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Welcome to the course!

This page is where we collate various resource links and other bits of information including:

  • Recommended books: you don’t need to go out and buy all of them, but they’re important references
  • How to find the White Crane Academy Portal: activate your account, view your account balance and make payments – also the place to find course specific handouts
  • How to find the eLearning portal: activate your account and access online study material

eLearning Platform

Study your online courses
Go to the ‘White Crane Academy’ channel

Useful website pages

This website ( contains most of the course information you need. Here are links to some key pages:

Frequently asked questions
Course schedule

Recommended reading list

These are the key books that we will be using on the herb course that you might want to have a look at before we start, or try to buy second hand because they are not cheap.

The 4 key text books we will be using in the first year are:

  • Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Bensky & Clavey 3rd Edition Pb Eastland Press (make sure you get the most recent 3rd edition-available I believe in paperback but also very usefully as an App together with Formulas and Strategies. I use this all the time and it makes it very portable.)
  • Chinese Medical Herbology & Pharmacology: Chen & Chen. Pb Art of Medicine Press
  • Chinese Herbal Medicines: Comparisons and Characteristics: Yi Fan Yang. Pb Churchill Livingstone
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas & Strategies. Scheid, Bensky et al. 2nd Edition. Pb Eastland Press (make sure you get the most recent edition)

The first 2 are Materia Medica that come at the herbs from very different angles.

Bensky takes a more traditional approach and has a really detailed and subtle account of the properties and actions of the herbs. Chen covers similar territory but takes a more modern approach with references to in vitro and in vivo research and empirical experience. Both are essential.

I really like Yi Fan Yang’s book which offers a comparative view of different herbs from the same therapeutic category (e.g. dispel wind cold/ drain damp etc). This is very much the way we will be learning the herbs-comparing the primary actions, and then adding more distinctive character to each herb by considering its secondary actions and empirical indications.

Bensky’s & Scheid’s book on herbal formulae is also essential. It provides a brilliant analysis of the key formulae you will be encountering in the first year and learning in more detail in Year 2.

Make sure you get the latest editions of these books and try not to be put off by the size (or expense) of these books. They are reference books and as herbalists you will use them again and again during your training and in your professional practise.

If you are not in the mood for text books then there are 2 other books which I have really enjoyed about herbal medicine. These are:

  • Plant Spirit Medicine. Eliot Cowan. Pb Sounds True
  • Wild Health: How Animals Keep Themselves Well and What We Can Learn from Them. Engel C. Pb Houghton Mifflin

If you’re into shamanism then Cowan’s book is a must read. Wild health is a fascinating account of how animals self medicate and I am convinced this is one of the early ways in which humans learnt how to use herbal medicines.
That should keep you busy for now…

E-learning platform​​​​​

E-learning platform:

The WCA e-learning content is hosted on our sister service, Acuherb Academy.

Your e-learning platform account also gives you access the WCA course forum – this is an online discussion board where you can meet other students, ask questions and share insights

To register your e-learning account:

  • Follow this link:
  • In the form, type the same email address you use for any previous communication with the White Crane Academy, and follow the prompts to create a password. If you do not know or remember which email address you have used to communicate with us in the past, or if you have used several, PLEASE CONTACT US.
    • This is important because your account has been preregistered on our system using the email address we have on file for you – please do not register a new email address

Questions and support

Here’s how to get in touch with the team:

Questions about the course and qualification Please use the WCA forum board: Course & qualification
(You must be logged in to the e-learning platform to use the forum)
Technical issues with any of the online services Please use the WCA forum board: Technical support
(You must be logged in to the e-learning platform to use the forum)
or email:
Forum messages can be seen by all WCA students, so for personal issues, including payment problems, etc. Email:



The following payment methods are available:

Bank transfer:

  • Use bank transfer to pay the outstanding balance
  • This is our preferred method of payment
  • Our bank details (these are also available at checkout in your WCA portal account):
    • Account name: White Crane Academy Limited
    • Sort code: 23-69-72
    • Account number: 07345519

Paying by installments:

  • Please contact us if you need us to create a bespoke payment plan for you – we can arrange monthly or quarterly payments over a period that suits you
  • Installment payments are collected by Direct Debit
    • Once we have agreed on your plan, we will email you a link through which you can set up and authorise the Direct Debit


  • Sorry, but we cannot accept cheques