Understanding the Difference Between a Herbalist and a Naturopath

2 min read

If you’re not clear on the difference between naturopathy and herbalism, you’re not alone. With all the misinformation out there, it’s easy to get a little confused. Learn more about each practice and what sets them apart in this short article.

What Is a Herbalist?

The clue is in the name! On a more serious note, herbalists recommend plants, or botanicals, to their clients to help address a variety of health problems ranging from high blood pressure to menstrual cramps. More importantly, and much like other holistic healing practices, herbalism can play a role in maintaining general wellbeing. 

What you may find surprising, however, is that herbalists don’t just recommend specific herbal concoctions for their clients and call it a day. Many herbalists plant, nurture and harvest their own plants as somewhat of a quality assurance measure. So, if you’re someone with green fingers and an interest in holistic health, then herbalism may just be your calling. 

Looking to take yourself from a holistic hopeful to a full-time herbalist in no time, then check out this Family Herbalist certification.

What is a Naturopath?

Naturopaths are a little misunderstood. Because most don’t specialize in a specific modality, they are labeled as generalists in some circles. In truth, naturopaths are a walking, talking holistic health resource that can recommend diet and lifestyle changes and healing practices.

For example, this Certified Alternative Health Practitioner / Traditional Naturopath (CAHP/TN) program covers natural health in such breadth and depth, that it’s impossible to come out of it without a wealth of practical knowledge to draw from in your appointments.

What’s the Difference Between Herbalism and Naturopathy?

While herbalism and naturopathy both rely on natural substances to promote healing in the body, they do have their differences. Most glaringly, herbalists rely almost exclusively on botanicals. On the other hand, naturopaths often use a combination of botanicals, nutraceuticals  and other healing practices to help their clients.

In other words, naturopathy goes a little deeper than herbalism. In fact, many herbalists go on to study or pursue a career in naturopathy. Like most holistic practices, both have a spiritual element; however, the practices approach spiritualism in distinct ways. Naturopaths focus on the human spirits, while some herbalists focus on the spiritual elements of the herb itself.

That said, the two aren’t far removed from each other, and herbalism often forms part of a well-rounded naturopathic wellness plan.

Final Thoughts 

It’s easy to see why most people confuse naturopathy and herbalism. While they have more than a couple of things in common, they present very different career paths for you and healing paths for your clients.

You don’t have to decide between naturopathy and herbalism. With the Institute of Holistic Integrative Studies, you can earn holistic health certifications that complement each other.

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