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— updated 2006-06-29


Why should you choose RMHI to help you learn Chinese herbology?

If you are considering professional education in Chinese (TCM) herbology, please carefully read this letter first to discover whether RMHI's program and philosophy will be appropriate for you.

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D. -- Director, RMHI

Copyright ©1998-2006 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.


If you have the courage to question disinformation and health propaganda that passes for established "wisdom", if you want to know the truth regardless of mainstream opinion, you've met the first requirements for becoming an effective herbalist. Historically, herbalists have generally been an independent-minded lot, and dare to examine any and all matters that may affect our health and the health of our planet. Whether you are a physician, health care practitioner, or lay herbalist, a touch of the iconoclastic will serve you well in delving into the murky waters of health industry politics, information and disinformation, and scientific controversies.


By understanding TCM herbal principles, you will acquire the means to use ALL herbs and even foods with greater safety and effectiveness in restoring health.

The principles of TCM herbology can be applied to a wide range of clinical and practical situations. If you are not certain why you should study TCM herbology instead of western herbology or allopathic-style medical herbalism, or if you plan to use local herbs instead of those grown in China, the following articles reveal how you will benefit by studying TCM herbology.

Medical research often yields drugs and methods that work very well to alter a specific body function, but create havoc (side-effects) in other body systems. With an understanding of TCM herbal principles you will be able to choose herbs and design clinical strategies that improve overall functioning of the human body without side effects.

Many indigenous cultures around the world have developed rules and systems of herbal usage similar in principle to that of the Chinese. Because the Chinese have developed their system over a period of several millenia and have recorded their methods in written texts, TCM is the most systematic and thorough method of clinical herbal usage today. TCM can be applied to the use of any herb or food and to understand its effects on human health.


To effectively handle many of today's complex chronic illnesses requires that one keep an open mind and have a willingness to pursue the truth wherever it may lead.

Since my early childhood, strangers would often tell me stories and confessions of their most personal traumas and crises. I was puzzled that this happened, preferring quiet contemplation over intruding into other people's business. But later I realized that it was the same wide-eyed curiosity that led me to train as a scientist that also induced people to reveal minute details of their lives to me. I was fascinated with all of the possibilities and choices that people made in their lives, thinking about the choices facing me.

Many years later, this same quality entered into my practice as a TCM herbalist and health care provider. Clients would reveal problems that I had never read about or seen before: claims of mind-control abuse, slow poisoning by biological and chemical warfare agents, exotic food sensitivities. Of course I would try to do my best for these people by giving herbal formulas that I knew, but it was obvious to me that only part of the job of a health care provider is to give time-tested solutions to well-defined textbook problems. The other part of the job requires something much more: the willingless to listen, to maintain an open mind, to investigate the unknown with intuition, reason, and logic, to attempt to solve new problems that invariably arise, and to recognize when to refer clients to others for help. Many health care providers today, including so-called holistic practitioners, are frequently incapacitated by their narrow specialization, too busy to listen carefully, too disdainful of any phenomena not listed in official textbooks, and too quick to judge phenomena tainted by the aura of political incorrectness.

In a past issue of RMHI Herbalist Review on disinformation, we discussed such phenomena as:

  • Diet fads, crazes, and controversies
  • AIDS, including debate about whether HIV is a causative factor
  • Controversies regarding effectiveness and side-effects of specific vaccinations
  • Mad cow disease and differing hypotheses regarding its possible causes
  • Gulf War syndrome

The majority of comments we received were from individuals suffering from these problems who expressed gratitude that we acknowledged the seriousness of these issues. Some sent extensive details of tragic personal experiences that simply helped confirm the volumes of information we already have on these topics. It is to these people that we dedicate our educational efforts.

If one cannot stand the sight of blood, one should avoid becoming a surgeon. Likewise, if one finds it too painful to think about politically incorrect phenomena, then one is not qualified to become a holistic practitioner. Prejudice has no place in the mind of such a practitioner. Clear-headed thinking, compassion, and a willingness to pursue the truth wherever it may lead are essential. As a teacher, I'm not infallible, and I don't expect my students to believe me without question. Instead, I explain how the TCM paradigm as an investigative tool reveals insights into medical and health mysteries.

