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Comprehensive Herbalist Training – Program One

To ensure that a student is receiving a complete and in-depth understanding of the practice of Chinese medical herbalism, we have developed three primary programs toward your Certification as an Herbalist

The descriptions of the three sections below outline Program One: Comprehensive Herbalist Training.

If you are not continuing through all three programs to become a Certified Herbalist, you are able to take Program One outlined below and you will receive a Certificate of Completion after successfully completing all course work. The program is designed to provide a valuable and comprehensive understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Note: Health professionals who have a background in Chinese Herbology may begin with Program Two.

Comprehensive Herbalist Training: Program One is an Online series of Herbology classes, and is a virtual home study program intended to thoroughly educate students in the foundational principles of practicing Chinese Herbology. No previous knowledge of herbs or Chinese medicine is required. 

Students who successfully complete this program will have the capability to begin treating a wide range of common health conditions. 

After taking all courses included in Program One, and accurately completing a self-administered review exam, students will receive the ICH Certificate of Completion for this comprehensive herbalist training program.

Upon completion of Program One, CEU students are eligible to receive 113 hours of class credit.

  • California State Acupuncture Board (CEUs): Provider number CE Provider #357
  • National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) PDAs: Provider #069

All Home Study Courses are available in CD (standard) and MP3 (digital download) format. Course materials also include a complete set of notes, study guides and exercises. Three classes include herb samples. The Comprehensive Herbalist Training Program consists of 125 hrs. of audio. Most students take between 6 to 9 months to complete all three sections outlined in Program One.

While the Institute does not offer financial assistance with its programs, we do offer different payment options for your convenience. Purchase individual courses and pay as you study, or choose from different purchase options to receive discounts on ICH courses. We accept all major credit cards.

Section One

Introduction To Chinese Medicine


The fundamental concepts of traditional Chinese medicine are presented, including causes of disease, patterns of disharmony, and an introduction to diagnostic methods including questioning the patient and reading the tongue and pulse. This course establishes the foundation for studying Chinese herbology.

  • Class 1: Theory of Disease; Contrast of Eastern and Western Perspectives; Hot and Cold, Excess and Deficiency; Six Evils
  • Class 2: The Functions of the Organs in Chinese Medicine; The Fundamental Processes of Chi, Blood and Body Fluids; The Emotions in Chinese Medicine
  • Class 3: Chi, Blood, Yin and Yang; Introduction to the Pulses
  • Class 4: Dysfunction of the Organs; Patterns of Disease; Guides and Charts to Studying Chinese Medicine
  • Class 5: Introduction to Diagnosis; Procedures and Methods of Questioning; Tongue Diagnosis; Questions and Review

Introduction To Chinese Herbology


A survey of the important herbs and formulas, emphasizing their properties and therapeutic uses. Includes terminology, methods of making teas, legal aspects of practicing herbology, and samples of over 60 herbs.

  •  Introduction to Chinese Herbs; Terminology and Naming Systems, Properties, Taste, Functions; Categories of Herbs; Herbs and Formulas that Tonify Chi
  •  Books and References for the Study of Chinese Herbology; Categories of Herbs; Herbs and Formulas that Regulate Chi; Additional Chi and Spleen Tonic Formulas; Legal Aspects of Practicing Herbology
  •  Categories of Herbs; Herbs and Formulas that Regulate and Harmonize Liver Chi
  •  Preparation of Formulas; Dosages; Methods of Making Teas; Herbs and Formulas that Tonify Blood
  •  Classification of Herbal Formulas; Construction of Herbal Formulas; Herbs and Formulas for Regulating Blood
  •  Herbs and Formulas for External Wind Cold (Colds/Flus)
  •  Additional Herbs and Formulas for External Wind Cold
  •  Herbs and Formulas for External Wind Heat (Colds/Flus)

Program One Section One Purchased at Once



Section Two

The Art of Diagnosis


An in-depth presentation of the primary methods of diagnosis-reading the tongue, pulse and face, plus verbal questioning. Also serves as an introduction to case analysis.

