Herbal Education in the Vitalist Tradition
North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, Inc


Intermediate to Advanced Level

Advanced Herbal Actions and Formulation Seminar

36 hours CE Credit with Certificate

The CD-Set, Notes, and Supplemental Readings and Texts may be purchased separately without enrollment in the course and with no additional tuition fee. See The CD-Rom section of our Online Store

This course is consists of 12 audio CDs of a six-class sequence on herbal actions and formulation delivered at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in January of 2006. Included with it are printed class notes, and a data disk of supplemental readings and full-text reference texts in electronic format.

Course objective: The course will develop the concepts of herbal actions necessary for rational formulation, and present the most important concepts in formulation. The student will learn how to make personalized formulas for their patients.

Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, First Course in Medical Herbalism or equivalent, and previous herbal study sufficient to become familiar with the properties and main uses of at least 40 herbs.

Course length: This 6-lesson course is to be completed within twelve weeks.

Cost: Tuition:$120

Application fee: $25

Study materials and CDs: $160

Total: $305


Each lesson includes an average or 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of projects.

Lesson 1. Herbal Actions overview and review

Lesson 2. Clinical definitions of herbal actions

Lesson 3. Introduction to Herbal Formulation

Lesson 4. Pairing in Herbal formulation

Lesson 5. Classical Herbal formulas

Lesson 6. Individualized formulas

Further down on this page you can find Faculty Biographies, and a List of Tracks of the 12 CDs

Enrollment for Credit

To enroll in the course, receive the right to faculty contact, and to earn the certificate, follow these steps:

  • 1) Purchase the CD-set in the CD-ROM Section of our Online Store The CD-Rom set may be purchased without further enrollment in the course or any tuition payment..

  • 2) When you receive it, open the data disk file, and print out the application form. Send it in with a $25  application fee. This entitles you to student support and faculty contact for twelve weeks after the enrollment is received while maintaining normal progress. Normal progress through this course is one lesson per two weeks. Students falling behind may request an extension.

  • 3) Read the instructions for obtaining CE credit in the Syllabus with the notes.

  • 4) Listen to the CD-set, taking notes according the the CD instructions.

  • 5) Complete the assignments and answer the questions for each lesson. .

  • 6) Tuition of $120 is due when you send in your first assignments. This entitled you to have your study questions and assignments graded.

  • 7) You will receive a certificate reflecting 24 hours of CE credit.

Total Cost:

CD-ROM set: $160.00

Application Fee: $25

Tuition: $120

Total: $305


Paul Bergner is director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. He has edited the Medical Herbalism journal since 1989. He completed more than 50 semester hours of doctoral level studies at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in the 1980s, including the full sequence on Chinese Medicine offered to the ND students. He was Director of clinical education at Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies from 1996-2003, and is currently clinic director at the Evergreen Center in Boulder, CO. Between the two schools, he has trained 240 students through a one-year internship in clinical herbalism and clinical nutrition. He is the author of seven books on medical herbalism, clinical nutrition, and naturopathic medicine. Paul has practiced natural medicine for more than 40 years. He is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. 

CD Contents and Track List


A Data Disk containing lecture notes, supplemental readings, and instructions on how to obtain Continuing Education credit for this course.

Twelve Audio Disks, with .wav files, which will normally play in any computer or any CD player. They will not play in an .mp3 player unless you convert them to .mp3 on your computer.

Disk 1 Actions 1

Track Title

1 Introduction

2 Physiomedicalists

3 Vital Expressions

4 Simplified Actions

5 Allopathic terms

6 British herbalism

7 The Textbook trap

8 Materia Medica

Disk 2 Actions 2

Track Title

1 Materia Medica continued

2 Proving: Vital Stimulation

3 Relaxants

4 Stimulant relaxants

5 Relaxant tonic

6 Tonic astringents

7 Diffusives

8 Clinical actions

9 Alterative

10 Demulcents Diuretics

11 Diaphoretics

12 Antispasmodic carminative

13 Expectorant

Disk 3 Actions 3

Track Title

1 Effects on moisture

2 Astringent

3 Commentary

4 Effects on temperature

5 Effects on the nervous system

Disk 4 Actions 4

Track Title

1 Trophorestoratives

2 Effects on metabolism

3 Effects on mucous membranes

4 Effects on muscles

5 Topical effects

Disk 5 Actions 5

Track Title

1 Effects on digestion

2 Effects on the liver

3 Endocrine and immune effects

4 Antiviral

5 Effects on urinary tract

6 Effects on menses

7 Effects on lactation

Disk 6 Formula 1

Track Title

1 Introduction

2 Eclectics

3 Herbal renaissance

4 Recent history

5 Formulas for systems

6 Introduction to pairing

7 Chinese tradition

8 Physiomedicalist strategies

9 More history

10 The simple

11 Examples of simples

12 Simpling exercise

Disk 7 Formulation 2

Track Title

1 Famous historical pairs

2 Cohosh cautions

3 Valerian pairs

4 Lobelia

5 Dioscorea

6 Pairing strategies

7 Amplification of actions

8 Steering and herbal action

9 Complementary physiological effects

10 Balancing energetics

11 Echinacea pairing

12 Hydrastis and myrrh

13 Peppermint and chamomile

14 Echinacea and uva ursi

15 O.J. Carroll formulas

16 Scullcap and valerian

Disk 8 Formulation 3

Track Title

1 Review of main points

2 Unani Tibb combinations

3 Yarrow and anise

4 Delivery media

5 More corrigent pairs

6 Honey as a corrigent

7 More herbal combinations

8 From pair to formula

9 Mother’s cordial

10 Caulophyllum cautions

Disk 9 Formulation 4

Track Title

1 Black cohosh

2 Composition powder

3 Digestive formula

4 Myrrh

5 Yarrow combinations

6 Scullcap

7 Formulas with corrigents

8 Anti inflammatory formula

9 Student pairs

Disk 10 Formulation (5)

Track Title

1 The action formula

2 Compostion powder

3 Roberts formula

4 Weiss’ cough formula

5 Thomson’s Cough Drops

6 Carminative drops

7 Spezies grippales compositum

8 Hoxsey formula

9 Weiss’ nerve tea

Disk 11 Formulation (6)

Track Title

1 Intro to Chinese tonification

2 Yang and yin deficiencies

3 Use of tonics

4 Basic tonic formulation

5 Introduction to Chinese herbs

6 Herb forms

7 Astragalus

8 Codonopsis

9 Eleutherococcus

10 Ho shou wu

11 Licorice root

12 Lycium

13 Peony

Disk 12 Formulation (7)

Track Title

1 Rehmannia

2 Delivering Chinese herbs

3 Schisandra

4 Formula modifications

5 Poria

6 Ligusticum

7 Citrus details

8 Poria details

9 Formula activation

10 Example: complex formula

11 Sample western complex formula

12 Interview process

13 Sample formula process

Data Disk

Supplemental readings and reference texts. Adobe Acrobat format

Course notes with syllabus and enrollment materials. (40 pages)

  • William Cook's treatise on vitalist therapeutics from his 1869 Dispensatory. (538 pages)

  • William Cook's Materia Medica section from the Dispensatory (118 pages)

  • Medical Herbalism Materia Medica Reprints (more than 320 pages of articles)

  • Medical Herbalism Therapeutics Reprints (more than 450 pages of articles)

  • A Database of Physiomedicalist formulas and pairs.

  • A Materia Medica of Chinese tonic herbs (33 pages)