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The White Crane Academy is an exciting new college of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM). With a highly experienced teaching staff, a clear emphasis on practical learning, an integrated mix of classroom and online education and a commitment to promoting the very best clinical practice, we are taking CHM education to the next level.


1. What is Chinese herbal medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is a traditional system of medicine that has been practised in China and other East Asian countries for thousands of years. Written records stretch back over two millennia, but the use of herbal medicines almost certainly originates in the very earliest stages of human development.

CHM is a sophisticated and elegant system that has been refined over centuries of clinical experience and more recently has been validated by increasingly rigorous research – both in vitro and in vivo. In China it is commonly integrated into basic medical care, is used in over 3,000 hospitals and has been investigated by 139 different research institutes. In the past 40-50 years CHM has also become established in the West and is widely practised throughout Europe, the US and Australia. This is one of the unique strengths of CHM – the combination of traditional knowledge and cutting edge practice in modern healthcare settings.

2. What are the benefits of CHM?

CHM offers a wide range of treatments for numerous disorders. In the West it has built a reputation for the treatment of conditions including:

  • skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and acne
  • respiratory tract disorders such as acute cough and asthma
  • genito-urinary conditions including acute and recurrent urinary tract infections
  • allergic and auto-immune conditions such as hay fever and Graves’ disease
  • digestive diseases such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), and ulcerative colitis
  • gynaecological disorders such as infertility, endometriosis and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
  • mental and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression
  • as a supportive treatment for people living with cancer.

However the potential of CHM extends much more widely than this, and in China most diseases treated by Western medical departments are also treated by CHM – in combination or as an alternative.


3. If you are an acupuncturist- how does CHM relate to acupuncture?

CHM and acupuncture both originate from the traditions of East Asian medicine. Much of the modern system of Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on a diagnostic and therapeutic framework that particularly suits CHM. At the White Crane Academy we see CHM and acupuncture as a kind of Yin-Yang pairing. Acupuncture excels at moving Qi and restoring its harmonious flow through the channel system, whilst CHM works at a more material level to strengthen deficiencies in the body and to expel the pathogenic factors that lead to disease.

Our experience is that using herbs and acupuncture in combination allows a practitioner to significantly extend the range and the potency of their treatment. Giving a patient herbal medicine to take on a daily basis allows for a regular intervention that reinforces and consolidates the benefits of treatment, enables substantial changes to be made, and a can offer lasting restoration of good health. CHM is in effect like giving an active treatment every day – something that is neither practical nor affordable using acupuncture alone.


4. Can I study CHM at the White Crane Academy if I have a background in other forms of medicine?

If you don’t have a background in acupuncture but have graduated from an accredited course in another complementary or conventional medical training you will still be able to study at the White Crane Academy. However you will need to do our induction course in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that will familiarise you with the theory and diagnostic methods used in CHM. Details of these courses will soon be available on the website.


5. Why study at the White Crane Academy?

Our emphasis at The White Crane Academy is on providing rigorous and clinically relevant training, leading to confident, competent, and effective CHM practitioners with a deep connection to the herbs they work with. We will:

  • Provide a rigorous training that ensures the fundamental building blocks of CHM are in place in order to provide a solid platform for lifelong learning and engender solid professional competence.
  • Ensure that our teachers are experienced practitioners and that they teach clinically effective strategies for CHM. This is essential if students are to graduate with a justified sense of confidence in their knowledge and abilities.
  • Explore the most recent research relating to CHM and discuss appropriate research strategies for rigorously investigating CHM.
  • Organise excellent clinical training in our student clinic and offer all students an opportunity to do further clinical training in a CHM hospital in China.
  • Enable our students to connect with living plants and to develop a deeper appreciation of the natural world.


6. How is the herbal course structured at The White Crane Academy?

We are offering a 3-year herbal training with web learning support, additional residential workshops, a student clinic, and the opportunity for a study trip to a CHM hospital in mainland China.


