Red Dead Redemption 2 features several optional challenges divided into different categories. These challenges not only allow players to obtain exclusive items, but also to get additional XP for any of Arthur's cores - Health, Stamina and Dead Eye.
The challenge category indicates the field of expertise players need to show to excel in. They are Bandit, Explorer, Gambler, Herbalist, Horseman, Master Hunter, Sharpshooter, Survivalist, and Weapons Expert.
In this guide, we will review the Herbalist challenges and tell you how to complete all ten of them with ease. One of them can be quite time-consuming, but it will be considerably less frustrating to complete thanks to our tips.
Herbalist Challenges Overview
Herbalist challenges focus on finding and using the herbs, plants, and berries available in the game. If you have been crafting a lot since the beginning of story mode, you will probably have less difficulty completing these ten challenges, as you already have the required knowledge to complete them.
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As most of these challenges involve finding plants and herbs, you need to know how to search for them. While traveling away from any settlement and off the main roads, you only have to activate Eagle Eye to see them highlighted on the screen. While some plants can be found all over the map, some are specific to certain environments, so you will find select herbs only in cold areas or in wet areas, like the swamps near Saint Denis and so on.
Like all the other story mode challenges, please note that you can only complete the ten Herbalist challenges in the order they are unlocked. If you haven't completed the first challenge, eating any species of berry will not count toward challenge number two completion, for example.
#1. Pick Six Yarrow
The first Herbalist challenge is rather straightforward, as you only need to pick six yarrow to complete. Yarrow is relatively common in the New Hanover and Lemoyne regions, which can both be accessed fairly easily from Chapter 2, as they are very close to the Horseshoe Outlook Camp.
The Yarrow is also quite useful as it can be used for crafting a variety of tonics, including the Potent Health Cure, which fully restores your Health bar and fortifies it for a short amount of time.
You will receive the Herbalist Off-Hand Holster item for completing this challenge. This item is part of the Herbalist equipment set which will grant a Dead Eye bonus once all items have been obtained.
#2. Pick and Eat Four Species of Berry
The second Herbalist challenge is also rather straightforward, but slightly more time consuming than the first, as you need to pick and eat four different species of berries.
The available berries in Red Dead Redemption 2 are the Blackberry, found all over the map near hills and woodlands, Blackcurrant, found in well-lit areas in Gaptooth Ridge and Cholla Springs in New Austin, Evergreen Huckleberry, found near the whole length of the Kamassa River, Red Raspberry, which is found in every region of the map as it's extremely common, and the Wintergreen Berry, only found to the northeast of Ambarino and New Hanover.
As plants spawn randomly on the map, there aren't precise spots on the map where they are easier to find. The only suggestion we have to make this task a little less frustrating is to spot bushes from afar, as they are likely to carry berries.
The reward for completing this challenge is $5 and 25 Health EXP.
#3. Craft Seven Items Using Sage as an Ingredient
Things start to get more complicated with the third Herbalist challenge, as you need to craft seven different items by using any of the sage types in the game.
The available sage types in Red Dead Redemption 2 are the Desert Sage, only available in the western areas of Gaptooth Ridge in New Austin, Hummingbird Sage, found in areas with dense foliage and under trees in Lemoyne, in the western part of West Elizabeth, and on the river banks of the Kamassa River, Oleander Sage, found in the swamps near Saint Denis, and Red Sage, which is only available near the Rio Bravo in New Austin.
Once you have gathered the required sage, it's time to get crafting. You can do so at the main camp by accessing the campfire as well as at any camp you encounter on the map, including those you can set up at any time.
Sage can be used to craft a variety of items, but we suggest you craft Poison weapons with the Oleander Sage if you have obtained the recipes already, as they are extremely effective against enemies and even while hunting. Craft either seven Poison Arrows or seven Poison Throwing Knives and you will be set. You will also have to do the same for a later challenge, so you will end up having a good stock of Poison weapons after completing all of the Herbalist challenges.
The reward for completing this challenge is the Herbalist Gun Belt, which provides a Dead Eye bonus once the full equipment set has been completed.
#4. Pick Five Mushrooms and Feed them to your Horse
The fourth Herbalist challenge requires players to pick five mushrooms and feed them to their horse. To feed your horse, you simply need to access the Horse section in the weapon wheel, select the option to the left and scroll until you get to the mushrooms in your possession. You can also feed your horse from horseback, but only while at low speed.
The challenge description doesn't specify that mushrooms have to be of different species, so any in your current possession will do, even if they are of the same type.
The different mushroom types found in Red Dead Redemption 2 are the Chanterelles, found in the grassy areas and woodlands of the Lemoyne region and in the eastern part of New Hanover, Ram's Head, found mainly in woodlands in West Elizabeth and Ambarino, and the Parasol Mushroom, which is common all over the map. As the last is the most common, you will likely have a few Parasol Mushrooms in your possession already if you have been looking for herbs for a long time.
The reward for completing this challenge is $10 and 50 Health EXP.
#5. Craft Nine Items Using Indian Tobacco as an Ingredient
The fifth Herbalist challenge is as specific as it can get, as you must craft nine items with Indian Tobacco to complete it.
