Herbal Medicine

Find Herbal Medicine Schools in the United States and Canada. Herbal medicine schools instruct students in the essentials of herbalism and botanical medicine. Students who opt to enroll in herbal medicine schools will learn that this form of medicine is one of the oldest healthcare systems known to mankind.

Typically, students who possess an interest in participating in herbal studies at one of several herbal medicine schools should have attained some education in physiology and/or anatomy prior to enrollment. This is important, as it lends to the student’s ability to better understand the philosophy and theories behind herbal medicine therapies.

While some herbal medicine schools focus primarily on traditional Chinese medicine, other herbal medicine schools may provide a wider array of classes that encompass studies in botany, botanical terminology, phytochemistry (of medicinal plants), cell chemistry, medicinal plant compounds, Ayurvedic medicine, Native American plant medicine, herbal pharmacy, diagnosis, clinic and case history; among other related topics.

Students enrolled in herbal medicine schools will gain an overall understanding of how herbal medicine is facilitated for spices, therapy and/or medicinal purposes. In addition, students will learn from which plants herbs are derived, and how to use those herbs for not only medicinal purposes, but for nutritional additives and aromatherapy. Because herb plants produce and comprise a myriad of chemical substances, students participating in studies at herbal medicine schools will also learn that 25% of prescription drugs in the US contain at least one active plant material ingredient.

Successful candidates, who have completed all course requirements through one of many herbal medicine schools can go onto achieve varying levels of herbal medicine certifications. Many of these certified herbal medicine therapists can enter the healthcare fields of Ayurvedic practitioners, homeopathic practitioners, natural health practitioners, Chinese medicine practitioners and other holistic health practitioners. In addition, astute candidates who have completed advanced training courses at one of many herbal medicine schools may utilize their knowledge and skills to help develop plant medicines for pharmaceutical researchers.

Because herbal medicine schools vary in course length, tuition costs and curriculum, it is always wise for prospective students to carefully review course outlines, prerequisites (if any) and if financial aid options are available. Generally speaking, herbal medicine schools are growing in quantity because the demand for alternative and natural medicine is concurrently on the rise. Students and even current health professionals who are seeking a rewarding alternative in health care will find that gaining a comprehensive education through any one of numerous herbal medicine schools can only benefit one’s personal and professional growth.

The History of Alternative Medicine

A New Fad or Steeped in Ancient History?

You may be new to using alternative medicine or perhaps you have already seen the amazing benefits alternative medicine and alternative therapies can bring to your life. But do you know how long its been practiced and where it originated? Well let me take you on a journey into the fascinating history of alternative medicine.

The history of Alternative Medicine is an interesting one and has links with many different cultures. However it’s difficult to say exactly when Alternative Medicine began, in part because up until recently the practices that fall under this term were the conventional medical practices of their time. But if we go back in history and trace several of the forms of healing that are now labelled as alternative we find that their origins go back as much as 5000 years.

From Eastern Philosophy to Widely used Western Alternatives

One of the oldest forms of alternative medicine can be traced back through Chinese history. The ancient Chinese, in much the same way as alternative medicine is used today, based their healing on the importance of the body and spirit being in balance. Much of the philosophy of Chinese Medicine is based on Taoist and Buddhist principals and the belief that a person and their environment are closely interlinked. The widely known principles of Yin and Yang come from Chinese Medicine and are integral to its practice. Yin and Yang explains how opposing forces are integral to each other and how for harmony within the body to take place, these must be in balance. When these are out of balance, disease occurs.

Chinese Medicine works at restoring balance in various ways including herbal medicine, acupuncture, breathing and movement (Tai Chi and Qigong) and also through diet. The practitioner looked at the patient’s health and life in detail to ascertain where their life force or Qi (pronounced Chi) was out of balance. Various methods would then be used to restore the patient back to health. Such was the effectiveness of Chinese Traditional Medicine that it still forms a large part of modern health care in the East. It’s not unusual for these “alternative” practices to be used in hospitals alongside western medicine.

The other Eastern Culture that has a long history of alternative medicine is India. Ayurvedic medicine dates back as far as 6000 years ago and like Chinese Medicine also has links with Buddhism. Ayurveda comes from 2 Sanskrit words – Ayu meaning life and veda meaning knowledge of. It is a system of medicine that keeps a persons body, mind and spirit in tune with nature in order to maintain good health.

When in Rome …..

In the West, the History of Alternative Medicine goes back around 3000 years. Treatments such as hydrotherapy were popular with the Romans and Greeks. The Ancient Greeks who were greatly influenced by the Babylonians and to a lesser extent by India and China brought herbalism into the West. Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC), a Greek physician commonly referred to as the Father of Medicine, practiced herbal medicine.

During the Middle Ages, Monks in Europe studied and grew medicinal plants and translated many works on the subject from Arabic. Folk Healers also passed on their knowledge of healing through word of mouth, from Master to Apprentice. The understanding of the power different plants have is ingrained in many native civilisations and has allowed man to understand and thrive in often challenging environments. When the Europeans settled in America they found that the Native Americans had an extensive knowledge of the healing power of their indigenous herbs. Likewise the Aborigines in Australia understood the power of plants found in their environment.

Moving forward in time towards the 19th Century, before the rise of Western Medicine, as we now know it, medical practitioners were more like today’s naturopaths. They would take a detailed medical history paying particular attention to the patient’s lifestyle. They would then suggest ways to improve this by changes in diet, environment and would also prescribe herbal remedies.

How a Bit of Mould Turned the Tables on Alternative Medicine

The widespread use of alternative medicine in its various forms decreased during the 20th Century. Treatment of patients became more focused on the use of hospitals, and developments in modern medicine lead to the widespread use of Pharmaceutical Drugs to treat disease. The discovery of Penicillin and its development into a drug that could treat bacterial infections in the 1940′s revolutionised health care and alternative medicine lost favour with most medical practitioners.

Although many Doctors let go of what they considered to be outdated treatments such as homeopathy, herbalism and traditional Chinese Medicine many patients still sort them out, especially when conventional medicine didn’t appear to be working for them.

No Longer An Alternative, Now Another Choice for Achieving Better Health

The result now is that Alternative Medicine is on the increase. Practices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and healing are kept alive by practitioners who specialise in one of more alternative form of treatment. Frequently alternatives are used alongside modern medical treatments, which have led to alternatives being given the term complimentary medicine.

This brief history of alternative medicine shows that many of the practices used today have been with us for thousands of years. Given the rising popularity of using alternative medicine to deal with health issues today, it’s likely that these practices will be around for many more.