Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine)

Prepare for a career in the oldest form of medicine with hands-on, practical learning.

With ACNT’s Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine), you could join a long tradition of holistic medicine that has been practised by many cultures for thousands of years. Begin an exciting career incorporating herbal medicine practice as part of holistic and scientifically based health plans.

Western herbal medicine is a holistic form of medicine derived from Anglo-American and European traditional healing philosophies and practices. It uses medicinal plants for therapeutic purposes. Recently, interest in herbal medicine has increased and researchers are now validating its therapeutic benefits.

In this course at ACNT, you will explore the biological sciences and integrate health science and herbal medicine within a holistic clinical environment. You will develop a whole-person philosophy that aims to optimise health rather than focus on the symptoms of disease.

You will gain hands-on experience at the Think Wellbeing Centre under the guidance of experienced western herbal medicine practitioners, treating public patients. This will prepare you to confidently start practice in the community.

CRICOS CODE
084578G

What you'll learn:

Course Delivery

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Workload and Assessment

Typical assessment includes:

In each subject you will complete an average of three assessments. Assessments are designed to meet the learning outcomes of the subject and may include quizzes, written assessments, oral or video presentations, journals, clinical case analysis, literature review, practical and written exams.

Subject Information

This subject builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in Botany (CAM102A) and Herbal Medicine Manufacturing (CAM105A). It introduces the student to WHM materia medica and herbal medicine concepts. Introductory herbal medicine theories are explored including discussion of herbal medicine origins, contemporary use of herbal medicine, herbal medicine language and terminology and differences between traditional and scientific evidence based medicine. Students will explore herbal medicine materia medica relating to the digestive, integumentary, immune and respiratory systems, by learning the common name, botanical name, origin, plant family, active constituents, qualities, part used, actions, indications, preparation, dose, cautions, contraindications and interaction of each herb.

This subject builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in Botany (CAM102A). Students are introduced to legal, manufacturing and quality issues regarding herbal medicine-making in Australia. Students are familiarised with different forms of herbal preparations exploring their definition, application, manufacturing techniques, herbs used and preservation methods. Students explore common herbs that may be applicable in different herbal formulations. This information is then applied in practice laboratory sessions where students learn to manufacture different herbal preparations using different techniques.

In this subject, students undertake a detailed and in-depth study of the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates and lipids, and how these relate to human metabolism. Each individual macronutrient is studied in regards to their composition, biological function, dietary sources, recommended daily intake, factors contributing to excess states, and states of insufficiency and deficiency; and signs and symptoms associated with nutrient imbalances . This subject is a foundational subject across the degrees of Nutritional Medicine, Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine as it provides students with fundamental knowledge associated with human metabolism, and begins to build an understanding of the importance of nutrition in relation to human physiology and health.

Botany is the first subject in the stream of herbal medicine. It introduces students to the study of plant biology. Plant nomenclature, classification and identification are discussed with special regard to relevance for the study of Western herbal medicine. Students may participate in field trips and walks to enhance their learning.

This subject explores the historical and philosophical paradigm of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that underpins clinical practice and examines a range of different modalities currently practised in Australia. This subject aims to provide the clinical practitioner with a sound knowledge and understanding of the history, philosophy and science of CAM with particular emphasis on naturopathy, nutritional medicine and western herbal medicine. During the trimester students will have the opportunity to observe complementary and alternative medicine practice within the college clinic to further their understanding of how natural medicine history and philosophy under-pins current clinical practice.

Research & Evidence Based Practice (BHS107A) provides essential knowledge in research methods and research article evaluation for complementary medicine students. This subject introduces the fundamentals of research practice and methods for the natural therapies including research design, methodology, analysis and basic statistical skills. This subject provides the student with the proficiency to be able to appropriately read, analyse and evaluate current healthcare research.

Anatomy and Physiology 3 (BHS106A) builds and expands on the study of anatomy and physiological concepts introduced in Anatomy and Physiology 1 (BHS101A) & 2 (BHS104A). This subject continues to investigate the structure and function of the human body with special attention given to the interaction between tissues, organs and systems that maintain homeostasis. The structure and function of the digestive, endocrine, urinary and reproductive systems are covered in detail including the homoeostatic control mechanisms of each system and the integration of the systems in the body.

