China Trip 2017 Part 2: The Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine

In September I had the fortune of visiting the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NUCM or NUTCM), located in the Jiangsu province of southern China.  NUTCM is the university where I completed an official externship back in 1999, shortly after graduating from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.  At that time, I trained with Dr. Min Zhong Sheng, Director of Dermatology of the First Provincial Hospital of TCM and with Dr. Xiang Yi, the director of the Acupuncture Department… both were astounding practitioners and patient teachers.  This time around was less formal and I got to see many aspects of the hospitals and university that I missed (or that did not exist!) during my official externship 18 years ago.  I am so grateful to my beloved teacher Dr. Hong Jin of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), Portland, Oregon, for allowing me the honor of these experiences in China.  It is her stellar relationship with NUTCM that afforded me (and the recent graduates of OCOM) the opportunity to observe with the best of the best doctors at NUTCM.  Dr. Jin not only graduated from the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but she was a respected and revered teacher there for several years before coming to teach in the United States.  Without her connections and efforts, neither of my learning experiences in China would have been possible.  Thank you Dr. Jin!

I took as many photos as I could during this whirlwind trip in September and I hope they give you a glimpse into the world of Chinese Medicine as it is practiced in China, as well as insight into the daily life in one of China’s largest cities.  In PART 1 of this series I shared photos of what is is like behind the scenes inside the Chinese Medicine teaching hospitals and herbal pharmacies associated with NUTCM.  Here is PART 2 in this series of posts:  The new campus of the Nanjing University of (Traditional) Chinese Medicine. It is unbelievable how much the university has expanded in the past 18 years.  The old campus was modest and located in the heart of the city center.  The new campus is relatively enormous in comparison and is located on the outskirts of the city.  Here are some of my favorite snapshots of it.


Before we get to the photos of the new campus, here is something I loved from the older campus of the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in downtown Nanjing. This isn’t just painted, it is carved into the boulder. Dr. Jin told me it translates as “Follow your instinct.”


Life-sized Acu-man! This model of the acupuncture points was gorgeous. And he matched the decor of my clinic perfectly . But he lives in a classroom in the international training building on the old campus of the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Hanzhong Road. You can see a bit of downtown out the window behind him.


Near the entrance to the new campus of the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. This field of poppies preceded the medicinal herbal garden.


Our wonderful group of graduates from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, our exalted leader Dr. Jin, and our gracious hosts from the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (NUTCM). Here we are on the new NUTCM campus, just adjacent to the medicinal herbal gardens.


At the medicinal herbal gardens on the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine campus. The little prickly fruits on this plant are the herb Cang Er Zi. These are not yet mature. The processed herb is used to treat runny nose and sinus congestion. I put it in just about every patient prescription for seasonal allergies. The raw/unprocessed fruit is toxic.


At the medicinal herbal gardens on the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine campus. This shrub is gardenia. The green fruits are immature now but as they age they will become the common Chinese Medicine herb Zhi Zi. I use this herb everyday and it was so cool seeing how it grows.


At the medicinal herbal gardens on the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine campus. The fruits growing on this hawthorne tree are the Chinese Medicine herb Shan Zha. It is used to treat digestive issues most commonly, but in dermatology we use it to address oily skin in acne.


This is one of my favorite herbs! Isatis tinctoria, or woad. From this plant we get 3 of our Chinese Medicine herbs: the root (Ban Lan Gen), the leaves (Da Qing Ye) and a powder made from the processed leaves (Qing Dai). All 3 of these herbs have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic properties. They are used to treat so many symptoms and diseases. In my clinic I use the herbs to treat viral infections and psoriasis. A picture of this plant is even on the labels of our Qing Dai Gao ointment.


We get several medicinal Chinese herbs from this pretty purple plant called perilla. The 2 most common are: Zi Su Ye (the leaf) and Zi Su Zi (the seed). The seed is used to treat coughs…I use it often in formulas. The leaf has anti-emetic and anti-allergy properties, making it especially good at treating nausea and vomiting for morning sickness or food poisoning, or more specifically for seafood poisoning or allergy. Have you ever wondered why the pickled ginger you get with your sushi is pink? That’s because it is pickled with this purple leaf to enhance its ability to protect against seafood toxicity.


This is Yi Mu Cao, aka leonurus or Chinese motherwort. The aerial parts (the portion above ground) is that part of the plant I use. Everyday in my clinic, this herb goes into a patient’s prescription. I most commonly use it for skin conditions that worsen right before a woman’s period, especially acne. It’s indispensable when there are painful menses with clots in the blood. As much as I love the media qualities of this herb, I’m no fan of how it smells. It smells like really bad skunk weed (marijuana).


This is the plant that gives us the herb Xuan Shen, scrophularia root. I love this herb! I use it both topically and internally for skin conditions where there is both Heat and Dryness, such as eczema. This root Cools the Blood, Nourishes Yin and Relieves Toxicity. I love it for post-menopausal skin and anti-aging prescriptions as well. I often put it in custom facial masks that I blend for my cosmetic acupuncture patients.


