The ‘Discovering Herbal Medicine’ Course was developed at the College of Phytotherapy, which was, for many years, the UK’s leading centre for the training of Medical Herbalists. The Course was ‘rescued’ by Dr Ann Walker and her husband Dr Alan Lakin, when the College suffered financial collapse in December 2004. On taking it over, they completely revised and updated the course materials.
Continuity was maintained initially for on-going students and for many years after, because Pam Bull (Course Registrar) and Deborah Sweetman (Course Tutor), who held these responsibilities at the College, continued in their positions. Pam has now retired and her place has been taken by Sylvie Marusic, but Deborah continues to act as Course Tutor.
This one-year, distance-learning Course is a fascinating introduction to medicinal plants, their properties and uses. The progression of the Course is ordered according to the systems of the body, for example the immune system or the nervous system. The herbs appropriate for use in each system are accompanied by a discussion of the pathological changes in the body associated with ill-health and their diagnosis.
The Course is intended to have wide appeal. Past students who have derived benefit from undertaking it have ranged from a teenager to aspiring herbal practitioners to a 78 year old pensioner. It has also been appreciated by GPs and other health professionals who wished to explore the potential therapeutics of natural medicine.
Although this is a non-practitioner course, it is of a sufficiently high standard to have been accredited by the British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA). It is the only such course that has received this accolade. The objective of the Course is to enable herbs to be used with confidence and understanding in self care. Throughout the course material, more serious conditions, requiring professional advice and guidance, are clearly highlighted.
As is to be expected, the Course is based on the traditional uses of herbs, which date back thousands of years. In many cases modern scientific insight has added strength of these applications. Discovering Herbal Medicine also includes, as appropriate, a discussion of nutritional topics relating to health and wellbeing, because good nutrition must always be the foundation of good health.
Half-day workshops are held for DHM students in summer and autumn each year. However, it is not necessary to attend these workshops to complete the Course. Workshop topics are chosen to extend the information given in the DHM Course in an integrated sense, using herbs alongside nutrition and mainstream medicine, as a herbal practitioner would do. Each Workshop stands alone and no prior knowledge is required for attendance. Interested members of the public who are not DHM students are very welcome to attend.
We are all passionate about Herbal Medicine and its benefits, and are delighted to have this opportunity to introduce others to this fascinating subject. To find out more about our course please visit our new course website.