  • CLASS 1: Format for Interviewing a Client; Case Analysis
  • CLASS 2-5: Verbal Questioning; Differential Diagnosis; Signs and Symptoms; Observation – Tongue, Pulse and Face

Key Concepts of Chinese Herbology


Three key concepts are presented: Root and Branch, Stages of Disease, and Transformations of Chi. Most classes include herbs and formulas.

  • CLASS 1,2: Root and Branch (a discussion of the key principles that underlie the use of tonic and clearing herbs and formulas)
  • CLASS 3,4: Six Stages of Cold (Shang Han Lun) Model of Disease; Four Phases (Levels) of Heat
  • CLASS 5: Transformations of Chi (a discussion of the major Chi processes in the body)

Therapeutic Principles Of Chinese Herbs


A thorough presentation of the important therapeutic principles of Chinese Herbology. Each class covers a group of related herbs, formulas, disease complexes and associated symptoms and signs. All previously discussed herbs are reviewed and approximately 100 new herbs are introduced. Includes new samples.

  • CLASS 1: Clearing Heat and Fire; Herbs and Formulas
  • CLASS 2, 3: Dryness, Yin Deficiency, Deficiency Fire; Herbs and Formulas for Tonifying Yin and Clearing Deficiency Fire. Kidney Yang Tonics
  • CLASS 4: Relieving the Exterior (Colds/ Flus); New Herbs and Formulas
  • CLASS 5: Dispersing Wind and Damp; Relieving Bi Syndromes (Painful Obstructions, e.g., Arthritis); Herbs and Formulas
  • CLASS 6: Clearing Wetness; Wetness in the Three Burners; Diuretic Herbs (herbs that promote the flow of water and permeate wetness) and Formulas
  • CLASS 7,8: Drying Wetness; Regulating Chi; Relieve Congestion; Herbs and Formulas
  • CLASS 9: Vitalizing Blood; New Herbs and Formulas
  • CLASS 10: Resolving Phlegm; Stopping Coughing; Herbs and formulas
  • CLASS 11: Miscellaneous Yang, Shen (Spirit), Heart, and Chi Herbs and Formulas

Program One Section Two Purchased at Once



Section Three

Herbal Therapies for Organ Dysfunction Part 1


Herbal therapies for the six major classifications of organ dysfunctions are presented: Lungs, Spleen, Liver, Heart, Kidney and Gynecological. Guidebook to Chinese Herbal Formulas is provided and used with this class.

  • CLASS 1,2,3: Disharmonies of the Lungs; Lung Ailments, External Wind Diseases
  • CLASS 4,5,6: Spleen and Stomach Disharmonies; Abdominal and Digestive Disturbances
  • CLASS 7,8,9: Liver Disharmonies; Problems Relating to Liver; Heat and Chi Stagnations

Herbal Therapies for Organ Dysfunction Part 2


Herbal therapies for the six major classifications of organ dysfunctions are presented: Lungs, Spleen, Liver, Heart, Kidney and Gynecological. Guidebook to Chinese Herbal Formulas is provided and used with this class.

  • CLASS 10: Heart Imbalances
  • CLASS 11: Kidney Dysfunctions
  • CLASS 12,13: Gynecological Problems

Clinical Case Studies and Where Do I Go From Here?


Selected case studies from the Residence Clinical Classes that illustrate the process of interviewing clients, developing a diagnosis and formulating herbal remedies. There are no notes, CEU’s or PDA’s awarded for these Clinical Case Studies; just a Review Exam.

Where Do I Go From Here?

A discussion of career opportunities and requirements, how to use the Institute for ongoing education and support, ways to continue your study at home, and beginning to set up your practice.


Program One Section Three Purchased at Once


Program One Comprehensive Herbalist Training all Classes Purchased at Once


Section One, Two, and Three

Program One Comprehensive Herbalist Training Purchased At Once



Advanced Herbalist Training – Program Two

Certified Herbalist Training – Program Three