Ontario Herbalists Association

Promoting safe & natural healing with plants since 1982

Our Codes

OHA Professional Code of Ethics

  • Members shall ensure that their conduct is professional in manner and that they behave ethically and with dignity with their clients, the public, and other health care providers.
  • Members shall ensure that the foremost consideration in their clinical practice is for the health, safety, well-being and dignity of their clients.
  • Members shall honour the relationship between member practitioner and client and recognize that the client places their trust in the care, skill and integrity of the practitioner. As such, it is the duty of the member to act with due diligence at all times and not abuse this trust in any way.
  • Members shall provide care that respects the client’s needs, values and dignity, and does not discriminate on any grounds, including, but not limited to, on the basis of age, race, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, physical or intellectual disability, economic or social status.
  • Members shall refrain from unscrupulous and/or exploitative and/or abusive behaviour towards their students or clients (including but not limited to initiating romantic or sexual relationships), and refrain from any behaviour that would compromise the integrity of the OHA or the profession of herbalism.
  • Members shall not use their position as practitioner, educator, mentor, employer or leader to engage in any form of discrimination, abuse, harassment or bullying with clients, students, interns, other herbalists or health care professionals. This conduct will not be tolerated.
  • Members shall acknowledge the limits of their individual scope of practice.
  • Members shall practice herbalism to the best of their ability and within the limits of professional and personal competence.
  • Members shall make referrals to qualified practitioners when it is in the best interest of their client.
  • Members shall cooperate with other healthcare practitioners for the benefit and well-being of their clients.
  • Members shall maintain the highest standard of client confidentiality at all times and release information only when directed with the expressed permission of the client or when required by law.
  • Members shall strive to obtain, recommend and administer herbs which have been properly identified and prepared, are of therapeutic quality, and have been grown, harvested, and/or manufactured in a sustainable, organic, and ethical manner whenever possible.
  • Members are encouraged to exchange ideas and information with other herbalists for the purpose of enhancing understanding and knowledge in the field of herbalism.
  • Members shall honour the Earth and its resources in the context of their practice and are encouraged to promote the importance of ecological preservation and renewal when teaching or sharing information, in accordance with OHA Guidelines.
  • Members shall conduct themselves with courtesy, fairness, respect and good faith when engaging in open discussion and dialogue about herbalism. This applies equally to other herbalists, the herbal community, other health care professionals and clients.
  • Members shall refrain from criticizing the practice of herbalism, other herbalists, and health care professionals in public or before their clients so as not to undermine the public trust in the practice of herbalism.
  • Members who fail to comply with the Code of Ethics and the Code of Practice of the OHA will be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Directors of the Association and may forfeit the privilege of membership in the OHA.

OHA Professional Code of Practice

  • Members shall refrain from misrepresenting the nature of the practice of herbalism, including making any promise of a cure.
  • Members shall refrain from making diagnoses unless licensed to do so.
  • Members shall respect the right of their client to question or refuse any form of treatment.
  • Members shall ensure that their clients are provided with clear information and that they understand the protocols recommended by the practitioner, including the preparations/remedies, the purpose of each remedy and the recommended dosing and administration of remedies.
  • Members shall obtain prior consent to consult with a client under the age of 16 from their parent or legal guardian if none is present during the consultation.
  • Members shall ensure that their fee schedule is posted publicly and that the client is fully aware of all fees and costs associated with a consultation prior to proceeding with the consultation.
  • Members shall conduct consultations in such a way as to evaluate completely and competently each client at each consultation.
  • Members shall keep clear and comprehensive records of each consultation in accordance with the requirements of their specific modality, which may include: name, address, contact details and occupation of client; date of consultation; presenting complaint/s; past and family history; relevant lifestyle history; details of previous treatments and current medications; known allergies; if relevant, findings from lab results, pathology tests or other investigations; and the practitioner recommendations for the client.
  • Members shall preserve and maintain client records in accordance with the OHA guidance document.
  • Members shall not knowingly assist with terminating a pregnancy. Members may provide preparations/remedies to support a client who is preparing for a medical abortion or has undergone a spontaneous or medical abortion.
  • Members shall not knowingly assist suicide. If a member becomes aware of a client’s active planning for suicide, they shall refer the client to a qualified professional. Members are encouraged to seek out resources to assist the client to obtain the help needed.
  • Members shall engage in continuing education to improve their knowledge and skills as it relates to their work as a herbal practitioner and will demonstrate annually at the time of membership renewal how they have upgraded and expanded on their knowledge base.
  • Members shall avoid activities that are in conflict with or appear to be in conflict with the OHA Code of Ethics and Code of Practice.
  • Members shall display in their place of practice the OHA Code of Ethics, Code of Practice, and Certificate of Professional Membership.

The Scope of Practice of Registered Herbalists

The practice of herbal medicine is the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of an individual’s health primarily through the internal and external use of plant-based medicines. Whole plants or parts thereof may be harvested and processed by the herbalist.

During a consultation, methods of assessment may include but are not limited to case history, physical examinations, and the review of diagnostic test results. Topics such as nutrition, exercise, hygiene, environment and stress-management will be considered and may be discussed through the consultation process, with acknowledgement of each individual’s abilities, lifestyle, etc. The use of other natural health products may also be recommended. The therapeutic requirements for each person are assessed and herbal medicines are prepared and dispensed in a manner consistent with the tradition and training of the individual herbalist and government regulations.

Amended and Restated: September 2021

Should the OHA receive a Complaint of a member’s activity that violates the OHA’s Code of Ethics or Scope of Practice, the concern will be brought to the OHA’s complaint procedure/resolution process to be addressed.

For more information on becoming a Registered Herbalist, or joining the community of those studying herbalism, check out our Membership Page.