Phytotherapy and Herbal Medicine

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Phytotherapy and Herbal Medicine tend to be used interchangeably as terms. Phytotherapy is the term used more in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and South America whilst Herbal Medicine is the English term and is used more in the UK Northern Europe, Australasia and North America. In North America herbal supplements are usually prescribed by naturopaths, in the UK and Europe they would be prescribed by Medical Herbalists or Phytotherapists.

Herbal medicine is the study of plants and the use of them as medicine. Archaeology has shown that herbal remedies date back to before humans were able to write. Many modern medicines were made by isolating substances from herbal remedies. Today many therapists use a wide range of herbal remedies that include some traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, South American and native American Indian plants.

Patient QI’s view:

Herbal medicine supplements have an important place in many personalised health strategies but must be overseen by a qualified herbal medicine practitioner as they can interact with conventional or other treatments. Experienced herbal medicine practitioners can make good coordinating therapists

Patient QI best info link:

Rules Regulations and Associations

The rules and regulations on therapists, their training and qualifications tend to be on a country by country basis. The herbal medicines are regulated by the FDA in the USA as food supplements but in the EU they fall under a Medicines licensing directive: the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products.
ESCOP, The European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy is the global umbrella organisation for herbal medicine and phytotherapy in Europe:


UK: British Herbal Medicine Association
Association of master herbalists:
College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy
International Register of Consultant Herbalists and Homeopaths
National Institute of Medical Herbalists
Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners
Austria: Austrian Society for Phytotherapy
Germany: The Society for Phytotherapy
Ireland: The Irish Register of Herbalists
Italy: Italian Society for Phytotherapy
Netherlands: Dutch Society for Phytotherapy
Spain: Spanish Society for Phytotherapy
Switzerland: Swiss Medical Society for Phytotherapy


National Herbalists Association of Australia

New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists



American Herbalists Guild


Canadian Herbalists Association

Ontario Herbalists Association


South Africa Association of Herbal Practitioners


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