The Classical Herbalist Online Training Course

The Foundations of Herbal Theory

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Qing Dynasty practitioner Chen Xiuyuan said that the study of Chinese medicine was actually quite easy. Yet today, herbal medicine is either seen as incredibly academic or the use of set formulas with minor modifications for all conditions. In this program, JulieAnn Nugent-Head returns us to the way herbs were studied and understood by our medical ancestors: from the perspective of flavor and nature as laid out in the Nei Jing, then put into application by the great practitioners throughout history. Looking at herbs individually as well as within formulas, and looking at formulas individually as well as by their additions and subtractions, this course removes the mystery of herbs. It is designed to create confident, skilled herbalists capable of using classic formulas and creating their own formulas to obtain tangible results in a safe and effective manner.

Part 01 of this course has been approved by the NCCAOM for 21 hours of continuing education credit. Completion of the course videos and passing the test with an 80% or greater score will automatically generate a certificate of completion to be used toward licensure requirements.

Module 01: The Foundations & Evolution of Chinese Herbalism

Module 01 lays out the foundations of Chinese herbal medicine which come from the Nei Jing. Classical herbalism is defined by understanding that flavor and nature dictate an herb’s actions and indications, and are the primary consideration for its usage. This module also introduces the importance of the Shen Nong Ben Cao, its methodology of herb classification and explanations of herb usage. Finally, Module 01 finishes with an examination of the evolution of the materia medicas through Chinese history, when and what changes happened, and the significance it has had on the contemporary study of herbs today.

Module 02: The Herbs & Formulas of Zhang Zhongjing

Module 02 provides and in depth look at formulas recorded by the father of clinical herbalism, Zhang Zhongjing. By examining the single herbs and formulas in the Shanghan Lun and the Jin Kui Yao Lue, we grasp the importance of flavor and nature in herbal selection and formula modification to remove the mystery of these most important formulas in clinical practice.

Module 03: The formulae & outline of Sun Simiao’s Qian Jin Yi Fang

Module 03 marks The Tang and Song Dynasties as both a high point for Chinese medicine as well as the end of the Classical Period. This is the time of the Wai Tai and Sun Simiao, as well as the great gatherings and revisions of older texts and formulas from ancient times into the editions we have today. Looking at the books of this time to treat OBGYN, pediatrics, and other specialties, we can see the application of flavor and nature to these specific conditions as well as the shift in herbal perception itself.

Module 04: The Four Famous Doctors of the Jin & Yuan Dynasties

Module 04 charts the end of the Song Dynasty and the rise of the first schools or styles of Chinese medicine. Founded by four different doctors during the Jin and Yuan Dynasties, we see the creation of what is commonly called the Spleen School, the Fire School, the Yin Deficiency School and the Purging School. Module 04 examines their strategies and formulas to see the evolution of herbal use to a style of practice instead of the traditional classic model.

Module 05: From the Wen Bing to Modern Chinese Medicine

Module 05 examines The Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the Wen Bing both as a theory and as a style of practice. It also marked the influence of western medicine in China, which grew with the establishment of the Republic of China and completely changed the way herbs were taught and used within the educational system. Module 05 examines both the formulas and strategies of the Wen Bing School as well as how herbs are taught and used modern, along with a final commentary on the push to return to classical herbalism happening today.

Module 06: Herb Usage in Modern Times

Module 06 discusses the history and changing perspectives in China over the last 250 years that have led to an action and chemical component focus of herbal medicine today.

Your Instructor

JulieAnn Nugent-Head
JulieAnn Nugent-Head

JulieAnn Nugent-Head lived in China for nearly a decade studying with the last generation of practitioners born and educated prior to 1949. Seeing these traditional doctors effectively treat serious conditions exemplified the profundity and practicality of Chinese medicine. Through the ATS documentation project, JulieAnn benefitted from line by line reading and explanations of the classic books with Dr. Li Hongxiang, which deepened her understanding and provided the classical, foundational paradigm with which to view and treat illness.

JulieAnn completed a doctoral level medical degree in Chinese at the Zhejiang University of Chinese Medicine, focusing on the classical application of herbs. JulieAnn feels herbs are both practical and effective, and hopes to encourage her community to utilize herbs as principle treatment. JulieAnn and husband Andrew teach internationally, and are vocal advocates of classically-based, clinically-focused, tangible and effective Chinese medicine. Learn more about their teaching clinic in Asheville, NC at

Courses Included with Purchase

Classical Herbalist Part 01
The Foundations of Herbal Theory
JulieAnn Nugent-Head
Classical Herbalist Part 02
The Perspectives of our Medical Ancestors
JulieAnn Nugent-Head

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