Herbology, also called herbal medicine, is the study of herbs and their medicinal properties. Degree options solely in this discipline are rare. It's more commonly taught as part of oriental medicine or traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) master's programs. Coursework examines how herbs can be used to maintain health and treat ailments and diseases. Students learn how to process herbs by cleaning and slicing them, then drying and testing them for bacteria, heavy metals and pesticides. They'll also study other popular holistic methods like acupuncture, massage and dietary therapy. Clinical experience is gained in laboratories, medical centers and pharmacies.
Completion of an on-campus herb garden or dispensary internship for graduation might be required.
Master's in Herboology
While some programs only require a bachelor's degree, others are only open to licensed acupuncturists. It's recommended that prospective enrollees have an educational background in basic herbology, cell biology and organic chemistry. Human biology, anatomy, physiology and herbal formulas are all a part of herbology master's curriculum. Other common courses include:
- Eastern nutrition
- General and systemic pathology
- Theories of traditional Chinese medicine
- Therapeutic strategies in Oriental medicine
Popular Career Options
Most herbology professionals are either self-employed or work for private practices or holistic medical clinics. Some other popular job titles include:
- Herbal practitioner
- Herb grower
- Herbal product manufacturer
Continuing Education Information
Voluntary certification in Chinese herbology is available through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Candidates must complete a minimum of 2,050 hours of academic classes, in addition to 410 clinical hours, through a program recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Alternately, a candidate can complete a 4,000-hour apprenticeship program, or a combination of formal education courses and an apprenticeship. The final step in the process is passage of a national exam. Some schools offer doctoral programs in Oriental medicine. However, these programs tend to focus more on acupuncture and other aspects of the area than on herbology.
In summary, herbal medicine is a practice typically studied in master's degree programs. These programs will benefit those who are seeking self-employment or private practice.