Thursday, December 1, 2011

American Herbalist Guild in Chicago

I just received my first American Herbalist Guild Journal in the mail. I'm still working my way through its content. There is so much to learn! I've just become a  general member of the American Herbalist Guild (AHG), and I'm looking forward to reaping its benefit now and in the future.

What is the AHG, and why would I want to become a member even if I am not currently a practicing herbalist?

First off, it is important to realize that herbalism in the United States is not recognized by or certified by the government. Technically, it is an unregulated practice.So, anyone could potentially call themselves an herbalist in the eyes of modern medicine no matter their experience, right? Herbalists know that calling yourself an herbalist doesn't make you a GOOD herbalist. Obtaining a professional membership from the AHG helps to recognize those that are competent in botanical medicine and offers a form of regulation.

But hey, I'm not a practicing or professional herbalist. How did I sneak in there and get a membership?

AHG is more than a regulating body. It is also interested in promoting herbalism in many ways.Its goals are to promote the health of people and of the earth, to help form a network of experienced herbalists, and to assist those interested in herbal medicine to obtain a high quality education.

Anyone who is interested in herbal medicine is welcome to become a general member of AHG. This will allow you to receive a copy of the AHG's biannual Journal, discounts to their symposium and access to library of recorded lectures on their website. 

Also, there are AHG chapters all over the U.S., including a new one just forming in Chicago. I recently attended their second meeting, and becoming a part of a chapter is the best way to connect with other herbal enthusiasts. I met so many knowledgeable and excited student and professional  herbalists! Becoming a member of AHG allows you to become a counting member of your local chapter (although you can still attend meetings without a membership, with a membership your chapter will be able to receive more funding to plan events!). Our chapter is currently planning a symposium for 2012. I'm looking forward to helping make it happen.

Other reasons to visit AHG's website besides to see what they are about?

They offer links to many credible websites offering information about herbal medicine. They have a section dedication to herbal education resources. They have links to webinars about interesting topics, including "Herbs and Emotional Health" by Steven Horne. They also offer information on how to choose a good herbalist for your own health.

I recommend checking this organization out even if it is to keep their website bookmarked for your reference.