What Does It Mean to be an Herbalist?

When I launched my dream project a couple weeks ago, I talked a lot about becoming an herbalist. You might be wondering, what does that mean exactly?

Let’s start at the root (sorry, couldn’t resist!) of herbalism. The use of medicinal plants dates back 60,000 years to the Paleolithic age. Some 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians started compiling lists of plants. Ancient cultures - such as Egyptians, Grecians, and the Bronze Age Chinese – left artifacts, wrote works, or drew images referencing the use of herbs. Native Americans are thought to have used 2,500 different plant species that are native to North America. Fast-forward to today and herbal medicine is found in many regions and cultures. It is estimated that almost 80 percent of some Asian and African countries use herbs in some form. Herbal remedies are also very common throughout Europe and South America*.

The truth is pharmaceuticals are expensive and herbs can be grown from seed for little to no cost. However, herbs can be potent, potentially contaminated, and interact with traditional medicines. That’s where I come in. A certified herbalist has a broad range of education and can safely sell these dietary supplements.

An herbalist has the following educational background and experience:

- Skilled in the growing and harvesting of herbs correctly

- Understands the process of drying herbs properly

- Knowledgeable in the application of herbs for dietary supplements

- Understands the therapeutic and historical uses of herbs

- Adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices, which includes positive identification, assurance of purity, tracking of source materials, training of personnel, and proper hygiene

- Understands safety protocols and when and when not to use certain herbs

- Understands each herb’s constituents and known precautions

- And much more!

Follow along with me as I continue my journey to become a licensed herbalist, build a greenhouse, and grow my apothecary and survival business. I’ve planted the seed and I can’t wait to see the business blossom. Pun intended ;)

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