Online herbal medicine programs are rare, but are available from a few schools. Typically, programs focused specifically on herbal studies are offered as diploma or certificate programs. Students gain a fundamental conceptual understanding of the history and modern applications of herbal therapeutic medicine. Coursework is designed to supplement the knowledge of working healthcare practitioners, including nurses and physicians, who are already licensed in a healthcare specialty.
Herbal Medicine Diploma Programs
A diploma program in herbal medicine is designed to be a supplementary educational program for working professionals in various clinical fields. Pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, veterinarians and medical doctors are some of the professionals who may benefit from completing this program. Topics covered include herbalism, human anatomy, physiology, holistic medicine, holistic pathology and medical terminology. Graduates of this program earn the diploma in herbal studies.
Program Information and Requirements
The average length of this program is about 40 credit-hours. Schools often allow students to complete course material and assignments on their own schedule. Students must have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, e-mail and a web browser.
List of Common Herbal Medicine Courses
Course material is delivered through websites and downloadable and streaming video. There are no general education requirements for this program.
Fundamentals of Herbalism
In this class, students survey the history of herbalism, including the traditional uses of herbs, and their medicinal and therapeutic applications. Emphasis is placed on the integration of holistic herbal medicine into overall human wellness concepts.
This course provides an intense study of each of the major groups of therapeutic herbs, and of the active properties, delivery systems, risks, research and synergistic qualities associated with each. Examples of botanical groups include expectorants, antispasmodics, cathartics, astringents, diuretics, antiseptics, hepatics and stimulants.
The philosophy of holistic health consultants is that humans innately have the ability to heal themselves. This philosophy is the primary focus of this course. Concepts in naturopathy and natural therapeutics are investigated to give students insight into how to treat patients in ways that work synergistically with their bodies and the surrounding environment. Emphasis is also placed on the education of patients so they may heal themselves.
Career Information for Graduates
Graduates of this diploma program earn the title of Master Herbalist, and can pursue careers as a clinical herbalist, herbal products sales representative or as a consultant. The American Herbalist Guild (AHG) reports that many herbalists also work as educators, writers and marketers for the herbal products industry.
Continuing Education Information
While not generally available online, graduate-level certificate programs exist in advanced herbalism for students who want to further their study into the discipline. Master's degree programs in complementary and alternative medicine also feature herbal medicine courses as part of their curriculum.
Individuals already working as healthcare professionals who are interested in herbal medicine can pursue online diploma programs. These diplomas offer courses in holistic pathology, herbal fundamentals, and general herbal medicine.