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— updated 2018-03-15

Herbalists' BootCamp
Beginner Tutorial #1:   Introduction, Download

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.
This tutorial series will help you get started using the HerbalThink-TCM software, ensure it is installed correctly, demonstrate how to use important features and modules, and teach you basic principles of Chinese herbology that you can begin applying practically. Successful completion of this series is required for all applicants to the RMHInet brainstorming network and to our professional courses.

Copyright ©2016-2018 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved. Published by the Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute; c/o PO Box 579; Hot Springs, Montana [59845] USA. Education and software for health professionals:   www.rmhiherbal.org

Jump to another tutorial in this sequence:
#1: Introduction; Download #2: Setup and Documentation #3: Self-Study Reference #4: Herbal Tutor #5: Pulse Simulator #6: CaseQuery #7: AutoSage-TCM #8: Completing member/admission requirements

Subtopics on this page…


Tutorial #1:   Introduction, Download



2017 June update to our curriculum

CaseQuery and AutoSage-TCM are two recently added components to HerbalThink-TCM, our clinical/educational software package. AutoSage-TCM is expert-system software for automated pattern recognition of the clinical syndromes constituting traditional Chinese medical (TCM) pathophysiology theory, including quantitative assessment of complex cases characterized by multiple simultaneous syndrome-patterns. CaseQuery and AutoSage-TCM components have been throughly debugged and tested over the preceding year and have now been fully integrated into our curriculum. For more information, see:

By using the expert-system software modules, CaseQuery and AutoSage-TCM, you can begin accessing detailed symptom-pattern analyses of complex health conditions after only 24-48 hours of training and study -- what we call "herbalists' bootcamp". I realize that many will be skeptical of this seemingly outrageous claim, which is why I explain in detail below how you can obtain a low-cost trial (the 'Test' option) of our software package to see for yourself how the process works.

Important note: CaseQuery, our new case-documenting software application, requires learning pulse palpation and tongue inspection methodology that greatly exceeds the accuracy of many conventionally trained acupuncturists and TCM herbalists. If you are currently a TCM practitioner, you must be prepared to greatly increase the accuracy and precision that you devote to recording symptom, pulse, and tongue observations. We have already demonstrated that we can teach this method to novices with no prior TCM experience in 24-48 hours, either in online tutorials or by direct, personal instruction.

Traditional Chinese medicine in crisis?

The profession of traditional Chinese medicine has been in a stealth crisis for many decades. While its popularity among the public has steadily increased, and worldwide sales of Chinese herbal products reach new highs each year, the essence of the tradition has been gutted.

I am, by far, not the first to make these observations. TCM scholar and practitioner Heiner Fruehauf has described in detail how the relentless deterioration of the tradition of Chinese medicine accelerated during the Chinese Communist Revolution of 1949 and years following. Some would argue that it began decades earlier when licensing and regulation of Chinese herbalists was imposed by factions backed by international pharmaceutical companies and the allopathic medical profession.

If you intend to apply for membership in RMHInet or for admission to an RMHI certification course, please read the following article, which explains how this deterioration in education and clinical practice has negatively impacted the quality of care provided to patients and how the situation can be turned around. This article also explains the goals and philosophy of RMHInet.

Do you have the aptitude for successfully practicing traditional Chinese herbology?

  • Do you have patience and empathy in listening to people and accurately reporting what they said? — absolutely crucial for taking an accurate and thorough health history
  • Are you good at explaining instructions, facts, and ideas to others and ensuring that they understand?
  • Do you have a good grasp of reason, logic, and the art of the argument/debate?
  • Are you skilled at using basic computer software? — the vast majority of RMHI's course material is provided as a software package comprising text references, databases, interactive games, and video simulations.
  • Are you careful about following written instructions? (Just as you will be required to follow established procedures in using our software, similar attention to detail is required in understanding the cautions, contraindications, preparation instructions, dosages, and recipes involved in the practical use of specific herbs.)
  • Do you enjoy reading books, news, and articles about health?

Admissions; how to begin

The skilled practice of traditional Chinese medicine has always been recognized as a challenge that few truly master. The sad fact is that, with our deteriorating public schools and plummeting educational standards, even a college degree does not necessarily indicate competence. In fact, after examining 15 years of student statistics, RMHI has found that the extent of an applicant's education is irrelevant as a predictor of success in our courses. Therefore, we have entirely revised and greatly simplified our admissions process. No longer do we require any documentation of education, degrees, certifications, or licenses. Those are all irrelevant. What we do require is that you show that you can carefully follow written instructions, an essential requirement in any distance-learning course, and that you can think independently. You don't need a college degree to become a competent herbalist. In fact, many of our very best students have been people who have had little or no college education. In this modern era of political correctness, our colleges have become centers of political indoctrination and social engineering as their educational offerings have atrophied. Again, I am merely one among many educators, scholars, and journalists to make these observations. •[a1]•

After reading the following article:

Enrollment in and successful completion of Herbalists' BootCamp is a prerequisite for membership in RMHInet and for admission to RMHI's courses.

