Herbal Medicine Department


The Department of Herbal Medicine provides acupuncture students with extensive training in the ancient art of Chinese herbal medicine. The department is one of the four that collectively makes up the Master of Traditional Oriental Medicine (MTOM) program at Emperor’s College and consists of 43 units spread across 16 courses.

Beginning with an introduction to core concepts in Chinese herbal medicine, the acupuncture school curriculum features four Herb Pharmacopoeia courses that discuss 450 important herbal medicines used in clinical practice. Students then progress into Herb Formulae courses to learn the traditional clinical application of Chinese herbal medicine, including the study of classical texts such as the Shang Han Lun and Wen Bing Xue.

40 hours of herbal pharmacopoeia lab provides a unique opportunity for acupuncture students to have real-world experience running an herbal medicinary and encourages greater connection of classroom theory to everyday clinical applications.

Additional courses in the department focus on a biomedical and professional understanding of Chinese herbal medicine. Pharmacognosy delves into the chemical constituents of medicinal herbs while Patent Medicines introduce acupuncture students to the variety of companies that cultivate and distribute herbal medicines to acupuncturists.

TitleCourse Descriptions
Intro to Herbal MedicineAn overview of the ideas and concepts they will encounter in their study of Chinese herbal medicine throughout the master's program, as well as the basic concepts in botany and the history of Chinese herbal medicine.
Herb Pharmacopoeia IIn this of four courses, students will learn the taste, temperature, meridians, dosage, contraindications, identification and clinical usage of approximately 450 principal medicinals used in Oriental medicine.
Herb Pharmacopoeia IIThis course covers herbs in the Damp Eliminating Aromatic Herbs, Digestive Herbs, Purgatives, Laxatives, Cathartic Herbs, Anti-parasitic Herbs, Aromatic Herbs that Open the Orifices, Interior Warming Herbs, Liver Calming Herbs, and Tranquilizing Herbs categories.
Herb Pharmacopoeia IIIThis course covers herbs in the Diuretics, Antirheumatics, Qi Regulating Herbs, Blood Activating, and Stop Bleeding Herbs categories.
Herb Pharmacopoeia IVThis final course in the series covers herbs in the Qi Tonics, Blood Tonics, Yang Tonics, Yin Tonics, Stop Diarrhea, Astringe Essence, and External Application categories.
Herb Pharmacy Lab A & BThis practical course gives students the opportunity to work in a busy herbal dispensary. Students learn and practice the skills required to measure, package and dispense raw and powdered herbal formulae by making formulae for patients being treated by clinical interns.
Herb Formulae IThe first of three courses in the herb formulae series. This course analyzes the functions, ingredients, and properties of approximately 250 herb formulas. An emphasis is placed on the roles played by the individual herbs in the formulae and the pathology patterns for which each formula is used clinically. Categories covered in Formulae I include the Release the Exterior, Drain Downwards, Clear Heat, Harmonizing, and Warm the Interior formulas.
Herb Formulae IIThe second of three courses in the herb formulae series. Categories covered in Formulae II include the Tonify Qi and Blood, Regulate Qi, Invigorate the Blood, Stop Bleeding, Stabilize and Bind, Calm the Spirit, and Open the Orifices formulas.
Herb Formulae IIIThe third of three courses in the herb formulae series. Categories covered in Formulae III include the Expel Wind, Moisten Dryness, Expel Dampness, Treat Phlegm, Relieve Food Stagnation, Expel Parasites, and Treat Surgical Diseases formulas.
Advanced FormulaeThis review course is an in-depth study of the ingredients, functions, and indications of herbal formulae that are of particular importance in terms of their clinical applications as established by the California Acupuncture Board. It covers the sixty-three (63) “A” formulae that are emphasized in the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam.
Formulae WritingThis course focuses on the development of formula writing skills. Students learn how to combine herbal medicines into formulae, how to choose appropriate basic formulae for patients, and how to modify the formulae according to the patient’s chief complaint and diagnostic patterns.
Patent MedicinesThis course examines the clinical efficacy and availability of the most commonly used herbal patents and pre-packaged herbal remedies. Students will be exposed to the different ways of extracting the formulae (i.e. powder form, tincture, capsules, etc.), as well as introducing students to the various herbal companies that make them.
PharmacognosyStudents will be provided with information on cultivation, collection and processing of medicinal plants. Representative drugs from different morphological sources will be discussed including macro- and microscopic characteristics, geographic distribution, cultivation, chemical constituents and their uses.
Chinese NutritionThis course is a study of the roles of different properties of foods and their practical applications in dietary adjustment for various TCM diseases and disorders. Students will learn the principles of nutrition, the basics of nutritional assessment, and the functions of specific foods according to traditional Chinese medicine.
Shang Han Lun/Wen BingThis course presents two of the most significant classics of Chinese medicine. Students will learn the theories, diagnostic patterns, and treatment principles. An emphasis is placed on the different levels of pathogen invasion, along with the traditionally prescribed formulae and herbal modifications used to treat them. Modern clinical applications are discussed in detail.

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