Naturopathic Medicine in California

Page last updated 19 Dec 2019

Action alert


UPDATE: Senate Bill 796 Signed into law by Governor.

The existing Naturopathic Doctors Act in California expired at the end of 2017. The Naturopathic Medicine Committee, which regulates the practice of licensed naturopaths in the state, underwent a review in January 2018. Senate Bill 796 replaced the existing law and delayed the repeal and review date until January 1, 2022. SB 296 bill requires continuing education courses to be scientifically rigorous. However, this recommendation is contradicted by an additional stipulation that specifies continuing education courses “be based on evidence accepted by naturopathic doctors.”

Introduced by Senator Jerry Hill; contact Senator Hill.

Want to get involved?

Contact your CA Senate and Assembly representatives and voice your opposition to legitimizing the practice of naturopathy.

Not sure what to say? Check out these tips for speaking with lawmakers from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Sign the petition Naturopaths are not doctors: stop legitimizing pseudoscience

Media Coverage

Confirmed: Licensed Naturopathic Doctor Gave Lethal ‘Turmeric’ Injection. Forbes. 10 April 2017. Britt Hermes.

Naturopathic Doctors Look Bad After California Woman Dies From Turmeric Injection. Forbes. 27 March 2017. Britt Hermes.

Are California Lawmakers Gullible Enough to Allow Naturopaths to Prescribe Drugs? Forbes. 17 August 2016. Britt Hermes.

California legislature should repeal naturopathic licensing. Science-based Medicine. 27 October 2016. Jann Bellamy

California lawmakers should reject naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic Diaries. 8 March 2016. Britt Hermes.

Scope of practice

Title: May use the title naturopathic doctor (ND).

  • May not use the title physician.

Prescription drugs: May prescribe legend substances under physician supervision. May independently prescribe natural and synthetic hormones.

Controlled substances: May prescribe Schedule IV-V controlled substances under physician supervision and Schedule III controlled substances according to a patient-specific protocol that has been approved by a supervising physician. See formulary for details.

  • May not prescribe Schedule I-II controlled substances.
  • May not recommend medical marijuana (cannabis).

IV administration: May administer subcutaneous and intramuscular injections and intravenous injections after undergoing additional training.

Diagnostic tests: May order, but not perform or interpret diagnostic or imaging tests. May perform CLIA waived tests  only if the practitioner hold lab director status.

Minor office procedures: May not suture or perform biopsies.

Spinal manipulations: May not perform high-velocity manipulations of the spine (Grade 5 manipulations)

Childbirth: May attend childbirth as a naturopath, after undergoing certification.

  • May not practice midwifery.

Vaccine waiver: With the passing of SB 277, naturopaths may no longer sign off on medical exemptions for childhood immunizations. Personal belief exemptions for immunizations are no longer allowed in California.

Naturopathic assistants: May hire naturopathic assistants.

  • May not hire or provide medical orders to medical personnel other than naturopathic assistants.

California regulations for naturopathy

CME requirements

60 continuing education hours required biennially, of which:

  • 20 hours must in pharmacotherapeutics
  • No more than 15 hours may come from written contributions to medical journals or teaching
  • No more than 20 hours will be counted in any single topic
  • No more than 15 hours completed for naturopathic childbirth attendance requirements will be accepted


2003 Senate Bill 907 passed. It established the Naturopathic Doctors Act, which specified the standards for licensure and regulation of naturopathy in California. Bill was set to July 1, 2009.

January 1, 2004 Naturopathic Doctors Act went into effect.

2009 Assembly Bill X420 passed. It established the Naturopathic Medicine Committee under the Osteopathic Board of California.

2011 changes to Naturopathic Doctors Act

2013 changes to Naturopathic Doctors Act

2015-2016 Senate Bill 538 failed. Bill would have expanded the naturopathic scope of practice to remove physician oversight for prescribing drugs and regulations preventing NDs from performing and interpreting diagnostic tests. The bill also included parenteral therapy, minor office procedures, biopsies, and cervical administration of substances.

2015-2016 Assembly Bill 1991 failed. Bill would have allowed naturopaths and chiropractors to perform sports physicals for school athletes.

For more on California legislation pertaining to naturopathy, please visit the Society for Science-Based Medicine’s Legislative Archive.

How to file a complaint

Anyone may file a complaint against a naturopath licensed by the Naturopathic Medicine Committee of the Osteopathic Medical Board in California. The Naturopathic Medicine Committee suggests that anyone who believes that a licensed naturopath has engaged in illegal activities should be reported. Example allegations include gross negligence or incompetence, substance abuse, and license application fraud.

Online complaint form

Download and print a complaint form

Call (916) 928-4785 to have a complaint form mailed to you.

Visit the Naturopathic Medicine Committee page.