This subject is vital in the education of healthcare practitioners to enable them to understand the structure and function of the human body as well as the importance of homeostasis and the ways in which the body maintains balance.

Biochemistry 1 (BHS105A) is a core subject that builds upon the basic chemistry principles covered in Bioscience (BHS102A). It comprises an introduction to the basic biochemical compounds in the body. This subject includes the structure and function of carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, enzymes, lipids and nucleic acid, DNA and RNA. The concept of gene expression and regulation is discussed in addition to cellular membrane structure and transport through the membrane.

This subject provides a vital foundation for the complementary healthcare practitioner in the basic macromolecules essential for life. This knowledge will be built upon and expanded on in Biochemistry 2 (BHS202A) and further therapeutic subjects

Anatomy and Physiology 2 (BHS104A) builds and expands on the information and skills learnt in Anatomy and Physiology 1 (BHS101A). This subject continues to investigate the structure and function of the human body with special attention given to the interaction between tissues, organs and systems that maintain homeostasis. The structure and function of the respiratory, cardiovascular, immune, lymphatic and special senses systems are covered in detail including the homoeostatic control mechanisms of each system and the integration of the systems in the body.

The study of Anatomy and Physiology 2 (BHS104A) is vital in the education of healthcare practitioners to enable them to understand the structure and function of the human body as well as the importance of homeostasis and the ways in which the body maintains balance.

Counselling & Communication Skills (BHS103A) encompasses counselling skills commonly needed by complementary and alternative healthcare practitioners. This subject comprises a practical approach to a variety of communication skills and strategies including promoting change, compliance, obstacles to change, systems, transition and self-care. Sessions facilitate the development of effective listening and responding skills, increased personal awareness and insight in order to assist the building of a therapeutic relationship.

This subject is vital in the education of all complementary healthcare practitioners, as it enables them to understand and put into use communication skills essential for building a therapeutic relationship in practice and supporting clients through change.

Bioscience (BHS102A) provides a foundational knowledge for further studies in anatomy and physiology, clinical nutrition, biochemistry and pharmacology. It comprises the study of relevant concepts of general, physical and organic chemistry and includes atomic theory, the periodic table, chemical compound structure, nomenclature, behaviour and bonding as well as organic compounds and their basic properties and reactions.

Bioscience (BHS102A) is a crucial component of the modern healthcare practitioner’s education in order to provide the basic building blocks for structural and therapeutic knowledge.

Anatomy and Physiology 1 (BHS101A) introduces the basic concepts and terminologies required to study and understand the structure and function of the human body. The interaction between tissues, organs and systems that maintain homeostasis is covered in detail. In addition, this subject covers the structure and function of cells and epithelial tissue, the internal structural anatomy of the human body and the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems.

This subject is vital in the education of all complementary health practitioners, as it enables them to understand the structure and function of the human body as well as the importance of homeostasis and the ways in which the body maintains this balance.

This subject builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in Herbal Therapeutics 1. Students continue to learn to devise Western herbal therapeutic strategies and formulations for health conditions and theoretical cases. Students will explore herbal medicine therapeutic protocols relating to the nervous system, endocrine system, genitourinary system, male and female reproductive systems and treatment approaches for children and the elderly.

This subject builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in WHM Materia Medica 1 & 2 (CAM202A, CAM204A) and WHM Pharmacology (CAM207A). Students learn how to devise Western herbal therapeutic strategies and formulations for health conditions and theoretical cases. Students will explore herbal medicine therapeutic protocols relating to the digestive, biliary, immune, opthalmological, upper respiratory, lower respiratory, integumentary, musculoskeletal and circulatory systems. Students learn how to formulate herbal dosages and dosage protocols. Tutorials will apply this information to theoretical case studies.

In this subject students will use and expand on their knowledge of clinical diagnosis and nutritional assessment. Students will explore the diverse range of assessment techniques commonly used by complementary and alternative health professionals. They will be introduced to the functional interpretation of general pathology results and functional pathology.

This is the second of three Clinical Studies subjects common to Bachelor of Health Science (majoring in Naturopathy, Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine).

