How did the Betonica Herbal Apprenticeship begin?

Over the last couple of years I have been giving talks and running workshops which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I love bringing people closer to plants and improving their health. This then lead me to offer distance learning courses which have also brought a whole new group of people to herbal medicine. Some students have come to all of those and come out the other end asking, what now?

If you have a passion for herbal medicine should you become a medical herbalist?

Only you can really answer that and it is certainly not a career path for the faint hearted. There is a lot of work and while it is immensely rewarding, it is really a vocation rather than a job.

After many people asking me if I would consider teaching them as apprentices I decided to look further into the options available.

A comparison table of the courses available in the UK and Ireland can be found here.

From months of research and speaking to the herbalists who are offering the apprenticeship programmes, I decided to begin my own.

The Betonica herbal apprenticeship is a four year programme combining (what I hope) is the best bits from each of the courses.There is certainly a shift occurring, as the degree programmes are closing, the small courses and apprenticeships are springing up to plug the gap. The last thing we want is for herbalists to become an endangered species.

After attending a discussion at the Radical Herbal Gathering this year and speaking to people who wanted to undertake an apprenticeship or course of some kind, the main element that was a barrier to their study was the cost of the courses available. With this in mind I have kept the course fees to an absolute minimum in order to enable more people the option to train as a medical herbalist.

By Laura Carpenter MNIMH

Course Leader