Herbology Program

Herbology is the study of the major and individual herbal groups used in oriental medicine. The Herbology program covers the theory, purpose, preparation techniques, and the formulas to successfully prescribe herbal remedies and heal various ailments. Central College maintains in its pharmacy and dispensary a wide array of herbs and the necessary medical supplies for our student’s education and to treat our patient’s needs. 

This program has been approved by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.


6 Semesters



1,920 Hours
Lecture: 1,464 Hours
Clinical Internship: 456 Hours


Start Dates

Fall, Spring, Summer*

 You graduate will with:

  • A Diploma in Herbology
  • Clinical internship experience
  • Eligibility for CTCMA licensing examination to become Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbalist (R.TCM.H)


*Program start dates are subject to change depending on enrolment.

Please contact us for more information


This is a three academic year program, which is equivalent to six semesters. Since Central College offers three semesters per year, this diploma program can be completed within 2 calendar years.

*The following table outlines the program requirements and schedules

Course NameNumberCourse NameUnitHours
Basic Sciences
OCT221History of Medicine
This course encompasses the development of oriental and western medicine from ancient to present times. Cultural, philosophical and religious influences on Western medicine, acupuncture and oriental herbology will be discussed as well as the outstanding accomplishments of physicians. Students are also provided historical background information necessary to understand subtle nuances of oriental medical concepts and the clinical/analytical western perspective of medicine.
BS291Practice, Management Laws and Ethics
Consider the practical aspects of establishing and operating a medical/acupuncture practice. Setting up a practice, patient file management, legal and ethical aspects of maintaining a professional practice, the laws and regulations governing the practice of oriental medicine in Canada, and the medical ethics and the responsibilities of the practitioner are some main topics that will be discussed in this course.
BS331Counseling and Communication
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to communicate with patients. We will learn both innovative and traditional counselling skills for daily practice and discuss the psychodynamics of the patient/practitioner relationship. Patient/practitioner rapports, communication skills, table-side manner, including multicultural sensitivity, are also covered.
General OM Theories
OMT401Fundamentals of Oriental Medicine
This course provides the students with an understanding of the rich and fascinating fundamental theories of TCM, including the history of TCM, the theory of Yin-Yang, the theory of Five Elements, the theory of Qi, blood, body fluids and essence spirit, the theory of Zang-Fu organs, body constitution and the theory of meridians and collaterals. TCM etiology and pathogenesis, diagnostic techniques (four examinations), preventive measures, principles of treatments, and life preservation-diet, exercise, lifestyle will also be introduced to the students.
OMT411Oriental Medicine Diagnosis
Students will be instructed on diagnostic techniques/four examinations (inspection, auscultation/olfaction, interrogation, and palpation), which includes unique tongue and pulse diagnosis and differentiation of syndromes according to the fundamental theories of TCM, the eight principle syndromes (interior/exterior, deficiency/excess, cold/heat, Yin/Yang) and the differential diagnosis of the Qi, blood and body fluid, and the Zangfu organs. Comprehensive applications of diagnostic methods as well as diagnosis of commonly seen clinical symptoms will be discussed.
Sub Total
Western Medical Sciences
WMS311Human Anatomy & Physiology I
This comprehensively presents the human muscular-skeletal system. While the entire system is covered, particular emphasis is placed on internal areas to avoid when needling and external landmarks that guide the location of acupuncture points. Besides, this course will introduce the students of Oriental Medicine to a comprehensive overview of the human physiology. The course is designed to emphasize broad concepts and principles in medical physiology. The student will understand how each organ in the body functions individually and also the physiological relationships between different organs of human body. Although this course emphasizes normal human physiology, some basic pathological processes will be discussed.
WMS312Human Anatomy & Physiology II