This subject provides students with the opportunity to develop their pre-clinical and case history taking skills in a workshop setting. Students will explore a variety of case taking methods incorporating holistic, complementary and contemporary case taking methods. Students will be actively be engaged in case taking examples including the use of paper based, audio and video cases.

This subject also builds on their understanding of the clinical practice as students will be undertaking 25 hours of clinical observation in the college student clinic over the trimester. Student will become familiarised in all facets of college clinic administration and procedures.

This subject builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in WHM Materia Medica 1 (CAM202A), and 2 (CAM204A). It introduces the student to herbal phytochemistry and pharmacology. Herbal concepts are explored including discussion of chemical complexity, synergy of medicinal plants and factors influencing the quality of herbal medicines. Students will explore the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics related to herbal medicines, and extend their knowledge of safety issues and interactions in relation to medicinal plants.

This subject builds on WHM Materia Medica 1 (CAM202A). It explores WHM materia medica relating to the nervous, urinary, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, female and male reproductive systems by learning the common name, botanical name, origin, plant family, active constituents, qualities, part used, actions, indications, preparation, dose, cautions, contraindications and interaction of each herb.

In this subject, students undertake a detailed and in-depth study of the micronutrients which includes water- and fat-soluble vitamins and minerals and how these relate to human metabolism. This subject provides students with underpinning knowledge in relation to the correlation that exists between micronutrients and human physiology. Each individual micronutrient is studied in regards to structure, biological function, dietary sources, recommended daily intake and therapeutic doses. Also included are factors contributing to, and symptoms associated with, states of excess, insufficiency and deficiency. An introduction to nutrition throughout the lifespan completes this unit.

Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 2 (BHS204A) is a core subject that builds upon the concepts covered in Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 1 (BHS203A). This subject is comprised of the pathophysiology, symptomatology and clinical physical diagnostics for various disease states of the hematologic, pulmonary, musculoskeletal and integumentary systems. Clinical diagnostic skills for these various body systems are introduced together with laboratory diagnosis and include examination techniques, commonly used laboratory techniques and interpretation of findings.

Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 1 (BHS203A) builds upon the basic pathological principles established in General Pathology (BHS201A) and comprises the pathophysiology, symptomatology and clinical physical diagnostics for various disease states. This subject includes diseases of the gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiovascular systems. Clinical diagnostic skills for these various body systems are introduced together with laboratory diagnosis and include: examination techniques, commonly used laboratory tests and analysis and interpretation of findings.

Biochemistry 2 (BHS202A) is a core subject that builds upon the basic chemistry principles set forth in Bioscience (BHS102A) and the basic biochemical principles set forth in Biochemistry 1 (BHS105A). This subject explains the processes of macromolecule metabolism and energy production and storage in the body. Included in this subject is the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids, the role of ATP and acetyl CoA in metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation and the electron transport chain and biosignalling and chemical communication. A basic introduction to humoral and cellular immune response is also discussed. Biochemistry 2 (BHS202A) provides a vital foundation for the complementary healthcare practitioner in the basic macromolecules essential for life. In the Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy and Nutritional Medicine), this is also built upon in Nutritional Biochemistry (CAM205A).

General Pathology (BHS201A) introduces the basic pathological processes operating in the body and the ways in which disease may result from injurious stimuli. Basic pathological processes of response to injury, growth abnormalities, degenerative disorders of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems, immunology, toxicology and microbiology, and their characteristic diseases are studied.
This subject is vital in the education of all complementary healthcare practitioners as it enables them to understand the nature of various disease states, and correlates these at a cellular and gross anatomical level with clinical signs and symptoms that may be seen in practice.

This is the final clinical subject of the Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine) and is the culmination of all of the theoretical and practical studies undertaken to date.

This subject will be delivered via participation in a student clinic in which students will be conducting full client consultation, detailed client assessment and treatment. This will all be undertaken under the supervision of experienced clinicians. In the advanced Clinical practicum units, students will be expected to work more independently, and to work with clients with a range of more complex health needs. They will be expected to ensure their treatment approaches are informed by contemporary research.

