The Faculty of Traditional Herbal Medicine

The IRCH Register and distance learning course was originally established in 1960 and has been successfully producing qualified practitioners of herbal medicine ever since

Our course is independently accredited by the International Association for Distance Learning (IADL). The IADL was established to promote quality in distance education and training, and to provide benchmarking, approval and recognition of open, online, and distance learning programmes and course-providers worldwide. IADL members include schools, private training companies, NGOs, colleges, universities, and other organisations on five continents.

The standard of excellence of our course in Traditional Herbal Medicine has been recognised by the UCL, as being on a par with a University BSc degree and has met the entry criteria for their Master’s Degree course in Herbal Medicine. While maintaining the rigorous standards of which we are justly proud, the policy of the IRCH has always been to teach this traditional knowledge in a manner accessible to as wide a range of students as possible.

The IRCH distance learning course is carefully structured to enable students to fit study in and around the everyday pressures of living.  It is however, a course that demands commitment and a desire to reach the high standards set by the Faculty staff.  The course is divided into five modules, with the lessons within each module supplemented by seminars at the Annual Conference and Summer School. The Annual Conference is an opportunity to meet students from all modules, practising herbalists and to take part in lively lectures and discussions.

The IRCH course is much more than theory. Clinical skills seminars give students the opportunity to learn about herbal medicine first hand from our experienced practitioners including case taking, examination techniques and diagnostic methods.  A recognised amount of clinical training must also be undertaken at our training clinics that are situated around the country.  This is on a supervised one to one basis, giving the student confidence to develop his/her own clinical practice.

Throughout the course, students are continually assessed and examinations are taken with the on-going support of tutors.  All the IRCH tutors are fully qualified as medical herbalists or homoeopaths as well as experts in their particular field. External tutors are used ad hoc for specialised areas of training. Students also have a mentor who is available to guide and support those with personal problems as well as issues around their study.

Part One
Module One   Anatomy & Physiology   12 Lessons
Module Two  Naturopathic Practice   10 Lessons
Module Three  Herbal Materia Medica 10 Lessons

Part Two
Module Four  Herbal Medicine  16 Lessons
Module Seven  Practice Management 10 Lessons
Case studies

Part Three
Summer School with Seminars or Workshops related to the above subjects and held in June every year.

Clinical Training One hundred minimum hours of clinical observation and learning at approved clinics. This training can commence when the student has reached module three.

Module 1  –  Anatomy and Physiology

The knowledge of the human body and its functions is essential to understanding of any branch of medicine, together with pathology and diagnosis. This Module, therefore, covers the basic sciences and carefully graduated lessons, together with the use of selective textbooks.

A complete survey and muscular-skeletal system is undertaken, taking the student through all areas of movement, structure and function of the osseous (bony) system and interrelated physiological processes which make up the wonderful “human machine”. Thus the student gains a thorough knowledge with which to apply his or her practice of medicine in a holistic way.

There are 10 test papers each with its own project sheet for submission for tutorial assessment. A proficiency certificate is awarded after satisfactory completion of this Module and the examination.

Module 2  –  Naturopathic Practice

The course introduces students to the basic principles of Naturopathy and explains how these differ from conventional medicine. After gaining an understanding of the chemistry of food, its application to improving health is coupled together with other lifestyle changes that can help restore good health. Each of the lessons is accompanied by a test paper and one or more projects that are assessed by a tutor. A proficiency certificate is awarded after satisfactory completion of this module and the examination.

Module 3  –  Herbal Materia Medica

The course begins with an explanation of the history and philosophy of Herbal Medicine and a definitive guide to medical terms and offers a comprehensive Materia Medica before giving a description of the methods by which herbal remedies are prepared. Each lesson is carefully planned and specially arranged so that the knowledge gained by the student may be put into practical use.

The Module offers a grounding in various classes of medicinal herbs and a broad application of each remedy is discussed. At the end of each lesson there are a number of Assignments with a Project sheet, both of which are submitted for tutorial assessment. A Proficiency Certificate is awarded upon successful completion of the Module and the examination.

Module 4  –  Herbal Medicine

This module deals with the clinical aspects of herbal medicine and includes diagnoses and case taking. Knowledge previously assimilated is synthesised and broadens, enabling it is application in various clinical cases. The Module works with various bodily systems, discussing some detailed pathological conditions to be encountered in the course of the practice of a trained Herbalist.

By the end of the Module, the student will be expected to submit my case histories as part of the syllabus and produce a short work in the form of a Dissertation.

Module 7  –  Practice Management

This module is designed to guide the graduated student in the setting up of his/her own practice. The purpose of this Module is two-fold. It not only aims to prepare the student of the ethical and practical aspects of running a Clinic but to deal with legal and financial matters, premises, planning permission and publicity. It assumes that the student has no previous experience of running this type of business and will teach you the experience of practitioners running successful full-time clinics and in great demand in an area they have chosen to work

The success of the IRCH depends on its future and that future is within students. The Education Board aims to educate practitioners to their highest ability and is committed to their success.

“Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”

“If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want. “