There are several learning options available for those wishing to study herbalism. Here we discuss some of the programs, as well as career information in the field.
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Herbalism is the use of plant-based ingredients for medicinal purposes. Herbal remedies predate all chemical ones, and there are many cultures that still rely on herbal remedies to treat common ailments. In recent years, interest in the use of medicinal herbs has been on the rise.
Adult students interested in learning about the practice of herbalism can find online and in-person classes and workshops, as well as certificate programs, at adult education centers, community colleges and universities. University courses are often offered through continuing or community education departments. There are also specialized schools that offer individual classes and certificate programs to students of all ages. Many of these programs are offered online to accommodate adult learners. More information is detailed here.
Programs At a Glance
- This 2-year program consists of 6 course modules.
- The program is available online.
Complementary and Integrative Health
- This certificate program requires 24 contact hours.
- The program is offered online.
Individual Courses and Workshops
Adult education centers, along with community colleges, offer personal interest courses and workshops in herbalism to that teach about common herbs and their use for weight loss and health maintenance. Common topics include cooking herbs for home remedies, herb wellness kits, edible landscaping, and drying herbs. These programs are typically offered on-campus as they include hands-on learning, but may be available in the evenings.
Community colleges and universities offer certificate programs in herbalism or in complementary and alternative medicine, which includes herbalism. These programs typically do not result in credit and many of these courses are conducted online. Some certificate programs are designed to prepare students for membership in the American Herbalists Guild. Certificate programs require 6-7 classes and can require a combination of workshop and courses. Course topics include plant identification, medicinal plants, herbal formulations, and practical herbology. Graduates of these programs should have a working knowledge of herbal therapeutics of different body systems, healing properties of various herbs and even how to create herbal products.
Many herbalists own and operate small farms where they grow their own herbs to sell to the general public or to herbal practitioners. Other herbalists prefer 'wildcrafting', or picking herbs that grow wild in nature. Still other herbalists prefer to purchase the herbs they use. Herbalists use their herbs to create remedies, such as herbal teas, herbal tinctures (medicinal plants soaked in alcohol), herbal poultices (healing herbs mixed with fats and applied externally), and herbal pills. Yet other herbalists will devote themselves to the education of others in proper use of herbs and herbal remedies.
Students wanting to study herbalism can pursue individual courses or workshops in the subject, or certificate programs in the field. Many of these programs are available online for the adult learner and can help prepare for a career as an herbalist.