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— updated 2017-07-26

HerbalThink-TCM — Herbalists' Bootcamp
Beginner Tutorial #3:   Self-Study Reference

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.
This tutorial series will help you get started using the HerbalThink-TCM software, ensure it is installed correctly, and demonstrate how to use important features and modules.

Copyright ©2016-2017 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved. Published by the Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute; c/o PO Box 579; Hot Springs, Montana [59845] USA. Education and software for health professionals:   www.rmhiherbal.org


Jump to another tutorial in this sequence:
#1: Download #2: Setup and Documentation #3: Self-Study Reference #4: TCM Herbal Tutor #5: TCM Pulse Simulator #6: CaseQuery and AutoSage-TCM #7: Completing member/admission requirements

Subtopics on this page…

 

Tutorial #3:   Self-Study Reference





 

Questionnaire #3

  • Copy and paste the following into a text document using any simple text editor (Mac OS X: TextEdit;   Windows: WordPad, Notepad). You will be filling in your answers (between the [ ] marks) during this tutorial and then emailing your completed questionnaire to your assigned tutor.
  • Most questions will require simple, short answers. These questions are designed primarily to ensure that you know how to access the correct material within each module.
  • Now you are ready to actually begin the tutorial. Follow the instructions in the remainder of this tutorial, and then fill in your answers to the questionnaire when asked to do so.
  • Please submit this tutorial questionnaire and wait for a reply/feedback from RMHI before continuing with the next tutorial.
============ HERBALTHINK-TCM BEGINNER TUTORIAL #3, QUESTIONNAIRE ==========
                             [updated 2017-07-26]

YOUR FULL NAME:  [  ]

--------------- TCHS Vol.1:
A-0: What are the 8 "combined patterns" of the fundamental qualities 
Exterior/Interior, Heat/Cold, Excess/Deficiency? (List them.)
  [  ]

--------------- TCHS Database:
B-0: A client has Interior-Cold-Deficiency (Deficiency of Yang) syndrome. 
Which primary categories of herbs would be appropriate places to search for 
possible ingredients in a formula?
  [  ]

B-1: For the preceding client, assume that the Deficiency of Yang is centered 
in the Organs of Kidney (Kd) and Spleen (Sp). Using the Materia Medica Browser 
table to hunt for possible specific herbs, which herbs listed under 'Warm 
Interior' have the properties that they Warm Interior and also Tonify 
Yang, and enter both Kidney (Kd) and Spleen (Sp) Organs?
  [  ]

B-2: What are the contraindications and cautions for using Rz Zingiberis (dry 
ginger)?
  [  ]

B-3: What is the standard dosage range, in grams (g) for Rz Zingiberis?
  [  ]

B-4: For the preceding client, refer to the Formula Browser table to hunt for 
formula candidates among formulas that Warm and tonify Yang. Which single 
formula in that table, based on its short description, would seem to be the 
best candidate?
  [  ]

B-5 (optional): Using the Music Browser feature, what might be some appropriate 
classical music listening pieces for the preceding case?
  [  ]

--------------- TCHS Vol.2-6:
C-0: Were you able to find the free chapters and examine the 'Subtopics' 
section at the beginning of each chapter (yes/no)?  [  ]

C-1: Were you able to find TCHS Vol.6, Ch.7 ("Using CaseQuery to create 
case-history data files")?  [  ]

=============================== END ======================================
 

Access to Free contents

All items in this tutorial may be accessed by clicking the  Self-Study Reference  button on the HerbalThinkTCM control panel . If you have activated the Test option of the software, you will then see the following after selecting  Table of contents for Test version-option  link at bottom of the left frame:


 

 

Lesson Plans

To qualify for Active Member status in RMHInet or for admission to the RMHI certification program, you will need to read Lessons #A-00 to A-05 in the Lesson Plans. The purpose of these remaining tutorials is only to introduce you to this material, to make sure you know how to find specific information, and to practice certain procedures that you will be doing repeatedly in the future.

 

TCHS Vol.1: The Language and Patterns of Life

Lesson #A-01 requires you to read chapters 1-6 in TCHS vol.1. This is introduction to very basic theory of Chinese herbal medicine. In this tutorial, you will be browsing through this material just to familiarize yourself with how it is organized. Follow the instructions in Lesson #A-01 as far as scanning the "Subtopics" contents of each of chapters 1-6.

Examine the subtopics listed at the beginning of chapter 6. What are the 8 "combined patterns" of the fundamental qualities of Exterior/Interior, Heat/Cold, Excess/Deficiency? These 8 patterns form the foundation on which all other patterns may be classified. It is a relatively crude system, but it is fundamental because it is the key to understanding herbal contraindications and to avoiding serious mistakes. All 120 or so of the other defined patterns within TCM pathophysiology theory may be classified within this fundamental framework.

In a later tutorial for the TCM Herbal Tutor, you will be studying chapter 6 more carefully before playing your first syndrome games within that module.

At this time, skim through the contents of chapters 1-6 and read any sections that capture your curiosity or that answer questions you may have about Chinese herbal medicine. We have had a wide variety of people, from lay people with no former knowledge of Chinese medicine to TCM professionals and graduates of degree programs enroll in and complete our courses. These introductory chapters ensure that everyone starts out with a scientific and philosophical perspective that is explicitly stated in plain language, avoiding unnecessary jargon.


 

Questionnaire — TCHS Vol.1

  • A-0: What are the 8 "combined patterns" of the fundamental qualities of Exterior/Interior, Heat/Cold, Excess/Deficiency? (List them.)



TCHS Database

Suppose that you determine that, based on symptoms and clinical signs, the syndrome-pattern Interior-Cold-Deficiency (Deficiency of Yang) accurately describes an individual's state of health — or at least is an accurate partial description if additional syndromes are also present.

