The American herbalist community is diverse, united and guided by a strong sense of values and ethics in herbal practice and education. The recently updated AHG Code of Ethics expands on the 2013 Code of Ethics, addressing ethics in education, symposium presentation, and mentorship relationships in a more comprehensive framework. These policies ensure that the Council and organization are best serving the membership and the public. These policies include a Conflict of Interest and Disclosure policy and a Complaints Resolution Process for organization members or members of the public who wish to file a complaint against an AHG member or the organization. Download the AHG Code of Ethics by clicking below.
The American Herbalists Guild Code of Ethics:
The American Herbalists Guild designed the Code of Ethics to ensure a standard of excellence and accountability among its members. While the Guild is not a policy making body for the field of herbalism, it seeks to be a beacon of appropriate professional behavior among its membership. These policies and standards extend to speakers, teachers, mentors, staff, volunteers, participants and chapters of any American Herbalists Guild sponsored event (including, but not limited to, the annual symposium, chapter activities, webinars and other educational offerings).
Conflict of Interest
AHG Members, including board and committee members, will avoid activities that are in conflict or may appear to be in conflict with any of the provisions of this Code of Ethics or with one's responsibilities and duties as a member of the Guild. Please refer to the Conflict of Interest policy for more information.
AHG members at all levels are expected to exhibit individual leadership as a role model for maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct, acting with integrity in every professional interaction. Members are encouraged to question individual and group actions when necessary to ensure that decisions are ethical and are implemented as such. In teaching and mentoring, AHG members champion the development of others as ethical leaders in the profession and in organizations, setting the standard and being an example for others.
Fairness and Justice
As herbal professionals, we are ethically responsible for promoting and fostering fairness and justice in general and for our members. We respect the uniqueness and intrinsic worth of every individual. We are committed to treating people with dignity, respect and compassion - fostering a trusting environment, free of harassment, intimidation, and discrimination. We strive to ensure an environment
of inclusiveness and a commitment to fairness, justice, and diversity, and advocating policies and procedures that foster fair, consistent and equitable treatment for all.
Sexual Harassment, Abuse and Discrimination
AHG Members will not use their position as employers, teachers, mentors, consultants, or leaders to seek sexual encounters or make unwanted sexual advances with students, clients, or other herbalists. Additionally, abuse, discrimination and bullying of any kind are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
AHG Members shall welcome a peer review of their publications, lectures, and/or clinical protocols. Formal and informal peer review is a primary means of enhancing our level of knowledge and expertise and is encouraged.
Informed Consent/Full Disclosure
AHG Members will provide their clients, potential clients and students with truthful and non-misleading information about their experience, training, services, pricing structure and practices, as well as disclosure of financial interests if they offer a conflict in practice; and will inform their clients that redress of grievances is available through the American Herbalists Guild or through the appropriate agency where the member is operating under a state license.
Personal information gathered in the herbalist/client relationship will be held in strict confidence by the AHG Member unless specifically allowed by the client.
AHG Members shall present opinions about and experiences with other practitioners and healing modalities in an ethical and honorable manner.
Professional Referral Network
Clients shall be encouraged to exercise their right to see other practitioners and obtain their botanicals and health supports from the source(s) of their choosing.
AHG Members shall recognize their own limitations of practice. When they believe a condition is beyond their scope of expertise as an herbalist, or when it is clear that a client is not responding positively to therapy, they will encourage clients to seek further support from other qualified professionals.
Avoiding Needless Therapy
Recommendations shall be based solely on the specific needs of the client, avoiding excessive or potentially needless supplementation.
AHG Members acknowledge that individual health is not separate from environmental health and offer counsel clients to embrace this same Earth- centered awareness.
AHG Members are ready to be open and willing to attend to those in need of help without making monetary compensation the primary consideration.
AHG Members work in good faith to source and use botanicals that are formulated and manufactured in a way that will deliver the desired results, striving to obtain organically and sustainably grown and ethically harvested botanicals whenever possible.
Education & Mentoring
Practitioner as Educator
Practicing AHG Members shall assume the role of educators, doing their best to empower clients in mobilizing their own innate healing abilities and promotion the responsibility of clients to heal themselves.
Additional policies associated with the 2018 Code of Ethics include:
- A Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Policy,
- A Conflict and Dispute Resolution Policy for members, and
- An External Complaint Process for members of the public who wish to file complaints against an AHG Registered Herbalist, a general member or the organization.
Any member of the public has the right to formally lodge a complaint if they feel a member has violated the AHG Code of Ethics. Read more about AHG Complaints Resolution Process.