Model of the brain

Central Nervous System Drugs and Chinese Medicine

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Central Nervous System (CNS) drugs as a class have profound effects and are very commonly used by patients of acupuncturists and Chinese medical practitioners. They also have serious adverse effects, drug-herb interactions, as well as potential interference with Chinese diagnostics. This seminar examines major CNS drugs and the dangers Chinese medical practitioners need to be aware of when combining with herbs and acupuncture. We will look at various types of biomedical treatments for Parkinson’s disease, other neurodegenerative conditions, insomnia, epilepsy, as well as CNS stimulants and opioid drugs. Herb-drug and acupuncture-drug interactions will be explored for each type of drug.

Course Goals

A participant in this course will be able to:

  1. Understand how central nervous system drugs and herbs interact
  2. Identify the most common central nervous system drugs with potential for drug-herb interactions
  3. Explore how major central nervous system drugs act on the body

Picture Information


The shape and structure of the human brain is shown in this wax model. At the upper end of the central nervous system, the model also shows the brain’s connection to the spinal cord. This object would have been used as a teaching aid. Such models were an important part of anatomy teaching due to the lack of real bodies available for dissection.

Maker: Unknown maker

Place made: Europe

Credit: Model of a human brain, Europe, 1801-1850. Science Museum, LondonAttribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)