7 Kinds of Herbalists
by Lisa Dolloff
August 13, 2021
Have you ever wondered, "What exactly IS an herbalist?"
The broadest definition of an herbalist is anyone who uses plants for healing. If you are someone who uses herbs with the intention of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, then you can consider yourself an herbalist!
Like all of herbalism, the definitions of different types of herbalists are fluid. Different people may give slightly different answers, and many times an herbalist will fit into multiple categories.
One important thing in common with all types of herbalists, is that none of us can diagnose anyone, claim to treat or cure any type of disease, or make any health claims about products they make.
A home herbalist is someone who practices herbalism at home for themselves and/or their families. They may or may not have had any kind of formal training, but they work herbal allies into their daily life. This kind of herbalism is often passed down through family elders, or spread through friends.
Community herbalists have formal training in herbalism, and work with the public in some kind of way, often incorporating folk herbalism and preparations into their practice. A community herbalist is frequently who you'll find operating herb shops and offering community herbal programs.
A clinical herbalist has extensive formal training in herbalism, including clinical training, with a heavy focus on evidence-based science, but also includes folk, traditional, and other aspects of herbalism. Clinical herbalists often work in a one-on-one setting, and although they still can't diagnose or treat, they will usually do a health intake and can give personalized advice.
It's important to note, there is no herbalist licensing in the US. There are herbal certifications, but every herb school is different. Check around before choosing an herb school or herbalist.
This type of herbalist can be the most liberal with how they describe herbs and what they do. Herbal educators can either fit into several categories of herbalists, or their entire focus is on education. When education is the main focus, they are not making claims that can be tied back to any products or service, so they can can share the most specific herbal health information of any other type of herbalist.
An herbal supplier is who you go to for herbs or herbal products. These can be places like a brick and mortar shop, an online shop, or a booth at a farmer's market. Often, an herbal supplier is a community herbalist or other type of herbalist in addition to supplying herbs and herbal products.
Herbal Maker or Formulator
This is someone who makes herbal remedies such as extracts, infusion, tea blends, balms, or any type of herbal preparation for internal or external use. An herbal formulator is often someone who fits into several other herbal categories, or they may put all of their focus on making products.
An herb farmer is someone who grows herbs to use in aspects of herbalism. They may grow them to make their own products, to sell directly to customers, or to sell to other types of herbalists. An herb farmer is often one or more of the other types of herbalists.
Are you an herbalist, or do you want to be one? What ways would you like to work with herbs? Let us know with a comment below, or connect with us on Instagram.
Find some of our favorite herbalists here