A letter from Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, my co-author on
Herbal Defense, American Herbalists Guild-certified herbalist, and internationally- recognized natural healing expert.

Washington Herbalists Association
Phone (206) 440-1284
Fax (206) 364-2481

January 1, 2000

Dear Friend:

You've probably noticed that interest in herbalism is at an all-time high in the United States. And with good reason--herbal medicine works.

As a professional herbalist for the past 28 years, I have seen the wonderful things herbs can do for people. I owe my own life to the power of effective, professional-level herbalism.

You too may have seen the changes that carefully selected and properly administered herbal medicines can bring to your life. If you've been using and benefitting from herbal medicine, you're a pioneer in the herbal renaissance. People like you are the reason natural healing is now becoming mainstream in America.

But herbalism's surge in popularity has brought some issues to a head. You've seen the media explosion. Suddenly, everybody's an herbalist. People with little clinical training are setting themselves up as experts. Individuals are becoming their own herbal advisors, often based on pretty flimsy information. I'd like to help change that, and bring professional herbal medicine the respect it deserves.

I have a dream that in my lifetime American herbalism will be practiced with dignity and integrity. Will you please contribute to make this dream a living reality?

With several of my professional clinical herbalist colleagues, I recently founded the nonprofit Washington Herbalists Association. Our purpose is to further the process of legitimization of herbalism as a profession in Washington state. I want well-trained, credentialed herbalists to have a seat at the health care table. I want the opportunity for my family--and yours--to consult quality, qualified practitioners of herbal medicine.

I sit on the board of directors of the American Herbalists Guild, which is the national professional organization for clinical herbalists. On the national level, I see big changes happening daily. But where real change health care policy change takes place is on the state level. I'd like to see Washington be the first state to make that change.

It takes a lot of dedication to legally establish a new profession in the state. I know how much hard work our volunteers have already put into this cause. Over the past few years, I've seen many other alternative care professions legitimized--massage, acupuncture, midwifery. Now I'd like to see herbalism join the ranks of complementary therapies that you, your friends and family can access.

Several state officials and lobbyists for other health professions in Washington have told me that now is the time, and that this effort can be successful, if we act fast.

When we succeed in Washington state, other states will quickly follow. Herbalism will be established the way other professions have been. Herbalists--the experts in clinical herbal methods--will be practicing across the nation.

Without this effort, I think you will see herbalism swallowed up by other competing professions. In fact, we're already seeing the beginnings of that. If this happens, the true herbal experts won't be directing herbalism--newcomers will be. Newcomers to whom herbalism may be a secondary practice, or even further removed.

If you've had personal success with clinical herbalism, or would like to see herbal medicine as an integrated part of American health care, won't you contribute to the Washington Herbalists Association?

Imagine going to the office of your professional clinical herbalist with dignity. Imagine the suffering that could be spared if many more people had certified, highly educated herbalists to turn to with their health issues and concerns.

When herbalists have the right to practice in Washington, alongside other legitimate complementary health care providers, you will see a true blossoming of the benefits you and your loved ones can experience using herbs to resolve health concerns. I expect to see a rapid increase in the number of students training in professional clinical herbalism (when they know they have a legitimate field to enter!). Schools will flourish, and education will expand. Patients will know that their herbalists are competent and properly trained.

People will still buy their herbs at health food stores and herb stores. But they will buy them with much greater knowledge and support. Their herbal treatments will work, and they will return to buy those effective herbs again and again. When people are educated and use herbs with knowledge and confidence, and have legitimate professional support behind them, you will see the dream come alive: Excellence and certifiable expertise in clinical herbalism will be the standard. The profession, and the practice and use of herbalism, will be duly recognized and validated.

Your contribution will assure that the momentum continues to make this a reality.

The Washington Herbalists Association is committed to preserving the right of American citizens to use herbs and other dietary supplements, and the rights of people to choose whom they consult about their health. This project is aimed at giving people broader health care choices, and to guarantee the credentials of any herbalist that chooses to participate. It will not restrict the rights of anyone else who chooses to use herbs in consultation or for self-care.

I started this process in Washington state almost two years ago, after a very successful national convention of the American Herbalists Guild here in Seattle. The Washington Herbalists Association has retained professional legislative consultants, and is pursuing the best path to creating a professional status for practicing clinical herbalists.

The political process is delicate, and the association is exploring the proper route to success. In the effort to create a state credential for professional herbalists, the association is investigating registration, certification, and title protection as possible first strategies.

You'll be happy to know that a great deal of progress has been made so far. Conferences with acupuncturist and naturopathic physician groups have been very productive. The Washington Herbalists Association is forging alliances with supporters of herbalism in industry, the legislature, and other professions. We've drafted preliminary legislative language, and adopted a set of minimum credentials that we think will be acceptable to the legislature for title protection.

I'm a volunteer, and so are my colleagues. We have no other funding sources. The Washington Herbalists Association has managed to pay expenses so far, but now we need your help. I'm writing you because the association is about to run out of money to continue the mission of establishing professional herbalism. The funds to continue this important work in Washington run out next month. There is much work to do with the legislature this year. Your contribution will be used to research legislative options, confer with state officials, cooperate with other professions, and draft legislative and administrative documents.

Thank for your dedication to the future of herbalism, and for your contribution to the Washington Herbalists Association.

Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, C.N., A.H.G.
Washington Herbalists Association

P.S. Your contribution will help the Washington Herbalists Association keep operating for this next crucial year, but only if we receive your check soon. Be a part of the revolution in American health care. Please help us to make the dream of professional clinical herbalism a reality.

Here's my contribution to
the future of clinical herbalism.

Please make checks to:
Washington Herbalists Association
14848 Densmore Avenue North
Shoreline, Washington 98133

Enclosed is my check for:

$1,000 .....................$500 .....................$250 .....................$100 .....................$25

I'd like to make a monthly pledge in the amount of $________.

Name _________________________________________________

Organization _________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________



Please contact us if you have questions,
or if you would like to volunteer.
(206) 440-1284

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