This is a continuation of Human Anatomy and Physiology I with particular emphasis placed on the function of organs and organ systems (cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, urinary, lymphatic, immunological) along with basic blood chemistry, blood pH, body fluids and electrolyte balance, and acid-base balance. This intensely comprehensive study covers all components of the human anatomy, the various tissues and systems of the body, the skeletal, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, urinary, lymphatic, reproductive, integument muscular, endocrine, and blood immune systems. In addition, special sense organs, articulations, and the anatomy of the brain and spinal cord are also part of the criteria. It will introduce students to the upgrading concepts of western medical science, presenting functional systems with emphasis on the relationship between structure and function of the human body, integration of the organ systems and their clinical implications.
This is the study of the nature of disease, microbiology, immunology, psychopathology, and epidemiology. The course also includes a system by system survey of specific diseases pertaining to individual organs or systems. Side effects of western prescription medicines commonly used in medical practice are covered as well.
WMS331Micro-Biology & Immunology
Microbiology is an introduction to the study of bacteria, viruses, and fungi and their interrelationships with humans. General microbiological concepts such as microbial structure, growth, and metabolism are applied to such medically related topics as control and pathogenicity of microorganisms as well as to body defense mechanisms and the immune responses. This course relates current microbiological principles to the understanding of infectious disease. The study of pathogenic organisms is introduced, including common tests for infectious diseases and specific immunities by which the body is protected.
WMS351Western Pharmacology
This is an essential pharmacology course for medical students. Topics include drugs acting on the peripheral and central nervous systems; renal, cardiovascular, and endocrine pharmacology; chemotherapy (anti-infective, anticancer), and toxicology. Emphasis will be placed on the basic mechanisms of action and major indications of drugs used in medical practice.
WMS413Western Clinical Diagnostics
This course covers a survey of western clinical medicine. It also includes the following topics: western subspecialties and referral procedures; standard clinical charts analysis and writing; and "complicated patient" examination through early diagnosis/and danger signs. The course discusses western physical diagnosis including physical examination and internal medicine as a means of determining the disease that is producing the sign and symptoms.
Sub Total
TOH491Herbology Emergency Measures
This course introduces students to various herbology safety precautions in herbal treatment plan, including patient risk management. Emphasis will be placed on guidelines and recommendations for equipment safety and working environment safety of practical applications.
TOH501Herbology I
An introduction to Chinese herbal medicine, this course presents the major herbs and herb groups in Chinese herbology, with an overview of their herbal characteristics and therapeutic uses. The course introduces history and development of OM herbology, theory and drug properties of Chinese medicines (four natures: five tastes; lifting, lowering, floating, and sinking actions; categorization according to channels; toxicity), and purposes and principles of medicinal compounding (seven emotional factors). Synopsis of 302 types of commonly used Chinese medicines, actions, therapeutic effects, indications, usage and contraindications, herbal interaction in treatment, dosage determination and methods of decocting are taught in detail. Authentications of Chinese material medical and major chemical constituents of Chinese medicines are also incorporated.
TOH502Herbology II
This course continues the presentation synopsis of 302 types of the Chinese materia medica and reviews relevant theories. Students will learn: entering channels, taste, temperature, functions, actions and indications, cautions, contraindications and dosage range for each herb, pao zhi, and physical identification. In addition, this course completes the presentation of the Chinese materia medica and reviews relevant theories.
TOH511Oriental Herbal Prescription I
An in-depth study of herbs and common formulas used in oriental medicine practice, including a description of actions, indications, dosage, variation, and route of administration of the herbal formulas are to be taught. Prescription selection in accordance with the principle of differential diagnosis in OM and how to prepare herbal formulas and formula modifications to account for symptom variations under supervision are included.
TOH512Oriental Herbal Prescription II
This course continues the presentation of traditional Chinese herbal formulas and modifications within the framework of their traditional therapeutic functions. By using their knowledge of individual herbs, the student is able to modify base formulas to create hundreds of new formulas. With this skill, the student is prepared to begin prescribing herbs in Clinical Internship.
TOH541Herbal Medicine Processology
