January 1, 2000
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 $________.
Please contact us if you have questions,
or if you would like to volunteer.