An area of study in the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine
is herbology. Many NUHS clinic patients receive herbs from the NUHS
pharmacy. The patients typically report vast improvement when
receiving a combination of acupuncture and herbs. One of my
patients agreed to share her herbal treatment experience for this
The patient, Ruth (her name has been changed), is currently
being treated for foot problems. Ruth reported having a bone chip,
torn ligaments and hypermobility found after a foot X-ray and
ultrasound. Ruth reported that she was advised to have no weight
bearing on her foot. She also explained due to previous traumas,
she is unable use crutches and other non-weight bearing devices as
they reactivate old injuries. Ruth explained she came to the clinic
in hopes treatment would help in her foot's recovery process.
At Ruth's initial treatment, she received acupuncture and was
given an external herbal foot soak suggestion to be administered
daily. Ruth chose to follow the herbal suggestion. She was advised
to continue receiving acupuncture every few days. Her future
appointments would include acupuncture and cupping, alongside her
Ruth reports she is using her herbal remedy at home. She has a
special blend of herbs, which help heal and promote the recovery of
her foot. Ruth boils her herbs in cheesecloth, which you can see
from the pictures, and then strains the herbs from the decoction.
The liquid created by the boiled herbs is called a decoction. Ruth
then places ice into the decoction to cool the liquid. Once cooled,
she soaks her injured foot in the decoction for 30 minutes. She
performs this herbal foot soak daily.
Ruth has reported a decrease in pain and swelling since
beginning her treatment plan. I have seen her regularly and notice
a decrease in swelling along with a decrease in tenderness upon
palpation (touch). Ruth has reported she feels that the combination
of oriental medicine alongside her allopathic treatment plan proves
to be a productive choice for her. She has reported that she was
not a "big fan of herbs initially" but understands their benefits
As an AOM student, which includes being an herbal student, it is
very gratifying to see patients receive help through herbs.
Herbology can be a challenging subject. Many times I have
questioned whether or not to be in the herbal program, or to choose
the acupuncture program without herbology. I have always enjoyed
learning about nature and its healing benefits. At times I have
become very challenged by the herbal classes, but it is an honor to
be part of the team helping patients receive benefits from herbs.
Patients such as Ruth help me stay motivated as I see how much this
knowledge can benefit patients.