“herbalist: a person who grows, sells, or uses herbs to treat illness; a person who practices healing by the use of herbs” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
After chatting recently with a local home birth midwife, it was brought to my attention that many of her clients might not even know what an herbalist is or does. This conversation has played through my mind for well over a week. It is so easy when you are surrounded by something all the time that you just assume every one else is just as educated and informed as you are about a topic.
According to the American Botanical Council, roughly 6.4 billion dollars worth of supplements were sold in 2014. 
Needless to say people are purchasing herbal remedies to try to prevent or treat a health condition. With this knowledge, we know that the public is well aware of the product but not the person behind the product otherwise herbalist would be a common household term. So what is causing the disconnect?
Sadly we live in a culture that looks for a pill for every ill. The person purchasing the herbal supplement can easily fall into this mindset as well. Herbal supplements are easily accessible and reasonably affordable. Magazines and popular tv shows inform readers and listeners about the latest supplement to help with weight loss or other health concern. Because of this exposure most people are at least familiar with herbal remedies even if they have never purchased them. Years ago home remedies was a way of life. Generations of herbalists would pass down information and skills to the next generation. Somewhere along the way the ancient ways faded.
An herbalist as the definition above describes is one who grows, sells, or uses herbs for healing. Some herbalists do all three. There are also herbalists like myself that offer consultations. So how can you benefit from knowing an herbalist?
Here are 10 reasons to consider seeking a trained herbalist to help you.
- There is a false perception that herbal remedies are safe because they are natural. Granted herbs by far don’t produce the unwanted side effects that come with most pharmaceuticals but they can cause adverse effects in at risk people. It is extremely important to know the herb extremely well and how it functions in the body. A trained herbalist will know the contraindications and other reasons to not consume a supplement or other form of herbal remedy.
- Herbal remedies don’t work at times. Have you ever been told that a certain herb is wonderful for a certain condition so you purchase and consume it and it doesn’t work? A trained herbalist has the training to educate you on what a quality herb supplement is and how to effectively use it. Unfortunately the dosage listed on the supplement bottle isn’t decided by a trained herbalist and most of the time doesn’t state an adequate dosage. Depending on the form of herb you are using will determine how much and how often it is to be consumed to maximize effectiveness.
- Mommy blogs galore offer a remedy for everything under the sun. Where is this blogger getting her information? Does she cite sources for her recommendations? Desperate mothers who are looking for a natural remedy to treat her child’s latest illness will be vulnerable and susceptible to online advice. A trained herbalist can remedy that(pun intended). A trained herbalist will know YOUR family. She or he will have the training and skills to help you not make your child a guinea pig for a remedy. Social media isn’t the best place to get natural remedy advice.
- Do your doctor or pediatrician a favor. Don’t put pressure on them to know EVERYTHING. They aren’t trained in herbal medicine. They are trained to diagnose and treat with pharmaceuticals. Herbalists are trained to educate clients on how they can use natural remedies for what their family member has just been diagnosed with. Thankfully we are seeing more and more integrative physicians bringing herbalists and aromatherapists into their practices to consult with patients.
- Most herbalists offer education if you want to learn how to make the remedies yourself if you choose not to purchase from the herbalist.
- Herbal remedies typically restore the body to wellness and don’t just treat symptoms.
- An herbalist can help your medical bills and pharmaceuticals bills decrease. Who doesn’t want to save money?!
- Most herbalists will give you the much needed time and attention to discuss health goals and solutions.
- Most herbalists have a caring and compassionate nature towards others.
- An herbalist can be your best last stop for some of the most complex health issues around that traditional medicine fails to address.
I hope these 10 reasons cause you to consider reaching out to a local herbalist if you desire a face to face consult or reach out to me online or any other trusted herbalist online. Please check credentials! At the very least I hope that I have accomplished my goal of sharing about what an herbalist is and why you might benefit from knowing one. I would love to hear from you in the comments section. Do you have an herbalist that you trust? Are you studying to become an herbalist? Share below
1 Herbal Dietary Supplement Sales in US Rise 6.8% in 2014 | American Botanical Council. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://cms.herbalgram.org/press/2015/HerbalDietarySupplementSalesinUSRisein2014.html?ts=1468628864