Chinese Medicine Board of Australia - Guidelines for safe practice of Chinese herbal medicine
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Guidelines for safe practice of Chinese herbal medicine

This FAQ relates to the Guidelines for safe practice of Chinese herbal medicine.

Labels, nomenclature & packaging

Yes. You need to use the authorised pin yin as found in the Herbal Nomenclature Compendium of commonly used Chinese herbs, commissioned by the Board and published here.

No, except when the scientific name is required to clarify potential ambiguity, or if you prefer to use these names in addition to the pin yin. Examples are given in Appendix Two of the Guidelines for safe practice of Chinese herbal medicine.

No, it must be accompanied by the pin yin name, examples of which are given in Appendix One of the Guidelines for safe practice of Chinese herbal medicine. Other members of the healthcare team, or the patient or caregiver, who may not understand Chinese characters, may need to know what herbs the patient is using.
Instructions for preparing or cooking Chinese herbal medicine ingredients should be provided in English and, if desirable, in the patient’s language.
In most instances, the Board strongly discourages repackaging of listed or registered medicines into smaller quantities. Occasionally there may be a valid reason to dispense a smaller quantity of a manufactured medicine for a specific patient or for a specific reason (see section 4.3 of the guidelines).
Although the event may or may not be related to the medicine or treatment, it is the professional responsibility of all Chinese medicine practitioners to report suspected adverse events to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (See section 7 and Appendix 7 of the guidelines for further details).

 No. Reporting adverse events is designed to improve quality assurance in healthcare. It is a public health safety system designed to identify unusual but important side effects. It is not used to penalise people who report it.


Dispensers and assistants

Yes. The dispenser has a duty and responsibility to ensure that the patient understands the preparation and administration instructions clearly. The dispenser must also be prepared to answer questions and to consider the needs of any patients with impairments or disabilities to ensure that the patient can understand how to use their medicine safely.

The registered Chinese herbal medicine practitioner or the registered Chinese herbal medicine dispenser who employs them.


No, this is not a standard form of Chinese medicine practice in Australia and is not taught in accredited Australian Chinese medicine programs.

Page reviewed 30/11/2023