Master of Science in Herbal Medicine


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


Integrate herbal medicine and wellness principles for personal health & wellness

Diversify a new or existing healthcare practice with an emphasis in herbal medicine and holistic protocols

Learning Outcomes

  • 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
  • Demonstrate written and oral communication skills, including expressing quantitative and qualitative ideas to communicate the current theories, best practices, and research in preparation for application or further research in the field of herbal medicine
  • 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
  • Discuss herbal medicine, its history, and status of current research, including how to locate studies in peer-reviewed journals
  • 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
  • Discuss and describe the body’s structure and function in a healthy state
  • 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
  • Evaluate when to refer individuals to their licensed healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment
  • 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 generate best practices for clinical herbalism using evidence-based methods of administration
  • 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
  • Locate, analyze, evaluate, and make effective use of clinical herbalism research from the scientific literature, and provide guidance for
    practitioners, policy makers, academic researchers, and industry leaders and manufacturers
  • 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
  • Explain the AHG Code of Ethics, which includes: Confidentiality, professional courtesy, professional networking, practitioner as an educator, peer review, referrals, avoiding needless therapy, environmental commitment, humanitarian service, quality botanicals, and sexual harassment
  • 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
  • Locate information from state regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with local and state requirements
  • Strive toward establishing AHG professional membership as a recognizable standard of competency in botanical medicine

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.

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Career Goals:

  • Clinical Herbalist
  • Registered Herbalist American Herbalist Guild (AHG) [6]
  • Master Herbalist
  • Herbal Educator, Consultant, Retailer, Writer
  • Lifestyle Coach or Consultant
  • Herbal Products Manufacturer or Formulator
  • Administrative, customer service, sales associate, or support role in any healthcare organization or practice
  • Adjunct to an existing healthcare or bodywork practice
  • Esthetician specializing in herbal protocols

Current Instructors:

View all ACHS instructors, including bios, photos, and courses taught.

Admissions Requirements:

Candidates must possess a baccalaureate degree or higher 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 to view each Total Course Price. Information is also provided in the Program Fact Sheet.

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