This lacey-looking weed at the center of this photo is actually a very powerful medicine. This is Qing Hao, Herba Artemesia annuae. It is considered by the WHO (World Heath Organization) to be the source of the most effective treatment for malaria. I use it in my clinic for 3 main conditions: giardiasis, common colds in the summer months and any skin condition that is the result of sun allergy or sun damage.


An immature Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) growing in the medicinal herbal gardens of the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are ripe when they turn red.


One of my most-used herbs: Dan Shen (salvia). Here is the full plant growing in the medicinal herbal gardens on the campus of the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We use the root of this plant in Chinese Medicine. It is often used in the treatment of cardiac diseases but I use it in dermatology all the time. It goes in to just about every formula I write for female hormone-related acne.


Hee-hee…I’m pretty sure they meant “Not Recyclable”.


This is the building at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine where the pulse diagnosis lab is housed. You will see the pulse diagnosis training machines in the next few photos.


This, my colleagues and Chinese Medicine students, is a pulse diagnosis machine. At the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine they have a lab room full of these devices to teach students to feel/interpret the pulses in a consistent way. I wish we had such advanced tools to train on for pulse diagnosis when I was school 20 years ago!


I was surprised at how these devices felt under my fingertips…very easy to press at the synthetic wrist and feel the “pulse” below. The machine sends out a wave of varying shape, length, frequency, and intensity to consistently train TCM students on the subtle art of pulse diagnosis.  All the main pulse types can be presented.  The screen shows the wave type and has a detailed description of how it should feel and how to clinically interpret such pulses in the real patient.


Here’s the screen of the pulse diagnosis machine. I’m sorry I didn’t think to take a few photos of the different screens showing each pulse condition. This really is so cool.


Another view of the cool pulse diagnosis machine in the pulse lab at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. These machines can send out all the different types of pulse signals: wiry, slippery, choppy, thready, irregular, short, long, etc. Because they are so consistent, I really think these are a great way to master the basic pulse qualities.


A small section of the many buildings that make up the classrooms of the new campus of NUTCM. The dining halls and dorms were located adjacent to all these teaching buildings.


At the library of the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine.


At the library of the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, in the medical texts wing. Each one of these volumes discusses one single classic herbal formula…an entire book just for ONE formula! Remarkable.


Another view of the impressive library at the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. It has 3 floors.


The logo at the bottom of a sign hanging from a streetlamp on the campus of the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. I like the acupuncture needle underlining it all.


An extravagant feast of dishes cooked with Chinese Herbs was specially prepared for our group. It was an honor to know what effort was put into this meal just for us. Cooking with medicinal herbs is not the same as preparing dishes with culinary herbs and few chefs are skilled in such a craft.  I wish I had taken more photos during the meal, as they brought out dish after dish of exquisitely-prepared and lavishly-presented foods made with medicinal herbs.


This refreshing drink was made with Shan Zha (the hawthorn fruit you saw growing on a tree in a previous photo above) as well as other herbs. It was like nectar from the gods because it was more cooling than iced tea…which was a relief since it was hot as Hades at dinner that evening and were all sweaty from the long day and the long walk to the dining hall.


That giant Lazy Susan at the center of the dining table is typical of family style dinners served to large groups like ours. Everyone got to taste every dish they wished. The Lazy Susan worked overtime!


Pigeon soup with medicinal herbs. I’ll be honest, I did not eat this.


I hope you enjoyed this brief insider’s view to parts of the new campus of the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine.  In PART 3 of this series, I will take you to the streets of Nanjing and show you around town.  I also will show you some beautiful ancient architecture from some of the beautiful tourist destinations around Nanjing.

Tags: acupuncture, china, china trip 2017, Chinese herbal medicine, chinese herbs, Chinese medicine, jiangsu, keep, nanjing, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, NUTCM, traditional chinese medicine, travel

Topics: Chinese Medicine, Herbs for Skin Care, News & Events

Publish Date: November 15, 2017     *Articles may include updates since original publishing.

About the Author ()

Diana Hermann is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She received her Master Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, OR and trained in China at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Diana treats patients in her Fort Collins, Colorado clinic and hand crafts herbal skin care products for her company Zi Zai Dermatology. In 2015, she completed the Diploma In Chinese Medicine Dermatology program from Avicenna in London, UK. She completed the program for a second time in 2019 in Chicago.

Comments (3)

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  1. Dianna, thank you for sharing your trip and great photos as well as the pictures of herbs in the campus garden, I was in NanJing recently in July and boy was it hot, there with Suzanne from Chinese Medicine Traveler, doing Clinic with one of her teacher Dr Tao in his private clinic, take care have a great Xmass and New Year, regards Victor.

  2. Sarah Bentolila says:

    I lived in Nanjing for 6 years and graduated from their 5 year Benke Program. I never really took beautiful photos of my school so I’m super happy to have found this article. I stumbled on it after buying some of your products.
    Awesome shots!

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