Information is fast and always-changing. This is especially true when it comes to herbal medicine schools, your career in herbs and herbal medicine, the world of herbs and natural remedies, and the community of herbal practitioners. If you want the latest information about all things related to herbs, natural remedies, and your education or career, then you’re in the right place!
Learn about herbalist careers, what you’ll do, and the schools available to teach you.
Herbalism is the use of plants for therapeutic purposes to treat and prevent disease and promote health. Although today there are dedicated herbalism schools to train would-be herbalists, the practice of using plants as remedies is traditional in many cultures.
Whole medical systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine rely on herbal therapy for many of their treatments. Often, herbal medicines in the United States are derived from European or North American plants, but herbal practitioners may use medicinal plants from all over the world.
Herbalism Career Overview
Herbal therapy is practiced by a range of health professionals, from herbalists to chiropractors to naturopathic doctors. And with increasing numbers of patients interested in complementary therapies and dietary supplements, even conventional medical practitioners may seek out herbalism training to enhance their skill sets. A degree from an herbalism school may qualify you to become a physician or nurse, grow or manufacture herbs, study plants as an ethnobotanist, or teach others about herbal therapy.
The Herbal Therapy Profession
In the United States, an herbalist is a self-defined professional. Here are some herbalist career concentrations:
- Growing herbs
- “Wildcrafting” or picking herbs
- Manufacturing herbal products
- Teaching or counseling people about the use of herbs as medicine
- Supplementing another profession, such as naturopathic medicine, nutrition or chiropractic careers.
One branch of anthropology, called ethnobotany, studies the use of plants in other cultures, particularly their use as medicine. Ethnobotanists, who receive their training through the standard university system, have classified a number of medicinal herbs. Their work helps preserve the traditional folk medicine of indigenous people around the world. The American Botanical Council provides current ethnobotanical expeditions.
Training and Education
What You’ll Study in Herbalism School
Most herbal therapy training will include curriculum in botany and plant identification, pharmacology, human physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, the history and philosophy or herbalism, and issues of professional practice. Many herbal medicine schools also teach clinical skills such as assessment and recordkeeping.
Average Length of Study
To become a practicing herbalist, the American Herbalists Guild recommends a program of at least 1600 hours of study at a school of herbal medicine, including a 400-hour clinical requirement. Naturopathic physicians must complete a bachelor’s degree as well as a 4-year Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) program.
Some basic distance learning programs in herbal therapy cost as little as $400 to $2,500. A full-time course of study may range from $5,000 to $15,000 per year. Naturopathic medical schools generally cost between $20,000 to $25,000 per year.
Currently, 23 U.S. states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands require licensing for naturopathic doctors. For graduates of herbalism school, there is no specific federal- or state-level regulation. However, if you work as a chiropractor or other health practitioner, you may have to meet licensing requirements for that field in order to practice. Membership in the American Herbalists Guild can grant an additional degree of professionalism, since guild members are required to complete a set of standardized educational requirements.
Herbalism Career Outlook
Practitioners with herbalism training can expect their skills to be in increasing demand. With more and more herbal medicines proven beneficial through scientific research—the development of the heart medicine digitalis from the foxglove plant being just one example—interest in herbal therapy is growing throughout the world. The World Health Organization reports that herbal medicines generate billions of dollars in revenue.
At this point in time, most herbologists or herbalists are self-employed. Here are a few herbal therapy career options:
- Run small manufacturing companies making herbal products
- Grow herbs for sale to manufacturers
- Own retail stores
- Counsel others about herbal products
There are also a few teaching positions available through the alternative medicine colleges. Some herbalists do go to work for other herbalists at the type of businesses listed above. To find these jobs, the most effective way is to network by attending the conferences of the various professional groups or by getting to know herbalists in your area. Very few of these positions are advertised through the standard means, such as through the Classifieds or the Web.
Is an Herbal Medicine Career Right for You?
The burgeoning field of herbal medicine offers a wide variety of career opportunities, whether you plan to find a job in research, academia or clinical practice. As a trained professional, you’ll perform the important work of ensuring that people use herbal medicines safely and effectively in conjunction with other medical treatments and lifestyle choices. If you’re interested in holistic natural therapies and traditional remedies, then herbal medicine school may be right for you.
