natural_medicine_courses

Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine)

Prepare for a fulfilling career in the natural health industry with a Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine).

Learn about the healing philosophies and practices of herbal medicine from industry experts with a series of hands-on units.

This course will allow you to explore roles such as herbalist, phytotherapist and botanical medicine practitioner, where you focus on optimising the health of others with natural alternatives.

You can study the whole course on campus in Sydney, with some units available to study online.


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At a glance

Study mode

laptop
BlendedIn-class

Provider

Australasian College of Natural Therapies (ACNT) (RTO 0269)
Career Opportunities
  • Herbalist
  • Botanical Medicine Practitioner
  • Herbal Medicine Practitioner
  • Phytotherapist
  • Western Herbal Medicine Practitioner
Recognition

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.
Recognised by The Australian Natural Therapists Association & National Herbalists Association of Australia.

Prerequisites
  • Year 12 ATAR score of 60 or equivalent, OR
  • Completed diploma level course, OR
  • Demonstrated ability, including work experience, formal/informal study, or a statement of intent
Location

NSW - Sydney

QLD - Brisbane

Work placement

340 hours in total

Course length
Full-time: 3 years | Part-time: 8 years
Study mode

Blended

In-class


Online

Study from anywhere, when it suits you best and graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.

Blended

Study part of the course online. Combine your online learning with classes or practical sessions on-campus at a college or university.

In-class

Attend classes on-campus at a university, TAFE or college and interact face-to-face with teachers and fellow students.

Assessment
Written & practical assignments, clinical training, exams
Start date

6 intakes per year.

Provider
Australasian College of Natural Therapies (ACNT) (RTO 0269)

The Australasian College of Natural Therapies (ACNT) delivers high-quality and accredited natural health and fitness courses.

ANCT's strong emphasis on practical training gives students the opportunity to build valuable hands-on skills. 

Think: Colleges Pty Ltd (RTO 0269) trading as Australasian College of Natural Therapies

Price

The course price can vary depending on a few factors, including whether you are an Australian resident or your chosen payment option. To find out more, contact the course provider.

Prerequisites

  • Year 12 ATAR score of 60 or equivalent, OR
  • a completed diploma level course, OR
  • demonstrated ability, including work experience, formal/informal study, or a statement of intent

What you'll learn

  • Biological and social sciences
  • Research and evidence based practice
  • Western herbal medicine and clinical studies
  • Herbal manufacturing
  • Properties of herbs and herbal pharmacology
  • History and philosophy of herbal medicine

Practical experience

This course includes 340 hours of practical experience (including 25 hours of observation in an external clinic).

You will need to complete your clinical practical hours at ACNT's on-campus clinic in Sydney or Brisbane.

Course structure

36 units

Year 1

  1. Anatomy & Physiology 1


    Anatomy & Physiology 1 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 unit 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 unit 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.

  2. Anatomy & Physiology 2


    Anatomy & Physiology 2 builds and expands on the information and skills learnt in Anatomy & Physiology 1. This unit 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 & Physiology 2 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.

  3. Anatomy & Physiology 3


    Anatomy & Physiology 3 builds and expands on the study of anatomy and physiological concepts introduced in Anatomy & Physiology 1 and 2. This unit 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 unit 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.

  4. Biochemistry 1


    Biochemistry 1 is a core unit that builds upon the basic chemistry principles covered in Bioscience. It comprises an introduction to the basic biochemical compounds in the body. This unit 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 unit 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 and further therapeutic units.

  5. Bioscience


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

  6. Botany


    Botany is the first unit in the stream of herbal medicine. It introduces you 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. You may participate in field trips and walks to enhance their learning.

  7. Counselling & Communication Skills


    Counselling & Communication Skills encompasses counselling skills commonly needed by complementary and alternative healthcare practitioners. This unit 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 unit 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.