The course introduces the theory, purpose, and clinical efficacy changes to medicinal properties and techniques of herbal processing and preparation. There are various methods of processing herbs, including pulverization, slicing, and refining with water to name a few. Herbs can be prepared in different forms which will be discussed in this course. Modern research has shown that the properties of herbal ingredients are changed after processing–some are lost while some emerge. With the knowledge accumulated over centuries and present day technologies, it is possible to use various processing methods to make the best quality medicinal herbs. Specific examples of material selection and processing of raw herbs, quality specifications and storage requirements of processed Chinese medicines are discussed.
OCT601Oriental Internal Medicine I
This is the first of a 2-part series that examines in detail common disorders from a TCM perspective. Internal Medicine of Oriental Medicine (OM) is a clinical subject dealing especially with traditional Chinese diagnosis and treatment of the diseases and disorders of the viscera of the human body under the guidance of OM theory. With its systematic theories of syndrome differentiation and treatment, internal medicine of OM is the basis of various clinical sciences. This course introduces the basic theories of Chinese internal medicine, the basic knowledge of common internal diseases and the law of syndrome differentiation and treatment. It also presents an in-depth study of the characteristics of each disease, the development and utilization of diagnostic skills, and herbal treatment principles.
OCT602Oriental Internal Medicine II
This is the second of a 2-part series that examines in detail common disorders from a TCM perspective. It continues to present an in-depth study of the characteristics of each disease, the development and utilization of diagnostic skills, differentiation of syndromes, and herbal treatment principles according to the theoretical models of Chinese medicine. The integration of the knowledge of basic theory, clinical diagnosis, Chinese herbs, formulas, and acupuncture builds a bridge between theory and clinical practice. The emphasis in this course is on syndrome differentiation, establishment of treatment principles, and treatment planning, formulas and prescriptions. Other treatments such as Chinese Patent Drugs, Single drug or Experiential Prescriptions and External Therapy are also introduced.
OMC601Introduction of TCM Classics
This course presents to students the four original classical TCM canons; : 1) The earliest well-established TCM work, the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic, is a compilation of which the foundational theories of TCM and acupuncture, 2) The second TCM Classic, Synopsis of the Golden Chamber, highlights the treatment of internal and miscellaneous diseases, 3) Treatise on Febrile Diseases caused by Exogenous Pathogenic Cold was written by Zhang Zhongjing during the Han Dynasty, 4) Treatise on exogenous febrile disease introduces students to the one last original classical TCM canon, which mainly focuses on epidemic febrile diseases. It includes a number of ancient, foundational formulas, which still remain in use in current clinical practice.
Sub Total
OCT211Breathing Techniques and Oriental Exercise
Awareness of energy pathways and flows through own experience with one’s own body is introduced through, Nei Gong, which is a Shaolin style of breathing exercise techniques to nourish one’s energy. This relates to the Chinese system of movement and meditation, which is performed to maintain good health and prolong longevity by promoting free flow of Qi, a reduced form of Tai Chi. There are 27 movements in all.
OCT621OM Pediatrics
Pediatrics study and practice are associated with the physiological and pathological peculiarities of infants and children. The study of pediatrics encompasses the basic knowledge and techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses based on the overall analysis of symptoms and signs in the pediatrics of OM.
OCT631OM Gynecology
The course covers the disease causes and mechanisms and the pattern discrimination treatment for commonly encountered women’s complaints, such as menstrual diseases, abnormal vaginal discharge diseases, gestational and birthing diseases, postpartum diseases, and miscellaneous diseases in Oriental Medicine theory. The diagnosis and treatment of physical and emotional problems peculiar to women by the application of the theories and techniques of Oriental Medicine are also to be discussed.
TOH521OM Pharmacology & Toxicology
There is no denying the effectiveness of oriental medicine, yet until recently the roots of this knowledge were largely lost in superstition and folklore. However, the use of herbs as an alternative medical treatment for many illnesses has increased steadily over the last decade. This course brings together Chinese herbal lore and Western scientific methods in a current, comprehensive treatise on the pharmacology of Chinese herbs, describes the pharmacological action, toxicity, and therapeutic value of 80 herbs and 18 common formulas based on recent scientific studies. Information on active ingredients of potent herbs with more strength and activity are also discussed.
