What Is Medical Herbalism?
Medical Herbalism is the scientific study of the medicinal properties of plants in addition to the traditional and folk medicine uses and the application in regards to healthcare.
How Is That Different From An Herbalist?
Herbalism in the United States is still considered "People's Medicine," which means that, since it has such a long history of being used as folk medicine, there is currently no degree or certification required to legally be able to call yourself an herbalist or practice as such. A qualified Medical Herbalist has a degree or certification in the field of medical herbalism from an accredited school or university. In addition to becoming well-versed in the traditional herbal preparations and uses for herbs, Medical Herbalists also spend a lot of time studying the chemical compounds that are responsible for their healing properties, human anatomy and physiology, pathology, and how traditional methods can work with modern diseases, illnesses, and imbalances, and pharmacology (drugs), and how herbs affect prescription and over-the-counter medications.
All these things together are very important for intelligently, safely, and effectively working with natural "alternative" healthcare in the world of modern medicine and illnesses.
YOU SHOULD KNOW: No variety of herbalist, medical or otherwise, diagnoses or "treats" specific diseases or illnesses. This is because of FDA regulations and because we are not doctors (unless otherwise licensed). Additionally, your herbalist, or any other natural healthcare practitioner, should never tell you to just quit taking your prescription medications. Regardless of their feelings on the matter, such a recommendation is both unwise and illegal. Talking with you about your options, working with you, and suggesting that you talk with your doctor about stepping off your medications (if that's what YOU want to do) is a different story.