HERB 541

Toxicology and Safety in Botanical Medicine & Herbal Supplements Online


(Note: This course was formerly numbered TOX 501)

Graduates of this course will be expected to demonstrate an advanced knowledge base of the principles of toxicology (the study of adverse effects from biologically active compounds) and the mechanisms and effects of herb-herb and herb-drug interactions as they apply to botanical medicine. Graduates of this course will be expected to recognize, compare and contrast the toxicology of specific plant constituents and essential oils, different types of adverse reactions, the incidence and relevance of idiosyncratic and allergic reactions to herbal products, and the influence of herbal quality on potential toxicity. Graduates of this course will be expected to demonstrate a practical understanding of the relative risks and benefits of commonly used botanical substances, safety considerations for special populations, how to evaluate and relate herbal concentration and potency to appropriate dosing, and principles of quality control important to the production of unadulterated and authentic herbal preparations.

Graduates of this course will be expected to demonstrate the ability to locate and evaluate, and then compare and contrast knowledge from empirical use with data from current phytochemical, toxicological, and epidemiological studies and databases.

Students will be expected to employ concepts and theory to complete projects, practical experiments and labs, and to critically evaluate various concepts, approaches, methods, and issues in the field in relation to holistic remedies.

Students will also formulate an experiment to prove a hypothesis of their design, analyze their results and present them in a format recognized by the science communities.

Learning Outcomes

  • Historical practices and the comparative toxicology of herbal and conventional substances.

  • The meaning of toxicological terms, methods, and basic concepts.

  • Difficulties in establishing a relationship between herbal use and manifestations of toxicity, including placebo and nocebo effects.

  • Detoxification systems in the body including liver enzymes such as the cytochrome P-450s and actions of the kidneys.

  • The importance of individualized factors in determining dosage.

  • Safety issues and modifications of herbal use during pregnancy and lactation; concerns for children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.

  • The toxicology of different types of compounds found in the most frequently used botanicals.

  • The specialized toxicology of essential oils and their constituents.

  • Toxicological profiles of important and commonly used medicinal plants.

  • Synergistic and other modifications of potentially toxic constituents.

  • Issues of contamination in herbal products (including heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and misidentified plants).

  • How to search the Internet for accurate information on adverse reactions and herb-drug interactions.

More details

Required Course Pack:

  • Online Materials and Library Resources (OMLR)

The HERB 541 Practical Lab Kit includes the following experiential learning supplies:

  • 5 ml Organic Peppermint Essential Oil Mentha xpiperita var. Black Mitcham
  • 5 ml Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil Citrus sinensis
  • 1 oz Organic Calendula Flowers Calendula officinalis
  • 1 oz Organic Comfrey Leaf Symphytum officinale
  • 1 oz Organic Ginger Root Zingiber officinale
  • 1 oz Kava Root Piper methysticum
  • 1 oz Organic Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza glabra
  • 1 oz Oregon Grape Root Mahonia aquifolium
  • 1 oz Organic Senna Leaf Senna alexandrina
  • 1 oz Organic St. John’s Wort Organic Hypericum perforatum
  • 1 oz Organic Uva Ursi Leaf Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • 1 oz Organic Yellow Dock Root Rumex crispus

Required Textbooks:

View the required textbooks for this class, including ISBN, edition, and retail price, by visiting our Required Textbooks page.

Total Course Price:

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Current Instructors:

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Admissions Requirements:

Candidates must possess a baccalaureate degree or higher from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education. Candidates must submit official transcripts directly from the issuing institution along with one professional letter of recommendation. All applicants must be recommended for admission by the ACHS Admissions Committee.

Total Course Price:

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