HRB 793 Case Studies in Herbal Product Design

HRB 793 is designed to present groups of students with business challenges and have them leverage all of their education and skills to present recommendations to the stakeholders.  All students signed a legally binding Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prior to working with the stakeholders. For that reason, there are no artifacts, only this reflection.

We met with our stakeholders early on and were presented with various business problems. We were divided into groups and given particular areas to focus on. As a group, and individually, we immediately began looking for solutions to the problems.  The surprising part of the process was that the solutions, or hypothesis, were frequently determined to be outside the scope of assigned work.  Finding good ideas and then having to discard them because they are assigned to another group, or contrary to core values or framework of a company, requires significant discipline. Maintaining that discipline and avoiding scope creep was a constant challenge throughout the course.  I learned a great deal about some of the business problems faced by herbal product manufacturers, however, I will not be discussing those details as they are related to the problems we were presented.  

I will end this reflection by including an excerpt from my Individual Reflection Paper that I believer very clearly illustrates some of MUIH’s core values.

First, the group members each had different perspectives shaped by their cultural, religious, or social beliefs. Added to that, each group member had unique work experience and skills. The diversity in the group provided an advantage because it complimented the areas where I am weak. For instance, I apply a logical, analytic approach to problem-solving. I am not good at intuiting what others care about or understanding how information may be received. I have not worked in jobs where feelings were taken into account so it is a significant shortcoming for me.

In the fields of computer science and intelligence, there can be an undertone of academic and intellectual elitism. Value is placed on those with strength in those areas. Intellectual property and expertise are the currency. That currency does not serve a different market.  When dealing with healers, particularly those interested in holistic or spiritual healing, a deep understanding of scientific principles may not be as useful as someone with intuition and an ability to connect with people or plants. Without the intuition and insight from my teammates, I may well have been tone deaf to the needs of the stakeholders or unable to understand them.

Herbal soaps – and a good cause

Have you ever made soap? Did you know you could make it from natural ingredients and even use oils derived from or infused with medicinal herbs with beneficial properties? Did you know there are places in the world where mothers and babies are literally dying from illnesses that could be prevented by basic sanitation and hygiene?

If not, keep reading.

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HRB 690 Internship

HRB 690 is formally known as Internship. I chose to do 3 internships over 3 semesters, for a .5 credits each, rather than combine all the time into a one-semester internship. I was seeking out varied experiences and wanted to learn more about research, growing and cultivating plants, quality assurance, and several other topics.

I have written lengthy blog posts reflecting on these experiences and provided artifacts below.  There are technically 4 posts because I chose to continue one internship, without academic credit, last summer. I had already committed to a different internship but felt strongly that I should continue my work with microbial testing at MUIH.

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HRB 705 Materia Medica II

HRB 705 Final Presentation

HRB 705 Materia Medica is an advanced materia medica course that deepened my understanding of medicinal herbs. This course helped me achieve the goals of both the graduate program, as well as the herbal product design focus.

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Microbial Testing Internship Part III

     The final internship of my program (HRB 790) 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.

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HRB 620b Herbal Therapeutics II

Herbal Therapeutics II taught skills that included advanced medicine making, quality assurance, research, analysis, documentation, and problem-solving.

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MUIH Microbial Analysis Experiment Internship Part III

At last, we have reached the end of this series on my internship with MUIH. 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.

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