Herb Garden

herb garden 2

The legendary developer of Chinese Herbal Medicine and Agriculture Shen Nong, is said to have tasted hundreds of herbal substances to determine their beneficial or toxic nature. The Chinese Materia Medica, now containing thousands of substances, is based on his experiments. The ACTCM Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden shelters over 150 varieties of revered botanical treasures described within the Chinese Materia Medica, including plants used in medicinal healing and cooking. These plants contain potent medicinal properties which are used by Chinese herbalists to optimize health and restore balance.

The ACTCM plant collection was started by former student Robert Newman in 1991, who collected and cultivated many rare species of herbs, some which are seldom grown outside of China. In 1996, a group of students created the ACTCM Garden to conserve this collection. Students continue to maintain and expand the garden as an educational resource for the community.

Garden Blog
Herb of the Week

How to Tour the Garden

The garden surrounds the school; it runs from Arkansas St. through to Connecticut St. and includes many hidden jewels. Labels identify the plants in both pinyin and Latin, and include their nature, taste and toxicity. For general inquiries and tours, contact Admissions at 415-282-7600 ext. 9734 or email actcmadmissions@ciis.edu.

The Philosophy of Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine is based on the Taoist principle of yin and yang carrying qualities of change, fluidity and interdependence. Herbs can be divided into the following categories:

-spicy and warm herbs

-spicy and cool herbs

There are herbs that warm the interior and expel cold, relieve food stagnation, expel parasites, stop bleeding, invigorate blood, transform phlegm, calm the spirit, stop tremors, tonify Qi and blood and so on. Taking Chinese herbal medicine is part of the therapeutic process of healing and herbal formulas are often adjusted to suit the patient’s condition and illness course.

Dr. Dean Ren whose Chinese calligraphy writings grace our garden card, also contributes this philosophical reflection:


Healing and Tao share the same harmonious root, acupuncture and herbal medicine come from the same origin.

Bay Area Herb Gardens

In 1986, ACTCM in cooperation with the garden and the Guangzhou College of Traditional Chinese Medicine assisted in developing the University of California, Berkeley Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden. Visit the website to find out more: http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/.


A special thank you to the Kellogg Foundation, High Falls Garden Fund, Peg Schaefer, Whole Foods Market Potrero Hill, St. Teresa Avila Church, Lahlouh Inc., JCarpinelli Design, Angeli Cheng, Aileen Huang, Dr. Dean Ren, a donor in memory of her grandfather Shui Thuy Luu, and the alumni, students, staff and community who support our garden and continue to give back.

Our Supporters from Herb Garden Project 2014

Nickels for Non Profit – A special thank you to Whole Foods Potrero Hill!

Silent Auction 3-14 – A special thank you to all those who contributed to our auction.

Help the Herb Garden Grow

ACTCM Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden depends on your support to organize public tours and workshops on health and nutrition, purchase supplies, tools and new plants and to maintain its well-being for many generations to come. Please send your tax-deductible contribution to:

The Development Officer
455, Arkansas Street
San Francisco, CA 94107 (check payable to: “ACTCM”)
Or contact development@actcm.edu, (415) 229-7984.


ACTCM Grad’s Chinese Herb Garden Promotes Sustainable Use of Medicinal Asian Plants
ACTCM Chosen as Nickels for Non Profit Recipient

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