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Herbalism Kit. This kit contains a variety of instruments such as clippers, mortar and pestle, and pouches and vials used by herbalists to create remedies and potions. Proficiency with this kit lets you add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to identify or apply herbs. Also, proficiency with this kit is required to create antitoxin and potions of healing.

That is the description of the herbalism kit but it isn't very clarifying. I tried to search more information about this but all the websites I found don't follow the rules of any book, they make up their own ones (for example this answer, this answer, this especulation, this blog). Our DM said we can choose 2 tools from any book so it is no problem if it isn't from the PHB, it can be from another one.

It'll be my first time playing so I don't want to get hurt (that is why I am looking for items to heal me [our cleric doesn't want to be healer]), but I don't want to ask to the DM how it works because I've already asked him several questions and I don't want to bother him.

I am looking for:

  1. This kit contains a variety of instruments such as clippers, mortar and pestle, and pouches and vials

    That means it has a limit usages?

  2. used by herbalists to create remedies [,] antitoxin and potions of healing

    How can I craft healing herbs, remedies or healing potions? (Anything that restores HP)

  3. How can I gather the resources to craft?

  4. Proficiency with this kit lets you add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to identify or apply herbs.

    How can I identify or apply herbs? If I identify an herb, can I gather it? How much time it takes that?

If there isn't any official rule, I am open to accepted rules made by community.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Never be afraid to ask the DM questions about the rules. It is always better to understand and be on the same page. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 3 '18 at 17:25
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Xanathar's Guide to Everything answers almost all your issues.

Before I tackle the specific questions, I'll answer the overarching question.

What does the Herbalism Kit actually do?

This is clarified in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Essentially, most of what the Herbalism Kit does is act as a supplement to other abilities. The examples given in Xanathar's Guide are using your knowledge of nature to assist with Arcana checks relating to plants and potions, assisting with Investigation checks relating to looking through anywhere with overgrown plants, assisting with Medicine checks when using herbal remedies, and so on.

Most of the kits in the game don't have an obvious list of things to do with them, and work the same. They are mostly roleplay opportunities for your character to shine in a specific way. If you're stuck in a forest and need to determine which plant is which, you would mention to your DM that you have expertise in plants due to the Herbalism Kit, and likely would be given advantage or proficiency bonus on the roll, if not just be told outright immediately.

That means [Herbalism Kit] has a limit usages?

No. When you craft an item, the items that are used to craft it are factored into the cost.

In addition to the appropriate tools for the item to be crafted, a character needs raw materials worth half the item's selling cost. (XGE, 128)

So yes, while you technically use some of the kit to create the item, you simply replace the parts that you used afterwards.

How can I craft healing herbs, remedies or healing potions? (Anything that restores HP)

Page 130 of Xanathar's Guide to Everything covers the specifics of Potion of Healing crafting. In summary, a basic Potion of Healing takes a day of downtime, 25gp of materials, and proficiency in (and access to) the herbalism kit.

How can I gather the resources to craft?

Technically speaking, you don't. Crafting an item in 5th edition handwaves materials and resources by simply charging an amount of gold depending on what it is you are crafting and just says "you buy what you need".

Your DM may rule otherwise, and were I the DM of your game and you wished to spend time gathering the herbs needed rather than simply buying them, I'd happily allow that as a roleplay opportunity. You spend more time doing it, but need to spend less gold. However, that's up to your DM, and would be homebrew rules.

How can I identify or apply herbs? If I identify an herb, can I gather it? How much time it takes that?

This is another situation where it is up to your DM. Your DM will need to present you with the opportunity to tell what type of herb the given plant is, and you would mention to your DM that you have Herbalism Kit proficiency so you would be able to identify it. You can also mention it on your own, as well; if you are in an area with potentially valuable/helpful herbs or plants, ask your DM if your character could search for and gather something useful.


While not part of your question, there's a line in your question that is concerning and should be mentioned to a first-time player as you mention you are.

I don't want to ask to the DM how it works because I've already asked him several questions and I don't want to bother him.

The thing with D&D is that the DM is the one who runs the game. The rulebooks are secondary to how they want to run things. If they've agreed to be DM, then they've agreed to also answer rules questions when they come up. To do otherwise is just plain silly; he's the DM. That's the job he accepted when he chose to become DM. If he doesn't want to answer rules questions from his players, he shouldn't be DM.

Feel free to bring up the rules I've listed here, and he very well may just say "okay, that's how it works, whatever". But to be afraid of asking your DM questions about the rules in the game he's running is going to cause problems later on, and you should be able to have open dialogue with him/her.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer, the DM will take this in consideration and will let me gather herbs using a check to make basic medicines without additional cost! One little Q: When you said "most of what the Herbalism Kit does is a supplement to other abilities" and gave some examples, are you saying that it adds proficence to related actions? So, e.g: I throw a dice to gather herbs, I get 9, +1 for wisdom modifier, +2 because I am proficent in Survival, and then add another +2 beacause I am proficent in herbalism kit? Or supplement means advantage beacuse rules said proficents aren't additive? \$\endgroup\$ – Ender Look Feb 3 '18 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ From PHB page 171: " If a circumstance suggests that your proficiency bonus applies more than once to the same roll, you still add it only once and multiply or divide it only once." This means that you wouldn't add your proficiency twice to that roll. However, even if you weren't proficient in survival or nature, you could reasonably be allowed to add proficiency from being proficient in the Herbalism kit (similar to Thieves' Tools). \$\endgroup\$ – Dacromir Feb 4 '18 at 0:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was referring to advantage, yes. In general, this is the perfect sort of thing for the advantage mechanic. You need to hit X, you get +Y, but oh, you have a special circumstance that makes your character particularly good at this? Advantage! But of course, that, like most roleplay situations, is up to your DM. \$\endgroup\$ – Baron Feb 4 '18 at 4:29
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There are rules in Xanathars Guide to Everything

That means it has a limit usages?