One can often tell a lot about a person by the people he considers to be heroes. At the top of RMHI's list are the following people:

  • Stanislaw Burzynski, MD, for continuing his research into cancer remedies in spite of vicious legal intimidation by the FDA and vilification by the media
  • Peter Duesberg, PhD, for public exposing in scientific detail the frauds committed by establishment proponents of the HIV-AIDS theory, at the price of being black-balled from future scientific funding
  • Wilhelm Reich, MD, for exposing the underlying psychological and social causes of human violence, sex repression, and child abuse, at the cost of his life
  • Jonathan Wright, MD, who continues to educate his patients in using diet and nutrition to prevent illness, in spite of Gestapo-like FDA raids on his office
  • Ignaz Semmelweis, a 19th-century European physician, who insisted that physicians were spreading disease by refusing to wash their hands between surgeries, and suffered ridicule and humilation for his efforts
  • Jerry Spence, one of the few lawyers with integrity, who dared stand up for freedom of speech and of belief, even for people with whom he disagreed (author of the book, From Freedom to Slavery)
  • Socrates, who 2400 years ago dared to be politically incorrect by questioning the ethics of his own government and country

"The people love to believe that the world is Pure and Good and Beautiful, and that God's in His Heaven and all's right with the world. They want to be free for their nasty little pleasures and little animal enjoyments, or their childish romping and eating and sleeping. A nation never forgives a man who tries to make it think. It will forgive murderers and liars and thieves and exploiters, oppressors and tyrants. But a man who says, 'Let me tell you about your enemies, and what you must do about them, in faith, in justice, in courage and fortitude, lest you die,' will indeed die himself. His people will kill him, themselves..."   — from Captains and the Kings, by Taylor Caldwell

A true holistic health care provider must learn to face the problems of the world and to help others discover the truth for themselves. If history is any guide, these people will always comprise a minority. If you are in this minority, please read on.


Reform of our health care system lies in your hands.

Established institutions, whether medical society or alternative health boards and professional organizations, often lack the will to evolve and to embrace new breakthroughs and insights from other cultures. This is especially true if such institutions will not profit by such breakthroughs. Historian Carroll Quigley reminds us that political, social, and professional institutions invariably tend to become self-serving and corrupted, no longer serving their original purpose; to avoid major crises these institutions either must be reformed or circumvented. The following article examines some of the entrenched economic and political factors that must be overcome to survive the current crisis in health care:

Fertile ideas and seeds of reform often arise from the periphery of a civilization, and in the case of Western civilization, China and East Asia have become one such source of regeneration. Each of us can contribute to the birth of a new era by exploring and practicing these new ideas. From the ideas of Confucius and Lao Tze to the classical writings of Chinese medical scholars, China provides a wellspring of intellectual insight and vigor comparable to that of the European Renaissance. For a more extensive review of historical development of health care and medicine, read

The ancient roots of traditional Chinese health care reveal a universe of philosophical and scientific ideas that exceeds the narrow focus of acupuncture technique and rules for mixing herbal formulas. These ideas and philosophies reach to the very heart of scientific inquiry, and it is this aspect that we impart to successful graduates. We are not interested in churning out more herbal technicians; there are already too many specialists, technicians who call themselves scientists, and so-called holistic practitioners peddling "techniques". The planet is already groaning under the ministrations of specialists inflicting their techniques on nature. The original meaning of holism is a system of thought that cares about the consequences of our actions on everything that we touch. If our clients come to us with health problems related to industrial contamination, poisoned food, biological and chemical warfare, and the social pathologies and corruptions of modern society, we are obligated to observe and reflect on these factors. Mere technicians tend to not think holistically, even if they are using "natural" remedies, since simplified textbook scenarios and cookbook procedures are no substitute for handling the complexities of life.


Join us in exploring the wisdom of the TCM health sciences.

Some schools attempt to teach the wisdom of TCM as if it were a collection of dry and dusty religious dogma. During long periods of cultural decline, as occurred in China from about 1100 to 1930 C.E., rote memorization and devoted copying of classic texts preserved TCM traditions and knowledge. I invite you to join us in reconnecting this wisdom to the problems of modern life.

Having taught professional health care and Chinese herbology courses for over 20 years, I've grown to admire the old-fashioned form of medical education, with its sense of discipline, rigor, and emphasis on skills of observation. Some of the very old doctors trained under this style of teaching became very wise with age. Modern physicians, including many so-called holistic practitioners, suffer from assembly-line education obsessed with techniques, lab tests, and memorization, to the detriment of skills in observation and natural curiosity.