MEDICINE MAKING COURSE
Have you ever felt confused trying to figure out which is the most potent preparation for each herb?
Or which type of remedy is the most effective for a specific condition?
I understand how hard it is to navigate the deluge of herbal information out there, and find a resource you can trust.
With over twenty-five years under my belt making medicine and teaching about herbs, I’ve come up with a course that is chock-full of tips for addressing common ailments at home with your very own tinctures, syrups, poultices and salves. If you have children, the course is peppered with kid-friendy recipes and tricks for getting them to actually take their medicine.
Bonus: You’ll be learning all about herbs while you save money—whipping up a medicine chest full of the highest quality
remedies to be found!
Green Mastermind at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine
Watch Our Video About the Online Medicine Making Course!
Online Herbal Medicine Making Course Outline (150 hours)
Foundations of Medicine Making
Introduction to Medicinal Preparations • Cultivating Relationships with Healing Plants • Infusions and Decoctions • Tinctures • Herbal Honeys and Syrups • Infused Medicinal Vinegars • Plant Spirit Medicine • Flower Essences • Guidelines for Foraging and Wildcrafting • Harvesting and Drying Herbs
Bringing Healing Herbs into the Kitchen
Herbal Meads • Confectionary Balls • Herbal Pestos, Sauces and Hummus • Bone Broth • Fire Ciders • Bitters • Shrubs • Infused Syrups • Herbal Cocktails & Mocktails • Compound Butters • Culinary Vinegars & Oils • Herbal Popsicles & Iced Teas • Herbal Salts • Edible Flowers • Mushroom Concoctions • Herbal Ice Cubes
Topical Herbal Preparations and Natural Body Care
Infused Oils and Salves • Compresses and Poultices • Introduction to Hydrotherapy • Introduction to Aromatherapy • Facial Serums • Body Butters • Salt Scrubs • Bath Salts • Aromatherapy Sprays • Aromatic Massage Oils
North American Herbal History and Traditions
Introduction • A History of European & North American Colonial Herbal Medicine • A History of Native American Herbal Medicine • A History of Black Herbal Medicine from Africa to North America • Connecting With Your Own Herbal Lineage & Honoring Other Traditions • Black Herbal Elders with Lucretia Van Dyke • Herbal Accessibility: Uniting Culture & Community Gardens
Herbal Livelihoods Guide
Our Herbal Livelihoods Guide boldly traverses business topics such as insurance, marketing, legalities, websites, labeling, and an introduction to the GMPs (the FDA’s legal requirements for manufacturing herbal products in the United States). Learn how to make high quality medicine, start an herbal products business, and effectively market your goods! The Printable Herbal Livelihoods Guide PDF is peppered with motivational tips and filled with ALL of Juliet Blankespoor’s insider scoops for running an herbal business.In the Herbal Livelihoods Guide, You’ll Learn:
- Which type of insurance you’ll need
- How to distinguish yourself from the crowd with your own herbal mojo
- The legal requirements for practicing herbalism in the United States
- How to properly label your herbal products
- How to market your wares or services through social media and list-building
- Where to continue learning, connect with other herbalists, and stay up-to-date with herbal laws and regulations
- What the cGMPs entail and where to learn the regulations
The Herbal Livelihoods Guide also features:
- Introduction to the Herbal Livelihoods Guide
- The Heart of Livelihoods: Business Ethics and Inspiration
- Herbal Livelihoods: Tour of Herbal Careers
- The Nitty-Gritty of Herbal Businesses: Insurance, Legal Entities, Marketing, Websites and Social media
- Herbal Products Businesses: An Introduction to Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMPs) and Product Labeling Requirements
- Further Learning and Networking: Organizations, Media, Conferences, and Clinical Programs
- Herbal Livelihoods Optional Clarity and Goal-Setting Worksheet
The Guide is delivered as a printable PDF. This material is most applicable for those who plan to start their own herbal business or incorporate herbal medicine into an existing business. The Guide is not part of the required course materials for the Medicine Making Course, but instead is enrichment material for professional herbalists and herbal entrepreneurs! Note: If you wish to follow the FDA’s guidelines for manufacturing herbal products, you’ll need additional training beyond this course. We provide a solid introduction to the guidelines and a springboard of resources that focus solely on the FDA guidelines.
