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Bachelor of Herbal Medicine

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What is herbal medicine?

The use of plants as medicine is older than recorded history, but it is known that herbs have been used for spiritual & medicinal purposes for thousands of years; the history of herbology is inextricably intertwined with that of modern medicine.  Many drugs listed as conventional medications were originally derived from plants, however the traditional use of herbs gives rise to fewer adverse effects than their pharmaceutical derivatives. 

The World Health Organization estimates that about 80% of the world’s population uses plants for healing purposes to some extent – herbal medicine is a major component in all indigenous peoples’ traditional medicine.  It is a common element to Ayurveda, Traditional Oriental medicine, Native American Indian medicine, traditional Aboriginal (Native Australian) medicine, naturopathy, & even homooeopathy. 

An estimated 250,000 to 300,000 species of plants exist, but only about 5,000 of them have been studied for their constituents & medicinal properties.

Why study herbal medicine?

Herbal medicine, as a field of study in this course, is underpinned by the belief that all living forms possess an innate ability for self-healing.  This ability, or vital force, operates in an intelligent, orderly fashion.

All natural approaches to health care are aimed at supporting and enhancing the body’s own ability to heal itself.

The term ‘innate’ refers to characteristics or qualities, which are present in an individual from birth- they are part of the essential nature of something, rather than something that is learned, or gained through experience.

Innate Healing therefore, refers to the natural inclination of the body to both resist disease, & heal one-self.

In Iconic Health Academy’s Herbal Medicine courses, this traditional method is based on the skillful integration and application of four modalities to support an individual on their healing journey.

What will the Iconic Health Academy Bachelor of Herbal Medicine do for you?

Iconic Health Academy’s Bachelor of Herbal Medicine provides the graduate herbalist with a deep knowledge of herbal medicine, together with a foundational understanding of health promoting nutrition.

The qualification includes biological health sciences, such as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and differential diagnosis, together with social sciences, and practice management.

As a higher education level qualification, this course also includes studies in critical thinking, to ensure you have the necessary skills to remain up to date with your knowledge, and understand the importance of evidence-based natural health.

At the end of the course, you will be able to demonstrate a broad range of knowledge and skills to be able to analyse a client’s health status, including current medical treatments. Based on this assessment, graduates can design and implement individualised treatment protocols for health management.

It is equally important for graduates to understand their limitations, and identify ‘red flags’ which would require referral to a medical practitioner, to diagnose any serious underlying conditions.

Upon completion of this course, graduate herbalists will be equipped to practice autonomously in their own professional clinic or work within an established health care practice.

Professional Recognition

The educational material is designed in accordance with the UK Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 6, and the Australian Quality Framework (AQF) Level 7, specifically at undergraduate Bachelor level. Once you have completed your Bachelor of Herbal Medicine, you will receive a certificate of completion from Iconic Health Academy.

Graduates will be eligible to become professional members of the International Institute for Complementary Therapists, which is recognised in:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Europe
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Assessment

This course is assessed using self-paced Multiple Choice Questionnaires, which can be used as formative or summative assessment, and provide immediate feedback.  The questions are designed to assess what you have learnt, and challenge your ability to apply concepts, and analyse and evaluate information.

Each module has its own assessment plan, and some include written assignments, student forum participation and online presentations. Students are also required to complete practical components, including webinars and supervised clinical elements.

Course Outline

The Iconic Health Academy Bachelor of Herbal Medicine is designed to be delivered over 3 years; it is offered in a full time format, which is delivered over 18 months, and a part time format, which is delivered over 36 months.  To ensure currency of information, students are required to complete their studies within 6 years.

