Herbs are widely used in every culture on the planet. More than 80% of the world’s population still depends on herbal use to maintain good health and well-being. Take an in-depth look at the characteristics, origins, nutritional qualities, and applications of herbs from all over the world.  Herbalism uses plants and foods for healing and for building and maintaining good health. Herbalism is the oldest known medical practice with an unbroken tradition that reaches back to the very beginning of recorded history. Other healing modalities such as conventional medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, flower essences, and food science have evolved from herbalism. In addition, professions such as herbalists, healers, dentists, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, surgeons, and massage therapists all owe their origins to herbalism.

In addition to herbs and foods, herbalists frequently use other natural approaches to wellness including sunshine, detoxification practices, exercise, lifestyle changes, fresh air, hydration, and hands-on healing. While practitioners such as naturopaths may also employ these tools in their work with clients, when it comes to the nuances of recommending herbs, herbalists generally receive much more stringent and in-depth training than is received by traditional naturopaths or naturopathic physicians. In other words, herbalists are specialists in herbs but their techniques are not restricted to herbal use only.  Herbal medicine is the art and science of using plants to support health and wellness. Practiced since the beginning of time, herbal medicine has persisted as the world’s primary form of medicine with a written history dating back more than 5,000 years. According to the World Health Organization, large sections of the population in developing countries still rely on traditional practitioners and medicinal plants for their primary care. In American, 50 percent or more adults use herbal and dietary supplements on a regular basis, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Herbalists are people who dedicate their lives to working with medicinal plants. They may be native healers, scientists, naturopaths, holistic medical doctors, researchers, writers, herbal pharmacists, medicine makers, wildcrafters, harvesters, herb farmers, or even your grandmother or grandfather. Many have an intimate relationship with plants and their medicinal value. While herbalists approach their craft from various traditions, they share a common respect for all forms of life, especially the relationship between plants and humans. Herbalists apply traditional practices and evidence-based research of plants to support the healthy function of the human body. A clinical herbalist is part of your wellness team, working collaboratively with you to support your health and wellness goals.