Herbal Certification: Necessary or Not?

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I get asked a lot about whether our programs certify you to become an herbalist.

This is a big question in the herbal education world, and it can be a little confusing as there is no singular "herbal certification" out there- the best is really becoming a Registered Herbalist (RH) by the American Herbalist Guild (AHG).

Most schools will offer a "certificate of completion" after going through a course. There's a wide range here. I've heard of people becoming a "Certified Master Herbalist" after a simple weekend workshop, whereas others certify an herbalist after going through a set number of hours of clinical training and classroom hours. But these are "internal certifications" by the school or teacher and aren't necessarily regulated or overseen by some board or anything like that.

The big point of confusion amongst a lot of herbalists, is that you need some form of certification to help people with plants. This just isn't true. There is no governmental body that oversees the practice of herbalism (thank the light) and as such, there is no licensure. In my opinion this is a good thing because it keeps herbalism in the people's hands, as I feel it is the people's medicine. Imagine what herbal medicine would turn into if the government starting controlling what we can and can't do with the plants we know and love...

In my opinion, to become a qualified practicing herbalist requires a balance of study, practice, and experience- both in the classroom, the clinic, and the forest. To me, the best certification is what we receive from the plants themselves, a certain knowingness in our hearts that we are ready to start helping people. When you are ready to practice you will simply know it.

Sometimes having a certification can externally instill confidence in someone that maybe isn't necessarily ready to start practicing. They may not really know what they are doing, but because they have a certificate they think they do. Luckily most plants herbalists use are super safe and don't run the risk of harming anyone, but it certainly is possible.

Our confidence should be internally generated through developing competence in our herbal art. The best certification is the actual results we get in the people we serve and this requires training and practice.

To clarify, I'm not totally against herbal certification- there's good ones out there, and not so good ones out there. Rather, I believe it's important as herbalists that we don't think we NEED to piece of paper to give us permission to heal people with plants. That we don't become dependent on someone telling us we can do it and have that overshadow our own intuitive sense as to when it's our time.

I hope I don't offend anyone with this post, I'm certainly not trying to get after anyone here and am just sharing my thoughts on this topic, as I get a lot of questions about it.

For Evolutionary Herbalism students, or anyone who might consider joining one of our programs someday, please know that we are in the process of developing both internal certification of completion of our courses along with adequate testing to make sure the information is understood and integrated, as well as having our courses help to move someone towards AHG certification as well.

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ABOUT SAJAH

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Sajah Popham, founder of Organic Unity and The School of Evolutionary Herbalism, is committed to creating a new paradigm of plant medicine anchored in herbal, medical, and spiritual traditions from around the world. His work integrates the science and spirit of herbal medicine, creating a system that is equally holistic, healing and transformational. His unique synthesis bridges herbalism not only east and west, but north & south, above & below, into a universal philosophy that encompasses indigenous wisdom, Ayurveda, western Alchemy and Spagyrics, Astrology, clinical herbalism, and modern pharmacology.

Sajah's vitalist approach utilizes plants not only for physical healing and rejuvenation, but for the evolution of consciousness. He never allopathicallyl focuses on just what a plant is “good for” but rather who the plants are as sentient beings. Sajah’s teachings embody a heartfelt respect, honor and reverence for the vast intelligence of plants in a way that empowers us to look deeper into the nature of our medicines and ourselves. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife where he teaches at his school, makes spagyric medicines, and practices his healing art. For more information about his products and programs, visit www.organic-unity.com & www.evolutionaryherbalism.com

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ABOUT THE PLANT PATH

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The Plant Path provides unique perspectives for the modern practitioner of herbalism that doesn’t just want to “fix what’s broken” in the body, but seeks to serve others with deeper levels of healing and transformation with herbal medicines.

A unique synergy of clinical herbalism, alchemy, medical astrology, and herbal traditions from around the world, The Plant Path focuses on giving you a truly “wholistic” perspective on herbal medicine so you never fall into the trap of allopathic herbalism.

60 episodes available. A new episode about every 13 days averaging 40 mins duration .