Clinical Herbalism - What It Is & Why You Should Know About It

Clinical Herbalism: What Is It, and What’s In It For You?

Clinical herbalism is a fascinating and increasingly popular field that blends the use of herbs with ancient indigenous wisdom and modern scientific knowledge to promote health and wellness. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of clinical herbalism, exploring what it is, how it works, and the benefits it can offer, and how you start exploring this field, as a client and/or an herbalist!

What is clinical herbalism?

At its core, clinical herbalism is a holistic approach to health which entails connecting with people with their own plant allies or “herbal allies” based on their constitutional make-up.  (This style and branch of herbal medicine is also often referred to as “herbal energetics.”)

This unique scope of practice is very complementary to the fields of functional nutrition / holistic nutrition, since good nutrition serves as the foundation on which any other protocol can be effective to help you thrive.

Aligning people with the right herbs in a clinical setting helps to restore balance on cellular and energetic levels, while supporting and encouraging your body’s innate, natural healing process.

Unlike conventional medicine, which often focuses on treating symptoms or specific conditions with pharmaceuticals (which merely act as “uppers” or “downers”), clinical herbalism takes a more holistic approach, looking at the whole person and their unique patterns and needs.

Herbalists who practice clinical herbalism (aka clinical herbalists) are highly trained and skilled professionals who have extensive knowledge of the medicinal properties of various plants and herbs – specifically as they pertain to human physiology and constitutional energetics (aka the patterns and states of the tissues in the body).

We apply this knowledge through crafting customized herbal blends and treatment plans for our clients, taking into account their individual health concerns, lifestyle factors, constitutional makeup, energetic patterns, and other relevant factors.

How does it work?

The practice of clinical herbalism is based on the principles of traditional herbal medicine, which has been used for centuries or even millennia in various cultures around the world. 

Many of the remedies and techniques used in clinical herbalism have been passed down through generations of herbalists within indigenous communities, and have been refined and adapted over time to reflect modern scientific understanding.

One of the key principles of clinical herbalism is the idea that the body has an innate ability to heal itself. When we get sick or experience other health issues, it’s often because something is interfering with this natural healing process. 

Plant medicine (especially in combination with a balanced diet made up of nourishing, minimally processed foods) can help support and enhance your body’s own healing mechanisms, allowing you to feel better more quickly and easily.

Examples of herbal remedies

Herbal remedies can take many forms, including tea infusions, tea decoctions, herbal tinctures, capsules, topical preparations, spagyrics, hydrosols, essential oils, and more.  

Different types of herbal remedies

They can be made from a wide variety of plant materials, including but not limited to: leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, berries or bark. 

Categories of herbs

Herbs can also be categorized or grouped based on their specific types of actions on the body/mind, such as:

Each category of herbs and each individual herb will has its own unique set of medicinal, constitutional and energetic properties, which can be used to address specific health concerns via optimizing the tissues in your body.

Benefits of clinical herbalism

Clinical herbalism offers a wide range of potential benefits for those who choose to explore it. 

Benefits of clinical herbalism - infographic

Natural, safe, and non-toxic

Unlike many pharmaceutical drugs, which can have serious side effects and risks, herbal remedies are generally considered safe and non-toxic when used as directed. 

Holistic and synergistic

Herbs work synergistically with your body’s natural processes, rather than against them, and can be a gentler, more holistic way to support health and wellbeing.

Exceptionally customized 

Clinical herbalists take a personalized approach to healthcare, creating customized treatment plans that are tailored to each individual’s specific needs and concerns. 

This can help ensure that clients receive the most effective and appropriate care possible, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Accessible and affordable

Many herbal remedies are readily available and relatively affordable, making them a viable option for those who may not have access to conventional medical care or who prefer a more natural approach.

Supportive for chronic conditions 

Clinical herbalism can be particularly helpful for individuals with chronic health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, and/or mental health concerns. 

Herbal remedies can help not just to reduce/manage symptoms, but also to reduce inflammation, address underlying root causes, and support overall health and wellbeing.

Mind-body-spirit oriented

Clinical herbalists view health and wellbeing as a holistic, interconnected system that encompasses not just the physical body, but also your mind and spirit. 

Herbal remedies can help support emotional and spiritual wellbeing and promote a sense of balance and harmony in all aspects of life.

How to get started with clinical herbalism

If you’re interested in exploring the world of clinical herbalism for yourself, there are a few key steps you can take to get started:

Research

Knowledge is power!  (Or at least it can be empowering, when we implement and apply what we learn in real life.)  

Take some time to educate yourself on the general principles and practices of herbal medicine and clinical herbalism.  

There are many resources available online, including herbal medicine blogs, herbalism books, online programs and more.

Find a qualified practitioner

Connect with a clinical herbalist who is formally trained in this field. You can ask for recommendations from friends or family members, or search online for local practitioners.

Consultation

Schedule a consultation with a clinical herbalist to discuss your health concerns and goals. They will create a customized treatment plan for you, which may include herbal remedies, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications.

Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to herbal remedies!

Follow your treatment plan consistently and track your progress over time. It may take several weeks or even months to see significant results, so be patient and persistent.

Conclusion & next steps

Clinical herbalism offers a natural, holistic approach to health and wellness that can be safe and highly effective for a wide range of health concerns. 

By working with a clinical herbalist, you can create a customized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals, harnessing plant wisdom to find herbs to bring you back into balance, supporting and encouraging your body’s natural healing mechanisms. 

Whether you’re dealing with a chronic condition, looking to enhance your overall wellbeing, or simply curious about the world of herbal medicine, clinical herbalism is an exciting and promising field that is worth exploring!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to get started integrating herbal medicine into your clinical practice, and you want extra guidance, feel free to schedule a 1:1 strategy call with me so we can dive into your goals from a holistic birdseye perspective, and help you take the next step (or maybe even quantum leap) on your path as an herbalist! Book a 1-1 Strategy Call with Jenna Volpe

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