Indian Tobacco is among the easiest herbs to find in Red Dead Redemptions 2, as it's quite common in woodlands and savannas located in Ambarino, Lemoyne and West Elizabeth, areas that can be accessed easily from the very beginning of the game since they are close to the first camp of the Van der Linde gang, Horseshoe Outlook.
Indian Tobacco is used to craft Dead Eye tonics - Potent Miracle Tonic, Potent Snake Oil, and Special Snake Oil. As the Potent Snake Oil only requires one to craft, we suggest you craft nine of them to complete the challenge as quickly as possible: the Potent Miracle Tonic requires x4 while the Special Snake Oil needs x2.
The reward for completing this challenge is $10 and 50 Health EXP.
#6. Pick 15 Different Species Of Herbs.
Now that we are in the latter half of the Herbalist challenges, things are starting to get more serious.. and more time consuming, as you need to pick 15 different species of herbs to complete the sixth challenge. As there are 30 types of herbs in the game, you will need to pick exactly half of the total.
The 30 herb types in the game are the Alaskan Ginseng, American Ginseng, Bay Bolete, Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Burdock Root, Chanterelles, Common Bulrush, Creeping Thyme, Desert Sage, English Mace, Evergreen Huckleberry, Golden Currant, Hummingbird Sage, Indian Tobacco, Milkweed, Oleander Sage, Oregano, Parasol Mushroom, Prairie Poppy, Ram's Head, Red Raspberry, Red Sage, Vanilla Flower, Violet Snowdrops, Wild Carrot, Wild Feverfew, Wild Mint, Wintergreen Berry, and Yarrow. Some of them are extremely common while others, like the Violet Snowdrops, are extremely rare and can only be found in specific regions. Check out our guide to learn where to find all of them.
The reward for completing this challenge is $15 and 100 Health EXP. A very small reward, considering the effort needed to complete it.
#7. Craft and Use Five Special Miracle Tonics
The seventh Herbalist challenge is slightly less time consuming than the previous one, as you must only craft and then use five Special Miracle Tonics.
The Special Miracle Tonic is the best tonic available in Red Dead Redemption 2, as it fully restores all bars and fortifies all cores greatly, meaning they won't be draining for a decent amount of time. This tonic is crafted with 6 currants, either Blackcurrant or Gold Currants, 6 yarrows and 4 burdock roots. Once you have crafted all five of them, you can use them all one after the other to complete the challenge quickly, but remember that only those you have crafted will count toward completion, so don't think you can cheat.
The reward for completing this challenge is the Herbalist Holster, which grants a Dead Eye bonus once the full Herbalist set has been obtained.
#8. Use Oleander to Craft Six Poison Weapons
The eight Herbalist challenge is among the easiest to complete, as you just need to craft six poison weapons to complete it. Poison weapons are the Poison Arrows and the Poison Throwing Knives, which can only be crafted after obtaining the correct pamphlet containing the crafting recipe.
The Poison Arrow recipe is sold by any fence after Chapter 2 or can be found in a chest outside the Mysterious Hill Home to the northeast of Bacchus Station. The Poison Throwing Knife recipe is sold by any fence after completing the Pouring Forth Oil mission in Chapter 2 or can be found hidden beneath a floorboard in a shack located to the northeast of Saint Denis.
Oleander Sage isn't among the most common herbs in Red Dead Redemption 2, but it's not difficult to find at all, as it's very common in the swamps to the north of Saint Denis. The areas near the Bayou Nwa are rich with Oleander Sage, so head over there to find the six you will need to complete this challenge.
The reward for clearing the challenge is $15 and 100 Health EXP.
#9. Pick One of Each Species of Herb
The ninth Herbalist challenge is the most time consuming of them all, as you must pick every herb species in the game. If you don't know where to look, this is going to take a very long time, but we've got you covered with our plants and herbs location guide, which details where to find all types with ease.
The reward for completing this massive challenge is $20 and 150 Health EXP.
#10. Season and Cook all Eleven Types of Meat
The final Herbalist challenge requires players to have made quite a bit of hunting as well, as you must season and cook all eleven types of meat to complete it.
Like for pelts, there are different meat qualities, which solely depend on the animal, and not on how the animal is killed, so there are actually more than eleven types of meat in Red Dead Redemption 2. To complete the challenge, you must season and cook any type of fish, gamey bird meat, obtained from small birds, stringy meat, obtained from rats and other small animals, herptile meat, obtained from reptiles, plump bird meat, obtained from turkeys and chickens, crustacean meat, obtained from shellfish, gristly mutton, obtained from sheep and goats, mature venison, obtained from deer, game meat, obtained from rabbits, prime beef, obtained from cows and buffalos, and tender pork, obtained from pigs. Big game meat, obtained from big animals like bears, wolves, and alligators, counts as game meat.
As for seasoning while cooking, the herbs needed for cooking recipes are Wild Mint, found near streams, marshes and moist meadows all over the map, Oregano, found all over the map in dry grasslands, and Creeping Thyme, found all over the map in sandy soil, so it's easier to find on river banks and near rock formations.
The reward for completing the final Herbalist challenge is the Herbalist Bandolier, which grants a Dead Eye bonus together with the other items of the set.