HRB 705 Materia Medica II

FinalPresentation

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

1. Create a narrative story about the medicinal use of a plant describing the qualities
(actions, taste energetics, organoleptics etc.) based on personal experience of the medicinal herbs covered in this course.
2. Explain and recall the botanical classification, botanical names, common names, parts used, properties, uses, dosage, and safety issues for the medicinal herbs covered in this course.
3. Differentiate herbs of similar therapeutic use and apply to case study examples.
4. Research and evaluate herbal products and the range of scientific evidence available on the use of medicinal plants.
5. Compare and evaluate traditional and modern research in monograph categories (parts used, indications, dosage, extraction) of a core group of herbs .

 

The attached presentation was the culmination of learning throughout the course, as well as in other courses.  The students chose a body system, a particular illness or issue, and then explained the medicinal herbs that could be used. I tried the herbs in the formulation and tested it throughout the course to develop personal experience with the plants. The presentation included the rationale for the selected herbs, therapeutic actions, safety, dosage, etc.

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Microbial Testing Internship Part III

     The final internship of my program involved working with the Quality Control Manager to conduct microbial testing of MUIH manufactured botanicals.  The purpose of this internship was to create a repeatable and cost-effective method for aseptic botanical testing outside of a formal laboratory.  This method would provide a low-cost testing option that would allow small scale herbal businesses and manufacturers to meet part of the requirements for GMP compliance without significant financial hardship.

     The internship work involved several different components. First, was reviewing and updating the documentation from previous internships to ensure completeness and applicability.  This process began at home where I modified material to make it relevant to the tinctures being tested. During the time at the Dispensary doing the actual testing, the SOPs and documents had to be examined and re-examined, with feedback and lessons learned incorporated into the final product.    

     The next component of the internship was the specimen inoculation in the MUIH Dispensary. The inoculation required following the steps outlined in the revised SOP with careful attention to detail to ensure an aseptic environment.  Carrying out the botanical testing according to the procedures required a degree of skill, training, and competency that I was able to leverage from previous trimesters’ work in botanical testing.  I found myself prepared for the procedures involved, particularly with the measuring of ingredients and using the pipettes according to aseptic techniques.

     The inoculation itself required measuring out exact dilutions of the tinctures, keeping all the materials well organized, and ensuring exact and accurate application of the inoculation solution. The materials were then taken home and observed over several days before they were analyzed for microbial growth.  

 

     The final part of the internship involved working with other interns to determine the costs of all materials and man hours in order to carry out the botanical testing. These estimates needed to be clear and accurate to provide a picture of long-term requirements.  

 

HRB 620b Herbal Therapeutics II

The course description for this course:

In this course, students will apply skills, principles, and knowledge to generate a body of scholarly material to demonstrate their proficiencies in herbal medicine as a professional. Students will engage in multiple, advanced medicine making experiences and discover effective methods of documentation, principles of manufacturing and problem-solving techniques applicable both in the industry and clinical practice. Additionally, students will explore a variety of viable career paths. By reflecting on these potential career paths, they will be encouraged to apply their own personal concepts and ideas to building career opportunities.

The artifact that I chose for this class is a paper that I wrote on hypoglycemic herbs. We were given the freedom to choose an area or specialty of interest to write about. I wanted to develop my knowledge while deepening my experience with scholarly research and documentation.  As research and teaching are goals of mine, I found it important to hone my research and writing skills.

HRB 620b Module 2

MUIH Microbial Analysis Experiment Internship Part III

 

At last, we have reached the end of this series on the “internship” that is no longer an internship. If you didn’t read the series, you should start at Part I.  The point of this blog series is to illustrate some of the work that I have done and things that I have learned. Since this is a real, ongoing, study involving accredited universities (University of Maryland and Maryland University of Integrative Health), I am not disclosing all materials and methods, analysis, or results.

This last portion of the experiment I have been participated in involved testing botanical extracts against various bacteria, yeast, and mold.  Specifically, I got to test hydro-alcoholic extracts of Echinacea purpurea (commonly known as Purple Coneflower or Echinacea), of varying strengths to see if it inhibited growth of the bacterias, yeast, and mold.  To do this, I created dilutions using 3 different Echinacea tinctures to inoculate, incubate, and interpret results from 3M Petrifilms.

I learned aseptic lab techniques while carrying out the study discussed in Part II of this series. This time around, it was even more important because I was handling petrifilm loaded with yeast and mold spores, and one with E.Coli (yuck!).   Having the experience gained from the first round made it much easier to confidently carry out the steps while limiting exposure.  Some of the additional daily tasks involved taking ambient temperatures, monitoring samples, counting colonies, and reporting results.

I won’t go into all the nerdy details since more will be written (and it’s really the school’s place to properly publish the study and get credit for it).  For now here are some pics of what I’ve been learning and doing.

 

U.S. National Arboretum Internship

 

I had the opportunity to do my Spring 2018 internship at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.  The Arboretum is run by the U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Research Service and hosts many different types of gardens and exhibits.  I had three different tasks: spend four Saturdays working in the National Herb Garden, create herbal monographs for several herbs that I worked with, and finally, to assist in the design, planning, and execution of a workshop on herbal bitters that would be held on the Arboretum grounds in August.

The work in the gardens provided a new appreciation for the hard work horticulturists put in.  My internship started with hours of carrying and planting herbs, and digging up tulip bulbs from the Spring entrance display.  The next Saturday, I planted enough corn and sugarcane to fill in the entire display we had dug up the week before. I pulled weeds, planted lemon balm, and pruned other herbs.  Dozens of people stopped to ask questions, providing an opportunity to share knowledge about the plants. During my two remaining days of work, I pulled weeds and helped shape plants in the Medicinal, Native American, and Culinary Herb Gardens.  The hard work in the garden paid off because I learned new gardening skills such as the right planting depth, proper pruning, and all about several garden pests. These skills will be very useful for cultivating my own herbs.

Creating the herbal monographs required a lot of research, my own organoleptic experience, and taking photos of properly identified plants.  The monographs can be viewed here. The final task, preparing for the Bitters Workshop, required extensive soft skills. I worked with the Arboretum staff via email, telephone, and through live collaboration sessions where we edited documents as we exchanged ideas.  

Each of the three tasks was very different from the others. I was able to do some manual labor, research, and event planning all surrounding herbs.  In the end, I walked away with some cultivation skills, experience creating monographs, and an appreciation for the amount of coordination that goes into planning events.  

Disclaimer:  Due to the beauty of Arboretum, I took an obscene amount of photos from May – July so I captured both Spring and Summer in the Herb Garden.

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HRB 620a Herbal Therapeutics I

The Learning Objectives for Herbal Therapeutics were as follows:

  1. Utilize principles of modern herbal medicine in order to determine how to best support wellness.
  2. Effectively apply herbs in a wellness model.
  3. Evaluate various herbal actions in order to choose those best suited for wellness.
  4. Apply experiences and concepts to effectively formulate herbal medicines.

This artifact is not a finished product, but rather reflects the learning and thought process occurring during the development of an herbal formulation to address a specific problem.  Notes in the document show reasons that a particular herb was omitted or the dosage changed.  The formulation was designed for a specific wellness problem and demonstrated each of the learning objectives.

 

HRB 620a Mod 9 Product Development Activity