What is herbalism?

Posted by Claudia Stocker on

Claudia Stocker is a certified Herbalist who works in Guelph, Ontario. Claudia has a natural affinity for herbs and plants, particularly for their healing properties. 

But what exactly is an herbalist and what do they do? 

Simply put, herbalism is the study of plants for medicinal purposes. Plants have been used for as long as humans have existed to treat everything from a mild rash all the way to conditions such as depression, anxiety, burns and more. Through various traditions across the world, plants have been known to treat many conditions and this knowledge has been passed down through generations. An herbalist is someone who harnesses various plants and herbs for their healing properties by using flowers, leaves, roots and even barks in treatments such as teas, baths, tinctures, creams and salves to treat a particular condition. An herbalist will work on finding the root cause (pun intended) of an illness or condition and treat it. 

While an herbalist isn't a medical doctor or mental health practitioner, herbalist treatments can be complimentary to many other treatments. In additon, herbalists must undergo extensive training in order to be recognized as  certified. In Ontario, to be recognized as an herbalist with the Ontario Herbalists Association, a practitioner must complete one of the following category requirements:

  1. "Receive at least 1100 hours of instruction / training, or equivalent in distance education format.

Of this, a minimum of 500 hours must consist of instruction in core herbal subjects such as materia medica, herbal therapeutics, herbal pharmacology, herbal pharmacy, history and philosophy of herbalism, herbal energetics, and field identification.
The core herbal subjects should focus primarily on a single herbal tradition (eg. Western herbalism, TCM, Ayurveda, etc.)
In addition, a minimum of 350 hours must consist of instruction in the sciences including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, and nutrition.
At least 350 hours of practical supervised clinic. Clinic hours must primarily consist of client / patient consultations, assessment, protocol development, remedy formulation, herbal dispensing, record keeping and follow-up.
2. Have received training or have apprenticed within a First Nations oral tradition only that does not recognize certificates or diplomas as a means of attesting to the qualifications of practitioners within that tradition. These practitioners will be assessed on the basis of the recommendations of their teacher(s) as long as the latter are respected within their community, and their authority is recognized within their tradition.
3. For practitioners who did not receive formal education, applicants are required to submit all of the following information:
Documentary evidence of all training in relevant fields.Documentary evidence of completion of any supervised practical hours with a herbalist(s), together with the qualifications and training of the herbalist(s).The applicant must have established and maintained a herbal practice for a minimum of 5 out of the past 7 years, and must provide evidence of practice (advertising, business registration, etc.). The applicant should also provide 1 professional healthcare practitioner letter of reference, and 5 client references. All references should be willing to allow direct contact from the OHA as necessary."
Claudia believes that where there are conditions and illnesses, there are plants to treat them. Be sure to check out products in stock today!

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