Herbal Practicum

Top -instructors

Last week I mentioned that I am not enrolled in an herbal class this trimester, but I am enrolled in Herbal Practicum. Herbal Practicum is spent entirely in the Herbal Pharmacy in the clinic and is not a class itself. I spend a total of 30 hours over the whole trimester in the herb room preparing formulas for the interns.

OK, let me back track. As an MSOM student, once you are in clinic, you will eventually be formulating a "prescription" for patients (with faculty supervision) based on their diagnosis and symptoms. The herbal formulas may be "raw" formulas using the live herbs itself, tinctures (a prepared liquid extract of a formula), or tablets.  

I like preparing the "raw" formulas. Not only do I learn to memorize what the herb looks and smells like, but also its properties - hot, warm, cool, bitter, acrid, sweet, etc. As I am preparing the formula by pulling the herbs and weighing them, I can recognize a basic formula but with modifications based on the patient's individual symptoms. Each formula has a chief herb(s) and deputy herbs to assist the chief herb(s). Some herbs are aromatic, meaning they loose their potency quickly in boiling water and should not be cooked for more than five minutes; they are packaged separately for the patient. Likewise, minerals that need to be cooked for at least 30 minutes prior to adding additional herbs, also need to be packaged separately.

Elizabeth -herbs

This sounds like a lot to remember and indeed, no kidding, it is. Herbs are not an easy feat but require a time-consuming dedication that is very rewarding in the end because they just add to a great acupuncture treatment. Herbs are useful when a patient is needle-shy or when the patient wants to achieve ultimate results from treatment.

Last week was also a very exciting week! My cousin had a beautiful healthy baby GIRL, 6lbs 10oz and 19 inches long, on Tuesday morning which brought a flood of emotions upon me especially it being the first baby in my generation of the family.

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