The Bachelor of Herbal Medicine is structured to include the following Modules, which may also contribute to other courses:

SEMESTER 1
Code Level Title Credit Points
AP1 100 Anatomy and Physiology 1 4
HSF Bridg. Health Sciences, Foundations  0
MT 100 Medical Terminology 4
NP 100 Natural Health Philosophy 4
NU1 100 Nutrition 1 4
PD 100 Professional Development 4
    TOTAL  20
SEMESTER 2
AP2 100 Anatomy and Physiology 2 4
BC 200 Biochemistry 4
CF Bridg. Chemistry, Foundations  0
CT1 200 Critical Thinking 1 4
NU2 200 Nutrition 2 4
PC 200 Practical Counselling 4
    TOTAL  20
SEMESTER 3
BP 100 Botany & Pharmacognosy 4
CS 200 Clinical Studies 4
HC 200 Herbal Cultivation 4
HM1 100 Herbal Medicine 1 4
PA 200 Pathology 4
TH 200 Theory & Practice of Herbal Medicine 4
    TOTAL  24
SEMESTER 4
CA 200 Clinic Administration 4
HM2 200 Herbal Medicine 2 4
HM3 200 Herbal Medicine 3 4
HM4 300 Herbal Medicine 4 4
MP 200 Microbiology & Public Health 4
PH 200 Pharmacology 4
    TOTAL  24
SEMESTER 5
BCNAT 300 Biochemistry for Naturopaths 4
CP1 300 Clinical Practice 1 (Log Book) 8
DD1 300 Differential Diagnosis 1 4
HM5 300 Herbal Medicine 5 4
MH 300 Manufacturing of Herbs 4
TPHM1 300 Treatment Protocols (HM) 1 4
    TOTAL  28
SEMESTER 6
CP2 300 Clinical Practice 2 (Log Book) 8
CSE 300 Clinical Safety and Exit Exam 4
CT2 300 Critical Thinking 2 4
DD2 300 Differential Diagnosis 2 4
PM 200 Practice Management  4
TPHM2 300 Treatment Protocols (HM) 2 4
    TOTAL  28
    Total Credit points 144

The full time course will be delivered online, two modules at a time. Two bridging courses are also included, Health Sciences, Foundations and Chemistry, Foundations, to set students up for success.  You will be required to pass each pair of modules, before advancing to the next.  Modules are delivered in the following pairs:

Health Sciences, Foundations Natural Health Philosophy
Medical Terminology Nutrition 1
Anatomy and Physiology 1 Professional Development
Chemistry, Foundations Critical Thinking 1
Anatomy and Physiology 2 Practical Counselling
Biochemistry Nutrition 2
Herbal Medicine 1 Theory & Practice of Herbal Medicine
Botany & Pharmacognosy Pathology
Clinical Studies Herbal Cultivation
Herbal Medicine 2 Pharmacology
Herbal Medicine 3 Microbiology & Public Health
Clinic Administration Clinical Practice 1 (Log Book)
Biochemistry for Naturopaths Herbal Medicine 4
Differential Diagnosis 1 Treatment Protocols (HM) 1
Herbal Manufacturing Herbal Medicine 5
Clinical Practice 2 (Log Book) Practice Management 
Differential Diagnosis 2 Treatment Protocols (HM) 2
Clinical Safety and Exit Exam Critical Thinking 2

NB: Students will also be required to complete a Senior First Aid Certificate, which is not offered by Iconic Health Academy, prior to commencing their supervised clinic elements.

The part time course will be delivered online, one module at a time.  Two bridging courses are also included, Health Sciences, Foundations and Chemistry, Foundations, to set students up for success.  You will be required to pass each module, before advancing to the next module.  Modules are delivered in this order:

Natural Health Philosophy
Health Sciences, Foundations
Nutrition 1
Medical Terminology
Professional Development
Anatomy and Physiology 1
Critical Thinking 1
Chemistry, Foundations
Practical Counselling
Anatomy and Physiology 2
Biochemistry
Nutrition 2
Theory & Practice of Herbal Medicine
Herbal Medicine 1
Pathology
Botany & Pharmacognosy
Clinical Studies
Herbal Cultivation
Pharmacology
Herbal Medicine 2
Microbiology & Public Health
Herbal Medicine 3
Clinic Administration
Clinical Practice 1 (Log Book)
Biochemistry for Naturopaths
Herbal Medicine 4
Differential Diagnosis 1
Treatment Protocols (HM) 1
Herbal Medicine 5
Herbal Manufacturing
Practice Management 
Clinical Practice 2 (Log Book)
Differential Diagnosis 2
Treatment Protocols (HM) 2
Critical Thinking 2
Clinical Safety and Exit Exam

