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Integrative Pharmacology: Drugs and Herbs for Natural Medicine Practitioners with Ingrid Bauer, M.D. & Benjamin Zappin, L.Ac.

  • Five Flavors Herbs 344 40th Street Oakland, CA, 94609 United States (map)


This training aims to enhance practitioners’ skills to assess the medications their clients take, to evaluate the potential for herb-drug interactions, and to communicate with prescribing physicians. This 6-part class series reviews major drug classes and herbal action types, as well as individual drugs, herbs & formulas as they relate to major body systems: cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. For each herb & drug class we will:

  • Review the basic mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, side effects, and potential for herb-drug interactions including risky and favorable.

  • Discuss herbal alternatives and complements, and our clinical experiences with helping patients navigate the pros and cons of pharmacologic and herbal therapies.

  • Provide strategies for documentation and communicating with interprofessional care teams--including prescribing physicians--about patients’ treatment plans and health goals.

The course will be case-based, and involve a combination of didactics and small group discussion. Participants are encouraged to submit difficult cases at least 1 week prior to each class, and every attempt will be made to address relevant issues.

Click here for bios of Ingrid Bauer, M.D. & Benjamin Zappin, L.Ac

Course Timeline:

Offered as a 6-week series. Each class is 8 hours of content, 9-6 with 1 hour lunch break (48 Category 1 CEUs total-pending for California L.Ac's-CEP#538). Individual classes available as webinars (registration opening in December).

Week 1  (Feb 11)

  • Part 1: Fundamentals of pharmacology and herb-drug interactions
  • Part 2: Cardiovascular system: antihypertensives, diuretics, lipid-modifying agents, antiplatelet drugs & anticoagulants.

Week 2 (Feb 25): Epithelium

  • Part 1: Respiratory system: bronchodilators, anticholinergics & steroids
  • Part 2: Digestive system: antacid medications, anti-emetics, anti-diarrheal medications, and drugs for inflammatory bowel disease

Week 3 (March 18): Endocrine & Metabolism

  • Part 1: Diabetes: oral hypoglycemics, newer agents & insulin
  • Part 2: Hormones and hormonal–blocking agents

Week 4 (April 8): Immune System & Infections

  • Part 1: Antibiotics
  • Part 2: Immunosuppressants and HIV meds, Hep C

Week 5 (May 6): Pain

  • Part 1: Analgesics
  • Part 2: Chronic pain

Week 6 (June 3): Nervous System & Mental Health

  • Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and neuroleptics


Early Bird (through Dec 1st)

  • Practitioner Full series for $875
  • Student/General public $675

Regular Price

  • Practitioner $1050
  • Student/General $850

Webinar Price

  •  Practitioner $195/class
  • Student/General $160/class

Limited to 30 participants.  Live streaming webinar class attendance unlimited.

Participants at in-person and live streaming webinar will have access to recording of live event for one year.

Individual classes available via live streaming webinar only. No early bird pricing for webinars. Registration opens in December. Please check back!

Refund Policy

Full refunds available up to 7 days before course begins. Thereafter no refunds or exchanges.


What are the goals and objectives of the class?

This class aims to support healthcare practitioners in developing foundational knowledge, clinical skills, and critical thinking related to the intersection of Western pharmacology and the practice of herbal medicine. We aim to support the development of skills to best support patients and clients in navigating safe and ethical choices within the framework of a patient centered collaborative practice model.

Participants in the class who apply themselves can expect to enhance their working knowledge of Western drugs, herbs, and their interactions. Participants can expect to learn about screening tools for the role of drugs effects in clinical presentations, researching health, and critical thinking skills for engaging with patients, other practitioners, and pharmacists.

Who is this class appropriate for?

This class is appropriate for any licensed or non-licensed health care provider who wishes to learn more about the intersection of drugs and herbs in a therapeutic context with the aim of improving the quality of care they can give their patients as an individual provider or in a collaborative setting.

What is the format of the classes?

Each class will center around the drug categories described in the outline. With each drug category we will focus on the following:

  • Mechanisms of action

  • Indications and standard of practice

  • Common adverse effects

  • Drug/Herb interactions existing in the literature

  • Drug/Herb interactions that are theoretical

  • Drug/Herb interactions we’ve seen

  • Complementary and alternative methods to address similar indications where appropriate

  • Case review

Will there be recommended or required reading?

Yes, there will be recommended reading online and from texts. We believe that students will derive the most from our classes if they show up having read the material provided. Some of the material we’ll be sharing will come from accessible text books but much will be coming from academic, medical, and botanical libraries and databases we have access to and we’ll be drawing material from primary research that we will make available when possible.  We will be presenting cases in advance for consideration too!

How science literate do I need to be to benefit from this class?

It will be beneficial to have a basic background in natural sciences to benefit from this class. That said, this class will be taught in such a way that any health care practitioner with an open mind and ear to scientific terminology and pharmacology can master information to support their patients. We recognize that many Licensed Acupuncturists, clinical herbalists, and other natural health care providers may not have received adequate instruction in Western pharmacology, and we aim to fill this void.

What if I’m already trained to use drugs in my medical practice?

We believe that while some of the pharmacology presented will be review for you, the majority of the herb and herb/drug interaction material will be highly engaging. Our goal is to support allopathically trained physicians in understanding how to best support their patients in achieving their therapeutic goals, mitigate risk, and reduce or ameliorate undesirable effects of drugs and believe there will be an immense amount of value in this course. We also believe that it will support allopathically trained physicians in better understanding how to refer to appropriate “alternative” providers.

Will the class be about Chinese herbs too? Will you talk about Western herbs?

This class will be inclusive of a diverse materia medica and formulary that reflects the experience of the instructors and the diverse community of practitioners that we serve as an herbal pharmacy. We will include common herbs of commerce, native plants of the Western states, Chinese herbs and formulas, and herbs used in Ayurvedic practice.

Are you going to teach us how to help our patients come off of drugs? I really want to learn how to do this!  

We will be offering guidance on how to offer patient-centered support for safe and ethical interactions between pharmaceuticals and natural substances. We believe that practitioners ought to only make recommendations within their scope of practice and training and first do no harm. We will focus on how to create a collaborative community of properly trained practitioners to support patients in safely achieving their health goals.

Will I have access to a recording of the classes?

Participants who take the live or online version of the class will have access to the raw recording for one (1) year. This will allow you to catch up with any portions you missed or review portions which we believe will be valuable due to the density of the material.

Will you be making a recorded version available for sale?

We don’t plan to make this available at this time.

What if I’m overwhelmed by the material once I start?

We believe that this course is best suited for students who are looking to apply themselves to the material and integrate what they’re studying into a health care practice. We encourage you to seriously consider whether this topic and course is a good fit for you if you are concerned. Please review the refund policy for our in house version of the course.

Can I take these classes a la carte?

The in-house version of the course will only be available to purchase and participate as a complete series due to limited space and because we believe this will facilitate a better learning community.  The online version of the courses will be available as individual courses.