A herbalist is one who practices alternative medicine using plant-based remedies to improve a person’s well being by treating illnesses. You can also work as a licensed practitioner as an acupuncturist, a naturopath or use traditional Chinese medicine to treat people. People are now becoming averse to using harsh medicines and resort to alternative methods of tackling their problems. Ayurveda is another specialized field that uses various herbs to treat chronic diseases. Herbalism may not be recognized in certain jurisdictions and most of the practitioners end up being self-employed.
Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you decide if you would like to be a herbalist.
- A student must get a graduate degree in herbal studies in order to become a herbalist. Students should have a deep desire for learning about various types of herbs that are available and their use to be self-empowered. You should be interested in biology to learn more about the benefits of plants.
- Check out the various organizations that offer coursework and certification. These include the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), The Natural Healing College, The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and similar organizations in your area. The AHG membership is granted to herbalists after they complete four years of education and also clinical experience. They receive the designation of a Registered Herbalist.
- It is necessary to be licensed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as naturopathy as this is a regulation in many states. Practitioners have to pass the Comprehensive Osteopath or the U.S Medical Licensing Examination. In order to continue the practice, naturopaths will require to maintain their license by continue to get education credits every year and this should meet the requirements of the state.
- Get certified through NCCAOM to obtain the practitioner’s license as this is required in most states.
- Enter into a partnership or join groups of Herbalists to start your practice. It would be advisable to consider liability insurance and general liability insurance to protect yourself as a practitioner.
- Other qualities required for becoming a herbalist is the art of listening, making the right decision and learning to handle complex problems.
- It is also advisable to learn how to be competent when using the accounting, spreadsheets and medical software.
- Once you complete your coursework and get a license and certification you can work as a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist or you can research on medicinal plants. This includes pharmacognosy, phytochemistry, horticulture/agriculture, botanical authentication and others. Some herbalists work as naturopathic physicians or herbal educators in schools, institutions, retail industries or community settings.
- Work as an apprentice and try to develop clinical skills with practitioners who have clinical herbal experience.
- You can get a job as a massage therapist and utilize topical herbal preparations. The other job possibilities are becoming a quality assurance specialist, herb cultivator or wildcrafter or as a production and processing specialist among others.
- A herbalist can start a small scale manufacturing unit and prepare tonic teas, topical preparations and medicated honeys.