There are also two particular qualities that will be vital for any student to have success along this path.
The first is that they must be very good at self-directed study. The course will provide a great deal of guidance, structure and support, but each student will be in sole charge of how and when they listen to audio lectures, watch educational videos, read books and other material and work on their assignments.
The second is that the student must be ready to ‘walk the talk’ of holistic medicine. A good herbalist needs wisdom, and this can only be gained with the kind of understanding that comes with experience.
Our students will gain great knowledge about herbs from their studies and, equally, they need to create a living understanding of the plants by getting up-close and personal with them. We believe a practitioner is far more likely to become a safe and effective herbalist if they have had plenty of first hand experience with the plant medicines they use as tools in their trade. Our students learn the knowledge, the ‘materia medica’ of herbs by sampling and using the herb they study and then going into depth on their origins, botanical names, actions, energetics, indications, science, folklore, safety, pairing, formulation, preparation, manufacturing and how to dispense and use herbs for people in real-life situations.
Likewise, whilst it is understood that different people have different paths and that there is no one ‘right way’, we expect our Diploma students to commit to experiential learning – such as trying different kinds of therapeutic diets and/or practicing different kinds of exercises and techniques over a broad spectrum of areas. This means, when they prescribe a change of diet or lifestyle to another person, they have ‘been there’ and know exactly what’s involved in what they are asking others to do!
Working in a modern herbal medicine clinic, with all kinds of people with all kinds of problems, requires knowledge, skill, inner-strength and flexibility. Our endeavour is to help the student gain the practical knowledge and skills to manage and succeed with a wide range of challenges and to help them grow their practice so that they can eventually have the strength and flexibility of a healing tree with deep roots in the community they care for.