Year 1: Introduction to CHM (history, philosophy, herbs & practice)

The first year of the course will involve an introduction to CHM and the meticulous presentation of over 250 herbal medicines. You will learn their names, energetic properties, primary and secondary therapeutic actions, contraindications and doses. Herbs from the same category will be compared and contrasted. This will enable you to differentiate and memorise each herb and build a herbal map as a a solid foundation for your future practice. In the first year we will also consider over 40 herbal formulae. In this way you will be able to gain an idea of how herbs can work together to generate important therapeutic synergies. You will also learn herbal chemistry and pharmacology and how to identify and dispense plants safely and effectively. In the first year you will spend at least nine days observing patients being treated in the student clinic.

For a more detailed look at the curriculum as it currently stands (there may be further development as the course evolves) you can download the following documents.


Year 2: Application of CHM (Integration of theory and practice)

The second year of the course will consider the treatment of common conditions that present in clinical practice. These will include:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Digestive diseases
  • Musculo-skeletal diseases
  • Urinary tract diseases
  • Gynaecological and obstetric disorders
  • Skin diseases
  • Neurological conditions
  • EENT (ear, eye, nose and throat) disorders
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Mental-emotional problems
  • Paediatrics

A differential diagnosis of each disease will be given and an appropriate guiding herbal formula will be taught with modifications and adjustments to meet individual presentations. You will graduate from this year with a basic competence in using herbs to treat a wide range of conditions.

You will spend 12 days in the student clinic and will be expected to apply your knowledge to discussions and to preparing herbal formulae for patients.

At the end of year 2 you will have the option of attending a herbal summer camp in rural Devon where we will meet, think, and probably drink herbs in an intensive, enjoyable and instructive five days.

For a more detailed look at the curriculum as it currently stands you can download the following documents.

Year three: Advancing Practice (Focus on advanced treatments, independent diagnosis and practice)

In the third year of the course we are asking students to select at least 5 weekend modules. This allows students to develop more advanced knowledge in the areas they are most interested in such as:

• Dermatology
• Research methods for CHM
• Advanced paediatrics
• Providing supportive treatment for people living with cancer.
• A historical survey of CHM
• Autoimmune conditions
• Diseases of the Liver
• Metabolic diseases eg Diabetes
• Using external applications
• Plant spirit medicine

Students will also be required to attend seminars on herb:drug interactions and on herbs and diet.

You will also spend a further 15 days in the student clinic where you will take responsibility for the treatment and management of your own patients under the supervision of an an experienced clinical supervisor.

Students at this stage in their training will be required to submit a 5,000 word thesis in an area related to CHM that interests them. This can be produced in the third year or can be submitted within a part-time 4th year of study.

At the end of the third year students will have the (recommended) option of attending 3 weeks study in the herbal departments of a Chinese hospital. This will allow you to significantly broaden your experience of herbal medicine and treating patients.

For a more detailed look at the curriculum as it currently stands you can download the following documents:


Web based learning

shutterstock_151536791We expect that for each hour of face-to face teaching you will put in 2-3 hours of home learning. To facilitate this we will also be providing up to date resources including a variety of on-line materials to complement what you learn in the seminars. You will be able to navigate your way through this material in a fashion that suits you and your way of learning. We will also be running regular live on-line seminars where you can discuss your studies with your teachers. This is a cost effective and powerful way of reinforcing what you learn during lectures.


Additional residential workshops

You will also have the opportunity to attend at least three residential workshops.

The first will be a pharmacognosy and dispensary workshop at the Bristol Herb Garden. This will allow students to ‘meet’ many of the herbs they will be using and will also provide practical skills on what is known as Pao Zhi the preparation of herbs to optimise clinical benefits.

The second will be a residential herbal summer school, to be held in Devon. Camping facilities will be available and this will be a wonderful opportunity to get to know some of the herbs that grow in the UK as well as to attend lectures from senior practitioners and get to know your fellow herbalists.

Finally we will offer third year students the opportunity to go away for a weekend to explore the shamanic aspects of herbal medicine. This will be a time of reflection and deep connection with the natural world.

7. Where and when will the course take place?

The course will be held in an established teaching college in East Grinstead, an old market town in West Sussex about 30 miles south of London. There are regular trains from London Victoria to East Grinstead station and the college is a 5 minute walk from there.

The first and second years of the course will both involve eight 3 day weekends (Friday-Sunday) of face-to-face study. This will be supplemented by web based learning, including virtual tutorials.

