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Previous Entry new girl Aug. 19th, 2008 @ 07:07 pm Next Entry
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Date:August 20th, 2008 09:40 am (UTC)
You want human anatomy, probably. As an herbalist, if that is part of what you want to do, you are going to need to know specifically the human body and why it does what it does. Chances are you will want to take it again later for college credit, however.

Major in botany and specialise. There are alot of great schools / colleges that teach herbalism, but never forget that there is *no such thing* as certification or accreditation of herbalists in this country. Period, point, end of discussion. Herbalism has been rather a cash cow for the schools that teach it, and educators know this. I know many a professional herbalist who makes their bread and butter off of writing books, and teaching others. If that is where you want to go, find the absolute best mentor you can. You will never be recognized by the medical establishment, however, as being anything more than another crackpot who is "into that hippy herbal stuff", no matter how good you get. ;-)

If you still want to be recognized as a professional by the establishment, then in the US, you need to get your degree as an Naturopathic physician. I know, that does sound a bit daunting. This country is really rather laughable even about this particular career path, because there are only a handful of states where ND's are appreciated and accepted as being "medical professionals" in any way, shape or form. Most medical schools are teaching herbalism to their students these days because they have noticed a trend - and for the last few years, herbal medicine and acceptance of it by the mainstream has outstripped the per capita performance in many other "traditional" fields of medicine. This is why you see herbs everywhere these days. Nevermind about what value they have or the quality or lack thereof. Everybody wants to be cashing in. Chiropractic is always a choice, again with varying degrees of acceptance. Massage therapy is a nice sideline, but I know of few LMT's these days that make a decent living in a field that seems rather overcrowded. If you want to go toward Eastern Medicine, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, there are a couple of really good schools. Dr. Vasant Lad teaches out in New Mexico, and outside of India, using Ayurveda as my example, there is no better choice. Now, chances are you would still want to go to India to study at last part of the time or if you go toward TCM, you are going to want to go to China because well, let's face it, indigenous modalities tend to have their greatest store of knowledge and mentors in their countries of origin.

Now, if you want to stay strictly with Western herbalisim, in the UK, they have medical / clinical herbalists that are accredited and professionally recognized. The Scottish School of herbalism, for example, is one of the top notch schools in the world. I'd put them up against Bastyr any day. They tend to be expensive, but I have talked to several graduates and to those who have done their distance learning courses and they are very worth it. Do your homework, and in so doing be very careful to not fall for the slick promo materials that schools are more than happy to send out. Ask them tough questions, find out funding options for your education, tuition assistance, etc. You have alot of choices out there. The trick is to successfully negotiate your way through the minefield of places that want your money, but give you little in the way of something you can actually do something with.

Edited at 2008-08-20 09:44 am (UTC)
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