Welsh School of Herbal Medicine
“Herbs for Everyday Living”
Online Correspondence Course Syllabus
This course is designed for students who want to acquaint themselves with the basics principles of Herbal Medicine. It may be taken as a single course or used as a preliminary course for the full 3-4 year course which is hoped will lead to recognition by the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. For those students who intend progressing to the full 3-4 year course it is recommended that they follow the green path of extra reading around the subject in year one.
30 weeks divided into 3×10 week terms. There will be 1x 2 day weekend courses.
The cost will be £295 per term and £100 for the two day seminar course. The annual course fees are payable in advance. If students bring one other fee paying person to the course then their fees will be reduced to £245 per term. If 2 fee paying people are brought to the course then the fees are reduced to £200 per term. Concessions are available for people who are on unemployment or sickness benefits.
The course material will be online with films, downloads and a multiple choice exam at the end of each term. The coursework is in depth but it would be helpful for the student to have a basic background in Biology and Chemistry. Extra tuition in these subjects may be available on request. The course can be started at any time of the year but the final exam can only be taken after the seminar weekend which will be arranged in the summer months. A certificate will be awarded to students who complete the course and achieve a good examination standard.
The trimesters can be studied in however long it takes the student to feel themselves proficient in each week. The course lasts for 30 weeks but can be studied over 52 weeks if necessary. Extra time can be applied for but it is recommended that a regime of studying one to two days a week with extra reading in the evenings be undertaken and no longer than 40 weeks be allowed for as a maximum. The course therefore can be taken by people in full or part time employment, and wherever in the world you happen to be. The weekend course is in the summer months to facilitate identification of herbs and must be taken before the final first year exam.
Seminars on specific topics on the course may be available if requested by a group of students.
Introduction to the Trimesters.
The first trimester will illustrate our dependence on plants for our food, the air that we breathe and will further illustrate how we have evolved to metabolise the active ingredients in plants in order to repair and rejuvenate our bodies. These complex substances, often referred to as storage or defence for the plant itself, act as active ingredients that correctly used, can be taken to correct imbalances and restore us to good health. These useful active ingredients define the plant as a herb.
The big Pharmaceutical companies have tried to isolate these active ingredients in order to patent them for profit. However, we believe they are missing the most important aspect of the herb as they ignore the synergistic effect of all the enzymic systems that support the metabolism of these active ingredients. The result is often that the active ingredients, without the associated support, result in at best not working efficiently or at worst creating unacceptable side effects which are usually missing when the whole plant is used.
Furthermore we regard the food and the medicines we take into our bodies as putting us in direct communion with, and as interfaces with, our environment. Since both our foodstuffs and our chemical medicines are often polluted with substances that we have not evolved to deal with, we suffer side effects and over time may become sick as a result. Certainly our environment is becoming degraded and as it does so, our own health is becoming increasingly at risk.
It is no wonder therefore that people are looking to natural foods and medicines to reconnect with the benefits of a way of life more in keeping with their true nature.
It is because of this that we have structured the course in order to redress some of the imbalances caused by environmental toxicity. This is why in second trimester we focus on how our digestive system, which is the main environmental interface which can be helped by dietary and herbal supplements.
In the third trimester we look at how this affects our immune response, which is another major interface with the environment as viral and bacterial infections increase along with our own decreased immune response with more vectors in a degraded environment carrying ever more complex diseases.
We will also examine respiratory and upper respiratory systems as they are an intimate interaction with our environment. Our lungs suffer from all manner of pollutants and insults such as smoking, airborne contaminants and radiation. The nervous system, depression and sleeplessness will also be briefly considered. Modern life involves us in often unacceptable stresses which we deal with as best we can, usually without the support of our families and communities. These stresses may lead to breakdowns, exhaustion, lethargy or severe illness.
Hippocrates the father of medicine said the tenants for good health are; clean air, clean water, regular exercise, good food and plenty of sleep. We have betrayed ourselves in not respecting the complex interactions of nature. Epigenetics is showing how damaging our environment is resulting in a deterioration of our own health and that of our children. We seek in this course to show how, when Hippocrates said ‘Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’ we can build and even cross the bridge from the environment to our health via herbs and good food in a wholesome way that is also of benefit to the ecosystem.
This course makes no apologies for dismissing the philosophy of the pharmaceutical industry. This is no criticism however of the millions of good people who practise allopathic medicine in order to relieve suffering. Also, there are many parts of allopathic medicine that we can applaud, surgery, for example has made many advances. Complex diagnosis techniques and some restorative procedures like intensive care. However it is the long term usage of drugs we take issue with and indeed some of the procedures of testing new chemical therapies on people before they have been properly assessed for their efficacy.
People have been using herbal medicine for many thousands of years so our knowledge comes from our collective experience. We also have a whole library full of clinical trials in the library of St Pancras where the records of herbal medicines used in London Hospitals before chemical therapies started to be used, are stored. There are also many individual empirical scientific investigations into the efficacy of certain herbs like Echinacea for instance. However, our main body of knowledge comes from the knowledge that countless successive generations have discovered of plants that heal us. To our certain knowledge Wales has well over 2,000 years of the chronicled continuous use of herbs. It is in this proud tradition that we present ‘The Welsh School of Herbal Medicine’ to enable those who study with us the opportunity to discover this rich heritage, help family and friends and also to pass on this knowledge to generations to come.
A Brief History of Herbal Medicine
Why the empirical philosophy of Allopathic medicine is unsuited to the philosophy of Herbal Medicine and which philosophical model we can have in its place.
