Herbal Medicine Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal Medicine is the study or practice of the medicinal and therapeutic use of plants, now especially as a form of alternative medicine.

Herbal Medicine uses the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or seeds of plants to improve health, prevent disease, and treat illness.

Herbalists need an in-depth understanding of anatomy and physiology, as well as detailed knowledge of herbs and their preparation. Herbalists will choose herbs based on the symptoms or ailments a patient describes during the consultation. They will also perform a clinical exam, inspecting certain areas of the body and create a personalized prescription.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Herbal Medicine courses in the following subject areas:

  • Herbal Medicine: Introduction – Learn what Herbal Medicine is and about some common plants that grow in the fields and gardens around us and their traditional and current uses in supporting health.
  • Accredited Beginners Herbalism Diploma Course – Discover the wonderful world of herbs and how you can work with them in your everyday life.
  • Herbs For Wellbeing: An Introduction – Learn about one of the oldest professions in Ireland with traditional herbalism.

Studying Herbal Medicine in college

There are many Herbal Medicine courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

You’ll cover areas such as anatomy, botany, diagnostic skills, dispensing, health and safety, health psychology, medical legislation, nutrition and diet, pathology, physiology, and practice management, as well as learning the art of herbal medicine.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Try to gain work experience in a dispensary or clinic before studying. Contact herbalists in your local area and ask to shadow them during patient consultations.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers. Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Herbal Medicine you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of Herbs and plants and their medicinal properties.

Herbalists are typically self-employed and you’re most likely to set up your own practice after you’ve completed your accredited degree in herbal medicine.

You can choose to work from home and adapt a part of your home into a space in which to diagnose and treat patients. Alternatively, you can be based in a complementary health clinic or herbal dispensary, working as part of a team with other alternative health practitioners. These can include acupuncturists, shiatsu practitioners and aromatherapists.

You may choose to specialise in particular areas, such as women’s health, skin problems, respiratory problems or digestive issues. Some herbalists work with other providers of complementary therapies at complementary health centres.

Consultancy and public relations work may be available with companies involved in the natural health product industry. Experienced herbalists may work on a consultancy basis or as an employee, undertaking research for herbal growers and product manufacturers.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full time, Monday to Friday, although you may need to be flexible to suit your clients’ needs. For example, you may choose to work some evenings or weekends. You can work either full or part-time.

Related jobs include:

  • Herbalist
  • Nutritionist
  • Homeopath
  • Osteopath
  • Yoga instructor
  • Reiki practitioner
  • Acupuncturist
  • Aromatherapist
  • Massage therapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Doctor of Chinese Medicine
  • Tai Chi or Qigong Instructor
  • Biofeedback practitioner
  • Holistic skincare specialist
  • Kinesiology or movement therapy instructor

Further study

After completing a course in Herbal Medicine you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as aromatherapy, homeopathy, massage or osteopathy.

There are some opportunities for experienced herbalists to move into teaching or training. You may also choose to undertake research into the medical applications of herbal remedies.


Is herbal medicine safe to use?

Herbal medicines are generally considered to be safe and effective agents. More people are turning to herbal medicines because they believe that plant remedies are free from undesirable side effects. However, medicinal plants can be toxic intrinsically or when taken in combination with other preparations so it is always best to work with an expert.

What are some of the most common herbal medicines?

  • Echinacea
  • Ginseng
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Elderberry
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Chamomile

Where can I study Herbal Medicine?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Egyptian schools of herbalists have existed since 3000 BC. In Mesopotamia, the written study of herbs dates back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who created clay tablets with lists of hundreds of medicinal plants.
  • The world is home to an estimated 250,000 higher plant species. Between 14 and 28% of them are utilized for their medicinal properties. Traditional Chinese Medicine makes use of over 5,000 plants. In North America, Native Americans have used a documented 2,564 plants in herbal preparations.
  • Herbal medicine continues to play a vital role in the development of pharmaceuticals; 70% of the new drugs introduced in the United States between 1984 and 2007 were derived from herbs.
  • The difference between herbs and spices is in what part of the plant they come from. The green leafy parts of plants used for seasoning and flavouring food are considered herbs.
  • In India, Ayurveda medicine has used many herbs such as turmeric possibly as early as 4,000 BC.
  • Emperor Charlemagne (742–814) compiled a list of 74 different herbs that were to be planted in his gardens.

Mariza Halliday

Crystal Therapy
Homeopathy Courses


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to send you the latest news and articles about evening classes, further learning and adult education by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Comments and Reviews Policy