The North American Institute of Medical Herbalism was established in 1989 in Portland, Oregon. We began publishing the Medical Herbalism journal that year, the first publication in the modern era to focus entirely on the education and concerns of the medical level clinical practitioner, providing needed support at a time when hands-on clinical training of herbalists was almost non-existent in North America. Medical Herbalism was published as a print journal from 1989 until 2014, and has featured articles by some of the leading clinical herbalists in North America during that time. We are currently in transition to an Open Access free online version of the journal. You can see links to free back issues and articles from Medical Herbalism at our Resources Page.
The NAIMH was established to continue the Vitalist Tradition of herbalism in this era when effective herbal practice has been declining not only due to the lack of availability of hands-on clinical training, but also due to undue emphasis on materialism, on concentrated pharmaceutical forms of herbs, a "this-for-that" kind of allopathic herbalism, and a superficial approach to rigor in the study of herbs.
We have also promoted a renewed awareness of the Thomsonian/Physiomedical school of medical level herbalism, which has a tradition of clinical practice both in North America and the United Kingdom lasting for almost 200 years, up to the present. The Physiomedicalists were physicians who used herbs, and used them completely within the Vitalist paradigm. We have taught the key concepts of this school in our classes since 1996. In 1998, we digitized a reprinted edition of the key Physiomedical text The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, MD, originally published in 1869, which at last count has had more than a half-million download clicks worldwide from our web site. You can download this textbook and other useful classical texts from our Resources Page for free.
We began training advanced herbalists in clinical residencies at teaching clinics in 1996, first through the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, in Boulder, CO. The RMCBS closed in 2003 and we established the NAIMH school, clinic, and pharmacy in Boulder to continue the education. From 1996-2012, we developed pre-clinical and clinical training unique in North America, in that the practice includes a complete integration of medical herbalism, dietetics,and clinical nutrition, in the Vitalist Paradigm. In addition, the clinical faculty and students collaborate through study of all the cases in the clinic, multiplying the ongoing case-based learning for both faculty and students. The NAIMH school in Boulder was sold in 2012 to become the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, which continues the NAIMH curriculum, and continues to develop and evolve methods of clinical training. The core clinical faculty at the CSCH overlaps with the clinical faculty at NAIMH. More than 300 clinical herbalists have graduated from the three schools, with a continuity of curriculum, faculty, and clinical methods.
We began offering Audio Courses with online mentoring in 2006, and Certificate Programs at various levels in 2014. Recordings are from our Advanced pre-clinical program in Boulder, with supplemental materials recorded in the studio. More than 3500 students have taken these courses.
We began developing a network of affiliated schools in 2016. These independent schools have integrated the NAIMH audio courses into their unique regular curricula. Today you can study the NAIMH curriculum with in-person, hands-on, classroom, lab, and field training at the Acorn School of Herbal Medicine in Nevada City, CA, or online throughout the world, with enhanced video learning, through the Southern Institute of Medical Herbalism.