Astrology & Herbs.
Ancient astrological usage of herbs
How herbalists knew which plant to use before reductionist science was even invented.
This topic will be explored in more detail in years 2 and 3
What is a Herb?
How plants make food, medicines and enrich our air with oxygen.
Structure and properties of plants, roots stems and seeds
Creating a Herbal journal for identification and usage. This journal will form part of the final assessment at the end of term 3. It will also serve as a summary at the end of the course to keep and look back on.
How, what and why we grow our own a) medicinal b) culinary herbs.
Make your own herb garden or simply grow in pots.
Students will be expected to grow a sample of herbs for themselves and keep a photographic record.
Making Herbal Preparations
Creams, oils and tinctures.
Herbal lore. Stories for children of all ages.
Songs about herbs
Herbs for the home to sweeten and protect our living space.
Traditional usage of herbs in the home for disinfectants, soaps, insecticides.
Potpourri. How to guard against parasites, fleas & mosquitos.
Possets tell a story.
More herbal stories and legends
Herbs and spices
Use of herbs to enrich our food and improve our health
Recipes for cooking with herbs and spices. Preserving foods using spices. The health giving properties of spices.
Guided Herb walks in spring time.
How to collect, prepare & store herbs. Roots, leaves & seeds.
Preserving our foodstuffs naturally.
Fermentation and its positive effects on our gut flora.
Diets. “Horses for courses.” We are all different. Some of the more useful general diets.
Paleo, Hay, etc. Diets for specific conditions will be explored in later sections.
Pollutants in foods & cleaning agents. How to avoid them in everyday usage in the home.
Real foods – organics, cleaning non organic foods.
Springs, sacred waters and health giving baths spas and Sitz baths
Water contaminants and how to avoid them. Benefits of clean water
How important is Water in the body, how it helps us to detox.
Myths and legends about water.
Baking herbal breads as a tasty way of feeding herbs to the family and friends.
Soda bread, wheat free bread, sour dough bread. Spelt and rye breads.
Culinary herbs and their health giving benefits.
Herbal biscuits, herbal cordials, fizzy herbal drinks teas, etc.
Exam – Multiple Choice
The cell – its structure & function.
The elements and how they illustrate the function. Homeostasis.
How cells communicates and what happens when this mechanism breaks down.
The Citric Acid Cycle.
How diet and pollution affects cellular metabolism.
Herbs and supplements to assist cellular metabolism.
Herb identification – 5 common herbs.
Pollutants in our food chain
The digestive system – structure anatomy & physiology.
The mouth – the importance of Dental Health.
The dangers of modern dentistry.
Gargles, mouth washes, inhalants.
Identification of herbs for the mouth and throat.
The oesophagus & stomach – structure & physiology.
Herbs & supplements for the oesophagus.
Helicobacter, gastritis, inflammation & ulceration.
Diet to relieve acid reflux, stomach inflammation, ulceration.
Identification of herbs for the stomach and duodenal, infection, inflammation & ulceration.
The Liver – structure and function.
Herbal identification of Herbs for the Liver.
Fatty Liver & its causes. Liver chologogues, choleretics, cleansing & rejuvenating the liver.
Herb identification for liver detox.
Diet for Liver – rejuvenation & detox.
Gall Bladder & duct – structure and function.
Herbs for the gall bladder.
When to do a gall bladder flush and when it is not safe to do so.
Herb identification of herbs for the gall bladder.
Diet for the gall bladder
Herbal Terms – to describe the actions of herbs in the body.
Eg Demulcents, anodynes, anti-inflammatories.
Some of the simple constituents of Herbs
How to begin blending for the most beneficial effect
The Pancreas – structure and function.
Herbs for Pancreatic restoration and anti-inflammatories.
Identification of herbs for the gut
The small intestine – structure and function.
The large intestine – structure and function.
How the intestinal flora is affected by pollutants, contaminants & antibiotics.
The effect of dysbiosis on our immune system.
Colonics and enemas
Revision of digestive system
Multiple Choice Exam
Immune system – structure and function.
The challenges our immune system faces from within and without.
Detoxing – precautions before, during & after.
Herbs to stimulate the immune system and the detoxing process.
Identification – herbs for the immune system.
Diet to help the immune response.
Supplements and tonics to support the immune system.
Supplements for infections.
The Lungs – Structure and function.
Respiration and gaseous exchange.
Upper Respiratory Infections – how to treat them.
Broncho-dilators herbs to alleviate broncho-spasm
Herbs for coughs; – irritable, productive, non-productive.
Herbal tonics for the lungs.
Sinus and catarrh infections.
Flu and colds.
Diets and herbs to help in flu, colds & coughs.
Identification of herbs for the chest, colds & flu.
Nervous Problems – herbs to help irritability and stress.
The Thyroid – overactive/underactive.
Herbs and diet to help restore balance.
Importance of sleep – glymphatic system.
Diets to help stress.
What causes it? What it is.
How to overcome Type 2 Diabetes
Diet and supplements to control blood sugar fluctuations.
Herbs to lower blood sugar.
Meditation, yoga and chi kung.
Basics and how they can help us live a more fulfilled life.
How to treat children.
Multiple choice exam and assessment of journal.
The 2 day seminar will consist of revision of topics from all 3 trimesters. It will take place in the summer months – date to be arranged. Towards the end of July
Focus will be given to questions, lectures on relevant topics, film, field work and some practical sessions.
Students can camp or stay in BnB accommodation.
NB – it is expected that the syllabus will evolve from this outline as new material is developed.