Jennifer Gebhard ANP, HNP, AHN-BC, *RH(AHG)*

I am pleased to announce that I have been accepted as a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild.  Why is that important? Why is it important to you? Why is it important to me?

This story began about 25 years ago when I first started my herbal training. I have been a practicing herbalist since then with hundreds and hundreds of hours of class work, conferences and lectures.  Take note, I was already a practicing Adult Nurse Practitioner, practicing primary care medicine since 1987 when I first started this path.  Interesting, in every other country around the world, medical practitioners have herbal training to add to their armament in treating patients. In America, doctors get maybe one four-hour class in nutrition and no training in herbal medicine, yet you are supposed to ask your medical practitioner about herbs and supplements you are using.  Sad.  Many countries still use herbalism as the first choice of treatment instead of going to prescriptive meds as we do here in America. I subsequently obtained my NYS Holistic Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Holistic Nurse-Board Certification to better define that I do utilize herbs and nutrition to support my patient’s health.

Legally the practice of medicine is restricted to those professionals who have a license which is regulated by each state. In America, there is no licensure for herbal medicine.  Some states allow acupuncturists or naturopaths to utilize herbs as part of their license. Lay people that are not licensed in herbal medicine can still offer herbal treatments, dispense and recommend herbs to optimize health. They cannot diagnose or say that an herb or supplement is used to treat a disease. This is prohibited by the DSHEA laws. (see blog: Safety with Supplements).

I have always been a believer in documentation of excellence or knowledge in any medical practice. Including herbal medicine.  The American Herbalist Guild has given me this title.  The AHG is the only national agency that provides strict criteria to become a Registered Herbalist. This is accomplished by submitting your information to a peer- review admissions committee.  This information includes in part, a personal and professional biography describing experience and hours of training, have at least 3-4 years of herbal experience, letters of references and submission of multiple case histories, some examples given by the AHG, some actual clients.  This total process including mentorship from two renowned practicing herbalists took me a total of two and a half years from start to receiving my letter of acceptance.

So, back to my original questions,

  1. Why is this important? In this world where medicine is becoming more complex and, in many ways, less effective for chronic diseases, this allows better introduction and passage into the main medical establishment where herbal ignorance reigns and letters behind your name rule.
  2. Why is it important to you? By adding RH(AHG) to my name lets you know that I have been vetted and reviewed as an herbalist by nationally and internationally known herbalists and have been deemed a knowledgeable and safe herbal practitioner.
  3. Why is it important to me? I started my medical history as a child, reading all about old historic treatments and found them fascinating. Even as a kid, I tried open heart surgery on a bleeding-heart flower and was very frustrated that I could not properly put it back together again.  As I move forward in my career and even past retirement, my plan is to continue to help others utilizing my herbal knowledge. Also, I believe it to be in my blood. My many-great grandmother was the local town herbalist in Wales. “Sheee’s Baaack!”

Fussing About Cannabis

I am in a personal funk about the lack of knowledge there is regarding “Cannabis”—not only in the general population but in the medical profession. The active constituents in the Cannabis family are primarily stuff called Cannabinoids (CBD). Did you know, there has been a US Government patent on the use of cannabinoids? Since October 7, 2003, the US government issued Patent No. 6,630,507. Look it up. It’s for real. The patent discusses the use of cannabinoids as a high end anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotectant.  Read More “Fussing About Cannabis”

Keeping Your Rhythm in Balance

I have been away, travelling to the far land of Asheville, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains to attend an herbal conference, Medicines of the Earth 2017. This conference is given yearly, the first weekend of June. Going to Asheville is like coming home to my tribe. After spending the past year practicing largely traditional western/allopathic medicine, it brightens my heart to be among people who are knowledgeable and wise in the use of herbal treatments. If anyone has any doubts about the use of herbal medicine, come to Asheville. Listen with an open mind. Learn how to differentiate and understand the research that is currently happening around the world on plants. Even if you Google an herb, put “NIH” next to your question, and you will get actual research from the National Institutes of Health, not just infomercials. Note, there is a lot of bias in research in general, and herbal medicine specifically since there are generally no herbalists on the panel conducting the research. That said, herbal research is expanding worldwide. Read More “Keeping Your Rhythm in Balance”

Safety with Supplements

naturheilkunde-1738223_1280Supplements don’t work? It says so on the bottle! “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease.” Isn’t that what it means? Supplements are not overseen by the federal government anyway… so why take them?

This is an age-old adage I intend to dispel. Dietary supplements are heavily regulated by the FDA, and determining a) if a supplement is safe and b) if a supplement can help you can be confusing! I’m here to help. Read More “Safety with Supplements”

Complimentary vs Traditional Medicine: Giving Veterans a choice

I published a great article with Judith L Jones, published April 2015 in Nurses fyi Magazine

American service members and veterans are considering complementary therapies over prescription drugs, and narcotics to help ease depression, stress, and joint pain. Complimentary therapies, (CT), include reiki, meditation, aquatherapy, supplements and acupuncture. These therapies represent the therapeutic relationship between the practitioner and the patient, taking into account the whole person and their lifestyle. Read More “Complimentary vs Traditional Medicine: Giving Veterans a choice”

One Way to Become a Holistic Nurse Practitioner

Once upon a time, about five years ago, I was interested in expanding my role as an Adult Nurse Practitioner at my place of employment at the local Veterans Administration hospital. I work in an outpatient primary care clinic. I wanted to be able to treat my patients more openly with natural/holistic methods. I had always been vocal about holistic healing practices, but I really wanted to come out more in the open with them. Read More “One Way to Become a Holistic Nurse Practitioner” is LIVE!

Thanks to excellent collaboration between Jen Gebhard (myself) and her niece, Caitlin Gebhard, is relaunched with a brand new look!