For the final year, students will have the option of selecting at least five advanced weekend seminars, which will be held In East Grinstead and at Regents College, in central London.


8. How will I gain clinical experience?

We will operate a student clinic on weekdays based at The White Crane Clinic, in Primrose Hill, North London. Students in the first year will be able to observe clinical practice for at least nine days. In the second year students will spend at least 12 days in clinic and be encouraged to make their own diagnoses and herbal treatment plans, which will be discussed with an experienced clinical supervisor. In the third year students will be required to spend a minimum of 15 days in clinic and will be responsible for diagnosing and treating their own patients with the support of an experienced clinical supervisor.


9. What about the study trip to China?

A 3-4 week study trip to China will provide students with the opportunity to consolidate their learning and gain invaluable clinical experience that will inform their future practice. This trip will be available for students after their third year of training.


10. Our teachers

We have assembled a first class team of experienced practitioners, many of whom have gone on to do PhDs in Chinese medicine. These include:

Andrew Flower PhD  MRCHM  MBAcC

Andrew Flower

Andrew  has been practising acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine since 1992. Since graduating he has gained a wide range of experience working in private practice as well as within the NHS and voluntary sector working with people with HIV/AIDS and with drug and alcohol addictions. He is a past President of the UK Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) and has advised the European Herbal Traditional Practitioners Association (EHTPA) on developing research strategies in Europe. In 2009 Andrew completed his PhD at The University of Southampton exploring the role of Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of endometriosis. He has published a number of peer-reviewed papers relating to Chinese medicine research, including two Cochrane systematic reviews. He co-ordinated an EU project that prepared guidelines to improve the quality of clinical trials into Chinese medicine. In 2011 he was awarded a five year NIHR Post doctoral Fellowship to investigate Chinese herbs for the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections (RUTIs) that has resulted in the RUTI trial that started recruiting in February 2016. He runs herbal clinics in London and Hove and has a special interest in providing supportive treatment for people with cancer. He is a founder member of the White Crane Academy and is passionate about the therapeutic potential of herbal medicines and the importance of rigorous training to ensure this potential is realised.


Christopher Etheridge PhD MCPP MRSC, BSc (Hons) Phyto, BSc (Hons) Chem, CChem, DoIC, ARCS

Chris 1Colour Adjusteda

Chris holds a first class honours BSc and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from Imperial College, London. He was a Lecturer and Research Fellow in Gene Therapy at Imperial’s Department of Chemistry and at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at St Mary’s Hospital from 1995-2002, where he taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses. He published a diverse range of research in areas including synthetic, medicinal and biological chemistry, and biochemistry.

After this, Chris completed his professional training on the four-year Herbal Medicine degree programme at the College of Phytotherapy, East Sussex, where he graduated in 2006 with a first class honours BSc. His dissertation on quality control in herbal medicine was subsequently published. Chris currently works fulltime as medical herbalist and runs two busy practices in Central London and Epping.


Trevor Wing PhD MBRCP FRCHM MBAcC BSc (Hons) MSc (Dist) DMed

TW pic

Dr.Trevor Wing is a recognised specialist in the natural medicine treatment of female health conditions, with particular interest in applying scientific research to traditional and naturopathic medicine. Trevor runs a busy private clinic in London where he carries out clinical research studies and treats a wide range of gynaecological and obstetric conditions including ovarian dysfunction, tuboperitoneal disease, uterine disease, gestational disorders, post-partum disorders and menopausal syndrome. Trevor graduated with a first class honours degree from LCTA London. Trevor has also studied conventional reproductive medicine and holds an MSc in Oriental herbal medicine, an MSc in obstetrics and gynaecology diagnostic ultrasound and a doctorate in medical imaging. Trevor has also practised gynaecology at Nanjing First Medical University Hospital, China and regularly lectures at post graduate level on natural medicine gynaecology and obstetrics and medical imaging at several universities in Europe and the USA. Trevor regularly contributes to professional journals with papers on his own research and treatment approaches and is a peer reviewer for the journals “Human Fertility”, “Complementary Therapies in Medicine” and “Reproductive Biomedicine Online”. Trevor is also an honorary research fellow at the University of Portsmouth and a faculty member at the University of Bournemouth in medical imaging and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and Fellow of the UK Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.


