Herbal medicine course within pharmacy curriculum

Lana Dvorkin, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Paula Gardiner, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Julia S. Whelan, Massachusetts General Hospital

At the time of publication, Paula Gardiner was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Due to the growing use of herbs and dietary supplements by consumers, pharmacists now need a basic knowledge of this topic for their professional practices. To meet this need, an elective course on herbs and dietary supplements is being taught at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science. The objective of the course is to teach students basic phytopharmacology, counseling skills on herbal medicine, evidence- based resources, manufacturing practices, and dietary regulations. A review of over 50 herbs touches on clinical use, efficacy, safety, and drug interactions. This paper reviews the course curriculum, resources and exercises used throughout the course.