Course Title: Chinese Materia Medica and Formulae 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Chinese Materia Medica and Formulae 1

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Course guide info and changes due to COVID-19: As a consequence of courses being delivered remotely in Semester 2 2020, course guides may not reflect all courses assessments and activities. This is because some information in the course guide is fixed, such as learning outcomes, and some may change according to the semester of delivery. Please refer to Canvas for details regarding your assessment and activities for each of your Semester 2 courses and talk to your course coordinator if you have any questions.


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr Angela Yang

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7175

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.04.018

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 the principles of Chinese Materia Medica. Materia medica is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing (i.e. medicines). 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 the actions of individual herbs, meridians entered, dosage range, processing and contraindications/cautions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Objectives for MC138  Master Applied Science (Chinese Herbal Medicine):

  • PLO1: Apply knowledge of Chinese medicine principles and methods in the diagnosis and management of a range of health disorders;
  • PLO2: Plan and perform treatments using Chinese herbal medicine or acupuncture and moxibustion for a range of disorders in a safe and professional manner;
  • PLO4: Communicate effectively with patients, other health professionals, regulatory bodies, and the general public;
  • PLO5: Operate and manage a responsible and sustainable health care practice in compliance with legal and ethical requirements

On successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Synthesise and articulate the actions, indications, contraindications, dosage range, processing and any known toxicity of individual herbs and any known potentially toxic interactions with other herbs or western medication
  2. Review the major families of plants from which Chinese herbal products are derived and reflect on how herbal formulae are built
  3. Identify the component herbs and clinical indications and contraindications and cautions for a number of key Chinese medicinal formulae and critically analyse common modifications (and appropriate herbs) of key Chinese formulae   
  4. Interrogate the regulations governing the practice of herbal medicine demonstrate an understanding of, and an ability to apply the guidelines developed by Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, with particular emphasis on elements relating to the prescribing of herbs ( in particular S1 herbs).
  5. Process Chinese herbs and provide a commentary on your actions and their impact

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities include a mixture of 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 practise skills and receive feedback about your skills. Practical sessions including role-play scenarios 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 filling of prescriptions and discussion of professional issues. 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: 43 per semester including lectures, tutorials, online activities and practical sessions

Learner Directed Hours: 77 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 (online)

Weighting 20%

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

Assessment Task 2: Assignment

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 3: Practical exams

Weighting 30%

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

Assessment Task 4: Written exams (in class and online)

Weighting 35%

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