An herbalist is:
  1. A person whose life is dedicated to the economic or medicinal uses of plants.
  2. One skilled in the harvesting and collection of medicinal plants (see wildcrafter).
  3. Traditional Chinese herbalist: one who is trained or skilled in the dispensing of herbal prescriptions; traditional Chinese herb doctor. Similarly, Traditional Ayurvedic herbalist: one who is trained or skilled in the dispensing of herbal prescriptions in the Ayurvedic tradition.
  4. One trained or skilled in the therapeutic use of medicinal plants.

An herbalist is a professional trained in herbalism
Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, herblore, and phytotherapy...

, the use of herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

s (also called botanical or crude medicine
Crude medicine
Crude medicine , are bulk drugs from the Chinese materia medica basic processing and treatment.- Overview :...

) to treat others. Professional herbal designations include the following:
  • American Herbalists Guild
    American Herbalists Guild
    The American Herbalists Guild is the only professional organization for herbalists of all traditions in the United States of America. The Guild was founded in 1989 as a non-profit, educational organization...

     Registered Herbalist (AHG)
  • the NCCAOM Diplomate in Oriental Medicine
    Oriental Medicine
    In the United States, Oriental medicine refers to a graduate-level degree program of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, with Tuina, Qigong and associated modalities. A MSOM, MSAOM or MSTOM degree is usually given.In 2003 the U.S. Department of Education authorized the Doctorate of...

     from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
    National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
    The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is a non-profit organization in the United States that aims to "establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the...

  • the MNHAA signifying Full Member of the National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA)
  • the FNHAA signifying Fellow of the NHAA, awarded only to Full Members with a minimum of 10 years Full Membership and clinical practice as a herbalist, plus meritorious service to the profession and/or Association.
  • the MNIMH (member) or FNIMH (fellow) of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists
    National Institute of Medical Herbalists
    The National Institute of Medical Herbalists is the largest professional body regulating medical herbalists in the United Kingdom. It was first established as the National Association of Medical Herbalists in 1864 by a group of herbalists from the north of England, but currently has members in...

     or the MIIMH of The Irish Institute of Medical Herbalists
    Irish Institute of Medical Herbalists
    The Irish Institute of Medical Herbalists is the professional organization for medical herbalists in Ireland. It was formally incorporated in 1990. The current criteria for membership of the IIMH is a BSc honours degree in herbal medicine which includes examinations in medicine and herbalism as...

  • the MCPP of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy
    College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy
    The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy, also known as the CPP, is a British professional organisation for herbalists. Phytotherapy is a term frequently used as a synonym for medical herbalism...


Education of herbalists varies considerably in different areas of the world. Lay herbalists and traditional indigenous medicine people
Medicine man
"Medicine man" or "Medicine woman" are English terms used to describe traditional healers and spiritual leaders among Native American and other indigenous or aboriginal peoples...

 generally rely upon apprenticeship and recognition from their communities in lieu of formal schooling. In some countries formalised training and minimum education standards exist, although these are not necessarily uniform within or between countries. For example, in Australia the currently self-regulated status of the profession (as of April 2008) results in different associations setting different educational standards, and subsequently recognising an educational institution or course of training. Qualifications levels vary from Diploma to Masters degree, with Advanced Diploma level being regulated to some degree by the national Health Training Packages issued by the Australian National Training Authority. The Course Accreditation System Version 2 of the National Herbalists Association of Australia http://www.nhaa.org.au/ is generally recognised as the most rigorous and professional standard within Australia.

Herbalists may engage in wildcrafting
Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or "wild" habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It applies to uncultivated plants wherever they may be found, and is not necessarily limited to wilderness areas...

 or cultivation of herbs, as well as diagnosis and treatment of conditions or dispensing herbal medication. Most herbal traditions depend upon constitutional analysis of the client, treating the patient instead of the disease.

Many herbalists, particularly those with 'apothecary' herbal backgrounds, become affiliated with or found commercial herbal products manufacturing companies for producing herbal products of varying kinds. Most 'liquid' herbal products companies hold the distinction of having been started by individuals who were already practicing herbalists and took their apothecary herbal skills onto full commercial endeavors.

See also

  • Ayurveda
    Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

  • Chinese herbology
    Chinese herbology
    Chinese Herbology is the theory of Traditional Chinese herbal therapy, which accounts for the majority of treatments in Traditional Chinese medicine ....

  • Ethnobotany
    Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants....

  • Herbal
    AThe use of a or an depends on whether or not herbal is pronounced with a silent h. herbal is "a collection of descriptions of plants put together for medicinal purposes." Expressed more elaborately — it is a book containing the names and descriptions of plants, usually with information on their...

    (book on herbs and their uses)

External links

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