I help you build a life of Sustainable Self-Sufficiency, drawing from my experience and commitment to an independent future for my family.


How to Become an Herbalist: A Guide to Herbal Certification

How to become an herbalist
Share This Post

In the intricate web of modern healthcare, where specialization is celebrated and expertise is often measured in certifications, one might assume that herbalism would have a well-defined path to accreditation. However, this is not the case.

In the United States, the absence of accredited herbal certification stands as a notable anomaly in the realm of alternative medicine. Despite the growing interest in herbal remedies and holistic healing, the lack of a standardized certification process for herbalists remains a puzzling reality. In this post, I’ll share the intricacies of herbal certification in the US, shedding light on why becomeing a ‘certified herbalist’ is a challenge. Moreover, I’ll navigate through the various pathways available for those wanting to become a registered herbalist, offering insights into alternative routes to gaining recognition and expertise. 

Note: It is important to me and my readers that this page remain up-to-date with the latest information. The contents of this page are intended to be updated to provide the latest information.

Why Can’t I Become a Certified Herbalist?

Unlike other healthcare professions, such as doctors or naturopaths, herbalism operates in a unique regulatory space. 

Lack of Federal or State Recognition for Herbal Medicine

The United States lacks a standardized, government-issued certification process for herbalists. This means that there is no way to be ‘certified’ in the US. Unlike professions governed by regulatory bodies, such as medical boards for doctors, the herbalism landscape remains largely unregulated at the federal and state levels. This lack of formal recognition makes it confusing for hobbyists to turn their craft into a more legitimate practice.

Certification vs. Registration

Let’s first differentiate between certification and registration. While certification typically means the completion of a specific training program and assessment, registration refers to acknowledgment within a professional organization or guild. For instance, the American Herbalists Guild offers registration as a recognized herbalist, but it’s not a legally binding certification. This means that through registration, they are acknowledged having taken a standardized training program but they are not certified as a sort of title. In short, a “certified herbalist” simply does not exist in the United States.

Can you be a self-taught herbalist?

Deciding to become an herbalist doesn’t always necessitate formal education. Self-taught herbalism can be both possible and rewarding. This means that one might lean into self-study, seeking a mentor who has far more years of practice, seeking multiple sources of expertise. In short, you can absolutely be self-taught and the majority of history has been marked by people just like this. It requires more dedication and effort to validate information (ie the impact and potential side effects of specific herbs) but it’s a perfectly suitable path to becoming an herbalist by your own standard.

Exploring Self-Taught Herbalism

Self-taught herbalism involves a blend of curiosity, experimentation, and resourcefulness. By diving into books, online resources, and hands-on experience, you can cultivate a deep understanding of herbal remedies and their applications in life. For instance, we’ve previously dived into the many ways we can leverage herbs to remedy sore throats, headaches, and much more.

This approach empowers learners to tailor their education to their interests and pace, fostering a sense of autonomy and ownership over their herbal journey, including mastering the art of tincture making.

Alternative Paths to Herbal School

In addition to self-directed study, aspiring herbalists can explore alternative paths to gaining herbal knowledge. Apprenticeships with experienced herbalists offer invaluable mentorship and practical skills, while community workshops and herbal gatherings provide opportunities for networking and knowledge exchange. These diverse avenues complement formal education and enrich the learning experience.

Encouraging Self-Directed Learning

While formal education provides a structured framework for herbal study, self-directed learning complements and enhances this journey. By engaging in self-study alongside formal education, individuals can deepen their understanding, expand their repertoire of remedies, and cultivate a lifelong passion for herbalism. Embracing self-directed learning empowers aspiring herbalists to chart their own course and embark on a transformative journey of discovery and growth.

Herbalist Schools & Herbal Programs

On the journey of becoming an herbalist, selecting the right educational path is both fun as it is exciting. Several reputable institutions offer comprehensive herbalist schools and programs, each with its unique offerings and educational opportunities.

Herbal Academy

The Herbal Academy offers a range of online courses and programs suitable for beginners to advanced learners. Their curriculum covers diverse topics, including foundational herbalism, botanical medicine, and advanced herbal studies.

With a focus on experiential learning and practical application, this herbalism school equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the field of herbalism, including the preparation of various herbal products.

American Herbalists Guild

The American Herbalists Guild (AHG) serves as a professional organization dedicated to promoting clinical herbalism and fostering excellence in herbal education. While the AHG does not offer formal educational programs, it provides valuable resources and networking opportunities for herbalists.

Membership in the AHG signifies a commitment to ethical practice and ongoing professional development, offering recognition within the herbalism community.

Bastyr University

Bastyr University stands as a pioneer in integrative medicine education, offering accredited programs in naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and herbal sciences. Their Bachelor of Science herbal programs provide a comprehensive foundation in botanical medicine, blending traditional wisdom with modern scientific principles. 

Maryland University of Integrative Health

Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) offers esteemed graduate programs in herbal medicine, providing in-depth training in clinical herbalism, integrative healthcare, and good manufacturing practices. 

Their curriculum emphasizes a holistic approach to wellness, incorporating traditional herbal knowledge with contemporary research. Graduates of MUIH’s herbal programs emerge as skilled practitioners, equipped to address the complex health needs of individuals and communities.

Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism

The Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism (VCIH) offers experiential herbal education rooted in community-based learning and clinical practice. Their programs emphasize hands-on training, herbal materia medica, and ethical practice, fostering a deep connection to the plants and the land. VCIH’s commitment to sustainability and social justice infuses its educational approach, preparing students to be conscientious stewards.

More Herb Schools and Programs:

Directory: Herbal Education Directory, searchable by state and county, virtual learning or in-person

In choosing an herbal school or program, practicing herbalists have the opportunity to explore diverse paths and certifications, from foundational courses to herbalist certificates and advanced degrees.

Whether seeking online programs, community-based learning, or accredited university programs, each institution offers unique opportunities for growth and development in the field of herbalism, encouraging students to learn how to become a clinical herbalist.

Become a Registered Herbalist: Resources for Beginners

It’s essential to equip yourself with foundational knowledge and resources to support your learning. Whether you’re just starting or seeking to deepen your understanding, there are valuable resources available to guide you on your herbal path.

Best Herbal Books for Beginners

To kickstart your herbal library, consider looking into a curated selection of the best herbal books for beginners. These resources cover a range of topics, from herbal materia medica to medicinal plant cultivation, providing a comprehensive introduction to the world of herbalism. By consulting these authoritative texts, you’ll gain a solid foundation in herbal principles and practices.

Importance of Foundational Knowledge in Your Herbal Journey

Foundational knowledge forms the bedrock of your herbal journey, providing a framework for understanding the complexities of herbal medicine. By immersing yourself in introductory resources, you’ll develop a strong understanding of many herbal concepts, terminology, and techniques. This knowledge serves as a springboard for further exploration and specialization in herbalism.

As you dive into beginner resources, don’t hesitate to explore additional avenues for learning and growth. Engage with online communities, attend workshops and seminars, and seek mentorship from experienced herbalists. By embracing a spirit of curiosity and inquiry, you’ll enrich your herbal journey and develop a deeper connection to the natural world.


As you continue your journey in herbalism, I encourage you to remain curious, open-minded, and committed to lifelong learning. You are bound to discover incredible things in God’s world of plant medicine along the way.

Related Posts You May Like:


Goodies to help get you going - and totally free

How to Detox Your Home Naturally

This simple guide your gateway to a healthier home and space.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Simple Guide: Cleaning Schedule

Save yourself time and spend time doing more of what you actually love.

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017