NB: Students will also be required to complete a Senior First Aid Certificate, which is not offered by Iconic Health Academy, prior to commencing their supervised clinic elements.

Anatomy and Physiology 1

This module introduces students to the anatomical structure and physiological function of the human body, including the chemical, cellular and tissue levels of organisation. Students will also learn about the structure and specialised functions of the integumentary, musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal systems, as well as gaining a basic overview of human metabolism.

Anatomy and Physiology 2

This module follows AP1, providing information on the structure and specialised functions of the lymphatic, immune, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary and reproductive systems. Key concepts associated with fluid, electrolyte and acid-base homeostasis are also introduced.

Biochemistry

This module teaches chemistry and organic chemistry principles, and relates biochemical structure to the function of substances within the body. It provides a basic understanding of biochemical processes and metabolic pathways of macronutrients and energy production.

Biochemistry for Naturopaths

Building on the Biochemistry module, students will gain a deeper understanding of the biochemistry and metabolism of various micronutrients and herbal constituents in order to predict the physiological effects of nutritional and herbal therapy.

Botany & Pharmacognosy

In this module, students will learn to identify and describe plant morphological features and their functions, as well as recognise the therapeutic constituents of medicinal herbs. Students will also be introduced to basic pharmacological concepts to gain an understanding of phytotherapeutic actions and interactions, and how pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plants.

Chemistry, Foundations

This module introduces basic chemistry and organic chemistry principles, and relates biochemical structure to the function of substances within the body. It will provide an introduction to biochemical processes and metabolic pathways of macronutrients and energy production.

Clinic Administration

This is the first in a series of modules designed to give students practical experience within an operational clinical practice setting. Students will be introduced to administrative systems, clinical practice guidelines, marketing strategies, and occupational and health safety requirements. Students will be taught how to interact with the public in a retail or clinic setting, including marketing duties, and professionalism with respect to attendance, punctuality, appearance, communication, time-management and working within a team.

Clinical Practice 1

This is the first of two modules which are managed via a student log book, which includes checklists designed to give students practical experience within a real or simulated operational clinical practice setting. CP1 students will progress through reception duties, clinic dispensary duties. Students will observe other consulting practitioners and/or students. They may also undertake mock consultations with peers. They will assist in developing treatment protocols to client needs with respect to current evidence. Students will also explore how to write effective referral letters, as well as critically analyse claims of therapeutic actions of natural therapies. By the end of this module, students will start to engage in health consultations with clients, to propose his/her own treatment protocols. Under direct supervision, students will prescribe appropriate therapies and educate their clients with regard to natural medicine philosophy and evidence-based practice. They will learn to recognise limits of competency and identify when referrals to other health practitioners are appropriate.

Clinical Practice 2

This is the second of two modules which are managed via a student log book, which includes checklists designed to give students practical experience within a real or simulated operational clinical practice setting. CP2 students may continue to undertake mock consultations with peers. They will assist in developing treatment protocols and applying knowledge of appropriate modalities to client needs with respect to current evidence. Under direct supervision, students will prescribe appropriate therapies and educate their clients with regard to natural medicine philosophy and evidence-based practice. They will learn to recognise limits of competency and identify when referrals to other health practitioners are appropriate.

