Consumer use of herbal supplements continues to grow and graduates of MUIH’s M.S. Clinical Herbalism program will be prepared to serve as clinicians with the knowledge and tools to provide whole person, relationship-centered healthcare. MUIH offers the only M.S. Clinical Herbal Medicine program from a regionally accredited university. Learn about the healing power of herbs from a leading academic institution for natural and integrative health in the nation. The program prepares students to apply the principles, practices, and concepts in herbal medicine to the development and implementation of clinical strategies and real-world solutions. Students integrate scientific evidence with tradition and practical herbal experiences for integration into the contemporary healthcare environment. MUIH’s program empowers students with the critical thinking skills, health information literacy and expertise in herbal medicine to become clinical herbalists and leaders in the integration of herbal medicine into modern healthcare. This 36-credit hybrid program includes online courses and a required 4-day intensive in-person experience on-campus; students may also choose to take some selected courses on campus. The program also provides students with practical experiences in an experiential clinical program, and offers unique opportunities through MUIH’s herbal dispensary and garden.
The new M.S. Clinical Herbal Medicine program begins in the fall 2019 trimester (pending approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission) and replaces MUIH’s previously successfully M.S. Therapeutic Herbalism program, with an area of concentration in clinical herbal medicine. This new program has several benefits for students. The curriculum provides more focused study in clinical herbal medicine, as relevant to the contemporary healthcare environment. At 36 credits, the new program is shorter, has a lower cost, and leads to a timely entry into the work place.
The program is designed for clinicians and practitioners that wish to diversify and expand their modalities of care through the application of herbal medicine, and for individuals that wish to become a clinical herbalist as a stand-alone profession. Clinical herbalism combined with a second health and wellness discipline can enhance an individual’s career and professional development. Particular credentialed clinicians are ideally suited for this Master’s program including those who are a credentialed herbalist (e.g. AHG registered) without a graduate clinical herbal degree, Ayurvedic practitioner, nutritionist, pharmacist, nurse, nurse practitioner, health coach, physician’s assistant, medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, osteopathic doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, midwife, physical therapist, yoga therapist, massage therapist, occupational therapist, fitness trainer, social worker, health educator, psychotherapist, or veterinarian.
This scientific and research based program builds upon and combines with herbal medicine traditions. The program begins with extensive training in materia medica, herbal sciences, medicine making, and clinical theory and provides practical real-world experience in herbal medicine. Students complete an advanced residency in an herbal practice where they design, implement and synthesize learning in a clinical environment. Coursework allows students to deepen their competencies as practicing herbalists through the discussion of cases with peers and faculty. Students are also trained in group therapies in herbalism, writing therapeutic and case study reports, and embodying the core concept of becoming a healing presence. Class groups are personal and rely on the collective experience of a group to inform the learning experience, guided by experienced faculty. coupled with the traditional wisdom and the contemporary evidence-based understanding on how to use herbal medicine. Students who are already clinical practitioners will work within their specialty while absorbing peer review from other clinical disciplines to deepen the incorporation of herbal therapeutics into their practice. The curriculum and learning are enhanced through a high-touch program that builds on the diverse experiences of students and their peers to cultivate a professional, engaging and rigorous environment.
Upon completion of the M.S. Clinical Herbal Medicine program, students will be able to:
- Summarize and synthesize traditional knowledge, pharmacological, and clinical data to make an informed decision about the application of herbal formulas.
- Evaluate and analyze traditional knowledge to bridge the information gap of evidence-based data to make rational decisions in developing safe and effective herbal products and formulas.
- Determine safety concerns of herb-herb and herb-drug interactions for herbal product users.
- Design a comprehensive wellness plan incorporating herbal, dietary, and lifestyle recommendations integrating self-awareness and lessons of nature.
- Assess clients and develop the tools to evaluate and adjust individualized plans and goals in response to the changing needs of the client.
- Determine the legal parameters of herbal practice within their field and the strategies to navigate them.
Consumer use of herbal medicine continues to grow. More than 40 million individuals in the U.S. used non-vitamin, non-mineral supplements in 2012, up from 38 million users in 2007 (1, 2). In 2017, total U.S. retail sales of herbal supplements surpassed $8 billion for the first time, reaching nearly $8.1 billion (3). In addition, U.S. consumer spending increased 8.5%, from 2016 – the strongest sales growth for herbal supplements in more than 15 years. Total U.S. retail sales have increased every year since 2004, and since that time consumer spending on herbal supplements has nearly doubled. Increasingly, these consumers are reaching out to professional clinicians to help them understand what is safe and effective from the vast array of herbal supplements found in the market.
Additionally, clinical herbalists and other healthcare practitioners with clinical herbal skills and knowledge will support the continued projected growth of healthcare occupations in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS, 4) projects healthcare occupations to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any other occupational groups in the U.S. The BLS reports that the median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (such as registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and dental hygienists) was $64,770 in May 2017, which was higher than the median annual wage of $37,690 for all occupations in the U.S. economy. Clinical herbalists work in private practice, integrative health care settings, herbal dispensaries, health education, and in conventional allopathic medical settings.
- National Center for Health Statistics, “Use of Complementary Health Approaches in the US: 2012 National Health Interview Survey,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/NHIS/2012.
- T.C. Clarke, et al., “Trends in the Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Adults: United States, 2002–2012,” National Health Statistics Report, Feb 10 (79): 1–16, 2015.
- T. Smith, et al., “Herbal Supplement Sales in US Increased 8.5% in 2017, Topping $8 Billion”, HerbalGram, Issue 119, pg 62-71, 2018, http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue119/hg119-herbmktrpt.html.
- Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook”, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/.