  8. Herbal Medicine Manufacturing


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

  9. History & Philosophy of Complementary & Alternative Medicine


    This unit 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 unit 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 you 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.

  10. Nutritional Foundations 1


    In this unit, you will 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 unit is a foundational unit 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.

  11. Research & Evidence-Based Practice


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

  12. WHM Materia Medica 1


    This unit builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in Botany and Herbal Medicine Manufacturing. It introduces the you 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. 

    You 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.

Year 2

  1. Biochemistry 2


    Biochemistry 2 is a core unit that builds upon the basic chemistry principles set forth in Bioscience and the basic biochemical principles set forth in Biochemistry 1. This unit explains the processes of macromolecule metabolism and energy production and storage in the body.

    Included in this unit 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 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.

  2. Clinical Studies 1


    Bachelor of Health Science (majoring in Naturopathy, Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine) commence clinical studies with a common three unit series of Clinical Studies 1, 2 and 3 in which you will observe clinical practice, develop communication and learn basic counselling skills and professional ethical practice. You will complete 25 hours of external observation over the trimester. In these external placements, you will familiarise yourself with the day-to-day operation of naturopathic, nutritional, western herbal medicine and other health-care practices. You will observe practitioners and clients in consultation, undertake a range of administrative tasks and observe dispensaries in action.

    In addition, you will be guided through the process of reflective practice, learning how to reflectively write and analysis their clinical development. This unit serves as an introduction into the operation of complementary health clinics from the perspective of the client and the practitioner. It provides an opportunity for you to develop an awareness of the application of professional skills in a clinical setting. These skills are not only to do with the practice of complementary medicine but also generic clinical skills such as interpersonal relations, legal and ethical compliance business acumen and an appreciation of the Australian health care system.

  3. Clinical Studies 2


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

    This unit provides you with the opportunity to develop your pre-clinical and case history taking skills in a workshop setting. You will explore a variety of case taking methods incorporating holistic, complementary and contemporary case taking methods. You will be actively be engaged in case taking examples including the use of paper based, audio and video cases. This unit also builds on your understanding of the clinical practice as you will be undertaking 25 hours of clinical observation in the college student clinic over the trimester. You will become familiarised in all facets of college clinic administration and procedures.

  4. General Pathology


    General Pathology 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 unit 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.

  5. Health Assessment & Diagnostic Techniques


    In this unit you will use and expand on your knowledge of clinical diagnosis and nutritional assessment. You will explore the diverse range of assessment techniques commonly used by complementary and alternative health professionals. You will be introduced to the functional interpretation of general pathology results and functional pathology.

  6. Herbal Medicine Therapeutics 1


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

  7. Herbal Medicine Therapeutics 2


    This unit builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in Herbal Therapeutics 1. You will continue to learn to devise Western herbal therapeutic strategies and formulations for health conditions and theoretical cases. You 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.

  8. Nutritional Foundations 2


    In this unit, you will 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 unit provides you 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.

  9. Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 1


    Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 1 builds upon the basic pathological principles established in General Pathology and comprises the pathophysiology, symptomatology and clinical physical diagnostics for various disease states.

    This unit 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.

  10. Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 2


    Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 2 is a core unit that builds upon the concepts covered in Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 1. This unit 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.

  11. WHM Materia Medica 2


    This unit builds on WHM Materia Medica 1. 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.

  12. WHM Pharmacology


    This unit builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in WHM Materia Medica 1 and 2. It introduces the you 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. You will explore the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics related to herbal medicines, and extend your knowledge of safety issues and interactions in relation to medicinal plants.

Year 3

  1. Advanced Herbal Medicine


    This unit builds on herbal medicine concepts introduced in Herbal Medicine Therapeutics 1 and 2. You will continue to learn how to devise Western herbal therapeutic strategies and formulations for health conditions and theoretical cases. You 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.

  2. Advanced WHM Clinical Practicum 1


    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, you may be expected to work more independently, and continue to develop and refine your clinical skills. In Advanced WHM Clinical Practicum 1, you will begin to work with clients with a range of more complex health needs. You will be expected to ensure your 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.

