Monthly Archives: April 2013

Finals!

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Leave it to me to bite off a little more than I can chew. Not only has this trimester’s “finals week” turned into 2 very stressful weeks, however, I decided it would be a good idea to start doing research for an upcoming writing piece I’ve been asked to tackle about acupuncture and patient education! I’m really excited to write it – so excited that I’ve started to distract myself from the obvious task at hand. Instead of focusing on hitting my finals out of the park, I’ve resorted to procrastination. Procrastination is fun; it’s like a credit card, a lot of fun – until you get the bill. The bill is on it’s way for me, so it’s back to studying! In 2 days, I will be a free woman. Stay tuned for some exciting stuff 🙂

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Herbs In America

2013-04-08 15.38.082013-03-11 16.12.15

In the midst of studying for finals and the stresses of everyday life, an interesting opportunity arose. Students enrolled in both acupuncture and herbs received an e-mail from our Dean, Jason Wright, indicating a scholarship opportunity. Although completely buried in homework, reading, studying, and trying to keep it all together, I decided to read the e-mail and open the following attachment anyway. The scholarship offer was from a company called Nuherbs. Nuherbs is a Chinese medical supply company who sells both high quality herbs and acupuncture supplies. The essay topic caught my eye. It said, “How can we encourage the use of Chinese herbs in America?” This got me thinking. Ridiculously enough, although I’ve taken a headfirst plunge into learning The Materia Medica (aka: the herbs bible) I’ve never really contemplated herbal usage in America.

I began to mull this topic over in my head. I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t Americans use herbs? They are all natural, grown on the earth, free of most side effects, effective long term, gentle to the body, and most importantly, they treat the root cause of the problem and not just the symptoms.” This seems like a no brainer to me… and just then I realized – it’s not that Americans are ignoring it, they just don’t know! The answer emerged from my brain – it’s EDUCATION!

It starts with one simple question, “Do you eat food?” This may sound like a silly way to convince the American people that Chinese herbs have merit, but it makes perfect sense. In fact, many of the Chinese herbs used medicinally are actually just “food” to us. For example, we know this long, skinny, crunchy, onion-tasting plant as a scallion stalk, however; scallion stalk, also known as Cong Bai, is used medicinally to promote sweating and release the exterior for early stages of the common cold, kill abdominal parasites, and it can be applied externally as a mixture for swollen, painful, distended breasts and inhibited lactation. This is one example. Moreover, the list goes on and on with plants such as cinnamon (Gui Zhi), ginger (Sheng Jiang), cilantro (Hu Sui), peppermint (Bo He), soy beans (Dan Dou Chi), watermelon (Xi Gua), rhubarb (Da Huang), etc. Americans get uneasy about the names being in another language, but food is universal – we all need it to survive!

Here is what I proposed:

  1. Place educational materials in gyms across the country focusing on individual accountability for one’s health, nutrition, and a holistic approach to medical care
  2. Bombard schools with education about natural remedies with a strong emphasis on Chinese herbs
  3. Lobby insurance companies and worker’s unions for equal policy coverage to clinicians practicing with Chinese herbs as well as acupuncture
  4. Cultivate social media by recording and posting an entertaining educational video on YouTube and encourage clinicians to share this video on their Facebook, Twitter, and practice webpages.
  5. Encourage individuals to talk with their politicians and express the importance of choice and access to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Although more homework is never an ideal situation, this scholarship opportunity allowed me to zoom out and see the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of school and forget your purpose! Now I want to know what you think? Anyone have any other good ideas to encourage herbal usage in America? I would absolutely love to hear other suggestions!

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