Herbalism has been around for centuries and is deeply rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine. This type of complementary medicine can be used alone or in conjunction with conventional medicines to treat various health conditions, including:
- Headaches and migraines
- Common cold and flu
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Eczema, psoriasis and other skin problems
- Kidney disease
- Asthma and other allergies
- Liver disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
Are you interested in studying this modality and starting your own herbal practice? Continue reading as we go over the educational requirements for the majority of Australian herbal schools and discuss complementary therapies that can be used in tandem with herbal therapy.
As a bonus, you get to watch a video interview by ntpagesTV reporter Mel with Leah Hechtman, NHAA vice president and herbalist, to learn more about the duration of the program and how to find the best herbal schools.
What does a herbalist do?
A herbalist, also known as a clinical herbalist, has acquired considerable training in the use of herbs, specifically their active ingredients, to aid the body's natural healing mechanism. They are skilled at creating natural products that may be ingested or used topically, such as:
- Pills containing powdered or liquid herbs
Herbalists may not have attended medical school, but they collaborate closely with medical practitioners, allied health professionals, and other natural therapists to ensure their clients have excellent health outcomes.
What are the benefits of studying herbal medicine?
Taking a course in herbalism will pave the way for a fulfilling career that allows you to help people improve their health by utilising herbs. As a herbalist, you must not only be prepared with the necessary equipment and expertise, but you must also follow the ethical practices in your area.
As a herbalist, you can work in a variety of settings, such as:
- Integrative health clinics
- Herbal dispensaries
- Community health centres
- Acupuncture clinic
- Plant nursery
- Retreat centres
- Private Practice
What are the qualifications of a clinical herbalist?
In Australia, a Bachelor of Health Science in Western Herbal Medicine is required to practise as a professional herbalist. It's a three-year program when studied full-time, which covers a wide range of subjects, including:
- The history of herbal medicine
- The building blocks of the human body
- Foundations of natural therapies
- Herbal medicine concepts
- Research methodologies
To get into this course, you must have finished Year 12 or equivalent and satisfied the other entry requirements of the university where you wish to study. If you're not prepared to give this course your all, a short herbal certification course is a fantastic place to start.
After receiving your degree, you must get professional indemnity insurance, register with the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH), the national organisation that upholds the highest ethical and educational standards for practitioners of herbal medicine, and renew your registration annually. Your membership with ARONAH must be updated regularly by completing the mandatory Continuing Professional Education (CPE).
Where can you study herbalism?
Australia has a range of prestigious colleges and universities that cater to both domestic and international students who are seeking to become qualified herbal medicine practitioners. These institutions offer a variety of programs to match the goals and financial needs of each student. It is important to choose a school and course that are compatible with your goals for studying herbalism.
If the idea of using herbs to make ingredients for health products you may take or apply to yourself appeals to you, a short training class will suffice. If, on the other hand, you want to become a clinical herbalist who can prescribe herbal medications, a degree program is the way to go.
How are the courses delivered?
Herbal medicine courses are available on a variety of platforms, including face-to-face, online and blended learning. Herbal educators not only teach students the necessary skills for success in their chosen field, but they also create an environment in which students can practise the following:
- Effective communication
- Observational skills
These and other soft skills are critical for their development and success in a constantly evolving profession.
Learn more from NHAA's Leah Hechtman
In this video interview with Leah Hechtman from the NHAA, learn more about the many learning pathways that you may take to become a qualified herbal medicine practitioner. It covers the following points to help you pick the best institution to enrol in as you begin your journey to being a professional herbalist in Australia or anywhere else:
- How do I find a herbal medicine course to study?
- Do herbal medicine courses differ from state to state?
- How do I know a course is recognised by herbal medicine associations?
- How many years is herbal medicine training?
- Should I study herbal medicine through a private college or a university?