor. 

You can easily acquire the Herbalism Kit since its components are familiar items readily available in small towns and villages. You can put them together to create or get an Herbalism Kit from items usually available at any general store. 

How Does One Craft Potions of Healing?

Potions of Healing are magical items crafted using magical items according to the DM book, LMOP (Lost Mine Of Phandelver), page 53. Although they are magical red fluids, the Adventure’s League guidelines refer to them as distinct magic goods that adventures can acquire.

The crafting rules beyond the mundane have been subject to the discretion of the DM. If you are a player, consult your DM, and if you are a DM, discuss it with your players to create the crafting rules. 

Crafting the healing potion is stated under crafting magic items in the DMG. The rarity of the potion determines its potency, and the amount of time and money required to brew it determines it too. A usual healing potion (usually available for 50) takes four days and 100 gp to craft (you cannot prepare it until you become a 3rd level character, and it must be done by spell slots only). 

Xanathar’s Update

As per Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGtE), there are optional rules for crafting during runtime in the game, as per XGte page 130 under Crafting an Item rule that states: Potions of healing belong to a special category for item crafting, distinct from other magic items. If your character is proficient with the Herbalism Kit, you can create the potion of healing using the following time and cost mentioned below:

Potion of Healing Creation table

Type of PotionTIme require to prepareCost require to prepare
Healing Potion1 day25gp
Greater Healing Potion1 workweek100gp
Superior Healing Potion3 workweeks1,000gp
Supreme Healing Potion4 workweeks10,000gp

Can You Create Poisons/Effects With a Herbalism Kit Proficiency?

You can safely and securely create poisons using the Poisoner’s Kit. As per PHB, pg 97, Assasin rogue with 3rd-level bonus proficiency gets the proficiency with the Disguise Kit and Poisoner’s Kit. However, increasing the potency of the Herbalism Kit will reduce the strength of the Poisoner’s kit and the Assassin’s subclass. The reason is as follows:

Let us examine a level 3 Scout Rogue with an Herbalism Kit versus a level 3 Assassin rogue with a Poisoner’s Kit. 

The Scout rogue at level 3 gets the benefit of the Survivalist feature according to XGtE, page 47: you can gain proficiency in nature and survival skills, and your proficiency bonus gets double for any ability check you make that uses any of these proficiencies. 

Since you are proficient with the Herbalism Kit, you can skilfully find harmful plants and use leather gloves to harvest the poison. If you are proficient in creating healing potions, you can make a super deadly poison with no cure. 

On the other hand, an Assassin at level 3 gets the Bonus proficiency with the Poisoner’s kit as per the rules mentioned on XGtE, page 83. It allows you to apply poisons and create them from various materials. It lets you identify poisonous plants and animals, and you can handle the venom because your proficiency allows you to manage the poison without any risk of getting exposed to its deadly effects. 

We recommend not to create potions with a Herbalism Kit since it is not a wise thing to do, and as you saw in the above example, the Herbalism Scout easily outclassed the Poisoner Assassin. You may get poisoned during harvesting, creating, or applying the poison without having the Poisoner’s Kit. 


How to Learn New Potion’s Formula?

You can learn the formula of new potions from the Downtime Activity rules specified in the XGtE. Although these rules are optional, so it is up to your DM if they allow you to use them in the game. Here are the rules to create a new potion:

Obtain or create a formula for the potion: You are free to obtain or create new potion formula because there are no specific rules mentioned in the handbook. Your DM may ask you to use the Research Downtime activity for finding the potion formula or perform adventuring or other activities. 

Obtain Toxic materials needed for the potion: All potions and magic items require toxic materials, and finding those materials are part of an adventure. The rules indicate that you must face the challenge rating of a creature to obtain these ingredients, based on the rarity of the potion.

Pay for the other materials: You may have to pay for other materials and food based on the rarity of the potion. The cost may be 25gp for common potions to a whooping, 50,000gp for some legendary potions. 

Spend Crafting time: Depending on the rarity of the potion, you may have to spend half a week manufacturing an ordinary potion and approximately five to six months to craft a legendary potion.

Arcana: Some potions may require you to be proficient with Arcana. 

Usually, no ability check is needed. You can craft a new formula as soon as you invest the gold and time in the process. On the other hand, every step of the process is entirely under the discretion of the DM, and they are free to complicate it as per their wish.

How to Use Herbalism Kit to Stabilize Characters?

The Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure module of D&D 5e mentions the use of Healing Kits to stabilize the characters in the game. Now, it does not exist in the game, so can you use an Herbalism Kit to stabilize the characters?

The Healing Kit mentioned in the equipment section of page 151 of the PHB/48 in BD&D (Basic Dungeon and Dragon) states that: Healing Kit has ten uses as an action. You can expend one use of this kit to stabilize characters that have 0 hit points without any need to make a Wisdom (medicinal) check.

So yes, you can use a Herbalism Kit to gain proficiency on your medicine check if you do not have the available resources or a Healing Kit to stabilize the character. Eventually, we recommend asking the DM to allow a character to use his proficiency with an Herbalism Kit to create Healing Kits. 

How Does Finding Herbs Work?

Here is a PHB guideline for a druid class to provide you the guidance to understand the process of finding herbs in the game:

Foraging for food: According to PHB, page 183, finding the herbs process is similar to finding the food by removing the characters from the list of potential look-outs to establish an appropriate skill check (survival).

Use various kits (on page 154): As per PHB, page 154 provides a comprehensive list of the potion type of things a character can craft and find new herbs. 

Crafting Process: As per PHB, page 187, the crafting process can be long and tedious (10 days for a potion of healing) and may be limited by the tool proficiency of the character. If you have a druid class character, you can craft a healing potion from the Herbalism Kit (unless they have the Hermit background and acquire proficiency in another potion crafting tool using the redundant proficiency). 


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