Arlo, Another Farm Herbal Success!

Yesterday the vet arrived to euthanize Arlo.  He had been suffering for almost three days with urinary calculi blocking his ability to pee.  He had been in a lot of pain, was heaving and groaning.  From the start of his illness, we were told that his prognosis was really bad.  It turns out that wethers, castrated male ruminants, easily have this issue.  The vet said she sees at least two cases a month in her practice and that she could count on one hand the number that had survived.  The western medical treatment is ammonium chloride, which is meant to break down the stones.  It is rarely effective.

We love Arlo.  We also have his cousins, Mary Agnes and Whisper.  They are all Gotland sheep with spectacular silver-grey wool.  I’ve learned to spin and just finished my first knitted item with the yarn. Working with the fiber from these sheep has added to my appreciation of them.

Anyway, how could I not at least TRY giving him herbs?  I find it so challenging with animals given their reluctance to talk.  With so little to go on, what could I do?  I was encouraged by my recent success with my horse Jasper, who is still […]

By |2021-03-06T07:25:45-08:00March 6th, 2021|Classic Formulas|0 Comments

Great Turning

Below is an excerpt from the syllabus for the White Pine 2021 Graduate Mentorship Program. This excerpt explains the meaning of what I call Great Turning and its application for practitioners of Traditional East Asian Medicine:

The Graduate Mentorship Program has been running since 2003.  This upcoming course, starting this March, 2021, is the 9th time I have taught it. Since the start, my understanding has deepened through experience, both in the clinic, through study, with students, and in life. In this rendition of the program, not only have the principles become crystalized and embodied for me, but I also feel that my articulation of them has evolved.  Being a teacher is not only about knowing one’s material: unless there is a clear articulation that meets the student in a way that clarifies and open’s receptivity, the material cannot find a home within the student.  While teaching, I always have the question, “Am I making sense to you?” I want you to have a sense of “aha!” and “Yes! I SEE!” I want you to have the experience of the murky confusion coming clear. I’ve learned that this happens when the foundational principles are sound.  Only then does the material find its natural place in your mind and heart.  The Graduate Mentorship Program’s foundational […]

Treatment of Mutes: Children and Horses

In Chinese medicine, treating young children is sometimes referred to as the treatment of mutes.  This points to the fact that young children are unable to communicate their experience with words.  Practitioners have to rely on signs, most often with the help of the parents.  Does the child throw off their blankets at night or do they want more covers?  Are they clingy or resistant to being held?  Is their cry loud or whimpery?  Treating animals is much the same.  Though, as a practitioner, I try to hone my observation skills, like most practitioners, I also rely on the patient’s verbal articulation of their experience.  Treating beings who cannot express this way can be quite difficult.  This is why my confidence in treating animals is shaky.

A recent case in point:  My horse Jasper has had a chronic cough.  It was never a bad cough but enough that I noticed.  Over time I have tried moistening his hay in case it was caused by dust and I’ve tried several herbal formulas.  Admittedly, the formulas I chose were not well thought out.  It was more of a “maybe I’ll try this” approach.  I think this approach is common for practitioners when we don’t have a lot of confidence and part of the reason for […]

By |2021-01-25T06:12:01-08:00January 25th, 2021|Classic Formulas, Yu Guo-Jun|0 Comments

Running Piglet and Depression


sleeping Piglets Sleeping Piglets

Hi Friends,

I am busy preparing an Ebook for the White Pine Circle‘s February resources.  Our theme is Ge Gen and so I am translating material on classical formulas that include Ge Gen.  One such lesser known formula is Ben Tun Tang (Running Piglet Decoction).  Sometimes I run across a case that rivets my attention and I am sharing one of these today.  I love that the doctor, Dr. Xióng Jìbǎi 熊继柏 is writing in a narrative style and that he is clearly using this case to teach us.  I found this case in The Path of Clinical Experience with Classical Formulas for Modern Distinguished Physicians《当代经方名家临床之路》.   I also love how the pharmacy was missing a key herb,  Li Gen Bai Pi, which is the peel of the plum tree root, so he went out into the valley and dug some up himself!  Enjoy the case!

