what is herbal medicine?

Herbal Medicine is the use of herbs or plants for improving health. Herbs can be in many forms, including powders, teas, tablets, capsules or extracts.

To become an Herbalist with credentials, there are Herbalism schools which would include training in botany, pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry, nutrition and other related topics. There is a professional organization, the American Herbalists Guild, which recommends a minimum of 1600 study hours and 400 hours of clinical practice.

Herbalism is not the same as Homeopathy and it is also different from Naturopathy.  Naturopaths may include herbalism in their practice but the educational requirements for Naturopathy are quite different.  Other health practitioners also may offer herbal remedies.

In many cultures, Herbalists are taught their trade by an elder who practices herbalism.  An herbalist might specialize in growing herbs or in gathering wild specimens.  One might manufacture herbal remedies. One might call oneself an herbalist without educational credentials, but rather with experience and knowledge of folk medicine.

As an herbalist practicing in the United States, you are not allowed to call yourself a doctor.  Each state has different guidelines and regulations, but generally, you cannot claim to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure disease.