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What is a herbalist?

Herbalist are also sometimes known as herbal practitioners or licensed herbalists.  They are explicitly trained within the area of herbal medicine.  A herbalist will use medicinal plants therapeutically to improve health and promote healing.  Medicinal plants can also be used as a prevention method.

Herbal medicine has been used by practitioners in western civilisations for over 1000 years and is considered a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).  Herbalists take a holistic approach to medicine.  This means they Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America use traditional medicine (TM) to help meet some of their primary health care needs. In Africa, up to 80% of the population uses traditional medicine for primary health care. 1

Herbalists use the seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, and flowers of plants called herbs or botanicals for medicinal purposes.  Some provide primary health care and some herbalist will serve as consultants as part of a health care team.

Some herbalists provide primary health care and some serve as consultants as part of a health care team. Herbalists adopt a holistic approach to medicine.  This means they the address the physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and economic needs of the patient.

‘The National Herbalists Association of Australia represents the practice of Western herbal medicine, which is based on European herbal medicine traditions. We also have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) membership category. These members work in their local communities using traditional Aboriginal bush and Western herbal medicine.   

Herbal medicine is increasingly being validated by scientific investigation which seeks to understand the active chemistry of the plant. Many modern pharmaceuticals have been modelled on, or derived from chemicals found in plants. An example is the heart medication digoxin derived from foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).

Using plants as medicine provides significant advantages for treating many conditions. The therapeutic activity of a plant is due to its complex chemical nature with different parts of the plant providing certain therapeutic effects’.2

Medicacenttre Fact Sheet

Public Information, What is Herbal Medicine

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