While studying and thinking about herbs can be inspiring and enlightening, the true magic of herbalism comes out when we take the time to put what we're learning to practice. That's why it's so important, especially for newbie herbalists, to do case studies to develop a holistic understanding of the way herbalism can facilitate healing and wellness.
In the video below, I interview our Intro to Case Studies teacher, Jiling Lin. She's a clinical herbalist, acupuncturist and yoga instructor, as well as many other fabulous things.
The Intro to Case Studies course is broken down into four modules spread across four classes:
Developing case studies, including research, intake, charting and developing a wellness plan
Formulations, how to put together a good formula, chart and replicate it, and present it to your client
Herbal energetics with herbal tastings to explore different flavors - a very fun class!
Roundtable presentation of case studies
Jiling has always found case studies super important for her herbal practice. When she first started studying herbal medicine, she was an herbal apprentice with 7Song, who is a professor of herbalism in New England.
One of the elements that drew her to study with 7Song as an apprentice was the clinical portion. She got to spend two days a week with 7Song in the clinic, which was one of the most powerful learning experiences during her time at his school. They also went on field trips to provide herbal first aid at the Rainbow Gathering, which also was the most powerful learning experience for most of her colleagues and fellow students in the class.
This is why Jiling is a huge proponent of getting into it with the clinical application of herbal, botanical medicine. Because by applying all these principles that students have been learning, it's building up their skills and knowledge.
"I'm super excited to provide budding herbalists with actionable skills for applying herbs and botanical medicine and lifestyle strategies to their own lives, as well as working with family and friends and whoever it is that your professional life and personal life might bring you in contact with in a relaxed and supportive setting." - Jiling
During the final class, at the end of sharing their case study presentations and having their fellow students and colleagues provide input for their case study, there's a little debrief where the students can reflect on how far they've come. Many students note how much confidence they've gained through the experience.Even just one case study presentation and feedback within a supportive community can build so much confidence that plants the seeds for more herbal adventures going forward.
And with moving forward, this class also helps to create a vision for what might come next for each individual. For some people, it will be a very clear, “Oh, I want to work with more people. This is my direction. I want to be a clinical herbalist.” And for other people, it will be a very clear, “I want to work with friends and family. Only.” Very clear. That's definitely really helpful.
In Jiling's work, she's beginning to weave together some of the Chinese medicine/East Asian medicine elements of her herbalism with her background as an artist and yoga teacher. She also teaches a Five Flavors of Phytochemistry Class at Artemisia Academy every year, which can be taken individually or as part of the Community Herbalist Program. This class has a really fun component of combining Eastern and Western Herbalism.
There are dreams at Artemisia Academy of developing a free or sliding scale community clinic where students could practice their herbalism skills in real time. As a new school, we are still building our roots to get to that point, but there are many exciting things on the horizon!
And if you want to find Jiling, you can visit her website at www.jilinglin.com.