In genuine traditional Chinese medicine, we do not consider the question "What herbs/formulas would be good for medical disease X?" to be an acceptable starting point. That perspective is to be strictly avoided. At some point, this information may be useful, but not at the beginning when we are formulating broad strategies that will hopefully relieve the chief complaint as well as resolve general systemic imbalances without side effects. To do this, we start with the syndrome-patterns. So first, we need to understand what the traditional herbalists say about Interior-Cold-Deficiency and the types of herbs that are considered appropriate for that general category of health conditions.

At this time, follow the instructions given in Lesson #A-03 (Using the TCHS Database). This lesson will help you understand how useful the TCHS Database feature is. You will be using this feature frequently. If you have followed the instructions for starting that lesson correctly, you should have the TCHS Database window on your computer screen along with a TCHS Database Help window, which contains 3 mini-tutorials that are solely devoted to explaining how the TCHS Database works:


 

Complete all those three TCHS Database tutorials now, which should take you about an hour to complete.

Using what you have learned in the preceding three TCHS Database tutorials, answer the questionnaire questions below. Note that the preceding tutorials use Deficiency of Yin in several of their examples. Note that the questions below are regarding Deficiency of Yang.


 

Questionnaire — TCHS Database

  • B-0: A client has Interior-Cold-Deficiency (Deficiency of Yang) syndrome. Which primary categories of herbs would be appropriate places to search for possible ingredients in a formula?
  • B-1: For the preceding client, assume that the Deficiency of Yang is centered in the Organs of Kidney (Kd) and Spleen (Sp). Using the Materia Medica Browser table to hunt for possible specific herbs, which herbs listed under 'Warm Interior' have the properties that they Warm Interior and also Tonify Yang, and enter both Kidney (Kd) and Spleen (Sp) Organs?
    Remember to extend your search throughout the entire table, including the 2ndary herbs that Warm Interior but are listed under a different primary category. Hint: there are a total of 5 herbs that meet all the preceding criteria.
  • B-2: What are the contraindications and cautions for using Rz Zingiberis (dry ginger)?
    Hint: to find this information, in the 'Warm Interior' browser table of herbs, click on the herb entry 'Zingiberis, Rz [gan- jiang-]'. Scan the materia medica entry for that herb to familiarize yourself with the types of information presented. Find the section entitled 'Cautions:'.
  • B-3 What is the standard dosage range, in grams (g) for Rz Zingiberis?
  • B-4: For the preceding client, refer to the Formula Browser table to hunt for formula candidates among formulas that Warm and tonify Yang. Which single formula in that table, based on its short description, would seem to be the best candidate?
    See especially the 'Functions' field in the formula table.
    Herbal formulas are typically put together to create an overall recipe that does not taste unnecessarily repulsive, that minimizes any undesirable or harsh effects of particular ingredients, and that ensures the net effect is "harmonious" and smooth. Even if it does not taste especially great, if well-matched to the individual's patterns, that person will usually express that it feels "right" after ingesting it.
  • B-5 (optional): Using the Music Browser feature, what might be some appropriate classical music listening pieces for the preceding case?
    If you are curious about the Music and Health section of the TCHS Database, click on the link 'By primary category' and then in the middle frame find the Tonify Yang category and examine the Music Browser for that category. You will find there a list of classical music pieces that are classified in an analogous manner to herbs and herbal formulas. TCHS vol.4 in the Self-Study Reference is the textbook that explains this material.
    Hint: the "Spleen" prefers music that is lyrical and harmonious rather than dissonant; be sure to read the specific qualities. If you are a regular classical music listener, these principles will seem intuitive to you.



TCHS Text Volumes 2-6

TCHS Text Volumes 1-6 can all be accessed via the  Main Table of Contents  link. Following is a screen shot of what you should be looking at:


 

Read  Introduction to HerbalThink-TCM  to get a quick explanation of the subject and contents of each text volume and software module contained within HerbalThink-TCM. At this time, scan the contents of each of these text volumes by examining the "Subtopics" listing at the beginning of each chapter available in the free Test option. Free chapters will be highlighted in light blue-gray. (The only text volume without any free chapters is volume 2, which formerly contained much of the information that has now been reorganized and reformatted into the TCHS Database.)

Later in this tutorial series, you will be reading Ch. 7 in TCHS Vol.6: User's Guide to AutoSage-TCM, which gives an introduction to the CaseQuery module, including screen shots. All of volume 6 is available in the free Test option, because we want people to have the complete instructions for this. (We do charge a fee for each AutoSage-TCM case report that you order.)


 

Questionnaire — TCHS Vol. 2-6

  • C-0: Were you able to find the free chapters and examine the 'Subtopics' section at the beginning of each chapter (yes/no)?
  • C-1: Were you able to find TCHS Vol.6, Ch.7 ("Using CaseQuery to create case-history data files")?



Summary of what you learned in this tutorial

Instead of the simplistic and often dangerously vague question "What herb or formula would be good for disease X?", in this tutorial we have shown you a much more effective alternative:

  1. Determine which symptom-pattern(s) most accurately describe an individual's total state of health.
  2. These symptom-patterns will point directly to specific herbs and formulas that are appropriate — and others that may be inappropriate, or "contraindicated".
  3. Choosing herbs and formulas that are matched to the total state of health reduces guesswork and is more likely to result in overall improvement in health without side effects.
  4. Optional:   Choosing specific herbs that match the individual's symptom-patterns and his/her medical condition can be a highly effective form of "fine-tuning".



Please submit your completed questionnaire for this tutorial, then
go to   Tutorial #4:   TCM Herbal Tutor