The Herbal Healer Academy (HHA) has been in business since 1988 providing home-study courses and natural health products to members all over the world. They have also been the target of attacks by those who feel natural medicine should not be promoted. Learn more about this company and decide for yourself if they are a legitimate resource for those interested in herbal medicine or if they are a danger to the health of those who are members.
About Herbal Healer Academy
Herbal Healer Academy was founded by Dr. Marijah McCain in the Arkansas Ozarks. A trained microbiologist, Dr. McCain began her journey into natural medicine in 1978 when her son was born. Born with serious health issues, Dr. McCain believed the child would likely have died at the hands of Western medicine, who offered nothing to help him. Using natural methods, Dr. McCain was able to save her son's life. This was the beginning of Dr. McCain's journey into alternative medicine and healthy living.
In 1988 she launched the HHA to educate others in natural methods of healing and staying healthy. Today she has many thousands of members world-wide who learn from her correspondence courses, purchase her herbal products and subscribe to her newsletter. To her many fans, Dr. McCain is an incredible educator and healer. Her website provides countless testimonials and stories of improved health and miraculous transformations. To others, she has been considered a menace to public health.
Arkansas Attorney General vs. Dr. McCain
In 2002, the Arkansas Attorney General filed suit against Dr. McCain and the Herbal Healer Academy claiming that she made illegal health claims on her natural, herbal products. They also accused her of improperly offering accredited degrees via her home-study courses and falsely claiming to be certified to diagnose and treat illnesses, creating a danger to public health.
The following year this case was settled. While Dr. McCain admitted no wrong doing, she consented to removing certain wording on her products and to refrain from calling herself a naturopathic physician or doctor as well as removing these terms in reference to her courses. After making these and other changes and spending a huge sum in legal fees, Marijah McCain was allowed to keep her business open and is still going strong despite the accusations.
About Naturopathic Licensing
In most states that allow people to become naturopathic physicians, a four-year course of study is required. Arkansas does not recognize any such degree whether it is obtained via a four year college such as Bastyr University or through a correspondence course such as the HHA. The fact is, people have been practicing herbal medicine and home remedies for generations, long before the government saw fit to regulate these methods of healing.
While a naturopathic license obtained through universities accredited through government approved entities are prestigious indeed, there are thousands who have completed training through other sources not approved by the government. Many of the accrediting sources that Dr. McCain shows on her site are considered worthless by the government and other naysayers, however there are well known schools and individuals who have many of the same credentials such as author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis A. Balch who has a CNC certification from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants and Clayton College of Natural Health. Both are well known sources of herbal knowledge with their "questionable" certifications and accreditations.
Legit or Not
It is important to consider the credentials of anyone who offers herbal healing or medical advice. Keep in mind, however, that just because the government does not recognize certain resources, it doesn't make them invalid. People have relied for centuries on remedies passed down for generations even though the government doesn't have research to back up health claims. Many feel that these government approved sources unnecessarily limit their freedoms and promote unsafe medical practices. A comparison of the number of people who die annually due to medical malpractice or complications from prescription drugs and those who die from natural, herbal preparations encourages many to trust herbal medicine, whether government approved or not.
Another important thing to consider, along with the thousands upon thousands of positive testimonials that Dr. McCain has, is that she also has zero complaints against her on the Better Business Bureau. A quick Internet search reveals pages upon pages of positive information and only a handful that promote the lawsuit that did not result in the complete closure of the Herbal Healer shop, but there are no courses offered via the "Academy", which has been dropped from the website's name.
Whether this business is legitimate or not is for you to decide based on the facts. It is up to you to decide if they hold value or not, according to your own beliefs. Compare them to other well-known herbalists and make your decision.