North American
                    Institute of Medical Herbalism
Herbal Education: Beginning, Advanced, Clinical
Training herbalists since 1989
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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.

  • Learn how to devise a formula for each patient, rather than for each condition.
  • Learn a set practical clinical herbal actions that will accurately predict the physiological effects expected in the patient.
  • Learn how herbal actions are combined, focused, or modified through herbal pairing
  • Learn the art of herbal pairing to create 2-3 herb compounds
  • Learn from a database of herbal pairs complied from more than 160 years of North American herbalism
  • Learn how to use these compounds as simples, or to expand them into more complex formulas
  • Learn a method to study a complex formula and see the totality of its actions on the tissues.
Any combination of two herbs will convey the actions of each of the herbs, but may also produce a synergy so as to create an entirely new medicine. The study of pairing and simple combinations is the foundatiion of effective and flexible formulation. This course begins by simplifying and clarifying the concepts of herbal actions, which today are a cacophany of terms which resembles the state of language after the fall of the Tower of Babel. You will then learn the principles of moving from simple herb, to pair or triplet, and ultimately to complex patient-tailored formula.

Hours: 36
Term: 12 weeks
Cost of materials: $160
Tuition cost (optional): $120
Enrollment fee (optional): $25

With this course you receive 12 audio disks, 52 pages of notes, more than 780 pages of article reprints from the Medical Herbalism Journal, the  Chinese Herbal Materia Medica by Paul Bergner, a full PDF copy of the principles and materia medica sections of William Cook’s classic Physiomedical Dispensatory, and a  30-page NAIMH database of herbal pairings used over a 160-year history of the Physiomedicalist  school of physician-level herbalism in the U.S and the United Kingdom. Students enrolled in our courses are also eligible for a 10% discount on purchases at Mountain Rose Herbs.


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 36 hours of CE credit.


Paul Bergner has been practicing natural medicine, nutrition, and medical herbalism since 1973, and teaching since 1994. He has published the Medical Herbalism journal since 1989. He has trained more than 800 students in herbalism, including mentoring more than 250 students in extended advanced clinical residencies in medical herbalism and clinical nutrition at teaching clinics in Boulder, Colorado. He founded and is director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. He has receiving training at the doctoral level in Chinese medicine, and is the author of The Healing Power of Ginseng and the Tonic Herbs, a textbook designed for the Western non-acupuncturist, as well as six other texts in medical herbalism, clinical nutrition, naturopathic medicine, and ethnobotany. 

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)


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