CSPH 5421 - Botanical Medicines in Integrative Healthcare

This course is offered completely online. 


Course Description:

Botanical medicines have been used since ancient times in many cultures yet it is still not a significant part of what is considered “traditional” medicine in our current healthcare model in the United States. Yet there is a growing interest among people in the U.S. looking for alternative treatments for a variety of common illnesses due to concerns of safety, efficacy, and a desire for more “natural” products than more conventional pharmaceuticals. However, despite this growing interest, healthcare providers may have little to no knowledge regarding botanical medicines in regards to their therapeutic properties, efficacy (or lack thereof) and/or adverse effects. This is further compounded by a wealth of information on botanical medicines in the media and internet, much of which may be misleading and can lead to confusion regarding botanical medicines. The goal of this course is to learn basic properties and preparations of the most common botanical medicines in addition to their therapeutic effects for common disease states. Students will also learn about regulations, quality control, and safety concerns regarding use of botanical medicines. Included in this course is a discussion on the frequently overlooked botanical medicine we use everyday: our food! Relevant plant-based foods will be discussed periodically throughout the course to provide a practical application of the material learned in this course.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Differentiate among common forms of botanical medicines and describe their historical and current medicinal applications.
  • Explore use of botanicals to manage symptoms of common conditions and/or to promote wellbeing.
  • Discuss health benefits associated with specific foods and nutrition strategies.
  • Discuss overall botanical actions and methods for creating botanical preparations.
  • Identify potential for herb-drug interactions and other potential contraindications and considerations for special populations.
  • Discuss quality control and safety issues associated with botanicals, as well as legal and professional factors that have an impact on using botanical medicines in practice.
  • Integrate experiences with different botanicals and nutrition into your daily life.
  • Analyze the characteristics and applications of selected plants using conventional scientific literature review and principles of herbalism, comparing and contrasting the knowledge and experience gained by each method.

Course Details

Course ID: 
CSPH 5421
Graduate Students, Undergraduate students with junior status or above, or instructor consent.
Semesters Course Offered: 
Course Flyer: 
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