Learning East Asian medicine, part infinity

This is an evergreen post, as they say, because when you’re really devoted to learning the ancient art and science of East Asian medicine the learning never ends. Every day, every breath, every patient, every re-read text – all of it is a meditation on the circular learning process at the heart of most education…

Practice makes perfect – advice on learning Chinese herbs

As a student learning Chinese herbs, I was impatient. Already having been in higher education for 8 years straight, I was eager to get on with it. I didn’t understand the process, and I didn’t understand (nor respect) the ancient traditions of learning that, despite it all, still have something to teach us. I got…

If You’re Not Memorizing, You’re Not Paying Attention

I was just reading an article in the latest National Geographic magazine about memory. It is an interesting article as a whole, but more importantly it really got me thinking about the role of memorization in education. The article talks about the times before easily available printed material, when most everything had to be memorized…

How Chinese herbs communicate through the Doctrine of Signatures

An important concept in most schools of herbalism is that of the doctrine of signatures. The doctrine of signatures states that the herbs will, in some way, physically resemble their realm of therapeutic action. The resemblance may be obvious or hidden, but searching for it and seeking to understand it can help us in our…

7 Quick Tips on How to Study Chinese Herbs & Enjoy It

From an early stage in my studies of Classical Chinese medicine, I realized that Chinese herbal formulas are where it’s really at. The formula is the clinically functional unit – not the single herb. Yes, of course, formulas are composed of single herbs. But the way I’m learning herbal medicine really relies on understanding the…