Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Health Concepts in Chinese Medicine

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via Coursera


Course Overview:

Chinese Medicine and Modern Medicine are two distinct medical systems, yet they both aim at the prevention and treatment of human diseases. With this in mind, we should understand the practice of Chinese Medicine in the context of Modern Medicine.

In this course, we explore the basic theories underlying the practice of Chinese Medicine, compare and contrast the use of Chinese Medicine and Modern Medicine in Preventive Health, and discuss how to restore a healthy condition and understand the pharmacological basis of different types of Chinese tonifying herbs.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:
-              state the important Chinese Medicine literature from 5th century B.C. to 16th century A.D.
-              describe and interpret basic Chinese Medicine theories
-              apply the basic Chinese Medicine theories (such as the balance between Yin and Yang and the interaction among organs) to restore a healthy condition
-              compare and contrast the use of Chinese Medicine and Modern Medicine in Preventive Health
-              explain how the balance of Yang/Qi and/or Yin/Blood can be restored by using Chinese tonifying herbs
-              adapt the Chinese Medicine concepts by reviewing the contemporary researches on pharmacological activities in Chinese tonifying herbs


  • Basic Theories in Chinese Medicine
    • In the first foundation module, students are going to learn basic theories in Chinese Medicine. Please enjoy a series of animations introducing Chinese Medicine History and different Chinese Medicine Concepts. Prof. Ko explains these concepts further in the lecture videos afterwards.
  • Balance and Interactions, and Preventive Health
    • Chinese Medicine concerns about "Holisticity", which involves (1) Yin and Yang balance and (2) Five Elements Interaction among visceral organs. In this foundation module, you will learn the importance of Balance and Interactions, as poor Balance and Interactions lead to body function deficiencies. Common examples of body function deficiencies encountered by many city dwellers are illustrated. Prof. Ko also explains how different Chinese Medicines can prevent and/or treat these deficiencies. Some people may make use of Modern Medicine, such as Vitamins, for preventive health, Prof. Ko also compares and contrasts the difference between Chinese Medicine and Modern Medicine in preventive health.
  • Pharmacological Basis of Chinese Tonifying Herbs
    • In the last foundation module, Prof. Ko explains, in the language of Modern Medicine, the pharmacological basis of different kinds of Chinese Tonifying Herbs - (1) Yang and Qi invigoration, (2) Yin Nourishment and (3) Blood Enrichment, We also look into different examples of Chinese Medicine for their effects and applications.
  • Seminar 1: Yin and Yang: A Pharmacological Perspective
    • Chinese Medicine concerns about Yin Yang Balance, as Yin Yang balance generates Qi, which can circulate along the Meridian and nourish different organs. In this seminar series, Prof. Ko explains how Yin Yang is related to Modern Medicine. Chinese Medicine also believes that Chinese tonifying herbs can restore the Yin Yang balance in body function and hence a healthy body status. The seminar series also describes how different Chinese tonifying herbs can enhance the physiological function by means of activating energy metabolism, stimulating immunomodulatory action, enhancing antioxidation ability, etc.
  • Seminar 2: Yang Invigoration and Yin Nourishment
    • From the previous seminar series, we understand that Yang is primarily related to energy metabolism while Yin is primarily related to the immune system in our body. In this seminar series, we look into the effect of Yang Invigoration and Yin Nourishment to our body, from the biochemical perspective, in the language of Modern Medicine.
  • Seminar 3-4: Qi Invigoration and Chinese Tonifying Herbs for Promoting Health
    • In Chinese Medicine, Yin Yang Balance generates Qi. In the last module of the course, Prof. Ko gives a thorough explanation of the nature of Qi from the biochemical perspective. Schisandra Berry - a common Qi invigorating tonifying herb is used for illustration on how Qi invigoration is important to our health. Due to the gradual change of diseases over the past century from the prevalence of infectious diseases to age-associated diseases, Chinese Medicine is highly regarded as a gold mine for exploring alternative ways to prevent and treat these diseases. Prof. Ko wraps up the course by summarizing the use of different categories of Chinese tonifying herbs and when we should use them for preventive health.

Taught by

Robert Ko


4.6 rating, based on 95 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 365 ratings

