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Chinese Herbalism

Katrina is a NCCAOM board certified herbalist, she studied single herbs, herbal combinations, herbal formulas and herbal pharmacology consistently throughout her four years of Master’s level education at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Chinese herbalism is arguably the most sophisticated system of herbalism currently known today. Unlike western medications and even western herbalism, which is often based on the treatment of symptoms, Chinese herbalism is based on the treatment of pattern presentation. Therefore a whole constellation of symptoms can be treated with one herbal formula. Chinese herbs are rarely used singly, rather they are combined into formulas which must be studied for years in order to begin to understand their usefulness. Katrina continues to study herbs on a daily basis as she has witnessed and experienced the profound difference they can make in a patient’s life.


Katrina offers herbs in a variety of forms:


Pill/patent: These are the most convenient but least effective form of herbs. Katrina is not able to modify based on your reaction to these as the pills are premade. Katrina sources pill/patent herbs from quality labs which conform to the Good Manufacturing Practice certification.


Granules: These are slightly less convenient but more effective than pills/patents. Raw herbs are cooked together to make a strong tea and the resulting solution is sprayed onto a starch medium (excipient). The resulting powder is bottled and the patient takes a few scoops with water. The flavor of the herbs is often not considered pleasant but effect in this form is more powerful. Katrina sources granule herbs that are made as formulas rather than single herbs that are extracted separately and then mixed together in powder form. This is because Chinese herbal formulas are meant to be cooked together as the various properties of each of the single herbs comes together and is modified by the properties of all others in the formula. This form of herbs also can not be modified (i.e. some herbs taken out and others put in).


Bulk herbs: By far the least convenient but most powerful and effective form of herbs. The patient is sold a bag of mixed together roots, twigs, leaves etc and takes them home and cooks them together to make a very strong tea. Each bag generally lasts 1-2 days depending on the number of grams and how strong the dose should be for the presentation. It is possible to cook all the herbs needed for an entire week of treatment, store the tea in jars in the fridge and drink throughout the week. This form of herbs is very easy to modify based on the patient’s reaction. Katrina likes to start with a smaller number of bags of herbs in the beginning in order to track how the patient reacts. This way, she is able to add or subtract herbs from a formula or change formulas entirely if necessary.