Michael McIntyre MA, FNIMH, MRCHM, DUniv.


Michael McIntyre has practised herbal medicine and acupuncture for over thirty years. He has a degree in modern history from Oxford University. He has chaired the European Herbal and Traditional Medicines Practitioner Association since its launch in 1993. He has an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University and is currently a visiting Professor at this university. He is a former President of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and is a Fellow of this body and a life Member of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine. Michael regularly writes, lectures and broadcasts on herbal medicine and acupuncture.


Rebecca O’Cleirgh MSc Herb Med., BSc Acu. BSc Neuroscience, MRCHM, MBAcC


Rebecca has been practising acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine since 2005 and has a special interest in fertility, neurology and paediatrics. She is a council member of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine and is the liaison officer for the Approved Suppliers Scheme which aims to support all herbal suppliers to achieve Good Manufacturing Practice and Good Dispensary Practice. She is currently completing a PhD in pharmacology at the University of Portsmouth, researching the pharmacological mechanisms by which Chinese herbs are able to improve endometrial receptivity of the uterine environment (in relation to infertility). Rebecca has lectured on Pharmacognosy and Dispensing, and on modules covering Chinese herbs and formulae.


Anthony Harrison: BSc (Biology) Lic Ac. Dip. CHM, MRCHM

Tony H

Tony has been practising CHM since 1997 and has served on the RCHM governing council from 1999 to present with responsibility for materia medica/approved suppliers and the much acclaimed Chinese Herb Garden. He was President of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) from 2003-2005. He has taught Module 5 of the European Herbal Traditional Practitioners Association (EHTPA) curriculum for the past eight years for a number of UK colleges. This provides training in practical dispensary and pharmacognosy and takes place at the Bristol Chinese Herb Garden at the University of Bristol. Tony wrote both the RCHM Dispensary Codes of Practice and the external auditing standards for suppliers.


Simon King B.A. M.A. MRCHM

Simon K

Simon King has worked as a practitioner of Chinese medicine for thirty years. Since his first degree in philosophy he has maintained an active involvement in this subject and is now studying for a doctorate. He has a particular interest in how philosophical assumptions make their way into practice with a pragmatic approach which holds theory lightly.

During the early 1990s Simon taught himself to read medical Chinese and has applied this skill to develop particular interests in urology, the herbal treatment of joint disease and ENT (ear, nose and throat disorders). He has published articles in The European Journal of Oriental Medicine and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine journal on Chinese medicine and the philosophy of science and has taught widely in the UK.


Trina Ward PhD, MRCHM, MBAcC

Trina W

Trina’s Australian undergraduate training in Chinese medicine (four years full time) concluded with an internship in China. She has been in practice for over 20 years working in the NHS, prisons and charities, as well as privately. During this time she carried out an MPhil on the safety of herbal medicine on behalf of the RCHM, and obtained a UK Department of Health funded PhD on the question of what is considered valid knowledge in Chinese medicine practice. This involved extensive field work in Beijing. The contacts she made at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Science led to an invitation in 2013 to undertake three months post doctoral pharmacovigilance research. In 2015 Trina was invited to the Beijing University of Chinese medicine to run workshops on research. She was part of a team at the University of Westminster who carried out research on menopause. Her practice currently focuses on those who are too ill to attend clinic. She has taught literature searching and critical analysis to Master’s students since 2008, and in 2015 she began teaching on the Chinese herbal medicine course at the Northern College of Acupuncture.


Nina Zhao-Seiler


Nina was born in 1965. She got her first TCM education during six years in Zurich, San Francisco and Hamburg, followed by three years of internship and continuing education at the TCM University Teaching Hospital and private clinics in Chengdu, China. She has been running her own TCM practice in Zurich, Switzerland, since 1998 with a focus on paediatrics. During this time she has taught TCM materia medica, formula studies, acupuncture and Tuina in the basic TCM education as well as TCM pediatric internal medicine and childrens Tuina for advanced/continuing studies at the major Swiss TCM schools. Since 2002 she has lead regular TCM herb study trips to China, where she takes participants to identify herbs in the wild, visit herb cultivation areas as well as processing facilities.