Whilst there will continue to be ongoing feedback and assessment from the supervising practitioner throughout this unit, students will undergo an objective structured clinic examination (OSCE) at the end of the trimester to assess their level of skill in the above mentioned areas. Successful passing of the OSCE is essential to pass this final clinical unit.

Advanced WHM Clinical Practicum 1 and 2 are the two final clinical units, and build on the foundational clinical skills developed in Clinical Studies 1, 2 and 3, and consolidated into WHM Clinical Practicum 1, 2 and 3.
In these two final Advanced WHM Clinical Practicum units, students may be expected to work more independently, and continue to develop and refine their clinical skills.

In Advanced WHM Clinical Practicum 1, they will begin to work with clients with a range of more complex health needs. They will be expected to ensure their treatment approaches are informed by contemporary research, and to integrate relevant cultural, religious, gender, linguistic and social aspects of their clients into clinical decision making.

In WHM Clinical Practicum 3 students continue to practice and consolidate their clinical skills. Up to this subject, students have worked in pairs, however in Clinical Practicum 3 they may begin to work independently. They will continue to be closely monitored and supervised by the supervising practitioner.
In addition, further integration and research is undertaken through the use of targeted case study, analysis and presentation.

Western Herbal Medicine Clinical Practicum 2, students are required to undertake 50 hours of clinical practicum providing students with the opportunity to practice, consolidate and extend the fundamental client management and clinical skills acquired in Clinical Practicum 1. In WHM Clinical Practicum 2, students may continue to work in pairs under the close supervision and monitoring of an experienced practitioner.

For each presenting case, WHM Clinical Practicum 2 students are required to take a detailed history, conduct relevant assessment, critical analyse data the collected, to compose a holistic diagnostic understanding, construct therapeutic treatment aims, identify interactions, define mechanisms of action of selected herbal medicine and propose a therapeutic prescription. Students are expected to act professionally, assure patients safety and demonstrate an awareness of practice limitations at all times. The therapeutic process remains similar to that of clinical practicum 1; however, the expectation of the students’ capacity for critical case analysis, therapeutic construction and reflective practice is increasing.

No diagnosis or treatment will be made until the supervisor has determined the appropriateness of diagnosis and treatment proposed. In addition, further integration and research is undertaken through the use of targeted case study, analysis and presentation subsequent to cases presentation to the clinical supervisor. Students continue to develop their reflective practice keeping logs/journals for each case and clinic session.

Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine) students commence clinical studies with a common three-subject series of Clinical Studies 1, 2 and 3, in which students observe clinical practice, learn basic counselling, case taking and analysis skills. The Western Herbal Medicine specialisation incorporates five subsequent clinical units: WHM Clinical Practicum 1, 2 and 3, and Advanced WHM Clinical Practicum 1 and 2.

In WHM Clinical Practicum 1, students are required to undertake 50 hours of clinical practicum working in a public student clinic. This is the first subject in which students undertake a practitioner role in the clinic. In this introductory subject, students are paired with another student practitioner and are introduced to the operations of the clinic. Students will begin to manage patients, records and equipment, and undertake basic patient assessment. They will also learn how to dispense prescriptions.

In this subject students are required to begin integrating all the theoretical and practical studies undertaken throughout the course. It provides basic clinical skills for students’ future clinical practice. For each presenting case, clinical practicum students are required to take a detailed history, conduct relevant assessment, critical analyse data the collected, to compose a Naturopathic understanding, construct therapeutic treatment aims, define mechanisms of action of selected modalities and propose a therapeutic prescription. Students are to act professionally and assure patients safety at all times.

Students in clinical practicum 1 are guided through this process with the support and strict supervision of an experienced clinical supervisor. No diagnosis or treatment will be made until the supervisor has determined the appropriateness of diagnosis and treatment proposed.

In addition, further integration and research is undertaken through the use of targeted case study, analysis and presentation as assigned by the clinical supervisor.

Each week students will review the holistic approach to the treatment of specific body systems, and then apply and integrate this knowledge in the analysis of complex clinical cases. In this subject, students will be expected to integrate knowledge from science subjects including pathology and clinical diagnosis with their therapeutic understanding of naturopathy, nutrition and herbal medicine, to provide sound clinical decisions, derive appropriate treatment goals and suggest botanical, nutritional, diet and homoeopathic treatments – student will devise modality specific treatment regimens according to their degree specialisation.

