When I began studying herbal medicine with David Winston, part of our curriculum was Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), along with western herbal medicine, using herbs and making formulas in a clinical practice, and many other topics. TCM is so very different from how westerners think, it is a challenge to learn. In TCM you don’t have for example, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or liver damage, you could have Damp Spleen, or Liver Fire Rising, or Heat in the Intestine ( and mind you, in TCM, the ‘spleen’ is not what we think of as spleen, nor is the liver the western organ we know as liver, and same for the intestines. All very confusing).

In the advanced training I am taking with David, I had an AHA moment 2 weeks ago. We had a guest lecturer and I used the opportunity to get some fresh perspective on how to read symptoms and put all the pieces together. You know, a new person can have a different way of explaining things that might shed light, they may say it in the way you will understand it. I asked about the client we had for our homework assignment, and how you account for opposite symptoms, such as dry skin on the face but a dampness and bloated feeling in the belly? He answered that this is the picture of Deficient Spleen Qi, (I am really going to lose you all here) when the spleen cannot spread the mist evenly throughout the body.  WOW! I sort of understood Deficient Spleen Qi up that point, but all of a sudden it all integrated in my brain. It made sense! AND I know understand how it is different from Damp Spleen Qi. I understand the tongue signs for each one in a new way. I won’t have to keep looking it up!

Thank you Richard Mendelbaum! But of course really really thank you to my herbal guru David Winston.