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Finding the Right Herbalist – What to Expect

What is Herbalism and How do I find an Herbalist Near Me ?

How do I find an Herbalist Near Me? Great question. There are a few items to know about searching for an herbalist that will be right for you. From varying types, credentials and certification, and preparations of herbs that you’re open to, knowing what questions to ask can make all the difference. But let’s start at the beginning.

Herbalism, the medicinal use of plants.

Herbalist, the provider specialized in the medicinal use of plants.

With roots stretching back through centuries of human history, the practice of herbal medicine continues to resonate in our modern world. But what exactly are the methods behind harnessing the power of plants? 

From brewing a simple herbal tea to crafting potent tinctures and soothing salves, there are numerous ways to prepare and administer herbs for medicinal purposes.

In this article, we describe the most common approaches to herbalism, and herbal preparation methods, shedding light on their benefits, applications, and practical considerations.

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What is Herbalism?

Herbalism, an ancient practice rooted in using plants for nourishment and medicine, has a rich history dating back to 1500 BCE, as evidenced by Egyptian medical texts. This tradition has endured over millennia, gaining prominence in recent decades, particularly notable in the United States, where there has been a surge in herbal use for medicinal and nutritional purposes. This growing trend aligns with the increasing costs of healthcare and pharmaceuticals in our nation. But in other parts of the world, the reliance on plant medicine remains steady and strong.

  • According to Cornell University, up to four billion people, roughly 80% of the global population, rely significantly on herbal remedies for primary healthcare.
  • The World Health Organization reports widespread acceptance of traditional medicine, including herbal remedies, with 88% of nations embracing these practices.
  • Germany stands as a notable example, boasting 600 to 700 plant-based medicines available, with 70% of physicians prescribing them.

Find a local herb shop near me

How Does Herbalism Work?

Plants offer an abundance of therapeutic potential, with all their various parts such as berries, leaves, roots, and bark containing a plethora of constituents, including minerals, water, phytochemicals, and cellulose.

Phytochemicals, which exhibit specific physiological actions in the body, can be extracted through aqueous or alcoholic solutions, as in the case of tinctures. While water is typically used for extracting minerals in brewed teas or infusions, the consumption of whole foods remains the simplest approach—let food be thy medicine!

Unlike pharmaceuticals, which often isolate individual components, herbalism embraces the entire plant, allowing all its constituents to work together synergistically. This synergy is believed to reduce side effects and enhance the plant’s effectiveness.

Types of Herbalism

Herbalism encompasses various approaches and traditions, each with its own philosophy, techniques, and practices. Here are some different types of herbalism:

  1. Traditional Western Herbalism:
    • This approach to herbalism is rooted in European herbal traditions and practices. It often incorporates knowledge passed down through generations and includes the use of local plants for medicinal purposes.
  2. Ayurvedic Herbalism:
    • Originating in India, Ayurvedic herbalism focuses on balancing the body’s doshas (energies) to promote health and wellness. It utilizes herbs, spices, and other natural remedies to restore balance and harmony.
  3. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):
    • TCM herbalism is an integral part of Chinese medicine, emphasizing the balance of qi (vital energy) and yin and yang energies within the body. Herbal formulas are often prescribed based on individual patterns of imbalance.
  4. Native American Herbalism:
    • Indigenous peoples of North and South America have their own herbal traditions, passed down through oral teachings and cultural practices. Native American herbalism often emphasizes the spiritual connection to plants and the environment.
  5. Western Physiomedical Herbalism:
    • This approach integrates principles of Western herbalism with knowledge of human physiology and anatomy. Practitioners often blend traditional herbal knowledge with modern scientific understanding.
  6. Eclectic Herbalism:
    • Eclectic herbalism draws from multiple herbal traditions and practices, allowing practitioners to adapt techniques and remedies based on individual needs and circumstances.
  7. Clinical Herbalism:
    • Clinical herbalists work with clients on a one-on-one basis, often incorporating elements of modern healthcare practices such as intake assessments, diagnostic tools, and personalized herbal prescriptions.
  8. Community Herbalism:
    • Community herbalists focus on providing herbal education and resources to their local communities, often through workshops, community gardens, and wellness clinics. This approach is focused on traditional and historical uses of the herbs based on the region.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of herbal traditions and practices that exist worldwide. Each type of herbalism offers unique insights into the healing power of plants and their potential to support health and well-being.

