Course Title: Chinese Materia Medica and Formulae 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Chinese Materia Medica and Formulae 1

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016

Course Coordinator: Dr Jing Cui

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7759

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.04.052

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Required prior study (Pre-requisites)

Course Description

Chinese Materia Medica and Formulae 1 is a one-semester course that will cover principles of Chinese Materia Medica. This course will identify a number of individual Chinese herbs that are part of the Chinese Materia Medica and introduce some of the key formulae (prescriptions of combinations of herbs) used in Chinese medicine. You will also be introduced to the botanical classification of plants commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine preparations. Study of the Materia Medica will include actions of individual herbs, meridians entered, dosage range, processing, and contraindications/cautions. Study of medicinal formula will introduce theory related to developing formulae, key formulae including ingredients, modifications, indications, contraindications and cautions. This course will assist you to identify a number of individual Chinese herbs that are part of the Chinese Materia Medica, and introduce some of the key formulae (prescriptions of combinations of herbs) used in Chinese medicine.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Objectives for BP278 Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine):

  • PLO1: provide specialised health care within a patient-centred, evidence-based framework
  • PLO2: Gather clinical information to make accurate differential diagnosis, assessment and management plans and carry out effective treatment.
  • PLO3: practice as a competent health care professional in a safe, ethical and legally responsible manner
  • PLO4: demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity in the provision of specialized health care;
  • PLO8: understand the historical development of the profession, its ethos, organisation and philosophical foundations.

On successful completion of this course you will be expected to:

  1. Describe actions, indications, contraindications, dosage range, processing, any known toxicity, and any known potentially toxic interactions with other herbs or western medication
  2. Describe the regulations governing the practice of herbal medicine and demonstrate an understanding of, and an ability to apply, the relevant Chinese Medical Board of Australia Guidelines, with particular emphasis on elements relating to the prescribing of herbs – in particular, S1 herbs
  3. Describe how herbal formulae are built, list the component herbs, describe the clinical indications and contraindications, cautions and describe common modifications for a number of key Chinese medicinal formulae
  4. Identify the major families of plants from which Chinese herbal products are derived and describe the structure and function of plant organs including the production of bioactive compounds 
  5. Describe and carry out processing of Chinese herbs

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities include a mixture of face-to-face lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Learning experiences that will foster the development of the capabilities to be developed in this course will include problem-based learning and case-based learning experiences. Learning experiences will also provide you with the opportunity to practice skills and receive feedback about your skills. Practical sessions including role-play situations will be provided so that you will have hands-on experience in identification of herbs, processing of herbs, writing out of prescriptions and patient instructions, verbally instructing a patient about the prescription and filling of prescriptions. Presentation of case studies, group discussions about professional issues with respect to Chinese herbal medicine, and practical sessions in herb identification and processing are some of the planned activities. You will have the opportunity for progressive feedback during the semester on your progress that may take the form of short tests and practical assessments. Fieldwork is designed to help you to identify the major families of plants from which Chinese herbal products are derived.

Teacher Guided Hours: 59 per semester including lectures, tutorials, online activities and practical sessions

Learner Directed Hours: 61 per semester

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. All material to be chosen will be digitally available to students. Lecture material will be delivered via online mediums. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. Chinese medicine library subject guides are available via

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Progressive assessments (include quizzes and short answer questions)

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 5

Assessment Task 2:  Practical assessment (herbal recognition)

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1 & 4  

Assessment Task 3: Written exam

Weighting 50%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5