I don't know! I'm not an herbalist yet. But my guess follows, and is based on my personal history, tales I've heard, and the practice clients our class has seen.
Because you have a health concern, and are somehow uneasy, unwilling or unaccepting of conventional medical treatment for it.
I have a feeling it compares to my experience at my fitness studio. It's a small "boutique" type space. Many people feel compelled to go to the gym, by guilt or judgment or societal pressures or whatever. However, when people come to me, I often hear, "I have to do something but I hate the gym," "I heard about Pilates and wanted to try it," "My friend/doctor/physical therapist/chiropractor/vet/somebody suggested it." People are urged to Pilates, drawn to it, not forced. You have to be willing to try it, willing to have a mental and physical experience, willing to do something that will take your concentration and will depend on your efforts for your results.
Similarly, I think many people are compelled to visit a doctor, through worry or fear or duty or even insurance requirements. The phrase, “I have to go to the doctor” feels like a common one, and sounds like an unwelcome chore. It’s not a pleasantly anticipated activity, although it only requires you to show up, since the doctor does all the work.
To visit an herbalist, on the other hand, you have to choose. Choose to spend your own money, and choose to find value in paying for your health. Choose to spend time with the intake process, often with a lengthy paper form and then with the herbalist. Choose to talk about what you need, what you want, why you’re there, what you’re hoping for. Choose to follow the suggestions you’re given, to take an active role in your healing, not just take two and call in the morning. You are involved from the minute you make the appointment. There is no unseen system to carry you along, another statistic, another number in line, another set of symptoms on a flow chart.
There is a primal force that draws people to seek out activities, endeavors, and events that make their soul feel good and whole. There is a resonance between people and what heals them. Some love the energy of a live concert or game, some love the satisfaction and excitement of volunteer firefighting, some need to stand on a mountain top and breathe the clear air. These are interactions between you and the world that recharge your energy, tune your internal antenna, and make you feel entirely part of something bigger.
This force, this resonance will draw some to heal a disturbance inside them, to shake a life-long pattern of illness, to reach a state of ease they couldn’t have imagined after a long, close familiarity with dis-ease. Many attempts, many referrals, many healers may be necessary before the right combination happens, before an unspoken exchange happens between two people that both recognize as right and good. There is an ability to heal that we all carry, and unleashing it may require only a little guidance or maybe a deep journey, but it starts in that same place inside that reaches for that bigger connection and finds one in the right healer for you. You may not know why you’re visiting an herbalist, but chances are it was a good decision to make.