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We Will Learn...

Sometimes We Have to Learn the Hard Way.

“ Is someone smoking pot here?” She asked in disbelief.

This relative of mine had come for acupuncture treatment at the school clinic where I was finishing my training as a Traditional Chinese doctor.

With a smile, I put her at ease. Never smoking marijuana myself, I have never related the bitter, acrid smell of Mugwort, when burned, with pot. But in those four years of training I had witnessed my relative’s reaction from other patients often enough to be prepared with an answer.

Mugwort, from the genus Artemisia, is a plant used often in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its many beneficial effects. Itching, skin rashes, chronic pain, infertility, as well as digestive, cardiovascular and nervous problems or disorders are among some of the things you can treat with Mugwort. Ai Ye, its name in Chinese, is grouped among the single herbs that stop bleeding, so it also warms the womb and stops bleeding, making it useful to stop miscarriages. It too disperses cold and alleviates pain, relieving menstrual cramps. Therefore, female issues are among some of the most common uses of the herb.

But it is in moxibustion that Ai Ye finds, in my opinion, its greatest glory. Moxibustion involves the burning of this herb on specific acupuncture points to stimulate them in many ways. The patients find it relaxing and the therapy is strongly tonifying, making the need for frequent visits less needful, which for my patients who need to stick to a budget is a welcoming outcome.

I, personally recommend it to them and use it often, but never in the office. The smell will linger for days.

I learned this the hard way by burning moxa, in spite of my teacher’s careful instructions during my first Herbology class, while indoors. Through my study of the scriptures, I have learned that everything out of the ground has been ordained of God “ for the use of man.” Therefore, I feel it is a privilege to learn how to use all these wonderful herbs and plants. While at school, I wasted no time in drinking them, applying them or, in the case of moxa, lighting it up. Excited to try it on myself after ordering it from ebay, I proceeded after its arrival to carefully lighting up the moxa stick. Lying down on my bed, I gently held the lit end of the stick over my abdomen while I warmed the Ren meridian. It took only fifteen minutes for my mother to bolt out of her bedroom and come into my room to investigate the origin of the stench.

Although I only had it lit for fifteen minutes, and took care of washing the bedsheets, bedspread, blinds, curtains and walls afterwards, my bedroom had to remain closed with the window open and the fan on for two weeks before the smell began to disappear.

I always share this story with my patients when I send them home with their own moxa stick, and pray for them to be more obedient than I was. But then again, I also know some will have to learn the hard way.

Why? Because we seldom believe in the wisdom of others. We need to see it with our own eyes, feel it in our own skin, and pay for it with our own blood, sweat and tears.

To err is human, I know this, and mistakes are and will continue to be made by many, if not all of us. It is expected even by Heaven that found it necessary to design a plan by which our mistakes may be erased by the ultimate sacrifice of a Savior. I also believe that as long as we turn our errors into useful lessons, and experience, we are entitled to make every mistake in the book, but only once. So, go ahead, feel free to learn the hard way...

This is just my opinion...

As a single woman, a Mormon, and a western/Chinese doctor.

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