A Herbalist will use plants as medicines, along with food and lifestyle adjustments to support good health and prevent disease.
The earliest documented use of herbal medicine was by the Ancient Sumerians in 5000 BC. Since this time, herbal medicine has evolved to meet the health needs of each generation since. Today, herbal medicine is used to help the body generate health and ward off disease and has shown itself to be a powerful health ally, now recommended by the World Health Organisation as a valuable preventative system of medicine that should be integrated into everyday life.
What does a herbalist do?
A herbalist will combine herbs to create a formula that will have a health increasing and disease-reducing action on a person.
Herbs are known to have anti-viral, immune, anti-microbial, respiratory, digestion-enhancing and nourishing effects on the body. Herbs can also have a specific impact on specific organs of the body such as the liver, the lungs or bladder.
A herbalist is trained to know the phytochemical content of different herbs and how to combine them to assist a person from ill health to good health.
A herbal formula may be given in an alcohol solution (tincture), as a ground up powder, either loose or in capsules, in dried form as a tea, or in creams and unguents for topical use..
A herbalist is qualified to dispense medicinal herbs, which means that the herbal medicines and formulas they provide will be stronger and more potent than herbal medicines, powders and tinctures you can purchase in the shops. This is why a herbalist will ask for a full consultation with you before dispensing herbal medicines.
A Herbalist will normally consult with a new client for between 60 to 90 minutes. During this time a thorough case history will be taken, and you will be asked for your family history, medical history, diet, lifestyle and health concerns that have brought you to the herbalist. It is common that herbalist will look at your tongue, nails and skin and sometimes your iris as well.
Once your consultation is done, the herbalist will create a treatment plan for you, which will include lifestyle and dietary recommendations, and will also blend together a herbal formula that will be designed to address your health complaint.
A follow up appointment with a herbalist tends to be shorter that the first appointment and can last between 35 and 45 minutes depending on the complexity of your health goals.
All data shared with a Herbalist is confidential and protected by strict data protection rules.
The length of time you spend with a Herbalist is up to you. Some Herbalists will give you the option to see them as and when you need to., whereas others will require a minimum commitment of a number of weeks at a time to work with you.
How much does Herbal Medicine cost?
The cost of your Herbalist will depend on a wide range of factors including their specialism, experience, location, level of service and personal preference.
As part of seeing a Herbalist you will need to pay for the Herbal Medicines themselves. Details of the costs of consultations and herbal medicines should be made clear to you at the time of booking, and some practitioners also advertise their costs on their website.
To become a competent Herbalist you will need to be educated to Diploma Level 6, or BSc Honours level. This training takes approximately 4-5 years depending on whether you study full time or part time.
Herbal Medicine Professional development
In order to maintain professional status as a Herbalist, membership associations such as ANP will require a minimum amount of further training and continued professional development to maintain your status, level of competence and code of conduct.
A good Herbal Medicine association such as ANP will help their members to stay abreast of latest developments in the field of Herbal Medicine and continually provide ongoing training so that members can remain up to date with developments in their field.