Clinical Safety and Exit Exam

This module focuses on safety in practice, including prioritisation and appropriate action with respect to red flag signs and symptoms, a review of CAM-drug interactions and restricted herbs in pregnancy, interpretation of pathology test results, and communication with medical practitioners. Students will expand and cultivate their clinical reasoning capabilities by working through real clinical cases. The exit exam is the final assessment for all degrees (non-accredited) awarded by the college, and can only be attempted when all other course work and assessments have been satisfactorily completed.

Clinical Studies

The Clinical Studies module will teach students case-taking and diagnostic skills in order to carry out a thorough health assessment. A range of diagnostic and examination techniques pertaining to all systems of the body will be discussed.

Critical Thinking 1

In this module, students will explore the theoretical assumptions underpinning quantitative and qualitative evidence and utilise an appraisal framework to evaluate the quality of research. They will learn to identify bias in research and to communicate their findings within a team setting. Academic writing sills, referencing styles and plagiarism will also be discussed.

Critical Thinking 2

This module follows on from CT1, further developing critical appraisal skills. Students will learn to search for studies based on a hierarchy of evidence and implement a systematic approach to the management of information. They will develop further skills in the review and assessment of scientific literature.

Differential Diagnosis 1

This module integrates the knowledge gained in the previous biological science modules to provide students with an understanding of the different signs and symptoms of common health conditions. Based on their clinical findings, students will learn to understand likely underlying pathology and prognoses, and decide on appropriate further investigations and referrals. This module will cover differential diagnosis of gastrointestinal, hepatic, metabolic, integumentary, immune, respiratory and urinary tract disorders.

Differential Diagnosis 2

This module follows DD1, to provide students with an understanding of the different signs and symptoms of common health conditions. This module will cover differential diagnosis of musculoskeletal, nervous, mental health, cardiovascular, endocrine and reproductive disorders.

Health Sciences, Foundations

HSF is a self-paced learning module for students without prior human biology studies. It introduces the structure and function of the human body and the major body systems, together with an introduction to pathology, microbiology and pharmacology.

Herbal Cultivation

Herbal Cultivation covers the growing and harvesting of medicinal plants in local and international contexts. The module critically explores and evaluates various growing methods, sustainability of plants and production. Students will differentiate between ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological plant use in historical and geographical contexts, including medicinal plant use and bioprospecting.

Herbal Medicine 1

This module provides an introduction to herbal medicine, including the history, philosophy and traditional uses of medicinal herbs; plant morphology, identification and classification; herbal constituents and actions; principles of prescribing; and restricted herbs. Students will also learn how to manufacture topical herbal preparations.

Herbal Medicine 2

By the completion of this module, students will have gained an overview of more than a hundred medicinal herbs, including their common and botanical names, parts used, constituents, actions and indications. Herbal pharmacology, safety issues and contraindications are also discussed.

Herbal Medicine 3

This module builds on HM1 and HM2, teaching the student to create treatment plans and choose herbal remedies for selected conditions of the gastrointestinal, integumentary, immune, respiratory, and urinary tract systems. Dosages, cautions and contraindications are discussed, and herbs are analysed in context of their historical application as well as current evidence.

Herbal Medicine 4

This module continues the exploration of treatment plans and herbal preparations for selected conditions of the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine and reproductive systems. Dosages, cautions and contraindications are discussed, and herbs are analysed in context of their historical application as well as current evidence.

Herbal Medicine 5

In Herbal Medicine 5, students will evaluate the principles, scope and legal framework of the herbal treatment of chronic, multifactorial conditions, including autoimmune disease, cancer, emerging infections and mental health disorders. Students will utilise the scientific literature to hypothesise about common causative factors of chronic disease and their potential effect on individual and public health.

Manufacturing of Herbs

From modern extraction and processing methods of herbal manufacturing to classifying herbal extracts in relation to pharmaceutical medicines and raw materials, this module delves into biochemistry, examines government regulatory guidelines, and compares national manufacturers of herbal products.

Medical Terminology

Specifically designed to teach students to effectively and efficiently communicate with other health professionals, this module analyses the structure of medical terms, diagnostic tests and referrals.