TOH531Oriental Nutrition
Healthy meals using high quality, nutritious ingredients can significantly improve general health and well-being. Chinese-medicated diet is not a simple combination of food and Chinese drugs, but a specially formulated diet made from Chinese drugs, food and condiments under the theoretical guidance of diet preparation based on differentiation of symptoms and signs of oriental medicine (OM). It has not only the efficiency of medicine but also the delicacy of food, and can be used to prevent and cure diseases, build up one’s health and prolong one’s life. This course covers the way and practice of oriental nutrition for common diseases.
TOH571Case Review
This class is designed to consolidate the knowledge acquired in earlier related herbal classes and to extend the student’s mastery of Chinese herbal medicine to include the finer points of diagnosis, formulation, and modification. Students will learn to construct treatment plans for complicated, difficult, or unusual cases, while focusing on their individual learning needs.
Sub Total
CIT701Clinical Internship: Observation & Diagnosis Evaluation
Students observe the various aspects of clinical practice in order to gain an overall picture of patient reception, record keeping, examination, treatment methods, and herbal prescriptions. Students observe treatment of patients by licensed practitioners. In addition, students participate in review and discussion of cases. The instructor presents case studies, which represent commonly encountered complaints and conditions. Students learn the procedures used to diagnose, evaluate, and treat these conditions from oriental medicine perspectives. Case simulations are used to illustrate diagnostic methods and treatment techniques. Interns assist the supervisor in formulating diagnoses and administering treatment with emphasis on asepsis, proper examination and diagnosis. Interns also spend time working in the herbal pharmacy to become familiar with the herbal dispensary and preparing herbal prescriptions.
CIA722Clinical Partial Supervision
In partial supervision, the interns assume a more active role in the treatment of the patient. The interns are involved in the diagnosis and perform the appropriate procedure. At this stage of their training, interns are expected to have a working knowledge of situations in which treatment by herbal medicine and herbs are contraindicated.
CIA732Clinical Proximal Supervision
In proximal supervision, interns are allowed near or total independence. They are responsible for precise judgment regarding the quantity and method of stimulation and the appropriate course of herbal medicine recommended for their patients’ condition. Interns are expected to monitor the patients’ progress and adjust herbal medicine treatment accordingly.
CIA742Clinical Case Review
In this course, students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate greater responsibility in practice management of patients under minimal supervision by clinic supervisors. Each intern student will be able to demonstrate clinical ability and competency by diagnosing and developing a treatment protocol including herbal formula, dietary suggestion and other related methods that are applicable to the patient’s condition. The intern is required to diagnose and provide proper treatments to patient independently. However, interns shall consult with the clinic supervisors before and after each treatment. In addition, interns are required to prepare a case, complete with history, examination, intake results, diagnosis, evaluation, herbal medicine treatment principles, and treatment method including herbal medicine nutrition and other related methods. These discussions, chaired by clinic instructors, enhance the students’ clinical and analytical skills and confidence level as herbalists.
Sub Total
Lecture Hours
Clinical Internship Hours

Important Notice

All applicants are required to complete not less than two (2) years of liberal arts or sciences study (comprised of at least 60 credits) in an accredited college or chartered/approved university acceptable to the registration committee. For more information, please visit http://www.ctcma.bc.ca/registration/transcript-requirements/

A student who went to school abroad needs to bring a translated transcript of his or her prior school to BCIT to obtain an International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) report. It is to compare education earned outside of Canada to the general education ladder in Canada and is required for graduates to take a licensing exam at CTCMA. For more information, please visit http://www.bcit.ca/ices/

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New West Campus

(604) 523-2388
(604) 523-2389
#200 - 60 8th Street, New Westminster, BC V3M 3P1

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