What is a Master Herbalist?

by Bobbie Grennier, Master Herbalist

To answer the question, what is a master herbalist, we must first take a look at the study of herbs in general. Herbal medicine, herbalism or botanical medicine, are all one in the same and involve the use of herbs for therapeutic or medicinal purposes.

An herb is a plant or it’s parts, that are valued for medicinal, aromatic or savory qualities. The mustard on your table and many of the spices in your kitchen cupboard are considered herbs, and so are most of the vegetables in your salad and many of the plants growing in your yard.

As far back as anyone can remember, plants have been a primary source of nutrition for people, and eventually plants revealed their medicinal qualities to us as well. We see references to medicinal plants in the Bible, and other historical texts. Plants that are used for medicinal qualities, have been referred to as herbs for over 4000 years by European and the Mediterranean cultures. The word herb finds its linguistic roots in the word herbe and the Latin word herba.

Historically, the term herb only applied to non-woody plants, but today, the term herb refers to any part of any plant that’s used for flavoring or for medicine. Although the term herb sometimes finds itself referred to along with food spices, it is generally used in reference to any plant or plant part having nutritional or medicinal value. So keep in mind, an herb can be a fruit, a bark, a flower, a leaf or a root.

Herbal medicine finds itself broadly classified into a few basic systems: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Herbalism, and Western Herbalism originally from Greece.

So, that’s a little general background information about the history behind being a master herbalist. Now, let’s figure out what it means to be a master herbalist in general.

This term, “master herbalist,” is one that gets hotly debated amongst those who seriously practice herbal medicine. Becoming a master herbalist is not to be taken lightly. It involves years worth of study and dedication to understanding herbal plants and their healing properties.

A master herbalist needs to understand the botany behind each medicinal herb they work with. That understand varies depending on which herbal system they choose to study: Chinese, Ayurvedic or Western.

A master herbalist needs to posses knowledge about harvesting techniques for the plants they wild craft or more likely in today’s market, the master herbalist needs to have a good rapport with the herbal store they purchase their herbs from. Harvesting dates and locations can be important to some medicinal herbs.

Master herbalists need to know how to prepare their herbs for different types of use. Some ways of herbal preparation inlcude: tinctures, extracts, tea drinks, salves, etc.

Since herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to mankind, that makes the master herbals on of the oldest healers known to mankind as well.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a master herbalist and it’s rich history throughout the ages, please visit the Herbal College (www.Herbal-College.com) and look at the different herbalist programs we’re offering there. Herbalism is alive and well, and still widely practice through the world with a great deal of success.

About the Author: Bobbie Grennier is a freelance writer and master herbalist. She publishes several blogs. Visit her web site www.master-herbalist.com for more herbalist healer information.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 9:56 am and is filed under Herbalism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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