Find a local herb shop near me

Common Herbal Preparations

Before the wide availability of modern preservation methods, herbs were preserved using what was readily at hand, such as tallow, wine (vermouth), and salts.

Today, the most common ways to use herbs medicinally are through tinctures or teas.

Tinctures, alcohol extracts, are typically used for acute issues, ranging from cramping to anxiety. They offer convenience for those who may not enjoy the taste of tea or lack time to prepare it throughout the day.

Teas, on the other hand, are aqueous extractions of plant constituents with hot water. While they effectively extract water-based constituents, teas also pull out nutrients like minerals, macronutrients, and some volatile oils. Consuming 1-3 cups a day is common for therapeutic effect.

What are other common herbal preparation methods?

There are various methods for preparing herbs for medicinal use, each offering unique benefits and applications. Here are some common herbal preparation methods:

  • Infusion:
    • Infusions are made by steeping herbs in hot water to extract their medicinal properties. This method is commonly used for delicate plant parts like leaves and flowers. Herbal teas are a popular example of infusion.
  • Decoction:
    • Decoctions involve simmering tougher plant parts like roots, bark, or seeds in water to extract their medicinal compounds. This method is suitable for extracting the constituents of harder plant materials.
  • Tincture:
    • Tinctures are liquid extracts made by soaking herbs in alcohol or glycerin to extract their active constituents. Tinctures are convenient for preserving herbs and can be taken orally in small doses.
  • Oil Infusion:
    • Oil infusions involve steeping herbs in a carrier oil (such as olive oil or coconut oil) to extract their medicinal properties. This method is commonly used for making herbal oils for topical applications, such as massage or skincare.
  • Salve or Ointment:
    • Salves and ointments are made by combining herbal-infused oils with beeswax or other solidifying agents. These preparations are used topically for soothing and healing purposes.
  • Poultice:
    • Poultices are made by crushing fresh or dried herbs and applying them directly to the skin as a compress. This method is often used for treating localized inflammation, wounds, or injuries.
  • Capsules or Tablets:
    • Herbal powders or extracts can be encapsulated or pressed into tablets for convenient oral administration. This method is suitable for those who prefer standardized dosages or have difficulty consuming herbs in other forms.
  • Syrup:
    • Herbal syrups are made by combining herbal infusions or decoctions with sweeteners like honey or sugar. Syrups are often used to mask the taste of bitter herbs and make them more palatable, especially for children.
  • Steam Inhalation:
    • Steam inhalation involves adding dried herbs or essential oils to hot water and inhaling the steam for respiratory or aromatic benefits. This method is commonly used for clearing congestion and soothing respiratory discomfort.
  • Herbal Baths:
    • Herbal baths involve adding herbal infusions or decoctions to bathwater for therapeutic purposes. This method is used to promote relaxation, relieve muscle tension, and nourish the skin.

These are just a few examples of the many ways herbs can be prepared and used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. The choice of preparation method depends on the desired effects, the type of herb being used, and individual preferences.

Working with a trained and experienced herbalist is important to decide which herbs and methods will have the intended therapeutic effect. 

What is an herbalist?

An herbalist is a practitioner who specializes in the therapeutic use of plants for health and wellness purposes. Herbalists are trained in the knowledge of medicinal plants, their properties, and their interactions with the human body. They utilize various parts of plants, such as leaves, flowers, roots, and bark, to create herbal remedies that can be used internally or externally to promote health and treat various ailments.

Herbalists may work with clients on an individual basis, providing personalized consultations and herbal recommendations tailored to their specific needs. They may also offer group workshops, educational programs, or community outreach to share their knowledge of herbal medicine with others.

Herbalists may practice within specific herbal traditions, such as Western, Ayurvedic, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, or they may integrate elements from multiple traditions into their practice. Additionally, some herbalists may specialize in specific areas, such as women’s health, pediatrics, or chronic illness management.

Overall, herbalists play a vital role in promoting natural health and wellness by harnessing the healing power of plants and empowering individuals to take an active role in their own healthcare.

