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Medical herbalist

Medical herbalists use plants and herbal remedies to help improve their clients' health and wellbeing. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need a degree in herbal medicine approved by the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) or one of the other organisations represented by the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA).

You may find it useful to arrange work shadowing with a practising herbalist before you begin to study.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to build trust and connect with clients
  • analytical thinking and intuition to help you choose suitable remedies
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • accurate record-keeping skills
  • business skills, if self-employed

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • taking a detailed history of the client's symptoms and lifestyle
  • carrying out a physical assessment and appropriate tests
  • prescribing a relevant herbal remedy
  • growing and preparing herbs in various forms, including capsules, extracts, ointments or infusions
  • keeping client notes
  • seeing clients for follow-up appointments
  • referring clients to their GP where necessary

You won’t diagnose medical conditions or advise clients on symptoms or treatments.

4. Salary

You'll usually be self-employed and your income will depend on the hours you work, the number of clients you see, and what you can charge. This could be an hourly rate of between £40 and £100, plus the cost of any medicines.

You'll only get paid per session, so when you're just starting out you might earn less than £6,000 per year.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Most herbalists are self-employed so you could choose your own working hours. You may need to attend evening and weekend appointments to meet the needs of your clients.

You'll usually work from consulting and treatment rooms that may be at your home, an alternative therapy centre, natural health clinic or GP surgery. You may also visit clients in their own homes.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could move into teaching or research.

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Last updated: 27 September 2017