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— updated 2020-04-25


Herbalists' BootCamp
Tutorial #1:   Introduction, Download

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.
These BootCamp tutorials 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 admission to the RMHInet brainstorming network and to our professional courses.

Copyright ©2016-2020 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.

Jump to another BootCamp tutorial:
#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


How to get started

We provide you with several means to gradually explore the HerbalThink-TCM software and our course materials:

  • The Help/Documentation module provides free online access to sample screen shots and several audio-visual tutorials.
  • This Herbalists’ BootCamp tutorial sequence provides you a low-cost way to receive trial access to about 15% of all course material within HerbalThink-TCM and to sample all major software features. Before paying any tuition, you will be able to:
    • Join our online forum for BootCamp members.
    • Download the software package.
    • Verify that it will work on your computer.
    Once we receive your tuition payment, you will receive activation codes that unlock all the course materials you will need in order to complete BootCamp.

Successful completion of Herbalists' BootCamp is required for membership in RMHInet and for admission to RMHI professional courses.

1  Read this tutorial to discover whether your goals, style of learning, and personal philosophy are well matched to our course format and stated mission.
2  Submit your online application for admission to Herbalists' BootCamp.
3  If you are admitted, follow the instructions you will receive via email for downloading and installing the HerbalThink-TCM software package.
4  Complete Tutorial #2 to verify that you have followed installation instructions correctly and that the software works on your computer.
5  Pay the BootCamp tuition fee; personal checks (U.S. only) or Paypal accepted.
6  After we receive your tuition payment, you will receive activation codes to unlock the Test version-option of HerbalThink-TCM, which will provide access to all course materials required for completion of Herbalists' BootCamp.
7  You will have 6 months to complete Herbalists' BootCamp from the date your tuition payment is received. (Estimated actual completion time: 24-48 hours, though you may wish to spend additional time on optional, suggested reading)
8  If you purchase a license for HerbalThink-TCM Basic or Pro within one year of your BootCamp tuition payment, we will apply that tuition payment toward the HerbalThink-TCM license fee. You may install HerbalThink-TCM Test, Basic, and Pro software on a maximum of two computers, if you are the sole user of both. Basic and Pro are perpetual software licenses — no time limitation.



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 ("artificial intelligence") 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 thoroughly debugged and tested throughout 2016-2017 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 some may be skeptical of this claim. Enrolling in Herbalists' BootCamp is an opportunity to experience for yourself exactly how the entire process works. You will be provided access to a low-cost, trial version (the 'Test' option) of our software package.

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 learn a few new techniques for improving the accuracy and precision that you devote to recording symptom, pulse, and tongue observations. In our first year of offering Herbalists' BootCamp, we have 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.

In Herbalists' BootCamp, we explain how flavors provide important clues that help us predict and avoid side effects unique to each individual. The preceding linked article shows you how to begin applying basic principles of traditional Chinese herbology to any herb or food you might read about on the Internet or in textbooks.


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. In a pivotal review of the 20th-century history of Chinese medicine, practitioner and scholar Heiner Fruehauf explains how as Chinese medicine has become popularized worldwide, the essence of this tradition has been desecrated by a combined assault from Chinese Communist ideologues, allopathic medical infiltration, quick-buck marketers and practitioners, and naive westerners who have infused it with their own misunderstandings, fantasies, and delusions. •[a2, a3]•

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 explains the goals and philosophy of RMHInet, which provides members with a solid foundation for restoring thoroughness, accuracy, and integrity to the practice of traditional Chinese herbology. Active participation in RMHInet is required of all enrolled RMHI students.


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 — the type of student we are seeking

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, we have found that the extent of an applicant's formal education is irrelevant as a predictor of success in our courses. (In this modern era of political correctness, many of 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]•)

Consequently, we have entirely revised and greatly simplified our admissions process. No longer do we require any documentation of formal education, degrees, certifications, or licenses; instead, we would rather know about your practical, real-life experiences and what you have learned from these. 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. Many of our very best students have been people who have had little or no college education — we welcome homeschooled individuals.

Please read the following articles, which describe the type of student we are seeking — discover whether RMHI's philosophy and course format is something you would like to explore further:

Successful completion of Herbalists' BootCamp is a prerequisite for membership in RMHInet and for admission to RMHI's courses; you will learn important basic principles of Chinese herbology and will have discovered whether this is something you could become skilled at doing.

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% 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. The preceding article addresses the most common issues/questions that potential students ask us about becoming an herbalist.


Applying for admission

  • By applying for admission to Herbalists' BootCamp and/or 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 successfully completing all the tutorials in Herbalists' BootCamp.

To apply for admission, register to become a new member of RMHI Forums, our own private electronic bulletin-board and social-media platform for our students, graduates, and friends of RMHI. (If you are already a member, please update your profile to reflect your goals and member bio before notifying an Admin of your desire to enroll in BootCamp.)

In the registration form under IMMEDIATE GOALS/STATUS, select the following option (plus any other relevant items):

  • GOAL: Apply for admission to Herbalists' BootCamp.

You will also be asked for   (Note: I recommend that you prepare the following information offline, then copy and paste it into our online registration form.) :

  • MEMBER BIO:  life experience, education/profession, special skills, etc.  — 1000 characters max.
  • LONG-TERM GOALS:  Improving personal/family health, preparing to practice as an herbalist, promoting health freedom and human rights, etc.  — 500 characters max.

After your application is approved by an Admin, you will also be added to an email subscription list (herbalthink-users), reserved for sending out important announcements to all BootCamp participants.

Note:   If you are clearly a serious applicant (and not a Forum spammer), expect a response within several days at most. If you do not receive a reply, it could be due to an email failure. Check your spam folder. Please contact us if you do not receive a reply.

Download, installation, and initial setup of HerbalThink-TCM

After your admission application is approved, log on to your new RMHI Forums account. The software download instructions can be found in the Herbalists' BootCamp section under Introduction and Download.

Problems accessing download page?
  • 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. 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.
  • To access any of the course content, you must obtain activation codes for the Test option by completing the next tutorial.

Please continue with  Tutorial #2:   Setup and Documentation



  • [a1] A collection of articles on the questionable value of a college education. In webpage at:;, a website of libertarian philosophy.
  • [a2] Wicke, R.W.; "RMHInet — a health, wellness, and longevity brainstorming-crowdsourcing network" ("Why have even many so-called alternative modes of healthcare fallen into the same abusive patterns and practices of mainstream medicine?") ©2018; In webpage at: —{{  }}
  • [a3] Fruehauf, Heiner; "Chinese Medicine In Crisis: Science, Politics, And The Making Of 'TCM' "; 1999.   Originally published in The Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1999 October.
    Due to its importance, multiple copies of this article seem to continually appear, disappear, and reappear on the Internet. Rather than include a link here that is likely to go bad, the reader should do a Google search for:
        Heiner Fruehauf, Chinese Medicine In Crisis: Science, Politics, And The Making Of TCM
    Following is a currently (2017-10-14) available link:
          Chinese Medicine In Crisis: Science, Politics, and the Making of "TCM"