We’ve had over 7,000 students from more than 50 countries enroll in our online herbal classes. Here are just a few glowing testimonials from the course…
“I’ve taken many different online herbal courses and this is by far my favorite! It is stunning, gorgeous, fun and very informative. The videos are fun, the manual is stunning, and I really enjoy the progress aspect and review worksheets and quizzes. I was worried it was a little too basic for where I am at in my studies, but it turns out I’m filling in a lot of critical holes in my knowledge base. I’m in love with this course and am having a fabulous time studying with it.”
~ Lola O., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Doula, writer, entrepreneur and stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to 3 kids
“I can’t tell you how blown away I am. It’s such a gift to feel connected to a community of healers, and I feel like I am receiving guided, individual instruction with each lesson. Although the lessons are fun and funny, each time I am left with a deep respect for Juliet and Asia, and the wisdom they are passing on. Thank you so much for creating such a gift for the herbal community and aspiring herbalists like me.”
~ SaDonna H., Washington State
Wellness Coach, stay-at-home mom
“I was just so grateful for the experience to feel connected to others doing and interested in the same things. To see it in action. To learn from obvious experts. To be entertained and see the passion. I’ve been bored stiff many times in other herbalism courses. Never once in yours! My biggest takeaway was just the confidence to trust my instincts—I could tell I would love your class and I allowed myself the opportunity to enroll and engage and was rewarded with surpassed expectations.”
~ Christina R., Frankfort, MI
Massage therapist & kitchen witch
“Perfect for the person new to herbal medicine making or the magic of the plant world. The videography is so incredibly beautiful and fun that you would never know you are in a class, the photography is so captivating that you won’t dare print the course handouts in black and white, the web design is spectacularly user friendly, and the information is incredibly thorough. It is a refreshing mix of feeding your mind, body, and soul as you explore the synergies between the plant and human worlds, and they remind you to slow down and appreciate the gifts that plants bring to us while we work to learn their magical wonders both intellectually, experientially, and spiritually.”
~ Dr. Lori R., Cleburne, Texas
Life Sciences Instructor
“Can’t tell you how much I love this program. It’s informative and witty which makes it fun to read through, and I absolutely love the photography. I am a picture person so the more pictures, the more I absorb! It’s easy to access, responsive and skill-building. Thank you so much!”
~ Darlene R., West Virginia
Author of “Endocrine Disrupted”
Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Consultant
COURSE BUNDLE SAVINGS:
Foraging + Medicine Making
Ready to learn how to forage your own edible and medicinal wild weeds for your handcrafted herbal apothecary?
Dive deep into the world of foraging and wildcrafting by learning how to create homemade herbal medicines and natural body care products with your wild bounty.
Enroll with the
Medicine Making Course + Foraging Course Bundle
Save an additional $319 when you sign up for both programs!
- Program hours
- Length of course
- Medicine Making
- Full payment*
- Payment plans*
*Prices are subject to change
- Online Herbal Medicine Making Course
- Open (enroll at any time)
- 150 hours
- 6 months
- $119 for 6 months
- Online Foraging Course
- Enrollment closes in March 2022
- 375 hours
- 12 months
- $99 for 12 months
- Course Bundle: Foraging & Medicine Making
- Enrollment closes in March 2022
- 475 hours*
- 1.5 years
- $99 for 14 months
*A third of the Medicine Making Course material is already included in the Foraging Course. The pricing reflects the overlap in material, and you’ll save $319 on the two courses if you enroll with the bundle!
Because of the seasonal nature of the Foraging Course, it needs to be taken first if you enroll with the bundle, followed by the Medicine Making Course.
Medicine Making Course Payment Plan:
6 monthly payments
Foraging + Medicine Making Bundle:
14 monthly payments
Save $115 when you pay in full!
