Substantial complementary medicines (CAM) use is reported worldwide. Australian consumers use CAM for health maintenance, minor self-limiting disease states, and also for chronic conditions. The increasing use of CAM has required pharmacists to become increasingly more knowledgeable about CAM and the ethics of CAM recommendation. When the first Australian non-metropolitan pharmacy program was started at Charles Sturt University, in 1997, it was decided to incorporate two innovative courses to assist rurally educated students to engage with health consumers who expect pharmacists to be able to assist them with CAM. This discussion traces and reflects on the development, implementation and current situation of the Complementary Medicines for Pharmacy course. Over time, this course has evolved from a final year elective with a focus on familiarization to a mandated course with a phytomedicine focus to an integrated topic in final year with a focus on evidence, quality of evidence and professional decision-making demonstrated in a reflective professional portfolio. Of potentially greater importance, however, has been the introduction of complementary medicines as a topic in every year of the course with the goal of facilitating effective professional engagement with health consumers.