Chinese Herbology

The Chinese Herbology is the art of combining medicinal herbs. Herbology is traditionally one of the more important modalities utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Each herbal medicine prescription is a cocktail of many herbs tailored to the individual patient. One batch of herbs is typically decocted twice over the course of one hour. The practitioner usually designs a remedy using one or two main ingredients that target the illness. Then the practitioner adds many other ingredients to adjust the formula to the patient’s yin/yang conditions. Sometimes, ingredients are needed to cancel out toxicity or side-effects of the main ingredients.

Some herbs require the use of other ingredients as catalyst or else the brew is ineffective. The latter steps require great experience and knowledge, and make the difference between a good Chinese herbal doctor and an amateur. Unlike western medications, the balance and interaction of all the ingredients are considered more important than the effect of individual ingredients. A key to success in TCM is the treatment of each patient as an individual. See also: Individualism

Chinese herbology often incorporates ingredients from all parts of plants, the leaf, stem, flower, root, and also ingredients from animals and minerals. The use of parts of endangered species (such as seahorses, rhinoceros horns, and tiger bones) has created controversy and resulted in a black market of poachers who hunt restricted animals. Many herbal manufacturers have discontinued the use of any parts from endangered animals.

Benefits/Contraindications

Treatments should be prescribed and monitored by a trained practitioner, because some Chineses herbs can be toxic in large doses, others should be used with caution during pregnancy.

Training/Certification

Curriculum for Certificate in Chinese Herbal Medicine (CCHM)
The Chinese herbal medicine program is designed for those seeking comprehensive training in the field of Chinese herbal medicine. This program is a postgraduate course for licensed acupuncturists. The CCHM curriculum enables students to gain skills and knowledge in the principles of Chinese herbology, including materia medica, formulations, prepared medicines, dispensary, herbal therapeutics, and clinical training at the Chinese herbal medicine teaching clinic.

The CHM curriculum covers a minimum of 300 herbs and other therapeutic substances and a minimum of 150 herbal formulas. Case studies are presented to enhance the learning process. Students also gain skills in understanding drug/herb interactions—a very relevant topic for today’s practitioners. At the conclusion of the certificate program, graduates have enhanced their academic skills through clinical training and have gained the traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic skills to assess and diagnose syndromes relevant to traditional Chinese medicine.

They also are prepared to determine and use appropriate Chinese herbal therapies within the appropriate professional scope of practice. The CCHM certificate is a postgraduate course of study which includes both didactic and clinical training.