In Herbalists' BootCamp, you will learn important basic principles of Chinese herbology and will have discovered whether this is something you could become skilled at doing.

To apply for admission to Herbalists' BootCamp, complete the questionnaire below in this tutorial, which requests brief information about your interests and goals.
Your tuition for Herbalists' BootCamp is payable after you have submitted your completed questionnaire for Tutorial #2 and after you have had a chance to download and verify that the HerbalThink-TCM software will work on your computer. After we receive your tuition payment, you will receive activation codes for the Test version-option of HerbalThink-TCM, which provides access to all the introductory course material: texts, interactive games, and pulse simulator modules.

An important part of Herbalists' BootCamp is your making a good-faith effort to carefully follow the instructions in the online tutorials. The software on which our course is based has been thoroughly tested and used for many years by students and practitioners worldwide. 99.9% of users' problems result from not following instructions exactly. Similarly, Chinese herbology also requires careful and scrupulous attention to detail.

Myth: Practicing as an herbalist requires a license.

The following article debunks this common myth:

I myself have practiced as an unlicensed herbalist since 1993, as do tens of thousands of herbalists all over the USA and in many other countries.

Questionnaire #1

Be sure to remain subscribed to our free newsletter for important updates regarding the HerbalThink-TCM software, our curriculum, and admissions requirements.

Copy and paste the following into a text document using any simple text editor (Mac OS X: TextEdit;   Windows: WordPad, Notepad;   Linux: gedit). You will be filling in your answers (between the [[   ]] marks) and then emailing your completed questionnaire to RMHI.

                             [updated 2018-03-15]

ALTERNATE EMAIL (optional):  [[  ]]

SHORT-TERM GOALS (write YES after all that are applicable):
    Purchase HerbalThink-TCM software  [[  ]]
    Enroll in Herbalists' BootCamp  [[  ]]
    Apply for membership in RMHInet brainstorming network  [[  ]]
    Apply for admission to RMHI certification courses  [[  ]]

    CITY:  [[  ]]
    STATE OR PROVINCE:  [[  ]]
    NATION:  [[  ]]

If either of the following apply, you can skip the remainder of this 
    Do you have an existing Basic/Pro license for HerbalThink-TCM?  [[  ]]
    Are you an RMHI graduate or enrolled student?  [[  ]]

Referred by (if you were referred to us by another member, RMHI grad, etc.)?
[[  ]]

***For each of the remaining items, please write several brief sentences.***

BACKGROUND -- education, profession, life experience:

LONG-TERM GOALS you hope to achieve by using the software, e.g.: personal/family 
health, preparing to practice as an herbalist, etc.:

INTERESTS you have regarding human health, well-being, culture, and related 

I understand that my email address will be subscribed to an email announcement/
discussion list (herbalthink-users@lists.rmhiherbal.org) for BootCamp 
participants, in order to help participants successfully complete the BootCamp 
tutorial series. I may unsubscribe from this list at any time.

=============================== END ======================================

Download, installation, and initial setup

The HerbalThink-TCM Test option will provide access to about 15% of the total course material and will allow you to sample all major software modules and features.

After you download and install the software package, on startup the software will indicate that the Free option is activated (this is the default). The Free option will only allow you to verify that your software has been correctly installed and to read the Documentation module.

The Documentation module contains a lot of stuff that most of you will NEVER need to read. The Herbalists' BootCamp is designed to simultaneously introduce you to important theoretical and practical principles of TCM as well as ensure that you understand most of what you will ever need to know about maneuvering through the software.

However, to access any of the course content, you must obtain activation codes for the Test option by completing the next tutorial.

After you email your completed questionnaire to RMHI, follow the download instructions that will be emailed back to you, then complete the next tutorial in this series.

Applying for RMHInet membership or admission to an RMHI certification course

  • By applying for RMHInet membership, you agree to the terms of the RMHInet Member/User Agreement, including its requirements for each class of membership.
  • To be accepted for admission to an RMHI certification course, you must first qualify as an Active Member in the RMHInet brainstorming network by completing all the tutorials in this Beginner Tutorial series.

Please submit your completed questionnaire for this tutorial, then
go to   Tutorial #2:   Setup and Documentation