  3. Advanced WHM Clinical Practicum 2


    This is the final clinical unit 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 unit will be delivered via participation in a student clinic in which you 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, you will be expected to work more independently, and to work with clients with a range of more complex health needs. You will be expected to ensure your treatment approaches are informed by contemporary research. Whilst there will continue to be ongoing feedback and assessment from the supervising practitioner throughout this unit, you will undergo an objective structured clinic examination(OSCE) at the end of the trimester to assess your level of skill in the above mentioned areas. Successful passing of the OSCE is essential to pass this final clinical unit.

  4. Clinical Studies 3


    Following on from Clinical Studies 2 you will now apply your theoretical knowledge of case taking, biomedicine and therapeutics to a conduct detailed case analysis and construction of therapeutic prescriptions.

    In this classroom based unit, you 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, you(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. You 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.

  5. Drug & Integrated Pharmacology


    Drug & Integrated Pharmacology 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 unit 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 unit 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.

  6. Integrative Complementary Medicine 1


    Each week you 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 unit, you will be expected to integrate knowledge from the science units including pathology and clinical diagnosis with your 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.  You will devise modality specific treatment regimens according to your degree specialisation. Experienced clinicians will facilitate each case discussion, which will draw on contemporary research and clinical practicalities. This problem based learning unit covers the treatment of the nervous system, and endocrine, reproductive, renal and paediatric cases.

  7. Integrative Complementary Medicine 2


    Each week you 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 unit, you will be expected to integrate knowledge from science units including pathology and clinical diagnosis with your 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 - you will devise modality specific treatment regimens according to your degree specialisation. Experienced clinicians will facilitate each case discussion, which will draw upon contemporary research and clinical practicalities. This problem based learning unit covers the treatment of cases involving the musculoskeletal, endocrine, reproductive, and renal systems and paediatric and cancer support cases.

  8. Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 3


    Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 3 is a core unit that builds upon basic concepts covered in Pathophysiology & Clinical Diagnosis 2. This unit 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.

  9. Professional Practice


    Professional Practice 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 health.

  10. WHM Clinical Practicum 1


    Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine) students commence clinical studies with a common three unit series of Clinical Studies 1, 2 and 3, in which you will 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, you are required to undertake 50 hours of clinical practicum working in a public student clinic. This is the first unit in which you will undertake a practitioner role in the clinic. In this introductory unit, you will be paired with another student practitioner and are introduced to the operations of the clinic. You will begin to manage patients, records and equipment, and undertake basic patient assessment. You will also learn how to dispense prescriptions. In this unit you are required to begin integrating all the theoretical and practical studies undertaken throughout the course. It provides basic clinical skills for your future clinical practice. 

    For each presenting case, clinical practicum you 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. You are to act professionally and assure patients safety at all times. You will be 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.

  11. WHM Clinical Practicum 2


    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, you may continue to work in pairs under the close supervision and monitoring of an experienced practitioner. For each presenting case,you 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. You 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 your 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. You will continue to develop your reflective practice keeping logs/journals for each case and clinic session.

  12. WHM Clinical Practicum 3


    In WHM Clinical Practicum 3 you will continue to practice and consolidate your clinical skills. Up to this unit, students have worked in pairs, however in Clinical Practicum 3 you may begin to work independently. You 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.

An optional science bridging course is available to students who wish to refresh their skills before the course commences.

Support and delivery

Studying online explained

When you study with the Australasian College of Natural Therapies, you will have access to:

  • the online campus portal for course materials and resources
  • teachers who are experienced academics and industry practitioners
  • students services for academic and administrative enquiries
  • free of charge counselling
  • guidance and academic support via program managers
  • study support for students new to higher education, covering study basics and academic skills
  • a pre-trimester workshop for new students who haven’t studied science before

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