Herbalist

Nurse Anesthesiologist

One of the areas of holistic medicine that is gaining in popularity is herbology, or the study of plants and their health benefits, especially as pharmaceutical medicines have increasing and sometimes dangerous side effects. There are several different paths a herbalist can follow, including Western, Indigenous, Traditional Chinese, and Ayurvedic (East Indian).

Herbalists use these traditional methods both to maintain good health and also to treat illnesses such as arthritis, rheumatism, stomach ailments, skin disorders, and asthma. They may recommend herbal remedies for their clients, prepare compounds and tinctures, cultivate herbs for personal use or to trade or distribute commercially, or they may even teach and write about herbology and its uses. When treating a client, the herbalist will gather a detailed medical history, including health problems, family medical history, diet, and lifestyle. They may also observe their clients in order to determine their mental, physical, and emotional conditions. Using this information, they will determine the likely cause of their malady and prescribe a dietary or lifestyle change, recommend an herbal supplement, or prepare a special herbal remedy for them.

There are presently no national or standard certification or licensing requirements for herbalists. Practitioners can, however, receive training and/or complete various independent certification programs. There are several schools throughout the United States that offer certification courses in herbalism. There is also a guild for herbalists, the American Herbalist Guild, which is the only one of its kind. There are strict qualifications for joining, and each applicant must pass a proficiency exam. The guild also has continuing education requirements, and its members are certified and given the title “Herbalist AHG” for use after their name to show proof of accreditation, though most prefer to use only the AHG.

Herbalists may work in private homes, health stores, clinics (with chiropractors, naturopaths or other holistic heath practitioners), wellness centers or greenhouses. The hours for herbalists vary, and they may work evenings and weekends depending upon where they practice. Some herbalists are on call for their clients anytime, but that is a personal decision. The employment outlook for herbalists relies on a variety of factors, including location, turnover, occupational growth, and trends and events that may bring interest to herbology, such as the recent health scares with pharmaceuticals.

The salary for an herbalist also relies on a variety of factors, including location, the type of practice they have, and the size of their client base. Naturally those with more clients will make more money. Self-employed herbalists may make anywhere from $60 to $280 per hour, but that does not include the cost of their overhead (office rental, supplies, etc.). Herbalists employed in health stores may make $8 to $15 per hour, and sales representatives in the health food/herbal supplement industry may make $24,000 to $75,000 per year, depending on experience and sales. If you can build a wide client base and are in a good location, herbalism can be a very rewarding career, both personally and financially.

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