Course Bundle Full Payment:
Save $187 when you pay in full
Not quite sure which of our online courses
is the best fit for you?
IF YOU’RE NOT FULLY SATISFIED, WE’LL GIVE YOU A COMPLETE REFUND ANYTIME DURING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS AFTER YOU ENROLL.
Here’s what you’ll be able to do after completing the program:
- Use your own teas, tinctures, syrups, salves and oils to address common ailments at home
- Build up your medicine chest with natural, high-quality botanical remedies
- Indulge yourself with luscious body butters, creams and scrubs
- Teach your children to prepare their own herbal medicine – laying the foundation for self-care and knowledge of natural medicine
- Infuse more herbal shazam into your food and drinks
- Lavish your loved ones with beautiful and tasty herbal-based gifts
- Develop herbal products for a homespun herbal business
- Create a value-added medicinal or culinary product for your farm
- Spoil yourself with the savings won by handcrafting your own medicine and natural body care products
The online course includes:
- 14 instructional videos and 38 lessons, clearly organized into 3 modules
- Step-by-step instructions for each lesson, available online or as printable pdf booklets of each module
- 100 herbal recipes, ranging from medicinal preparations, wild foods dishes, natural body care products and culinary herbal concoctions
- 368-page printable course manual (PDF), including herbal profiles, written and photographed by Juliet Blankespoor
- Herbal Livelihoods Guide
- Review worksheets, experiential projects, and quizzes at the end of each module. Students receive staff feedback on all their submitted projects.
- Access to our team of herbal experts, including Juliet Blankespoor, for questions and guidance via Q and A emails for six months after enrollment
- Self-paced learning – watch the videos and prepare the recipes as you fancy, however, you have six months to gain a certificate (optional)
- Lifetime access to the course materials, including all indexed videos and written course material
- A 150-hour certificate of completion, upon completing all the required coursework within six months
The online course also includes:
- Access to our student forum where you can share triumphs, troubleshooting, and more with a lively community of herbal enthusiasts
- Q&A video sessions every two months with Juliet Blankespoor and other course instructors
- Your passport to endless creativity in the kitchen with medicinal and culinary preparations
- Primary Video Instructors: Juliet Blankespoor and Asia Suler
- 10% discount off bulk herbs and medicine making supplies at Mountain Rose Herbs’ online store during the six months you are enrolled in the course (to be used only for class supplies and DIY medicine making, not for business supplies; $250 limit per order)
- One-time 15% discount on the book ‘Foraging and Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook,’ by Dina Falconi for one month after enrollment
These bonuses are not included in the cost of tuition and are subject to change.
Interested in our Online Herbal Immersion Program?
If you’re interested in our longer, in-depth Online Herbal Immersion Program but aren’t quite ready to jump in, you can get started by enrolling in our Herbal Medicine Making Course (which is included in the Herbal Immersion Program).
You can simply apply all your tuition toward the Herbal Immersion. ($599 will be deducted from the cost of the Herbal Immersion program).
The program lays out a clear path for your herbal journey. It begins with building healthy soil and germinating seeds, extends into growing and harvesting each herb, and culminates with you creating a treasure trove of herbal allies.
If you’ve had trouble getting herbs to grow from seed or figuring out where to place them, or even knowing what to do with the plants you’ve successfully grown, then we have you covered!
The course is self-paced, so you can access the lessons on your own time, on your own device
Watch Our Sample Video from the Course –
Herbal Honeys and Syrups!
A few more kind words from Herbal Medicine Making Course students:
“I am so honored to be a part of such a magical journey. The whole thing is so beautifully put together. It feels very personal and real as opposed to being distant and dry like one may think an online course would be. It’s also super sweet to witness how much work and dedication you all put into the course. It’s amazing!! Thank you for teaching such important, vital and healing information!!!”
~ Christina T., Mars Hill, NC
Teacher and aspiring baker
“Before I began studying with the Chestnut School, I already had high expectations. This course has blown all of my expectations out of the water. The videos are amazing, and the content is so well written and thought out. You can tell that they poured their hearts and souls into it, with the intention to give you the best online education possible. I’ve been to other herbal schools, researched every single one… and this one is by far the best. Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, this course offers something for everyone.”
