Archive for tag: herbs

Fine Farewell

Two weeks until graduation, but this will be my last blog. This past week has been crazy. I think I have spent every extra minute studying for my HB Kim herb test as well as my herb board. I will admit I am burned out. As much as I study, sometimes I feel as if it goes in one ear and out the other. This may be in part due to plans of my future business rolling around in the back of my mind or the valedictorian speech I need to write. It seems like every minute counts in these last few weeks.

As much as I feel I have studied for my herb test, in actuality I have yet to even conquer all the information. I have found that spending extra time in the herb room with the herbs and preparing formulas for the other interns has helped me remember the herbs better. I am a visual learner, so seeing the herbs over and over again actually helps me remember what they do. So, if you are thinking about studying herbs, the herb room may benefit you as well.

My fellow graduate has passed three of his board tests so I shouldn't be worried about taking them. National's classes really do prepare the student for the boards. The key to success, however, is to stay on top of your studies and don't wait until the last minute to cram. Cramming may allow you to pass the test, but when it comes to board or comp exams, it just won't cut it.


My fellow student Kim (pictured above) will be taking over the AOM blog (view Kim's blog). She transferred in from another TOM school and is sure to shed a new light of comparisons between schools. She comes with a lot of experience having worked with an acupuncturist in the field, and may share that with you, too. I had hopes of shadowing a few acupuncturists but unfortunately with my schedule I was not able to.

So my last word of advice is: If your schedule allows, try calling an acupuncturist in the area and asking if you may shadow them for a few days to experience how an actual practice runs. They have much information that may assist you in the future.

Well, it was my pleasure sharing my school experiences with you and I hope it has shed some light as to what it is like to be a student at National. In good health :)

Editor's Note: Congratulations, Elizabeth, on your achievement as the valedictorian of the Summer 2011 graduation class, and best wishes for an exciting and successful practice.

Never Ending Herbs

Last week I shared with you my HB Kim seminar class. This week I am going to tell you a little about what we do in the class. I mentioned that we attend 3 Single Herb classes, 2 Formula classes, and 6 seminar classes, which discuss topics from internal medicine and OB Gyn to dermatology. We utilize our knowledge of the basic classes to help formulate prescriptions for the case subjects of our senior classes. However, I have to say, nothing compares to the insane amount of material we go over in two weekends and then have to study. Insane is good, but hard. 

Elizabeth -chart _web2

Now, I don't want to scare you, but do want to give you the reality of the program. Mind you, we have reviewed all of the herbs and formulas before. However, the overwhelming factor kicks in after the fifth hour on Sunday when you have just gone over 199 herbs and have 50 more to go. Next week, we are reviewing 134 formulas in 15 hours. Each formula consists of many individual herbs as well as dosage, which we need to memorize. 

Elizabeth -herb -cards _webWe have a quiz next week, which I am studied for this past Memorial Weekend. The quiz will cover herb categories. This will probably be the easiest test we take in our herbal ventures. As students working in the clinic, we do use and see a lot of the same herbs over and over, but there are a few that escape your memory and those are the herbs and formulas we will study the most.

I plan on using my formula zoo cards to help me study for the formula portion. These cards were an investment, but definitely worth it if you are a visual learner like I am.  The cards contain funny pictures to help you remember the formulas' functions and properties (cooling, warming, bitter or acrid etc.). This trimester I definitely have my work cut out for me. It will be a challenging but a rewarding semester.

P.S. If you haven't checked out the school's new and improved website, go and explore!  See you next week.

Coming soon, I will update you on our graduates in China!

Oh, What a Trimester!

Oh, what a week it has been. Wednesday, I took the biomedicine portion of the board exam and what an exhausting day! The test was 100 questions with a time limit of 2.5 hours and I took the whole time. I think that was because by the time I took the exam, I was so burned out from studying for it that my brain was moving at snail's pace. I studied materials that were specifically geared towards boards plus all of my class material - pathology, orthopedics, pharmacology, microbiology, CPR, clean needle technique, physiology, and other materials. 

Needless to say, I think every student walks out of boards saying, "Oh my gosh!" From what my friends that took the boards said, I definitely had different questions. I feel National gave me sufficient biomedicine classes plus everything from my bachelor's, and I felt I was ready to take the exam. However, after taking the exam, I would like to see more case studies being utilized in the classes. I am confident I passed the exam but without knowing for sure I am still a little uneasy. So wish me luck! 

No Time for Rest

This weekend I had my second HB Kim seminar. This seminar was focused on "Herbs and Formulas." The class is held over two weekends (Saturday 8-6 and Sunday 8-3) because HB Kim travels from Kentucky to teach it. I enjoy the class and the material but it is a lot of information to process in one weekend. 

