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Herbal Medicine Course
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  Stage A
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  Stage B and C
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Herbal Medicine Course
Course Format

The Herbal Medicine Course (consists of 280 hours of learning): The comprehensive curriculum encompasses the essentials of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine to promote the fundamental understanding of how herbs may be used to benefit patients in a modern clinical practice.

This course is taught in three stages, required for all participants.


During this initial stage, fundamental knowledge about individual herbs, herbal formulae, and the theoretical framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) will be taught in order to optimize the educational experience of the participants during Stage B, the face-to-face practical sessions. This segment will cover much more than cursory knowledge of Chinese herbal therapy and include the following topics:

  1. Theoretical Foundation: Important concepts of TCM such as the eight categories of illnesses; four methods of diagnosis; internal, and external, physical and emotional causes of diseases; and patterns of progression of pathological processes, etc. will be presented in an online multimedia program and a specially designed course workbook. The principles of TCM, though seemingly foreign to modern physicians, will be logically explained in modern medical terms.

  2. Individual Herbs: The properties, sources, therapeutic actions, potential adverse effects, scientific data, traditional usages, and modern clinical studies of over 120 herbal agents will be described.

  3. Herbal Formulae: Herbal ingredients, relative dosages, therapeutic rationale, and traditional and contemporary explanations of the healing mechanisms of many well- known herbal formulae will be explored.

  4. Treatment Strategies: Major TCM therapeutic methods such as tonification, dispersion, diaphoresis, emesis, catharsis, qi mobilization, and equilibration will be discussed.

  5. Classification of Herbs According to the Meridian System and how such a concept may be extrapolated to understand pharmacological actions and side-effects of modern drugs.

  6. Yin and Yang and the Modern Clinical Experience: How a basic TCM concept such as yin and yang may be used to interpret the findings of modern clinical trials and how this knowledge may be translated into actual benefits for patients.

  7. Algorithms in Designing Therapeutic Formulae: How to select individual herbs according to their pharmacological properties, and combine them effectively to achieve a specific therapeutic goal, and balance the formula with additional agents to reduce its potential side-effects and enhance its overall efficacy.
Depending on the time of enrollment, the participants are expected to devote a minimum of 5 to 10 actual viewing or listening hours per week to the program, so that they will be adequately prepared to take full advantage of the learning experience in the practical sessions of Stage B.


This program is designed to consolidate the knowledge gained during Stage A, converting theoretical and factual knowledge into practical applications in day-to-day patient care. Various practical facets of herbal treatments will be covered:

  1. Herbs Recognition Laboratory: Participants will be trained to recognize common herbs in the Chinese medicine formulary by examining actual samples generally found on the shelves of traditional herbal stores.

  2. Herbal Tour: Visit the Chinese Herbal Garden at UC Berkeley and observe a large variety of herbs in a natural habitat.

  3. Traditional Herbs Preparation and Tasting: The proper way of decocting herbs will be demonstrated, and participants will be able to sample various potions (formulae) to acquire firsthand knowledge of what it is like to take herbal medicine the traditional way.

  4. Contemporary Herbs Preparation: Also presented are samples of herbal extracts and concentrates derived from raw herbs with modern technology without significant loss of potency. These may take the forms of tablets, capsules, and powder mixtures.

  5. Hands on Diagnostics Workshop: Diagnostic methods of TCM such as inspection, questioning, and palpation will be taught, emphasizing tongue and pulse diagnoses and how to correlate findings with patient’s symptoms to help formulate the therapeutic strategy.


Additional herbs, herbal formulae, case studies, dietary therapy according to TCM, and special interest topics will be covered in audio, video, and written media following the practical experience gained from attending the face-to-face session of Stage B, including the following:

  1. Setting Up an Office-Based Modern Herbal Pharmacy: Ordering, stocking, organizing herbal supplies and inventory management in a physician’s office will be discussed.

  2. Clinical Runs: Demonstrations by faculty members on how to assess a patient’s health status and to initiate a health maintenance plan using the herbal approach will be presented.

  3. Herbal Economics: The proper and equitable way of generating revenue by maintaining in-house herbal supplies for the benefit and convenience of patients.


Major Clinical Applications of Herbal Therapy:
The following topics will be presented in Stage B and Stage C

  1. Herbal Management of the Climacteric: The non-hormonal approach will focus on the TCM ways of using various traditional herbal formulae to treat the symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause.

  2. Women's Health from the TCM Point of View: The understanding of the special physiological makeup of women from the standpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine has provided diverse methods of treating acute as well as chronic gynecological problems such as dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, pre-menstrual tension, etc.

  3. Pain Management: The roles of herbal therapy in treating acute pain such as musculoskeletal conditions secondary to trauma and chronic pain including repetitive strain injuries, complex regional pain syndrome, arthritis, and fibromyalgia will be discussed.

  4. Emotional Disorders: The origin of depression and anxiety is multifactorial according to TCM, so the treatment may involve different therapeutic strategies with a wide range of choices of herbal agents.

  5. Respiratory Disorders and Immune Dysfunctions: How herbal medicine may modulate the immune response in various chronic pulmonary disorders, with special emphasis on asthmatic conditions.

  6. Herbs for the Guts: Chronic gastrointestinal diseases affect a large segment of the industrialized population, yet available treatments are mostly palliative. The use of herbal remedies can be used to treat common problems such as GERD and irritable bowel syndrome.

  7. Mitigating the Side-Effects of Chemotherapy: The herbal paradigm.
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