If you intend to become effective in helping people regain their health, and have the self-discipline and commitment necessary to achieve this, here are some reasons why you should apply for admission at RMHI:

  • You will receive personal attention.

    You will receive individual feedback on your progress in homework assignments and case study analysis. Internet e-mail, discussion groups, or phone consultations are available as ways for you to receive help from instructors outside of class time.

  • Homework is meaningful and designed to help you think like a TCM herbalist.

    By analyzing real-life problems, you will learn to avoid common mistakes and to arrive at solutions. In addition to learning about herbs from textbooks, you will taste and experience them by preparing teas from samples and will learn to trust your sensations and perceptions. As a course participant, you will receive help in improving your own health as a first step to understanding.

  • Homework and course material develop your skills in cognition and problem-solving.

    You will complete numerous analyses of practice clients with feedback and guidance from instructors, gradually building your confidence to prepare you for independent practice. You will learn how to achieve clinical results and improve health in a wide range of situations. Carefully designed homework assignments guide you through a rediscovery of the principles and reasoning that ancient Chinese herbalists developed to solve clinical problems: the onset of massive epidemic illnesses during the 13th and 14th centuries, the realization that certain potent medications had side effects, how to rebuild one's resistance following exhaustion, malnutrition, or chemical exposure, and how to tailor diet and herbal formulas to extremes of weather and climate.

  • Interactive-learning software developed at RMHI goes far beyond rote memorization, simulating clinically realistic situations.

    Proprietary, professionally acclaimed software developed by RMHI staff helps you to learn differential health assessment skills that helps you to bridge the gap between textbook theory and definitions and the ambiguities that may arise in actual clinical situations. If you are a physician, the software allows you to quickly reach a level of skill and understanding that would otherwise require years of study by taking advantage of your previous experience in recognizing clinical patterns of symptoms and signs.

  • We help you unlock the secrets of TCM.

    By approaching the ancient knowledge of TCM herbal science with an open mind, and by relating its wisdom to the modern disciplines of physiology, psychophysics, phytochemistry, mathematics and systems theory, you will see the long-held secrets of TCM revealed like a flower unfolding. With understanding (rather than mere memorization of lots of facts), you will realize that there really are no "secret formulas" in Chinese herbology. Instead, the knowledge of TCM forms a highly systematic whole that withstands scrutiny by modern scientific methods, including verification by double-blind experimental studies. By extension of logic, formulation of hypotheses, intuition, and paying attention to one's sensory perceptions, you will have the power to extend this knowledge to solve modern problems: chemical sensitivity syndrome and immune system dysfunction, detecting food sensitivities and allergies, developing better methods for clinical research, and developing better tracking systems in epidemiology.

  • We help you to use insights from TCM to sort through the most important and controversial health topics of the day.

    Because 70-80% of health problems in industrialized countries are related to poisoned food, water, and environment, and iatrogenic medical care, a TCM herbalist must learn to give useful advice to clients to help them overcome these problems. Simply dispensing bags of herbs, with a "see me next week", is not enough, and one who is merely an herbal technician will not be able to handle these problems. RMHI is interested in graduating practitioners who understand TCM principles at a profound level and can use their understanding to analyze people's health problems, to educate them, and to help them solve their problems. To help you develop these skills, instructors discuss serious and controversial topics and show you how to sort through the disinformation and misinformation associated with them.

    Because we are a small school, not an "institution", we are not inhibited by bureaucracies or thought police. We expect each course participant to respect other participants' viewpoints and to approach new ideas with compassion, reason and logic, tolerance, and a healthy dose of skepticism.

  • You receive our continued support after graduating.

    We care about your success after graduation and offer a range of services to help you meet professional challenges. As a graduate, you will be eligible to participate in case consultations with instructors, on-line discussion groups for alumni, referral listings, networking opportunities, and advanced seminars.

To the staff at RMHI, education is serious business. Many of our graduates are like family members to us, and we want to help each of them develop to their full potential. Think carefully about what I have written in this letter, and ask yourself whether your values are compatible with our goals. If not, we respect that your path is separate from ours. If what I've written here strikes a chord of truth within you, we sincerely invite you to contact us to inquire about our programs.

— Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D., Director


See also:   The freedom to inquire — why is RMHI unique?