~ Stephanie D., Orange, CA
“I thought the information was awesome!!!! Although I was familiar with the basic practices, the extra information and recipes were so delicious and concise. Beautiful photographs, videos and text will make an invaluable resource to enjoy for the rest of my days studying and practicing. Honestly this is one of the only courses I have taken that hasn’t been slightly disappointing because it was lacking in some way. Way to go!”
~ Miakoda W., Charleston, SC
Owner of White Wolf Apothecary
“Living in Greece, taking herbal courses from the States is my window to the world. The course was great even for someone quite experienced with most parts of it. It brought everything together and helped me to understand some things better or improve others. There are many “universal” recipes using culinary herbs or weeds that can be found most places in the world. There are recipes that I have already made so many times that I will remember for ever, like the nettles pate which is on our table every day!”
~ Eleni C., Corfu, Greece
Herbalist, educator, stay-at-home mom
Tour Our FAQs
You’ll have the option to be part of a private student forum where you can share triumphs, troubleshooting, and inspirations with a lively community of herbal enthusiasts. Currently, this forum is held on Facebook. If you have questions for our staff, you can look through our FAQs at the end of each lesson, as well as our general Q & A board. If your question is still unanswered, you’ll send it to us via an e-mail form. In most cases, your questions will be answered by one of our moderators within 24 hours (Monday through Friday). You’ll be able to ask us questions and seek guidance for six months after enrolling. After this time, you’ll still be able to connect with other students via our student forum but the moderators won’t be available for questions. Since you’ll still have access to the course after six months, you’ll have continued access to our growing bank of common Q & A’s. (Our herbal team isn’t available by phone or private e-mail, except to provide assistance with technical issues or problems related to accessing the course. Please note that we can’t answer questions related to personal health due to legal and time constraints.)
We explore the therapeutic uses for many of the herbs featured in our recipes. The course includes a 40-page printable manual of herbal profiles. However, the primary focus of the course is how to make herbal medicine, natural body care products and culinary preparations. We do offer a more extensive program on growing and using herbs – Herbal Immersion Course, which you can upgrade to at any time (see the following question).
Will this course give me the training I need to become a clinical herbalist? What kind of salary and career opportunities can I expect as an herbalist?
No, this course doesn’t fully train you in all the necessary subjects to begin a practice, such as anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, constitutional assessment, and drug/herb contraindications. If this is your career goal, our Online Herbal Immersion course may be a better fit for you as it lays a solid foundation for continuing clinical herbal studies later.
According to the American Herbalists Guild, herbalists report making anywhere between $20,000 and $120,000 per year, depending on their area of practice and their individual successes. The truth is, there are so many possible careers in herbalism that your earnings will be influenced by many factors, including your choice of career, your skill set, how often you work, and where you live. But here are some helpful parameters: The hourly rate for clinical herbalists ranges from roughly $50 to $100 (or more) per hour. An herbal educator can earn from $30 to $120 per hour, depending on the venue and audience (this rate can increase significantly if you become well known within the herbal community). And if you have expertise in growing medicinal herbs and plants, you might earn $15 to $30 per hour depending on your knowledge and skill. As with any career, it can take time to achieve your ideal salary. You’ll need to develop your skill set and reputation, build a client base, and possibly iron out any wrinkles in your business plan. This equates to plenty of time and patience but will be worth it when you have a career that you truly love (and that brings home the abundance). I lived frugally for many years as I attended herb school, grew my relationship with plants, and identified my gifts in the field. But I felt rich every single day because I was living my dream!
Absolutely! A large portion of our students goes on to start their own herbal products business. For starters, we introduce the core concepts of the cGMP’s, or the Current Good Manufacturing Practices. These are the Food & Drug Administration’s regulations that ensure that food, drug, and cosmetic (including herbal) products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. These regulations also dictate the environment in which your herbals products are made and how they are labeled. Learning how to comply with these regulations is a study of its own. You’ll need to take an additional cGMP course or undergo formal training in cGMP’s to be compliant.