Microbiology & Public Health

Beginning with the history and chemical principles of microbiology, this module discusses the classification and nomenclature of microorganisms, with consideration of the effects of their lifecycles and pathogenicity. Food- and water-borne pathogens, and microbial diseases of specific body systems, will also be covered.

Natural Health Philosophy

Exploring the cultural origins, philosophies and historical development of modern day natural therapies, this module will outline the philosophical foundations of natural medicine and provide an overview of various modalities. Theories and applications of specific natural therapies are compared with each other and biomedical practice.

Nutrition 1

This module provides a broad overview of nutrition, including an introduction to macro- and micro-nutrients, energy requirements, exogenous factors affecting nutrition, and dietary guidelines. The student will learn how to perform a basic nutritional assessment, and to plan and implement dietary modifications based on healthy eating guidelines. We will also look at nutrition in respect to different life stages, weight management and food reactions.

Nutrition 2

Expanding on NU1, Nutrition 2 provides students with an in-depth look into specific micro- and macro-nutrients, including their food sources, physiological function, metabolism, and deficiency and excess symptoms. Students will explore therapeutic applications of nutrients and rationales for supplementation, as well as gaining an understanding of current TGA regulations.

Pathology

Integrating knowledge of anatomy and physiology, students will learn to apply knowledge of pathological processes to clinical outcomes. Diseases states are identified and discussed in terms of their effects on cell structure and function, as well as their underlying risk factors. Appropriate pathological tests and the interpretation of their results are also discussed.

Pharmacology

Pharmacological principles of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenetics are applied to define drug actions and interactions. Students will learn to classify drugs according to mechanisms of action and reflect upon the legal and ethical responsibilities of practitioners and the media.

Practical Counselling

In this practical module, various counselling theories will be explored and applied to different situations and personality types. Students will discuss the impact of judgement and compassion in the therapeutic encounter, as well as analyse case studies, in which they will learn to recommend therapies and identify warning signs that may indicate the need for referral.

Practice Management

This module will develop awareness of the necessary factors involved in operating a complementary medicine practice, including financial considerations, taxation requirements, record keeping, legal issues, implementation of systems, policies & procedures, and statutory & regulatory requirements. Students will create a business plan, formulate marketing strategies and materials for use in practice, and learn the basics of managing human resources.

Professional Development

In this module, we will explore techniques for effective communication, including the use of micro-skills, to enable students to develop oral and written communication skills to enhance the therapeutic encounter. We will also discuss self-esteem, self-concept, self-presentation and social psychology, as well as professional boundaries and legal and ethical considerations.

Theory & Practice of Herbal Medicine

In this module, students will look at the incorporation of both tradition and science in herbal medicine and analyse the available evidence on herbal medicine, be introduced to herb-drug-nutrient interactions, and explore the safety of herbs in various life stages, including pregnancy. The position and role of herbalists and naturopaths in the health care system, and the regulatory framework of a non-registered profession will also be explored. This module will develop the ability to think critically and independently and assess available evidence with respect to modern herbal medicine practice.

Treatment Protocols (HM) 1

This module integrates the knowledge gained in previous modules to enable students to critically analyse clinical cases from a holistic perspective, and develop evidence-based herbal and nutritional medicine treatment protocols for gastro-intestinal, hepatic, integumentary, immune, respiratory, urinary tract and metabolic conditions. Treatment protocols will be critically evaluated and management plans adapted for follow up cases. Students will also learn to recognise red flags and decide on appropriate referrals.

Treatment Protocols (HM) 2

This module integrates the knowledge gained in previous modules to enable students to critically analyse clinical cases from a holistic perspective, and develop evidence-based herbal and nutritional medicine treatment protocols for musculoskeletal, nervous, mental health, cardiovascular, endocrine and reproductive conditions. Treatment protocols will be critically evaluated and management plans adapted for follow up cases. Students will also learn to recognise red flags and decide on appropriate referrals.