My practice is called The Herbal Kind and I chose that name because my passion is herbal medicine and it is a significant part of my practice. I chose to go to school for herbal medicine first, then acupuncture. One of my goals was to bring an awareness to the natural options people have to choose from when improving their health including herbal medicine and acupuncture. I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine and specialize in Women’s Health, Fertility, and Internal Medicine. I enjoy treating complex cases with herbal medicine and acupuncture. I’ve been practicing for approximately 13 years and can’t imagine doing anything else for a living. Another interest of mine is teaching. I enjoy educating patients on their health conditions as well as teaching Chinese Medicine students and practitioners herbal medicine.
I think you need to start simple when beginning your herbal practice and building your herbal pharmacy. First, it is important to do the research and ensure that the herbs that you have in your pharmacy are high quality and free of any toxicity. You want to know what you are giving your patients and feel good about the product you are supplying to them. Second, start with a few herbs that make up some common formulas based on the population you see. You may also make this decision by the seasons. For example, you may have Yu Ping Feng San and Yin Qiao San on hand in the fall and spring because you may encounter more people suffering from cold, virus or allergies during these 2 seasons. I think for patient compliance, you first have to come across confident about your decision of prescribing a formula and let them know up front what they will experience. I always prepare patients that the herbal medicine doesn’t taste sweet and it’s not supposed to. Explain to them that it is medicine and plant medicine from the earth!! Also, assure them they have options if for some reason a granule formula or raw formula doesn’t work for them. I have granules and pill form in my clinic. Be sure to give clear instructions and write them down for the patient to take home and follow. Follow up with patients regarding how they are taking the medicine, to make sure they are taking it correct.
One of my favorite success stories was a fertility case that I had 2 years ago. A 35 year old woman presented with pre mature ovarian failure. Her cycles were 19-30 days long. It varied month to month. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism that was being controlled with medication. She had 2 pregnancies, one child and one miscarriage at 9 weeks. At the time she consulted with me, she was not ovulating and her FSH was 20. Her doctor suggested that she consult with a specialist for IVF. I told her to give me approximately 3-4 months to work with her and then we will retest her hormones. I prescribed herbs for her during the phases of her cycle and they were customized formulas that I made for her. She did Acupuncture once per week and herbal medicine daily. After 3 months she had her labs drawn and all her hormones were all within normal range including her FSH which was a 7!! However her AMH was .09 At the beginning of the 4th month, she fell pregnant!! Not only did she have one but 2 babies!! I asked if twins were in her family and she said No!! So this 35 year old woman went from being peri menopausal to ovulating and conceiving twins naturally!! I also kept her on herbs for her first trimester and she had a very healthy pregnancy, working up to the very end of her pregnancy. She never required bed rest!
Practitioners Corner is a spotlight of In the Zone monthly e-newsletter, a resource for licensed healthcare practitioners.