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What is a Clinical Herbalist?

Clinical herbalists who have completed a specified number of hours of herbal education and clinical practice are eligible to apply to become a Registered Herbalist through the American Herbalist Guild. Becoming a Registered Herbalist is a way to demonstrate a core level of clinical skill, knowledge, and experience in herbal practice, that establishes a meaningful standard of competency for themselves, their communities, and other health professionals and institutions. A registered herbalist has been evaluated, tested, and peer reviewed, as confirmation of their clinical skills. The designation ‘Registered Herbalist’ establishes a recognized level of expertise and commitment to the practice of herbalism. Clinical herbalists who have completed a specific number of hours of herbal education and clinical practice are eligible to apply. Clinical herbalists who qualify for Registered Herbalist designation (RH) must have a specific amount of training in botanical medicine and experience in clinical practice along with the other criteria described below. Education and Training: Approximately 800 hours of comprehensive training in botanical medicine achieved through formal, comprehensive education, and independent study.

Materia Medica: A working knowledge of at least 150 medicinal herbs. You must demonstrate your knowledge by providing information about the clinical application of herbs from one of three categories of materia medica: Western, Ayurvedic, or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Basic Sciences: A practical understanding of human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and basic plant chemistry, obtained through independent or formal education, and applied in your differential assessment of clinical cases.

Clinical Experience: Approximately 400 hours of clinical experience needs to be obtained through independent practice, structured mentorship, and supervised clinical training as part of an academic program, or a combination of these experiences.

A clinical hour is an actual hour spent with a client. The initial intake/consult and research for your herbal protocols counts for a maximum of two hours (even though we know it often takes much longer); follow-up visits count as one hour.

Independent clinical experience, where you are the primary practitioner, should include approximately 80 individual clients within two years. Your independent practice does not include clients you have worked within a clinical training program.

American Herbalist Guild (AHG) Definition of Clinical Experience: Clinical experience must encompass more than casual consultations with family and friends. To qualify, sessions with individual clients must include a full health history intake, differential assessment, herbal protocols, and a reasonable number of formal follow-up visits. Providing herb recommendations in a retail sales environment does NOT count as clinical experience unless it includes all of the above.

Registered Herbalist spend their clinical hours with their clients/patients addressing health issues that require a broad and comprehensive process of initial health history and differential assessment, herbal protocols, and recommendations, evaluation, and follow up care.

Case Histories and Therapeutics: To qualify to because a registered herbalists, you are expected to demonstrate the ability to conduct a comprehensive intake interview, compile a case history, and provide a differential assessment by presenting three case histories from your practice.

Practice Management and Ethics: A registered herbalist candidate must show understanding of your scope of practice and personal practice limitations by supplying the names and contact information for three health care practitioners with whom you consult or to whom you refer clients when a case is beyond your scope of practice.

Letters of Recommendation: To be considered to qualify for The designation of registered herbalist, you must present two (2) letters of recommendation from colleagues familiar with your training and experience as a clinical herbalist. At least one letter of recommendation should be from one of your primary botanical medicine instructors.

Continuing Education: A demonstrated commitment to ongoing botanical medicine education is required.

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