- Alternative & Natural Medicine
All About Finding An Herbalist
Modern medicine is miraculous but also comes with harsh side effects that can be worse than what you were originally trying to cure. If you take too many antacids over the years, for example, you run the risk of getting a stomach ulcer. Many Westerners are taking another look at traditional medicines based on herbs. Although it helps to learn as much as you can about herbs, it can become a second job. Herbs can also have side effects and are not right for some people. For safety's sake and to help you get the best herb for your complaint, you need the help of a therapeutic herbalist, who has devoted their lives to healing with plant parts. But, how do you go about finding an herbalist?
Ask Your Doctor
Many conventional doctors today are taking notice of their patient's demands for herbalists. Your doctor or doctor's staff can help with finding an herbalist in your area that he or she recommends. Also check with your health insurance to see if a consultation or treatment by an herbalist will be covered. You can even ask your doctor to recommend an acupuncturist, as they have extensive training in Chinese herbs. Chances are, it won't, but other "alternative therapies" such as acupuncture and chiropractic work are getting covered more and more often, so you never know until you ask. For some information on health insurance for alternative therapies, click here.
Other Online Sources
Decide whether you are more comfortable with a traditional Chinese herbalist, an Ayurveda herbalist or a traditional Western (sometimes called Community Herbalists) who studies herbs from all over the world. It may be easier to find a traditional Chinese herbalist if you live in or near cities with a large Chinese population. They have to pass a certification course by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Some people prefer finding an herbalist of the Chinese tradition because they have to have so much training.
Another ancient healing tradition that can help you in finding an herbalist is Ayurveda, which has been around for thousands of years. The World Health Organization even endorses Ayurveda as a valid system for healing. In India, an Ayurveda healer must be licensed, but that is not so America. But they must have some sort of doctor's license before they can practice Ayurveda.
For finding an herbalist in the Western tradition, (using herbs found in Europe and the Americas) you can look at the website of the American Herbalist's Guild. An herbalist in America has to be able to pass their course in order to be a member of the guild. You can also check the website of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. If your prospective herbalist is not a member of either of these two groups, move on.
Good luck and good health!