Experienced clinicians will facilitate each case discussion, which will draw upon contemporary research and clinical practicalities. This problem based learning subject covers the treatment of cases involving the musculoskeletal, endocrine, reproductive, and renal systems and paediatric and cancer support cases.

Each week students will review the holistic approach to the treatment of specific body systems, and then apply and integrate this knowledge in the analysis of complex clinical cases. In this subject, students will be expected to integrate knowledge from the science subjects including pathology and clinical diagnosis with their therapeutic understanding of naturopathy, nutrition and herbal medicine to provide sound clinical decisions, derive appropriate treatment goals and suggest botanical, nutritional, diet and homoeopathic treatments – student will devise modality specific treatment regimens according to their degree specialisation.

Experienced clinicians will facilitate each case discussion, which will draw on contemporary research and clinical practicalities. This problem based learning subject covers the treatment of the nervous system, and endocrine, reproductive, renal and paediatric cases.

This subject builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in Herbal Medicine Therapeutics 1 and 2 (CAM308A & CAM315A). Students continue to learn how to devise Western herbal therapeutic strategies and formulations for health conditions and theoretical cases. Students will explore herbal medicine therapeutic protocols relating to the nervous system, endocrine system, genitourinary system, male and female reproductive systems and treatment approaches for children and the elderly. Tutorials will apply this information to theoretical case studies.

Following on from Clinical Studies 2 (CAM305A) students will now apply their theoretical knowledge of case taking, biomedicine and therapeutics to a conduct detailed case analysis and construction of therapeutic prescriptions. In this classroom based subject, students will work in small groups to practice and refine client consultation, case analysis and development of treatment methodology skills with ‘real’ clients.

After the introductory phase, students (under the guidance of an experienced practitioner) will participate in a simulated clinic environment, each week an assigned group will have responsibility for conducting the client consultation, there is one primary practitioner and a secondary practitioner. The class group will then have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions from the patient prior to the patient’s departure.

Facilitated by the experienced practitioner, the class will then work collaboratively to develop a detailed analysis using biomedical, holistic, CAM and naturopathic analysis techniques. Students will proceed through the process of summarising, prioritising, analysing, filtering, determining a therapeutic strategy, treatment plan and prescription – modality specific. Upon case completion the leading practitioners receive one on one feedback from the supervisor at the end of the session.

Professional Practice (BHS401A) comprises the basic skills needed for the operation and management of a complementary healthcare practice and provides an understanding of the legal and ethical requirements that are pertinent to the complementary healthcare.

Drug & Integrated Pharmacology (BHS302A) comprises a study of basic principles of pharmacology, the pharmacokinetics of drugs commonly used in medical practice and common interactions between drugs and natural remedies. Drugs for pain, inflammation, psychological functions, cancer, infection and the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, reproductive and endocrine systems are discussed.

Drug actions, uses, contraindications, adverse effects and interactions with natural remedies are discussed, together with implications for naturopathic prescribing. This subject is crucial for the modern healthcare practitioner to understand common medications that clients may be taking and common interactions between these medications and natural remedies. This subject also emphasizes the need for clear lines of communication and common language between doctors and complementary healthcare practitioners in order to obtain the best health outcomes for clients.

Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 3 (BHS301A) is a core subject that builds upon basic concepts covered in Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 2 (BHS204A). This subject comprises the pathophysiology, symptomatology and clinical physical diagnostics for various disease states of gerontology and aging and the endocrine, renal, urological and reproductive systems. Clinical diagnostic skills for these various body systems are introduced together with laboratory diagnosis and include examination techniques, commonly used laboratory techniques and interpretation of findings.

Prior Learning

If you have Any Diploma or Advanced Diploma from the BSB or SIT Training package, you may upgrade to this course.
Please see the course credit page for more information.

Qualification Subjects Credited Credit Points Course Credit Agreement
HLT60112 or HLT60107 - Advanced Diploma of of Western Herbal Medicine 24 of 36 240 of 360 Download PDF