Who are they and what do they do? The herbalist is the person who prepares and sells, either wholesale or retail, parts of plants, roots, flowers and their derivatives, for medicinal or nutritional purposes.
What are the activities of the job? The tasks of the herbalist are: to extract the essence of herbs, blend them, and prepare herbal based remedies and fragrances. He/she advises customers on natural remedies, explains the properties of plants and their uses in cosmetic and food products, and in diet supplements.
Where is it done and under what conditions? The herbalist usually works in a shop which specialises in this activity, either in the role of proprietor or as an employee. He/she may also work for a company or in laboratories which make herbal products, or in private health clinics which specialise in natural medication.
What tools/equipment do they use? Plants and plant products, containers to pack, store and preserve them appropriately. Scales to weigh and measure out small quantities. If the herbalist is also a herb grower, the usual range of horticultural equipment will also be required. If they are running a shop, the equipment used by any other small retailer will be needed - cash till, computer, shelving, etc.
What do you need to succeed? A medium to high level of education is required and there are specialised university courses on offer. The herbalist must know the rudiments and properties of plants, and techniques and methods of cultivation. In order to be able to identify and recommend suitable remedies, he/she must be well versed in chemistry, biology, pharmacy, and legislation concerning pharmaceutical and herbal medicines. However, if opening a herbalist's shop, specialist expertise must be accompanied by business management ability. The herbalist must develop the necessary management skills, to control and develop the production, processing, and marketing of plants and their derivations.