Herbal Medicine Case Study

November 3, 2021

I am currently seeking one prospective patient to be a part of my graduate studies by receiving an herbal medicine consultation free of charge. The cost of the herbs themselves will be the responsibility of the patient though this will be minimal, and detailed cooking and dosing instructions will be provided. I’ve been a student in the Graduate Mentorship Program with the White Pine Institute since March 2021. This two-year remote learning program is taught by the renowned Sharon Weizenbaum, a practitioner, teacher and student of the Chinese healing arts for over 35 years. Beginning in January the case study portion of the program begins and I will work directly with the patient, my teaching assistant and Sharon herself to diagnose the condition, create an herbal formula to address the dysfunction, administer the herbs and assess the results with follow-up treatment if necessary. This program has an emphasis on women’s health including menstrual issues, fertility, and pregnancy and postpartum support, though any and all conditions are welcomed. I am required to do two of these case studies in 2022 so there will be a need for another patient at some point later in the year. 

I’m excited to be a part of this mentorship. I’d known about Sharon and her program for a few years but it wasn’t until the pandemic began last year that I made the decision to invest my time and money in it. It was then that she and some of her students began teaching a free lecture series on different herbal formulas to use for COVID. Because this is an individualized form of treatment there is not one formula that we would give across the board to treat this illness. Rather, we have to assess exactly how the disease is affecting a particular patient in terms of signs and symptoms, and what stage of the disease the patient is currently in. There were around 20 lectures given, each on a different formula and how a patient’s presentation would tell us that that formula would be appropriate at that moment. I was so impressed with the depth and clarity of the teachings that I enrolled right away.

The theoretical foundation of the course is the writing of Zhang Zhongjing, a physician from the 2nd and 3rd centuries whose work was foundational for the next two millennia of Chinese herbal medicine. His book, the Shang Han Za Bing Lun (Treatise On Cold Diseases and Miscellaneous Diseases), has a quality of timelessness and luminosity to it in the way it teaches the reader to efficiently diagnose the core energetic mechanisms that hold an illness in place and prescribe an herbal formula to shift that illness in the direction of health. I was taught herbal medicine in acupuncture school, but the majority of the curriculum did not touch on these classical teachings and therefore did not provide a methodology to be truly effective in the clinic. With this mentorship I am on my way to learning and implementing a clinical approach that I can feel confident will help many of my patients.