IRCH Herbalist Course

The Faculty of Traditional Herbal Medicine

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

The IRCH is  working towards full recognised independent accreditation.  At present our herbalist course is not accredited  independently as this gives the IRCH the flexibility to maintain a traditional, holistic herbalist  course that is relevant to modern practitioners of Herbal Medicine. The learning outcomes of the IRCH diploma are benchmarked at LEVEL 6 (equivalent to a degree with or without honours) against the OFQUAL level descriptors. This demonstrates the depth of study that is required for the successful completion of the IRCH Diploma of Botano-Therapy (DBTh). Following satisfactory completion of the whole course (marked coursework, seminar attendance, clinical training, examinations, dissertation) students will graduate enabling them to access insurance to practice as qualified herbalists.

The standard of excellence of our course in Traditional Herbal Medicine has met the entry criteria for continuation onto a Master’s Degree course. 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. 

The Herbalist Course outline

Module One   Anatomy & Physiology   12 Lessons, examination
Module Two  Naturopathic Practice   10 Lessons, examination
Module Three  Herbal Materia Medica 12 Lessons, examination
Module Four  Herbal Medicine  16 Lessons, Case studies, Dissertation, Clinical observation & training at approved clinics.
Module Seven  Practice Management 8 Lessons

The course requires two weekends per year mandatory attendance at the Summer School and Conference with Seminars or Workshops related to the above subjects and held in June and October.

*module 5 & 6 is Homeopathy and not required for the Herbal Medicine training.

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.

Assignments and Projects follow each lesson for tutorial assessment. A proficiency certificate is awarded after satisfactory completion of this Module and the examination.

Module 2 –  Naturopathic Practice

This module 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 followed by assignments and 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 module 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.  The chemistry and broad application of each remedy is discussed. At the end of each lesson there are a number of assignments and projects which are submitted for tutor 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 live case histories  and produce a work in the form of a Dissertation. Clinical Training at recognised clinics is also required.

Module 7 –  Practice Management

This module is designed to guide the graduated student in the setting up of their 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 utilises the experience of practitioners running successful clinics.

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

 If  you are interested in the IRCH Herbal Medicine course please get in touch
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The IRCH also offers a range of Professional Development Courses for practicing therapists.

CPD Course information