I feel like I have so many more ways to work with herbs now than I did before. Additionally, the homework assignments have really helped me to synthesize material from a variety of sources, including ones outside of the course materials.

Herb 101 Amy Bartlett

This course helped bolster my confidence as a student. It was the first step in a direction that I have always been interested in. Herb 101 gave me a great foundation and rekindled an interest in holistic living that will benefit everyone I know. I look forward to using the information from this class to continue my education in the holistic health field!  Herb 101 Erin Briggs

As with my other two classes, I have enjoyed having Scott Stuart as a teacher and guide through these lessons. I would also like to add it was a bonus this class to have Dr. Arianna Staruch as our instructor. Her comments were fresh and different as well as very helpful. My thanks to everyone at ACHS for a great term. A special thanks to those who work in the store for exceptionally prompt service. Thank you and see you next term, Ginger Meredith Herb 302

I love ACHS. The format, content, delivery methods. I was worried that distance learning classes would be easy- not challenging. It is challenging and fun.

-Mary Yamaguchi

The mission of the MS in Herbal Medicine degree program is to develop a practical and theoretical understanding of clinical herbalism and professionally apply this knowledge to educate clients and consumers about a mind-body-spirit approach to health and wellness.

Clinical herbalism consulting along with health and wellness coaching has become one of the fastest growing areas of healthcare. Clinical herbalists play an integral role in the health and wellness industry. Recent research supports the use of herbal protocols for a number of clients including use for pain management for military service-related chronic pain [1], allergy management [2], a holistic approach to anxiety and depression related to PTSD [3], prehypertension [4], and integration at wellness clinics and as part of employee wellness programs.[5]

Career Goals:

  • Clinical Herbalist
  • Registered Herbalist American Herbalist Guild (AHG) [6]
  • Master Herbalist
  • Herbal Educator
  • Herbal Consultant
  • Herbal Retailer
  • Lifestyle coach or consultant
  • Herbal Writer
  • Herbal Writer
  • Herbal Products Manufacturer
  • Herbal Products Formulator
  • Administrative or support role in any company in the health care industry
  • Customer service role within the health care industry
  • Sales associate role within the health care industry
  • Massage Therapist specializing in herbal protocols
  • Esthetician specializing in herbal protocols
  • Medical Assistant, administrator, reception, or other support role in a licensed naturopathic clinic

The Master of Science in Herbal Medicine degree is also designed for:

  • Medical professionals wishing to increase their knowledge of this exciting field and integrate it into a new or existing practice, including Medical Doctors, Psychologists, Pharmacists, Naturopaths, Nurses, Veterinarians, Respiratory Therapists, or Social Workers.
  • Consumers looking to integrate herbal medicine and wellness principles into their life for personal health and well-being.

Program Objectives

Specifically, graduates of the Master of Science in Herbal Medicine program will:

  • Evaluate current herbal research to provide evidence-based practical and protocol models for herbal medicine both in healthcare settings and in industry.
  • Apply critical analysis and reasoning skills to positively affect others’ commitment to wellness with the safe and effective implementation of herbal medicine protocols.
  • Integrate values, goals, strategies, initiatives, and relationships that positively develop and emphasize sustainability of all phytotherapy and botanical resources, including environmental and social stewardship.
  • Administer and perform protocols and duties consistent with an American Herbalists Guild (AHG)  Registered Herbalist’s (RH) education, training, and experience within an established healthcare setting. Such duties shall not constitute the practice of medicine.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth, advanced clinical herbal medicine knowledge base that maximizes the innovative use of information that reflects the current theories, best practices, and research in preparation for application or further research in the herbal medicine industry.
  • Understand and identify the mechanical and biochemical changes caused by a variety of diseases or imbalances, to be able to address system imbalances and provide education that individuals can use to restore wellness.
  • Develop a solid knowledge base of clinical herbalism protocols and be able to apply that knowledge by informing and assisting practitioners and consumers of herbal products and protocols.
  • Evaluate and provide guidance on the potential for herb, supplement, and drug interactions.
  • Identify key requirements for purchasing high-quality, therapeutic-grade botanicals used in clinical herbalism.
  • Assist with designing and planning appropriate clinical studies that elucidate the underlying mechanisms of action of clinical herbalism, facilitating their integration into conventional medical care, and stimulating professionalism, integrity, and social responsibilities in the prevention and wellness industry.
  • Educate others about appropriate herbalism protocols that can help to rebalance the body and restore wellness, both for general good health and when particular ailments demonstrate an imbalance in the body and lifestyle.
  • Provide clients and potential clients with truthful and non-misleading information about their experience, training, services, pricing structure, and practices, as well as disclosure of financial interests if they can present a conflict in practice; inform clients that redress of grievances is available through the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) or through the appropriate agency where an AHG member is operating under a state license.
  • Learn and adhere to the International Coach Federation (ICF) ethical guidelines and professional standards, including: establishing the coaching agreement, establishing trust and intimacy with the client, coaching presence, active listening, powerful questioning, direct communication, creating awareness, designing actions, planning and goal setting, and managing progress and accountability.
  • Outline the steps to set up a business, including insurance, management, legal issues, ethics, keeping records, listening and observation skills, informed consent, marketing, business planning, and wellness counseling.
  • Strive toward establishing AHG professional membership as a recognizable standard of competency in botanical medicine.

The full program objectives for this program can be found in the ACHS Program Catalog available to download online here.

Current Instructors: 

View all ACHS instructor bios, photos and courses taught online here.

Admissions Requirements

Candidates must possess a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education. Candidates must submit official transcripts directly from the issuing institution along with one professional letter of recommendation. All applicants must be recommended for admission by the ACHS Admissions Committee.

Tuition and Fees:

To estimate the program tuition and fees, click on the required course name below for each Total Course Price or click here for the projected maximum cost for this program, including materials that have the greatest outlay for students.

Required Sequence:

The required course sequence for this program is published in the ACHS Program Catalog available to download online here.

Total Credits Completed

36

[1] Denneson LM, Corson K, Dobscha SK. (2011). Complementary and alternative medicine use among veterans with chronic noncancer pain. J Rehabil Res Dev.;48(9):1119-28.

[2] Wisniewski JA, Li XM. (2012). Alternative and complementary treatment for food allergy. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2012 Feb;32(1):135-50. Epub 2011 Dec 17.

[3] Williams JW , Gierisch JM, McDuffie J, Strauss JL, Nagi A. (2011). An Overview of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Anxiety and Depressive Disorders: Supplement to Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder [Internet]. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2011 Aug. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports.

[4] Greenway F, Liu Z, Yu Y, Gupta A. (2011). A Clinical Trial Testing the Safety and Efficacy of a Standardized Eucommia ulmoides Oliver Bark Extract to Treat Hypertension. Altern Med Rev. 2011 Dec;16(4):338-47.

[5] Note that graduation from this degree does not confer a license to practice medicine. ACHS graduates serve as holistic health consultants and educators and do not claim to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe.

[6] Registered Herbalist designation requires professional membership in AHG. The ACHS MS in Herbal Medicine provides the comprehensive academic training. Upon graduation further training is required which is a minimum of two years of clinical training (through independent practice, formal mentorship, or clinical supervision or a combination thereof) and clinical experience totaling at least 400 hours, with at least 100 different clients in a two year period, and with a minimum caseload of four clients per week. ACHS can assist graduates to locate a suitable mentor. More information is available online here.

Program Availability

  • Fall 2015
  • Summer 2015
  • Spring 2015
  • Fall 2014
  • Summer 2014