The 'consumable' items you use while crafting with the herbalism kit are included in the 'Crafting an Item' rules in Chapter 2: Dungeon Master's Tools of XGtE.

How can I craft healing herbs, remedies or healing potions? (Anything that restores HP)

With the herbalism kit you are able to create potions of healing, following the rules of 'Crafting an Item'.

How can I gather the resources to craft?

Buying the consumed resources is included in the costs and time consumption for crafting the relevant item.

How can I identify or apply herbs? If I identify an herb, can I gather it? How much time it takes that?

You DM will ask you to make a relevant check when you want to identify an herb, there are no strict rules for identifying and harvesting plants. Just a common use of the Nature (Intelligence) and Survival (Wisdom) skills.


If you do not own XGtE you can take a look at the Unearthed Arcana released which includes an early (playtest!) draft for the downtime actions, including the crafting rules.

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As you have already found, PHB p.154 says:

Proficiency with this kit lets you add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to identify or apply herbs. Also, proficiency with this kit is required to create antitoxin and potions of healing.

Unearthed Arcana: Downtime gives rules for creating Potions of Healing and antitoxin during downtime. It also says those are only examples, so working with (or as) the DM may give you more options on top of that. These rules are also published in Xanathar's Guide to Everything on pages 128-130.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything (Tool Proficiencies, specifically p.82) gives suggestions for things the kit can be used for. Examples are

  • Collecting components
  • Magical investigation about or involving plants
  • Investigating overgrown areas
  • Medicine
  • Nature/Survival
  • Identifying plants/poisons
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I homebrewed this set of rules for the herbalism kit for one of my players. All of them are pretty new to D&D and I'm a new DM.

  • The herbalism kit has three charges. This represents the amount of materials you can store in the kit and keep fresh.

  • Using charges counts as an action and can't be done if you are within melee range of a hostile enemy.

  • You can use one charge to heal a status condition on a creature.

  • You can use two charges to heal a player for a value determined by a roll of their hit die plus your medicine skill. You can use the third charge in this instance to add an additional 1d4 to the amount healed.

  • You can use three charges to brew a potion. It takes a certain amount of down time depending on the potion to brew it. You may spread those hours out over no more than one week.

  • You may also brew potions without using any charges if you buy the materials and make the potion on the same day.

  • You may only be brewing one potion at a time and if you are using your charges to do so, they cannot be used to cure statuses or heal.

  • Using the herbalism kit will let you gain you experience in the art. As you gain experience you will gain new recipes and shorten the amount of time and cost to brew potions.

  • A player who is not proficient with the herbalism kit may attempt to use it to cure a status condition or heal a creature by making a DC15 nature check to identify the herbs and then a DC10 medicine check to apply them.

  • To fill the charges you must forage for herbs in nature. Depending on the environment herbs may be more or less abundant. You'll make a nature check to see if you successfully find the herbs you need.

  • Statuses you can cure: Blinded, Charmed(if the charmed one doesn't fight your administering of the herbs), Deafened, Paralyzed, Poisoned, Stunned, Unconscious, or One level of exhaustion.

Potions you can brew:

Goodberry Potion (30gp & 8 hours) contains 10 swigs, each swig heals 1hp and acts as a day's worth of food

Potion of Healing (25gp & 8 hours to craft) heals 2d4+2 (minimum of 6hp)

Potion of climbing (25gp & 2 hours to craft) gives a creature a climbing speed equal to it's walking speed and advantage on athletics checks to climb for one hour

Potion of Solace (20gp & 6 hours to craft) restores one first level spell slot

Potion of Magic (40gp & 10 hours to craft) restores two first level spell slots or one second level spell slot

Potion of the sleepless mind (50gp & 12 hours to craft) removes to ability to sleep for the next 48 hours. You won't suffer from exhaustion from the lack of sleep but you will also not be able to gain the benefits of a long rest

Antitoxin (10gp & 2 hours to craft) gain advantage on saving throws against poison for one hour.

Poison (20gp & 1 hour to craft) apply poison to a single bladed melee weapon or 10 pieces of ranged ammunition. Poisoned melee weapons will keep the effect for the next ten successful strikes. When struck by a poisoned weapon the creature will take an additional 1d4 poison damage and must make a DC12 constitution saving throw or be poisoned.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question does specifically state 'I am open to rules made by community' - so I can understand why you have supplied your homebrew as an answer. That said, this answer would be much improved if you could add some commentary, evaluating how these rules actually worked out for your group? What were your goals when designing these homebrew rules? Did they work in practice as you'd hoped they would? Did the PC make frequent use of these benefits? Do you think it affected game balance? Would you make any changes to these rules if using them again in the future? \$\endgroup\$ – Tiggerous Apr 14 at 6:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Apr 14 at 10:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting house rule, but it seems to overlap with the Healer Feat and its application of the Healing Kit ... this reminds me of a lot of the home brew we did in earlier editions. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 14 at 12:32

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