Nina initiated the first garden for Chinese medicinal plants in Switzerland which was opened in August 2016 Nina has a BA in Chinese studies and history from University of Zurich and has taken the newly established Swiss national exam for naturopaths with a specialisation in TCM. She is also a practitioner and teacher of Chen style Taijiquan.


Lily Lai PhD, BSc (Hons) TCM, BM (Beijing), MRCHM, MATCM


Lily graduated from her acupuncture and CHM course at Middlesex University with First Class Honours in 2005. She has combined a busy practice with a ground breaking career as a practitioner-researcher and she currently holds a visiting academic position at Southampton University. In 2015 she completed her PhD, funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research, which included a trial exploring the use of Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in primary care. This was the first such trial in the UK and is a recognized piece of pioneering research. Her current research interests are in expanding the evidence-base for Chinese and Western herbal medicine by evaluating interventions in primary care, and in improving access to research for practitioners through teaching core research skills such as critically analysing commonly-encountered research designs.


Sarah Price PhD MSc LicAc DipCHM

Sarah has been practising Chinese medicine since 1986, having trained with a variety of teachers both here and in China. She has been lecturing in Chinese herbal medicine since 1994. Sarah’s interests have spanned both education and research. She has been on the accreditation board of the EHTPA and the BAAB; and also past Chair of the Research Committee for the RCHM. Although much of Sarah’s research has been concerned with traditional acupuncture she has recently undertaken a research project exploring Chinese herbal medicine as an intervention for asthma as an honorary research fellow at the University of Southampton. Sarah has a busy practise in Edinburgh.


Danny Maxwell MSc, MA (Cantab), LicAc, MBAcC, MRCHM

After completing an MA in English and Italian Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, Danny went on to train in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese massage in both the UK and China. With over 18 years clinical experience, he practices from clinics in London and Somerset. He is also the editor of the Journal of Chinese Medicine and sits on the Governing Board of the British Acupuncture Council.


11. How will the course be assessed?

There will be regular tests and assessments in the first and second years of the course to encourage learning of the basic herbs and formulae. Examinations will also take place at the end of Years 1 & 2. In the third year of the course students will be evaluated on their clinical practice and on the basis of a 5,000 word thesis.

For a more detailed account of our examination policy please see link


12. Is the course accredited and will I be entitled to join a professional register?

The course we are offering is a 3-year herbal training. We are currently pursuing the accreditation process operated by the EHTPA. All graduates will be eligible to apply for entry to the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, the lead CHM professional body in the UK.

13. What is the current legal right of herbalists to practice?

Herbal medicine is protected in UK law by Regulation 3 of The Human Medicines Regulation Act 2012, which allows herbal practitioners the right to practice and prescribe herbal medicines on the basis of a one-to-one consultation. In recent years the availability of herbs over the counter and without a consultation has been limited by the introduction of the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive, but this in no way affects our right as practitioners to treat patients.

The recent decision of the UK to leave Europe should not impact on the availability of herbal medicines or our right to practice.


14. Entry requirements

We will consider all students who have graduated from an accredited acupuncture training course.

We will also consider graduates of accredited courses in other conventional and complementary medicine colleges such as Western herbalists or phytotherapists, osteopaths, homeopaths, medics, physiotherapists and nurses. However students coming via this route will be asked to undertake our TCM induction training.

Overseas acupuncture students will be eligible if they have graduated from accredited institutions in their own countries with the studies equivalent to Level 4 Academic level and their level of English is certified (ILETS) at Level 6 or equivalent qualification.

All students will be asked to attend an interview for the course. For those who live far from London this can be done via Skype. This will allow you to ask any questions and also give us the opportunity to discuss the course in more detail and to make sure it is the right training for you.

15. Fees

Annual fees for the course, if booked before March 31st 2018, will be £3,600 (plus an additional £300 registration fee in year 1).

From April 1st 2018 the annual fee will be £3,900 (plus £300 registration fee in Year 1).

16 . How do I apply?

If you are interested in applying to the course, email us at: or visit the website at