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You'll find a list of all my blog posts in the blog archive.

Semantics.

Blog categories:

Herbalist vs. phytotherapist.

There's a thread over on the herbwifery forum asking, "What do we call ourselves?".

Over here, there are two choices:
1) you're a phytotherapist ("fytoterapeutti")
2) you're a herbalist ("yrttiterapeutti" - the straight translation of which is "herbal therapist").

Now, I teach herbalism at a two-year school for alternative practitioners. If they take all of my weeks (5-7, depending) plus a few others, of herbs, they can call themselves "phytotherapists". Or at least, that's what their diploma says.

Anybody trying to call me a phytotherapist might get hurt.

I'm a practical, down to earth, hands-on, holistic herbalist. To me, plants are important, constituents aren't (well, mostly). And to me, people are important, scientific research isn't (well - mostly).

Phytotherapists are overly interested in single constituents and "unbiased" "scientific" research on herbs, and they might never have seen the plants they're giving to their clients.
My students don't have those handicaps, nevermind what their diploma says.

Calling yourself a phytotherapist is a bad idea on another level: people who talk in complicated words where simple language works usually try to cover up that they don't have any idea what they're talking about. See, if nobody can understand you, they can't follow your thinking, and thus cannot twig onto the fact that your thinking is muddled.

No, keep to clear simple language wherever possible. That way, people understand you, understand what you're trying to teach them, and learn something. And, every now and then, they'll tell you that you're outright wrong, and you learn something.

And that last bit is one part of why I love to teach.

Comments

I do enjoy the image of you thwacking some terminology ignorant student with the nearest wooden spoon.

And I so appreciate the emphasis on clear simple language... something I try to keep at the forefront of my mind when I teach. Thankfully my first student was my (then) toddler daughter, teaching herbs to two year olds will definitely help you keep it simple :)

I've not actually hit anybody at all, but very rarely I might threaten to do so.
Except my current life partner of course, who gets kicked (gently) on the ankles whenever he's teasing me too much.



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