Making Herbs


I have probably already shared that Dr. Cai is my favorite professor and clinician, so having a class taught by her is refreshing. I am currently taking Herbal Treatment Strategies with Dr. Cai. The class is small with only five students but it is nice because everyone is able to ask questions or speak up if so desired. I like the fact that we can choose what we would like to learn. The topic each week is determined by the student. Dr. Cai requires each student to give two presentations based on cases of our patients, so in fact it is similar to grand rounds. We present our patient and patient's case to the class.

So for instance, last week was my turn to present a case to the class. My patient's chief complaint is hepatitis B. I prepared a presentation for the class that included the patient's medical history of the chief complaint, TCM 10 questions (for those of you not familiar, 10 questions is one of our diagnostic methods, and we also look at the patient's tongue and feel their radial pulse), TCM diagnosis, treatment strategy, point prescription, and herbal formula.

After presenting my case to the class, any other questions from classmates are directed to the patient. Everyone will look at my patient's tongue and take pulse. Then everyone states what they feel the diagnosis is. (It's kind of like the TV show House because every idea is written on the white board.)  After narrowing down to the correct diagnosis, a formula is selected based on the patient's condition and TCM diagnosis.

Finally, the formula is modified based on the patient's constitution. Herbs may added or removed and dosages modified. The whole three hours is a true learning experience. Each class may be different from trimester to trimester because each student chooses the topic/illness for that week. So far we have discussed herpes, psoriasis, hypertension, abdominal pain, insomnia, ADHD, IBS, and hepatitis, and we still have five more weeks to learn even more. After lecture the patient is needled for free as a token for their time.

I hope I didn't confuse you, and if I did, shoot me an email, I'd be glad to clarify any questions.

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