The patient, Ms. Cheng, was age 46 and was a peasant.  At the start of her illness she had dizzy spells with restlessness and palpitations.  She shut herself in a room and gradually would not get out of bed.  She had photophobia so she kept the room […]

Reflective Learning Pathways

When the White Pine Circle launches on New Year’s Day, it will be like the starting up of an endless, ever-changing carousel of beautiful, useful, relevant-to-your-practice resources.  Every month new resources will be posted including video teaching, live roundtable discussions, ebooks, tea-time talks, translations, and more.  We are an open collective of nerdy colleagues, who love Traditional East Asian Medicine and can’t help ourselves but share what we love.

However, the REALLY cool thing the White Pine Circle is offering is TheReflective Learning Pathways.  These pathways are available to members (free!) as a way to progress through resources in a more structured way so that they become like a course.  For now, we have the following five pathways members can follow: Classical Formulas, Chinese Herbs, Gynecology, Obstetrics, and Going Deep with Zhang Zhongjing’s Lines.  More to come. Following a pathway is a way to engage in our resources that gives the practitioner structure and support as they move through the resources.  AND, at the completion of a pathway, the practitioner receives a certificate, a prestigious badge to show on your profile for referrals, support from a mentor, and a wonderful gift.  All of this is free with membership.

An important component of the learning pathways is the reflective part of them.  As the participant reads […]

Upcoming Wonderfulness

Oh, this past year!  Need I say more?

And now, what a special time, with the light turning toward the new and spectacular conjunctions.  I hope many of you had the chance to see the two huge planets aligned!

I look back at this past year as one of profound blessing as I’ve connected with so many in new and inspiring ways.  Thank you to all of my students, colleagues, friends, animals, and family for lighting up my heart in so many ways.  Now I turn to the future with tremendous excitement for what has been gestating and what is soon to be born!

On January 1, the White Pine Circle will launch.  This has been a beautifully collaborative effort on behalf of all of us who love and work with traditional East Asian medicine.  Please sign up to be notified of the launch here.  It’s only a week away!

Until then, I invite you all to a free talk by Sally Rappaport where she will delve into a most common herbal formula, Gui Zhi Tang.  I am sure you will be given a new appreciation of this formula!  Not only is it useful for chronic and acute conditions, but it is also the foundation for other important herbal formulas.  You can register for this talk here. […]

White Pine Graduate Mentorship Program: Early Bird Rate Ending

Hello friends,

I’m writing this post to give you a heads-up that the early bird rate for the White Pine Graduate Mentorship Program closes tomorrow at midnight.

For more information about the program and to register please click here.

Please don’t hesitate to write to me with any questions you have.

Thank you,


By |2020-11-29T05:17:19-08:00November 29th, 2020|Classic Formulas, Kampo, Our Courses, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What does 經 mean?

In the previous two posts, we discovered that these Six Thing-a-ma-jigs were first named as Jīng, 經 by Qí Bó in NèijīngSùwèn, chapter 6.  Therefore, the next step in understanding what these Six Things are is to explore the meaning of 經.

To decide what any character “means”, one must look at the way it is used in different contexts and discover the consistent thread of meaning between these uses.  It is virtually impossible to accurately translate 經 as one word, though we often must.  For the student/practitioner, a bit of understanding of these complex meanings may expand our relationship to our medicine.

Jīng 經 is made up of the thread radical on the left and the image of water streaming below the surface on the right.  A possible definition of 經 is “an underlying structure or constant flow of threads or information that is invisible or enigmatic[1], giving rise to rise to and influencing visible phenomenon.

This broad definition covers the bases I think.  Let’s check. […]

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