Web _Elizabeth -seminar"Herbs and Formulas" seminar with HB Kim.

Dr. Kim provides excellent handouts and he presents in a way that engages all learning styles. He is a wealth of knowledge and he makes the class very enjoyable. He has studied extensively with many famous doctors and he has read and interpreted all the Classics of TCM. The students have all had three materia medicas, two herbal formula classes, and some senior seminar classes. We have learned all of the herbs and formulas, but seeing them again in a different format with a different teacher brings a different perspective. He also discusses things such as Dui Yao, or two herb combinations, that we are not formerly taught. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Kim and his classes. I think National is extremely lucky to have him. 


This trimester has brought much change to the clinic environment. Most of the change is good and the rest just needs mending.

Previously, we saw three return patients a shift, with approximately an hour and 15 minutes for each patient. Currently, we have two shifts, one from 8 am to noon and the second from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. That also may be changing with the addition of students to the clinic shifts. There has been talk of schedule changes this whole trimester but they finally have been implemented.  

The new schedule

The new schedule allots an hour for a return patient and an hour and a half for a "new" patient (previously two and a half hours). The "new" patient visit lasts longer because a full exam and history must be done. An exam includes blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration and temperature, and it can include orthopedic and neurological exams. A chiropractic intern joins us to ask any additional questions and provide a western diagnosis for insurance and charting purposes. In Illinois, acupuncturists cannot diagnose a patient with a disease. The new patient also receives acupuncture and herbs, if necessary. So with the new schedule, this is all done in an hour and a half, an hour shorter than the previous time schedule.

A positive is the student is faced with a realistic time slot for future practice arrangements. For me personally, I think it will be a big challenge to get a full history and exam with the allotted time, especially with all the discussion that is involved with the clinicians that also takes time. Another positive to the new schedule is that it will eventually allow the intern to see four patients a shift. This will add ease to those that are behind on their numbers to graduate.  

Another change

The other change is the individual evaluations given daily by the clinicians. Each intern will be evaluated by his/her clinician daily with a weekly prognosis sent by email. I appreciate this because the intern can see their growth through their time as an intern.  It can also be a good tool for the student to ask questions on how to improve if their comments did not meet their expectations.

Currently, the process is in a transition because each clinic shift receives a letter grade that reflects our number score of the average of the evaluations. We as a student body are requesting that this change to a pass or fail system, so as it will not affect our grade point average. This is important to those that rely on scholarships to help fund their schooling. It is hoped that with time everything will fall into place.

Top -dr

Dr. Hyundo Kim is pictured above. He is my Monday clinician as well a previous professor. Dr. Kim provides us with much knowledge of differential diagnosis as well as how to create great herbal formulas.

9,000 Needles

Top -9000needles

All those wondering about the effectiveness of acupuncture should save the date, 3/15 and 3/16 at 7pm to come to National University to see the famous film "9000 Needles." The film follows a 40-year-old stroke victim who after exhausting all of his other options travels to Tian Jin University in China, to see what acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has to offer in aiding his recovery. After the film, one of my favorite professors will be speaking about his experience with stroke. Dr. Yihyun Kwon received his DAOM in China and wrote his thesis on stroke.

So don't miss it!!  The film will be showing in our Student Center. Hope to see you there :)

Psychopathology Midterm

Hey there, everyone, well I made it through my psychopathology midterm.  It was as I predicted, hard. There were 10 questions, three of which were essay and the others short answer.  One of the short answer questions was a seven-part essay with in-depth descriptions in each part. We had two hours in which to complete the task and I, like always, used the whole time but definitely could have used another half hour. I guess I am just a slow test taker.  

Herbal Seminar 4 Midterm

My second test was on Friday and even though I have studied throughout the trimester, I still feel like I didn't have a grip on all of the info, however, the test wasn't that bad. Herbal Seminar 4 also was essay and short answer questions. Essay questions are practical in this part of our education because they simulate a real patient. These herbal seminar classes take herbs to another level because not only do we need to know the function of the formulas (in pinyin), but also we now have to memorize every ingredient and dosage. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining; I am preparing those future herbal students for what is to come.

So much coffee has made it difficult for me to sleep and a few nights I don't fall asleep 'til 4:00am, which is frustrating. So I did my body a favor and went to get acupuncture myself and Dr. Cai helped me modify a few formulas to suit my TCM pattern diagnosis. 

Elizabeth -Granules

Granules are an addition to the herb room. Granules are raw herbs but better because they are already cooked and all one has to do is dissolve them in hot water and drink. So of course, with my hectic schedule I prepared them in granule form. They look and smell so good. A plethora of colors!  But don't worry we still offer raw herbs and patent formulas.