While sales of herbal supplements has doubled over the past ten years, the expertise has not and the need for innovators who can create quality herbal products remains stronger than ever. To meet this need MUIH offers the only M.S. Herbal Product Design and Manufacture program in the U.S. Learn about the healing power of herbs from a leading academic institution for natural and integrative health in the nation. Graduates of this program will be prepared to provide the unique competency needed by herbal manufacturers. The program integrates traditional herbal knowledge with evidence-based scientific research. This combination is foundational to improved research and commercialization of herbal supplements. This 37-credit hyrbrid program includes online courses and two required 4-day intensive in-person experiences on-campus; students may also choose to take some selected courses on campus. The program also provides students with practical experiences through internship placements, and offers unique opportunities through MUIH’s herbal dispensary and garden.
The new M.S. Herbal Product Design and Manufacture 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 herbal product design. This new program has several benefits for students. The curriculum provides more focused study in herbal product design and manufacture, as relevant to the contemporary herbal supplement landscape. At 37 credits, the new program is shorter, has a lower cost, and leads to a timely entry into the work place.
This program is designed for individuals with a wide range of interests in the growing herbal supplement industry. Graduates of the program will be poised to contribute as change agents for quality, rigor, and efficacy in diverse areas of the herbal product field. The program is ideal for individuals interested in herbal product development, formulary, sustainable production, quality control, research, education, retail, marketing, and sales.
Graduates of the M.S. Herbal Product Design and Manufacture will acquire the skills and knowledge in herbal medicine and scientific practice and research necessary to contribute to the growth of the herbal manufacturing field with an understanding of product development. They will be able to engage with existing companies or as entrepreneurs in multiple roles, providing quality assurance, research, product development and Federal regulatory guidance. Topics include botany, medicine making, botanical safety, research, quality assurance, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), analytical chemistry, phytochemistry, Structure/Function claims, and New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) claims. Students will have the opportunity for hands-on herbal identification and harvesting through field experiences, practical and applied learning through an internship experience, and for mentor guided, hands-on learning from a distance, with active involvement and feedback from both students and faculty. In addition, students will engage in scholarship, learning to think experimentally, to ask penetrating questions and to develop innovative solutions for the challenges faced by the herbal dietary supplement industry. Class groups are personal and rely on developing team skills necessary for working collaboratively in a fast-paced and creative field. The content of MUIH’s program is informed by the guidance of its Herbal Design Business Advisory Group, with representation from nationally-recognized industry leaders, federal agencies, and trade associations in the herbal product field.
Program Learning Outcomes
- 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.
- Investigate and develop rationale extraction design of herbal products.
- Establish and integrate knowledge of raw materials, formulation, Quality Assessment (QA) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in developing herbal products.
- Develop and apply analytical techniques to evaluate the quality and identify of botanical ingredients used in commercial products.
The herbal supplement industry continues to expand and provides graduates of MUIH’s M.S. Herbal Product Design and Manufacture program with career paths and opportunities. 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. The herbal product sector supports 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.
Individuals with graduate education in herbal product design and manufacturing are employed in the natural products and herbal supplements fields in settings such as industry, herbal dispensaries, pharmacies, government agencies, agriculture, and education ranging in size from large to small organizations. Such individuals are employed in a variety of roles including product development, substantiation of product claims, quality control, regulation, retailing, growing, processing, manufacturing, marketing of herbal products, design of educational materials, and research. The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) jobs site provides an ongoing and robust list of jobs nationally.
The BLS provides projected job growth and salary information for some of the related occupations. For the period 2016 to 2026, jobs for agricultural and food scientists are projected to grow at the average rate (7%), with a median annual salary of $62,910; jobs for soil and plant scientists are projected to grow at the average rate (5-9%), with a median annual salary of $62,430; jobs for quality control analysts are projected to grow faster than average (10-14%), with a median annual salary of $48,090. In addition, the BLS indicates the annual mean salaries of research and development services in the agricultural and food scientists, and soil and plant scientists occupations are $80,000 to $84,000.
- 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/.