Objective: To profile the profession of Western herbal medicine (WHM) in the UK.
Design: A self-completion postal questionnaire sent to a sample of practitioners of WHM in England.
Results: A typical practitioner of WHM in the UK is female, aged 41-50, white, and practises part-time from a shared clinic or from home. Motivations to embark on a career in WHM are grounded in an interest in natural healing and the desire to help others. The practice of WHM in the UK responds extensively to women's health needs. Tensions in the practice of WHM are identified between a framework of healthcare that is described as 'traditional' and the influences of evidence-based developments in healthcare.
Conclusion: Women, both as practitioners and as patients, and women's health needs play a central role in the contemporary practice of WHM in the UK.
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