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This week I wanted to introduce my pharmacology class. One may think, what? Why is a pharmacology class in an Eastern program? Actually it is essential.

In clinic, a majority of your patients will be taking Western drugs and one should know what drugs they are taking and their mechanism of action. This is important not only if you are recommending herbal supplements, but also if you will be performing any modalities such as fire cupping, which will be contraindicated in a diabetic patient or any patient that may have a decreased sense of temperature.

In herbs class we have learned that there are many herbs that may have a synergist affect on Western medications and therefore would be contraindicated. This knowledge is imperative not only for the patient's health but also for the practitioner. Even though the herbs are from a plant, rhizome, mineral, or animal, they should be handled with the same respect as a Western drug because they have powerful pharmacological effects.

In pharmacology, taught by Dr. Arfeen, we learn prescription drugs and over the counter drugs. We learn the indications, side effects and any contraindications of the med. When a patient presents with a symptom, it is important to differentiate whether it is due to a side effect of a med or a sign and symptom. This is key when identifying a TCM pattern and treating the patient.

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