What Does an Herbalist Charge?
Updated: May 26, 2019
Well, this concept is all over the map! First of all, there are different kinds of herbalists offering different kinds of services. Since our School(s) and learning community ultimately orient towards training to consult, I will stay in that lane with this post.
Of note: when reading over this consider whether ANY expenses or charges have ultimate "value". If you get well, or have improvements, that is priceless. Most all of my clients recover from long term and annoying suffering, and issues which interfere with quality of life. And that is after they have spent hundreds, even thousands, and years on pathways and remedies that have not helped.... after paying thousands in "insurance" .
A "consultation" is a time set up with a trained and skilled person who can efficiently and wisely listen to the needs of another, and assess the best advisory and/or treatment to give at the time. If the health matter is complex, I will charge up to $125.00 for a consult that begins with taking an extensive intake and evaluating issues before I even physically meet with the person. At this time that fee includes one or two initial remedies to get the person started. For example I might pack them out with adaptogens and a nervine for sleep and stress issues, and also recommend purchase from my apothecary of 2-5 other items, which they may accept or not. I always provide detailed explanations for use. I recommend a follow up appt. within a period of time, usually 2-4 weeks. I touch base and am available in the meantime with questions.
If a new or existing client wants to drop in for brief advisory, ( a simple issue like cramps, a sore, digestive issue) I will charge 25-50$ for this, and then recommend herbs for separate purchase. I very often recommend items or products which I do not carry, but will give links as to where to find. If I feel their health problems are on a much deeper level, I will tell them that, and suggest they may consider a consult time with an intake and assessment methods. They may decide to do that at a later time. I would not want to mislead a client with complex health problems to think that a simple little remedy is going to be a magic cure- I am clear about when it is necessary to take serious problems more seriously and spend more time and effort on a healing program.
I never muscle test- I rely on my education, knowledge of the human body, and experience assessing , along with my knowledge of herbs and food medicine to determine any protocols. I want there to be actual natural science behind my recommendations, instead of some whimsical idea of what someone "needs ". Because we all "need" a lot at all times- and people are coming to see me for specific grounded answers based on my field.
So I am an apothecary /dispensary naturopath/consultant herbalist. I do structured assessments and conscious integration of client needs. If someone wants comfrey or cleavers or dandelion from the fields, I can refer them to someone else, or to a harvesting garden.....and for 15 years I have taught students how to harvest and ID on their own. So they can take my classes and empower themselves for life.
How do I charge for the actual herbs? The actual bottles, bags, and packages of specific formulations? If a formula contains an expensive herb, such as goldenseal, I have to take that into consideration. More realistic is to charge a reasonable fee for outcome. What is it worth to you to get better? Of course, that can be a terribly open ended concept that is exploited in medical practice. So my grams of herb mixtures are not priced with a mark-up, they take into consideration packaging and most of all my knowledge applied to the intended outcome. I am also providing directions for use. You do not get that, reliably, in commercial stores. What you get instead is a "cover my ass" blanket instruction, as commercial labels do not know individual people and their needs. They are selling to the masses.
Patrons from the community can also call me up and ask for an "ounce of this, an ounce of that" and make up their own formulas. In which case I do mark-up the items I have stored in the apothecary, or refrigerated, and measure out, and price accordingly. This allows people to buy smaller amounts, creatively mix, and not have to buy a lot of one herb just to make something. Sometimes a client will need a formulation that requires me to go find an herb, harvest it, and make it into a medicine. I consider that to be my job of maintaining an apothecary, so I do not charge "extra " for that, but I might need to have some lead time to get the preparation made up.
Above all this, about once a month I have an Open House and people can just drop by and ask questions. I can give advisory about purchases and do not charge a fee for that. They can say "what do you have for poison ivy" , or "I am not sleeping well", and we go from there- no assessment, no consult time, just some answers.