CMPL 2005 Chinese Materia Medica 2

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 400877

Coordinator Yu-Ting Sun Opens in new window

Description This subject completes the study of Chinese medicinal herbs, which forms the basis for Chinese herbal medicine. It covers the commonly used herbs in each of the twelve categories of the Chinese materia medica, including the herbal properties, actions, indications, contraindications and combined usage. It also introduces the basic knowledge of herbal pharmacognosy. This subject also expands upon the student's understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and practice principles. As an indication, this subject includes a minimum of 20 practicum hours at UniClinic, and 24 practicum hours at an external clinic.

School Health Sciences

Discipline Traditional Chinese Medicine

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Pre-requisite(s) CMPL 1002 AND
CMPL 2004

Equivalent Subjects LGYA 7240 - Chinese Herbal Medicine 2

Assumed Knowledge

Basic knowledge on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Materia Medica or successful completion of CMPL1002 Traditional Chinese Medicine 2, and CMPL 2004 Chinese Materia Medica 1 or equivalent.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Apply basic herbal theory and practice;
  2. Identify the major individual herbs in each of the twelve herb categories utilising visual recognition, tasting, smelling and hand examination;
  3. Describe the major individual herbs in each of the twelve herb categories, in terms of properties, functions and contraindications;
  4. Explain known herb interactions for the herbs in each category;
  5. Apply the concept of synergy in Chinese herbal medicine, specifically in reference to the herbs covered in this unit;
  6. Compare and contrast the range of commonly used Chinese herbs in each of the twelve categories.

Subject Content

1. Individual herbs (including commonly used combinations):
- herbs for warming The interior
- Astringent herbs
- herbs for dispelling Wind-dampness
- phlegm resolving, antitussive & antiasthmatic herbs
- herbs for relieving food stagnation
- herbs for purgation
- herbs for arresting bleeding
- herbs for calming The shen
- herbs for extinguishing The liver Wind
- Aromatic substances for Opening The orifices
- herbs for expelling parasites
- herbs for external application
2. Introduction to herbal pharmacognosy
- Plant physiology, Morphology and taxonomy
- major Chemical groups of Plant constituents

Special Requirements

Legislative pre-requisites

Students must meet Western Sydney University course requirements as well as any special, legislated, or policy-mandated requirements.   
There are Western Special Requirements that you may need to meet to enrol into your program of study or subject. There are mandatory NSW Health student placement policy requirements you are responsible to meet to undertake any placement in any NSW Health facility. You must be assessed in the first year of your enrolment regardless of when you expect to go on your first placement. 
Access and read the NSW Student Compliance Information Booklet, ensure that you gather documentary evidence of your vaccination history, complete all relevant NSW Health forms relevant to your campus enrolment requirements, and follow booklet instructions on how to have your compliance documents assessed by NSW Health. 
International students have additional requirements: check the booklet for these additional  requirements.  
School Requirements 
Contact your School for further details regarding your School’s requirements, if any, such as: 

  • If you live outside of NSW or Australia or need to meet a state, territory or country’s compliance requirements 
  • NSW Working with Children Check (WWCC) or another state equivalent, valid for your entire course. 
  • Current approved first aid certificate valid for your entire course - approved course providers can be found at: 
  • Other non-health related requirements.   

Student Compliance Resources are also available on the Placements Hub web page (NSW students only):

Essential equipment

Clinical uniform is required.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Practical Exam 40 minutes 25 Y Individual
Case Study 1,500 words 25 N Individual
Final Exam 2 hours 50 N Individual
Log/Workbook 20 hours at UniClinic Pass/Fail Y Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Yu, C., (2000). A Clinical Guide to Chinese herbs and Formulae. Melbourne: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Bensky, D., Clavey, S., Stoger, E., (2004). Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica, (3rd ed) Seattle: Eastland Press.

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)



Subject Contact Yu-Ting Sun Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Spring (2024)



Subject Contact Yu-Ting Sun Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window