Find an Herbalist Near Me

Using the Well Connected Twin Cities Directory, you can search for an herbalist in the Twin Cities. Click here to navigate to the directory search page.

What are the most common certifications for an herbalist in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, herbalists may pursue various certifications or credentials to enhance their knowledge and credibility in the field. While there isn’t a specific statewide regulatory body for herbalists, several nationally recognized certifications and educational programs are commonly pursued by practitioners. Some of the most common certifications for herbalists in Minnesota include:

  • Registered Herbalist (RH):
    • Offered by the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), the RH credential is a professional membership designation for herbalists who have met specific educational and clinical experience requirements. RHs must adhere to the AHG’s code of ethics and standards of practice.
  • Certified Herbalist:
    • Various organizations offer certification programs for herbalists, such as the Herbal Academy, the East West School of Planetary Herbology, and the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. These programs typically provide comprehensive training in herbal medicine and may culminate in a certification exam.
  • Certified Clinical Herbalist (CCH):
    • Some herbalists pursue advanced training in clinical herbalism, focusing on the assessment and treatment of clients with complex health conditions. Programs such as those offered by the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine or the School of Evolutionary Herbalism may lead to the CCH credential.
  • Certified Traditional Herbalist:
    • This certification is offered by the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) and requires completion of an AHG-approved herbalist training program and passing a comprehensive exam. Certified Traditional Herbalists demonstrate proficiency in traditional herbal medicine principles and practices.
  • Master Herbalist:
    • Some herbalists may pursue advanced training and certification as Master Herbalists, which typically involves extensive study and practical experience in herbal medicine. Programs such as those offered by the Northwestern Health Sciences University may lead to this credential.

It’s important for herbalists in Minnesota to research and choose certification programs that align with their goals, interests, and desired level of expertise. Additionally, herbalists may also seek continuing education opportunities and professional development to stay current with emerging research and trends in herbal medicine.

Find an Herb Shop near me

Are Herbs Safe?

One of the most prevalent misconceptions about plant medicine is its safety. In the United States, herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, leaving room for adulteration or false claims in efficacy.

When purchasing herbs or herbal supplements, look for certified organic or pesticide-free plant products that are sustainably harvested. Choose herbs that have been proven safe through laboratory analysis and exhibit vibrant colors, good aroma, and texture.

It’s crucial to note that with the recent popularity of herbs, some plants are now on the brink of extinction due to overharvesting. To ensure sustainability and suitability for your circumstances, consider working with a certified herbal practitioner who can guide you toward responsibly sourced herbs that align with your health goals. 

Additional Resources on Herbalism – Learning More

Consulting with a local herbalist can help you understand that might be possible when integrative herbal remedies to your integrative health plan. Adding a trained herbalist to your integrative care team can amplify your body’s ability to heal, and in some instances, be more cost effective.

For those seeking reliable information on tested herbs, consult the European Medicines Agency, which meticulously outlines the efficacy, safety, and recommended uses of 409 herbs in medicinal preparations.

Additionally, the American Botanical Council serves as an invaluable resource, offering a wealth of free information and studies on herbal medicine, with the option for a subscription providing access to the latest research in the field.

Where to find a quality herb shop in the Twin Cities

Here are local shops you can go to purchase herbs, tinctures, and salves.

Who are we missing? Let us know!

About the Authors –

Phyllis Jaworski, MH

Phyllis Jaworski is the founder of Sacred Ibis Botanicals in Hudson, WI. As an herbal clinician she supports her clients in having pain-free menstrual cycles, and being energized and to live their best life every day of the month. Phyllis focuses on using whole plant preparations to address symptom relief and the core of hormonal imbalances. When not supporting clients you can find her out collecting plants, creating herbal products or traveling with her family.

Alex Stalberger, NBC-HWC

Alex Stalberger is the owner and founder of Well Connected Twin Cities. She is an integrative health and wellness coach with a passion for empowerment and behavior psychology. She writes guides to help health-seekers like you find the perfect partners for your own integrative health and wellbeing team.


At Well Connected Twin Cities, we’re co-creating with local health + wellness practitioners to bring you the best resources that will inform and inspire you to take the next step in your wellness journey.

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