It’s important to understand what a certified herbalist means. In the United States there is no official “accrediting body” for herbalism. The closest one is the American Herbalist Guild. This guild only recognizes clinical practitioners of herbalism rather than educators, formulators and consultants. I feel this is a very limited view of herbalists but that’s the way it is!
I want my students to be able to apply to become a Registered Herbalist with the AHG if they desire. So I have built my program with that in mind. This is from their website:
AHG Educational Guidelines were developed to provide a framework for individuals and schools seeking to develop a comprehensive botanical medicine educational curriculum. These guidelines recommend the core competencies of herbal education, and are not meant to be either educational requirements or the whole of a complete herbal education. It is expected that individuals and schools will add elective courses to the core competencies outlined below.
A curriculum should have a minimum of 1600 hours of total study, 400 of which should be in actual clinical work. Because many schools do not have clinical supervision courses, you may have to seek to fulfill your clinical requirements elsewhere (see below).
The didactic courses should contain the following:
Basic Human Sciences (200 hrs)
Botany and Plant Identification (60 hrs)
Basic field identification and recognition of plant anatomy; differentiation of commonly used and toxic species.
Materia medica/Therapeutic Herbalism (400 hrs)
To include dosages and dosage forms, historical uses, botanical names, plant constituents, the parts used, therapeutic applications and actions, indications, contraindications and actions, herb-drug interactions, toxicology and side effects, review of the literature, harvestable status, plant families and use with particular groups such as the elderly, pregnant etc.
Pharmacy, Pharmacognosy, and Dispensing (80 hrs)
To include basic principles of medicine making, plant chemistry and pharmacology herbal formulation, modes of administration and delivery, maintaining a dispensary, raw material identification, laws regarding labeling and dispensing, and dispensing strategies.
Clinical Skills (400 hrs)
To include training in counseling skills, professionalism, physical assessments, constitutional analysis, laboratory findings, general assessments, dosing strategies, interviewing and case taking skills, record keeping, wellness counseling, nutritional and dietary counseling, and informed consent and full disclosure.
Career Preparation/Practice Development/Ethics (20 hrs)
To include ethics, maintaining records, professional networking and scope of practice, legal issues (both national and local), confidentiality, small business management, and promoting and marketing an herbal business.
History & Philosophy/Introduction to Research (40 hrs)
History to include the philosophy of western herbalism, the history of American herbalism, and world models of herbalism. Research to include interpreting historical and scientific data, understanding what constitutes “evidence-based medicine.”
The Certified Herbalist Program is the first step toward completion of the above guidelines, we are in the process of putting together final program of study followed by a clinical apprenticeship which will prepare each student for opening their own clinic if they wish.
Whether you continue with HMB School of Herbalism or go somewhere else, your certificate, as well as your accompanying transcript, will show what you’ve learned. It will always count toward the hours required by AHG and most independent herbal schools.