If this sounds daunting (which it can be), don’t fret! The Herbal Livelihoods Bonus Guide is included in this course to equip you with the in’s and out’s of these regulations and more, so you can feel confident in the first steps of starting a thriving and legally-compliant herbal products business. Most of our students who start their own business find that additional business training is immensely helpful.
The Medicine Making course is included in the Herbal Immersion Course. If you enroll in the Medicine Making course and decide you want to dive in deeper, you can deduct the $599 tuition from the Herbal Immersion Course. (All of the tuition for the Medicine Making Course will be applied toward the tuition of the Herbal Immersion Course.) The Immersion is a longer, more in-depth program that focuses on growing medicinal herbs and their therapeutic uses. See the details here. The Medicine Making course touches on the healing aspect of individual herbs, but is introductory.
The medicine-making course is only available in its entirety. We don’t sell the individual modules.
Juliet Blankespoor is the green mastermind and herbal fanatic behind the program. She has been making herbal medicine for twenty-five years, including formulating her own tincture and natural body-care product lines. Juliet has been actively involved with other aspects of herbal medicine over those decades, including owning an herb nursery and directing an herbal school.
Asia Suler is a writer, teacher and herb-lover who simply lives for medicine making. She is the creator and concoctress behind One Willow Apothecaries, an Appalachian-grown company that offers lovingly handcrafted and inventive herbal medicines. Once a student at the Chestnut school herself, Asia now teaches homegrown medicine making at schools and gatherings across the country. Read their full bios here
Most of our students enroll in the program for their own personal use, and aren’t looking to gain a certificate. If this describes you, feel free to move at your own pace, watching the videos and preparing any of the recipes as you fancy. Since the course is yours for life, there’s no pressure to complete the materials at a certain time. But remember that you only have six months to ask us questions. We believe this deadline serves as an extra nudge to explore the course materials. You will, however, have continued access to the graduate forum for as long as you’d like—a diverse place to seek support amongst the ongoing community of herbal medicine-makers.
For those of you who would like to earn a certificate, you have six months to complete the program. Upon completion of all assignments and electronic submission of experiential projects, (within 6 months of enrolling and after paying your tuition in full) we’ll send you a beautiful printable certificate via e-mail. The certificate will state that you completed this 150-hour course and list the subjects covered. Currently, there is no certifying or licensing agency in the United States for herbalists, so there is no such thing as a certified or licensed herbalist, despite what some schools advertise. However, many people find that a certificate fairly represents the hours and dedication poured into one’s herbal studies. Additionally, a certificate offers a sense of pride for completing the program. We want to be clear that we are not an accredited University or vocational school. We are a school of traditional herbal medicine. Read more about herbal certification here.
Yes! All weight and volume measurements are given in both standard (non-metric; ounces and cups) and metric (sensible; grams and milliliters). Please note Villagers does not ship internationally so their student discount is available only to students living in the US.
How much should I budget for materials?
When you enroll, you will receive a list of kitchen tools and materials, used in most of the recipes. These include items you may already own, such as assorted Mason jars, an electronic scale, stainless steel funnels and labels. How much you spend on ingredients and materials will differ, depending on how prolific you are with the recipes and what tools and ingredients you already own. We estimate you might spend anywhere from $100 to $400 depending on these factors.
We have worked hard to offer this program at an affordable price and ask that you respect all the time, effort and trust put into its creation by keeping your login information to yourself. When you sign up for this course you enter a pact of community trust along with every one of the students and teachers. It is, of course, always okay to share your own insights and inspirations with friends and family, but building a healing community begins with respectfully supporting one another in our livelihoods. So we thank you in advance for helping us to build a stronger, more trusting community by keeping your login information to yourself.
However, we do encourage sharing your course materials with your children ages 13 and up. We want to nurture the next generation of plant lovers and medicine makers. This is a great program for homeschooling families with older children and teenagers interested in herbal medicine. If you wish to share the course with your children, be sure to watch our sample videos and lesson plans to gauge the level of instruction before enrolling. Please contact the school for more details if you wish to use this program for your homeschooling curriculum.