Start your review of Health Concepts in Chinese Medicine

  • Hello my honorable professors, I have learned a lot through this course and I hope you will provide us with more research information that you have reached, which is how to make medicines with Chinese medicinal herbs
  • I am in my retirement age, with a lot of free time, so I did the course in about a week instead of six, just one lesson per day, I am doing it fine.
    I hope this course will offer in another language such as Cantonese, easier for me to pick up the main Chinese Medicine concept, sometimes I have tough time to link the English terminology into the Chinese.
    Enjoy the course very much, wish to study more if they are available, thank you.
  • Anonymous
    Spending my entire career working as a registered nurse in Western modern medicine, I initially felt overwhelmed with the theories behind Chinese Medicine. As the course progressed and the theories were explained on a cellular level, I gained a greater understanding and respect for Chinese Medicine theories. I enjoyed this course immensely. It provides the opportunity to consider how Chinese Medicine can be applied to our present treatment options.
  • Anonymous
    This course was valuable for my personal introduction to Chinese Medicine Health Concepts because I am interested in integrated medicine and not a fan of biomedical. My mother healed herself of more than 6 cancers over 25 years and her only response when they would ask her was "My mind is my health", she used herbs, exercise, and nutrition. I am a firm believer in "The body can heal itself", the biomedical evidence, and "The placebo effect". I actually applied what I learned in this course about Chinese Medicine to my own health. I am getting great results.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent foundational course in Chinese Medicine, presenting a thorough and well-rounded approach to understanding the basics of the field. Highly recommend for anyone interested in the topic, whether as a compliment to Western medical studies, as a first step toward a TCM career, or just to enhance one's own health journey.
  • Anonymous
    The course professor was wonderful, clearly knowledgeable and well spoken. However, the quizzes and the final did not relate well to the information provided. I felt concerned with the grading. However, again, the professor was wonderful, engaging, and clearly knows his subject.
  • Anonymous
    Good course but there are problems in the automatic corrections of the different quizz.

    Also the traductions from english to other languages are not always correct.
  • Anonymous
    I have never attended such an amazing and knowledge based course , the knowledge I get through this course helped me a lot in making my concepts in holistic medicine I also referred this course to my friends .
    Thank you University of Hong Kong and thank you sir Robert
  • Anonymous
    The course covered well the history and fundamental concepts in Chinese Medicine. I liked the mentor's effort to connect ancient health concepts to biochemical processes in modern science.
  • Anonymous
    Fantastic introductory course for an extremely complicated and involved subject. I'm excited to continue learning about Chinese medicine with the foundation I've received here!
  • Anonymous
    The course is great and the knowledge that is departed by the university is one of the best..hope to see myself working on the concept of this great theory of Chinese medicine
  • Profile image for Beverly Coon
    Beverly Coon
    Thank you for sharing information. This was really useful and I hope to see a Chinese doctor again one day.
  • Anonymous
    Master thank you very much the course is wonderful great.
    The course is good for healthcare professionals the ideal course.
    Has a broad view of Chinese medicine for Dr. Robert.
    I loved it great congratulations to your team too stay with God.
    Thank you, cordial greetings.
    对中医有广阔的视野。 博士学位。 罗伯托。
  • Anonymous
    I have a better appreciation of the Yin/Yan, five-element, meridian and Zang Fu theories from taking this course. The reading materials on Yin, Yang, Qi, and blood tonics are valuable for getting a basic understanding of tonigying herbs. I also enjoy the comparison and contrast between CM and western medicine, particularly how mitochondria and ATP production is related to Qi.

    It's been a rewarding learning experience.

    Thank you, Professor Ko, for an outstanding course!
  • Anonymous
    This course provides a good overview on health setting a good foundation of introductory knowledge in Chinese Medicine based on the Yin & Yang theory in relation to the 5 Elements, its effects on the main organs & some common herbal medicine relate…
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course! Thanks! But with a bias in Chinese tonic herbs. Some topics are difficult due to the specific names of Chinese herbs. I liked the parallels between the ideas of Chinese and modern European medicine about energy processes in a person. The main theories are given simply and clearly: Yin-Yang, The Theory of 5 Elements, Zang Fu Organs, etc. Thanks!
  • Anonymous
    It's a great course , it provided me by alot of info
    Which one of the following Chinese Medicine
    literatures in the Ming Dynasty detailed over 1,000 illustration of medicinal
    materials and 10,000 prescriptions?

    1 point

    Huangdi’s Classics on Medicine

    Shen Nong’s Classic on Herbalism

    Jin Kui Yao Lue

    Compendium of
    Materia Medica

    Shang Han Lun
  • Anonymous
    Thank you sir for all the explanation on Chinese medicine concepts I am highly grateful. This course gave me the knowledge on how to prevent health related diseases based on an energetic point of view and in addition to that it tries to give the int…
  • Anonymous
    As a doctor, I find the course quite repetitive. I expected a more in-depth discussion on Chinese medicine through the lens of a Chinese medicine doctor. It feels as if it's being marketed that Chinese medicine "works" with all the medical concepts that I already know. I would rather learn it from a different perspective rather than through cellular, molecular perspectives. Yes, it's nice to have the correlation but not to be repeated over and over again
  • Anonymous
    This course is great for absolute beginners in Chinese Medicine. I learned more about the theories, how they connect, and how these concepts relate to Western Medicine. Overall, this course was a great introduction, and I plan on taking other courses to create a foundational knowledge of Chinese Medicine.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.