Medical herbalists use plants and herbal remedies to help improve their clients’ health and wellbeing.
Salary Range: Variabe
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
To prepare for work as a medical herbalist, you should complete a degree in herbal medicine approved by the National Institute of Medical Herbalists or one of the organisations represented by the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association.
Degrees last 3 years full time or 5 to 6 years part time and include at least 500 hours of supervised clinical practice with patients.
If you’re a trained medical practitioner like a doctor or nurse, you could take a postgraduate degree in herbal medicine.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
Volunteering and experience
You’ll find it useful to arrange some work shadowing with a practising medical herbalist before you begin your studies.
Professional and industry bodies
There is currently no statutory regulation for medical herbalists.
Check with the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association for the latest information about regulation.
You can find out more about becoming a medical herbalist from the National Institute of Medical Herbalists.
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of medicine and dentistry
- knowledge of psychology
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- sensitivity and understanding
- thinking and reasoning skills
- the ability to read English
- knowledge of biology
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- taking a detailed history of the client’s symptoms and lifestyle
- carrying out a physical assessment and appropriate tests
- prescribing a relevant herbal remedy
- growing and preparing herbs in various forms, including capsules, extracts, ointments or infusions
- keeping client notes
- seeing clients for follow-up appointments
- referring clients to their GP where necessary
You could work in a therapy clinic or at a client’s home.
With experience you could move into teaching or research.