Medical herbalist

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Medical herbalists use plants and herbal remedies to help improve their clients’ health and wellbeing.

Salary Range: Variabe

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You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
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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.

Entry requirements

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

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Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it useful to arrange some work shadowing with a practising medical herbalist before you begin your studies.

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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.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a medical herbalist from the National Institute of Medical Herbalists.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • 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
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Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in a therapy clinic or at a client’s home.

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With experience you could move into teaching or research.