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Studying Herbal Medicine

Last Updated Oct 20, 2020

Do you want to fill your medicine cabinet at home with tiny jars of capsules, teabags and tinctures which you made yourself using fresh herbs? 

Whether you're a naturopath, an Ayurvedic practitioner or new to complementary medicine, studying herbal medicine will benefit you and your profession as you'll be able to use the knowledge that you gain to heal and restore the health of your clients. This article explains what herbal medicine is, why you should learn it and how you can benefit from it.

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine refers to the use of natural substances derived from medicinal plants to treat a variety of health conditions and promote overall wellness. The objective of herbal medicine is to restore balance to the body and boost the functions of its different organs and systems. 

Herbs are employed in different healing modalities to improve the body's circulatory system, energy levels, nervous system and immune system, as well as managing anxiety and depression. 

Why Study Herbal Medicine?

If you're interested in the medicinal value of plants and want to learn how to make homemade remedies and incorporate them into your practice, taking a course in herbal medicine is the ideal route for you. You will learn about different herbal plants, the distillation process for preparing herbal medicine, how to administer it orally and topically, and so much more.

Career Outcomes for Herbalists

A qualified herbalist and registered member of the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists (ARONAH), the country's peak organisation for naturopaths and herbalists, can explore a range of career options. In addition to setting up their own private practice where they can hold one-on-one consultations, they may collaborate with other health practitioners like naturopaths and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners.

And because of their extensive knowledge about the healing properties of plants, they can cultivate a herbal garden, process herbal medicines and sell these over the counter. However, they must comply with the laws of the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods regarding the sale of complementary medicine.

What Are Your Study Options?

Completing a bachelor's degree in western herbal medicine will provide you with the qualification that you need to practise herbal medicine on a professional level. However, if you're not sure about this three-year course and prefer to take smaller steps in your learning journey, you can start with a diploma-level qualification.

A course in naturopathy or Ayurveda covers principles of herbal medicine, making it an ideal pathway for you before diving into a more comprehensive study.

Where Can You Study Herbal Medicine?

Where you study herbal medicine depends on your goals. If you're looking to become a registered herbalist in Australia, it would be best to enrol yourself in a university or college that is recognised by the country's peak organisations for professional herbalists such as the ARONAH and Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA).

Before you decide to enrol, find out what's on the school's syllabus, how much the tuition is and how the course is delivered. Making sure that the program you get into conforms with your budget, schedule and interest, is the only way that you can ensure yourself of the best education in herbal medicine.

Let the Natural Therapy Pages' comprehensive list of qualified course providers assist you as you embark on your herbal medicine education.

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Originally published on Oct 13, 2020

FAQs About Studying Herbal Medicine

What can herbs be used for?

Herbs are used for treating various health conditions and for culinary purposes. As a medicine, it helps improve the functions of the body's different organ systems to prevent diseases.

What are medicinal plants and their uses?

Medicinal plants have active ingredients that treat diseases and promote health. These active ingredients are the main components in some pharmaceutical drugs like aspirin. In complementary medicine, medicinal plants are made into herbal capsules, tablets, tinctures or syrups.

Is mint a medicinal plant?

Yes, mint is a type of medicinal plant that is used to treat digestive problems and headaches. It also boasts of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve nasal congestion and allergies.

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