After our experience with the class on Processing and Preparation of Chinese herbs we came to a few conclusions (we here is both the royal we – me, myself and I –  and also the we that means me and members of the class). One is that we want a smaller class so that we can have manageable discussions. A second conclusion is that we (aka me) want to have more flexibility about class content and the ability to address issues that are of clinical or theoretical importance to the members of the class. Given this, I have proposed that the following subjects be the basis of the ongoing class. In a given class we will only cover one or two of these things. A third consideration is that we want to have a lot of time for discussion so we will set time during each class for questions and discussions.

Having said all of this, the nature of this course is that we can do whatever we want and undoubtedly will wander off the beaten path into new and foreign lands. What you are signing up for here is six classes of Andy being Andy and you helping him to achieve his goal of passing on as much information as possible to the next generation of practitioners of Chinese medicine.

Here are the categories of learning that we hope to address during the course.

Character of the day: An in-depth discussion of a Chinese medical character. An example is a lecture I once did on the significance of the translation choices for the Chinese characters and (Xu and Shi aka deficiency and excess and repletion and vacuity). This can be found here: 

We will always emphasize the clinical importance of the understanding of the character or characters being discussed.

External applications. Where I discuss a useful external application including its ingredients, how to prepare the liniment, plaster, ointment etc., how to apply the application and what disorders it can address.

Herbs:  Wherein I discuss an herb in detail, tracing its use through the ages and providing any clinical insight about the herb that I can muster. I will follow the format exemplified by this article on Huang Qin: Huang Qin.pdf Download Huang Qin.pdf

Please read this if you have not already done so, as it will give you a good idea of my approach to this type of material. Also, you will definitely learn some useful information! I wrote this in 2003 and I learned a lot by reading it recently.

In some cases, this section of the class will not be as detailed as this article but again we will emphasize the clinical implications of any information presented.

Formulas: This is just like Herbs but with a formula.

Questions and Answers: There will be a section where students can submit questions and I will select some for which I will make a presentation and we will follow that with discussion and questions. Submitted by students.

Case Studies.  Submitted by students and selected by Andy.  The class can discuss the case in detail as we go through the process and the person who presents the case can give us follow-ups as the patient undergoes treatment. Here I will share the diagnostic tricks I have learned from my teachers and ones I have discovered in books and through experience. I am hoping others will share their experiences and tips as well so that we all can learn new ways of seeing and thinking.

Translation or summary of short articles from books regarding practitioners’ experience. In the past month I have had time to read some of the books I have in Chinese that contain interesting and useful articles about various subjects. For example, I am currently reading a book by the modern-day practitioner Wang Qi (王琦) and it occurred to me that you all would be interested in some of the topics he presents. For example, I was reading an article where Dr. Wang discusses herbs that have specialties (like using Ku Shen for heart palpitations, Zhu Ru to staunch bleeding and the use of Shan Zha and He Ye to promote weight loss). This reminded me of the way many of my teachers, after determining the underlying patho-mechanism in a case, would add one specialty herb (or herb pair) to address the main symptom or disharmony. I find that articles like this, based on large amounts of clinical experience, are very useful so would like to present them to you.

This 3 month course includes:

  • 6 Live Classes
  • Ongoing discussions
  • Guided and Independent Research
  • Collaboration

Classes will be held on Thursdays from 2 – 4 pm EST on the following dates:

August 4, August 18, September 1, September 15, September 30, October 13

Price: $600

*This Course will be limited to 12 students.

Andy Ellis first studied Chinese medicine with Dr. James Tin Yau So at the New England School of Acupuncture. He left New England in 1983 to study Chinese language in Taiwan where he apprenticed with Chinese herbalist Xu Fu-Su for several years. Later he studied internal medicine and gynecology at the Xiamen Hospital of Chinese Medicine. While there, he also specialized in the study of acupuncture with Dr. Shi Neng-Yun and dermatology with Dr. Zhang Guang-Cai. Andrew is the founding owner of Spring Wind Herbs in Berkeley, California and has authored, translated, or co-translated several books on Chinese medicine including Grasping the Wind, The Clinical Experience of Dr. Shi Neng-Yun, Notes from South Mountain, Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine, Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas & Strategies, and Handbook of Formulas in Chinese Medicine.

Who Should Participate?

Practitioners or students who want to delve deeply into Chinese herbal medicine from a practical
perspective. When I say practical, I mean clinically useful. Previous knowledge of the following will be
very useful as this is not a class for beginners:

Knowledge of the Pin Yin names of the herbs and formulas. Basic knowledge of commonly used herbs and formulas.

Understanding of the principles of Chinese medicine such as Yin-Yang theory, Five-phase theory, Six-channel theory etc.

Lastly, apprenticeship is a serious endeavor and requires students who are willing to do research and direct and organize their learning. There are no CEU’s for this class and that is a conscious decision based on the supposition that in this class students are pursuing the highest goal: To relieve suffering of
patients and to join in the wonder of transmission and betterment of medical knowledge from one generation to the next.

Please note that this course is not being offered for CEUs / PDAs