Practical Course on Chinese Herb Recognition

The Practical Course on Chinese Herb Recognition was run once a year between 2011 and 2016. It mainly involved student-practitioners from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, and covered 20 hours of CEUs over the span of 4 days.

The course brings participants to the largest Chinese herbal market in the world, and is designed to deepen your familiarity with Chinese herbal medicine. Many students of Chinese medicine learn the names of herbs and how these herbs work, but have not seen it before. Others might have seen the herb, but are not sure whether it is a root, stem, bark or how it has been processed. And there is of the course cultural experience of being in China.

Many herbs arrive to our clinic pharmacy already cut or powdered and packed so we wouldn’t recognize the herb in its whole form. We would never distinguish a good quality herb from an inferior one, and certainly will not recognize the herb if it is growing in our backyard!

The Practical Course on Chinese Herb Recognition includes:

  • Daily visits to the biggest Chinese herb market in China, an enhanced learning from seeing, smelling and touching real whole herbs.
  • A visit to an herb farm and see how farmer here in China live and how they manage their crops.
  • Familiarization trip to a local factory to learn how herbs are processed here.
  • Ongoing reviews, using a booklet we have created, to helps us differentiate herbs that look similar.
  • An overall experience that aids all participants in understanding the possible origin of herbs in their countries, from planting in the farm to its sale in the markets to processing in the factory to its final packed form.

With this course, participants end up having a much better understanding of Chinese herbal medicine.
We will see many classes of herbs first-hand, including:

  • a host of minerals and stones that most TCM students have not yet seen.
  • animal products like antlers, placentas, geckos, leeches, centipedes and other bugs.
  • a plethora of unique herbal flowers teas that possess blood or qi moving qualities, many of which you’d probably never heard of.


      • The details of this trips were intently planned and executed with care. Markov made it a point to see that we were all happy and learning along the way.
      • Coming to Bozhou was an amazing experience. Seeing how Chinese herbs are grown, processed and sold has been an invaluable experience that will guide my usage of herbs in my future practice. Plus, it was a ton of fun!
      • I really appreciated Mark’s in-depth knowledge and explanations of the herbs, where they were grown and how to tell them apart. It made the experience that much more enjoyable.
      • Traveling to meet some herbal farmers, see their lands, view first-hand how Chinese herbs are grown and harvested was truly a magical experience for a Chinese medicine practitioners; one i won’t ever forget!
      • Thank you for sharing your knowledge, I feel like this enriching experience has made me a better herbalist.
      • The best part of the trip was going to the countryside and digging up herbs. I also liked learning about the herb qualities and how to pick them out such as quality Chuan Bei Mu. Just looking at the herbs was amazing!

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