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Course 1: Introduction to Herbal Medicine

Course Information

Herbal Courses

Unit Duration : 20 hours home study 

Pre-requisites : - None

Unit Objectives The objectives of this unit is to provide a basic introduction to herbal medicine.  Students will be able to identify the differences between traditional and empirical herbalism This is the first of all the herbal units that gives students  a insight into the herbal medicine and the underlying principles and practises from around different countries in the world and how they impact on modern day Western Herbal Medicine. This unit also highlight the legal and ethical implications required for a clinical herbalist.

Course Content:

  • The history of philosophy of herbal cultures.               
  • The Gaia concept and holistic healing.  
  • Introduction to Nature Cure
  • Recent developments in and practises
  • Introduction to herbal principles and practices.
  • The administration of herbs                  
  •  Legal and ethical implications in herbal medicine

Learning Outcomes



Learning Outcome 1

Working with Gaia and the understanding of holistic healing.

  • Discuss the Gaia principle and living in homeostasis
  • Highlight the holistic healing and how it differs from allopathic medicine.
  • Identify vitalistic herbalists from empirical herbalism
  • Discuss holistic treatment on a group or one to one basis
  • Discuss the Doctrine of Signatures and the Doctrine of Contraries.

Learning Outcome 2

Highlight the history and philosophy and tools of herbal medicine.

  • Discuss the history and philosophy of herbal medicine from China, India, Greece, Egypt, America, Australia, UK, Middle East
  • Identify the principles and practises of herbal medicine from China, India, Greece, Egypt, America, Australia, UK, Middle East, through out history to this present day.
  • Discuss the tools of herbal medicine from history to the present day

Learning Outcome 3

Introduction to Nature Cure

  • Discuss the essence of nature cure
  • Identify the holistic modes of treatment for nature cure
  • Discuss the importance of client responsibility and feedback
  • Outline the promotion of wellbeing and health maintenance

Learning Outcome 4

The administration of herbs

  • Outline modes and methods of herbal treatments
  • Discuss factors that can interfere with the effectiveness of herbal treatment

Learning Outcome 5

The legal and ethical implications in herbal medicine


  • Identify consent of treatment
  • Discuss ethical issues that may arise in herbal medicine
  • Identify the legal requirement to be a practising herbalist
  • Discuss consent for treatment

Lecture Plan:


Lecture Content

Recommended Reading


The Gaia principle

D. Hoffman


Vitalistic and Empirical Herbalism

S. Mills


Essence of Nature Cure

Hoffman, Mills


The Promotion of Health and Wellbeing

Hoffman, Mills


Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbal History



American and Australian History



European Herbal History



Ethical and legal issues for herbalists


Set Texts :

Griggs Barbara – Green Pharmacy 1981 Jill Norman & Hobhouse Ltd

David Hoffman – The Holistic Herbal – Element Press

Simon. Mills The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine, 1991, Arkana Press

Resources and Texts

Relevant texts or journals, paper based material or DVD s.

Chevellier A. 2001 – Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants . Dorling Kindersley

Fisher C. & Painter G. – 1996 – Materia Medica of Western Herbs for the Southern Hemisphere

Harrod Buhner Stephen The Lost Language of Plants States: 2002 Chelsea Green Publishing

Hoffman D.– The Holistic Herbal– Element Press

Phyllis A. Balch – 2002- Prescription for Herbal Healing. Penguin Putman Inc

Phyllis A. Balch – 2006- Prescription for Nutritional Healing Penguin Group Publishing

Mills S. & Bone K. – 2000- Principles and practice of Phytotherapy – Churchill Livingstone

Sherwood Peter – 2005 Healing. The history, philosophy and Practise of natural medicine. Griffin Press. South Australia.

Shippard I. 2003 – How can I use herbs in my daily life? David Stewart




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