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Home / About Botanical Bridge / Suzi Soroczak’s Herbal Journey

 

Traditional Roots

They say that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know! I do know that I am at the beginning of my journey with Herbal Medicine. It began in 2017 when I attended the Traditional Roots conference in Portland, OR. I was particularly inspired by the following classes and teachers:

Traditional Roots logo

Traditional Roots logo

Cedar Mountain Herb School

Suzi and Suzanne

Suzi and Suzanne

I then completed the 2017 summer and fall wildcrafting internships with Suzanne Tabert at the Cedar Mountain Herb School. During my 22 weeks with Suzanne I learned to properly identify herbs in the wild. We also learned the basics of ‘wise woman medicine making’. Below are some of the herbs I learned to harvest.

A Word Cloud

Herb Word Cloud

I learned how to prepare:

  • Tinctures
  • Elixers
  • Oxymels
  • Salves & Creams
  • Soaps, lip balms, and other products

Maryland University of Integrative Health

MUIH

MUIH


I am currently in the Masters program in Therapeutic Herbalism at MUIH. I am in the Product Development AOC which aligns with my business goals of starting a Diabetes Health company with an emphasis on Complementary & Alternative Medicine and Herbs. My studies are based in a philosophy of Western Herbal Medicine, in which the “clinical assessment is characterized by a holistic, biopsychosocial approach with treatment aimed at supporting or augmenting vis medicatrix naturae (the healing power of nature)” (Snow, 2016, p. 55). This philosophy emphasizes practices that enrich patient care in the following ways: engaging with patient narrative; practitioner collaboration; and the facilitation of patient empowerment. In engaging with the patient narrative, the practitioner takes an active listening role as they share conversation that explores the entire patient experience. The practitioner works with the patient to collaborate on diagnoses and treatment protocols. The goal of which is the patient feeling empowered in their health outcomes. These practices will strengthen the patient-provider relationship, and indeed this relationship is a concept that contributes to the working definition of Integrative Health.

MUIH Coursework

CourseID Course Term CourseID Course Term
MUIH 500 Fall 2017 University Orientation ISCI 610b Intro to Scientific Writing Sum 2018
MUIH 550 Academic Research & Scholarship Fall 2017 HRB 635c Field Botany for Herbalists Aut 2018
HRB 600 Fundamentals of Herbal Medicine Spr 2018 HRB 735a Clinical Theory in Practice I Aut 2018
ISCI 547a Physiology I Spr 2018 App 607 Introduction to the Healing Presence Aut 2018
ISCI 631 Intro to CIH Spr 2018 HRB 725b Clinical Theory in Practice II Spr 2019
IHED 637 Principles & Practices of Health Behavior Spr 2018 NUTR 665 Dynamics of Food & Healing Spr 2019
HRB 605 Materia Medica I Sum 2018
HRB 622 Herbal Pharmacy Sum 2018 HRB 620a Herbal Therapeutic I Spr 2019
HRB 790 E-Portfolio Sum 2018 HRB 705 Material Medica II Spr 2019
HRB 620b Herbal Therapeutics II Aut 2019
HRB 793 Case Studies of Product Design Aut 2019
HRB 791 E*Portfolio Final Aut 2019

Association for Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT)

Research

Research Instruments

I am currently finishing my guide practicum in Nature and Forest Therapy from the ANFT, also known as Shinrin yoku. Forest therapy is a fantastic outdoor option for improving overall health! Studies have shown that forest therapy can improve immune health by increasing the number of NK (natural killer) cells floating in the body. Other research on Shinrin yoku has demonstrated its positive effects on blood pressure, depression, and diabetes. One 20-year old study by Dr. Yoshinori Ohtsuka, Shinrin-yoku (forest-ai bathing and walking) Effectively Decreases Blood Glucose Levels in Diabetic Patients (1997), demonstrated that spending just 20 minutes a day walking in a forest can significantly reduce blood sugar levels in individuals with Diabetes. Eighty-seven non-insulin-dependent participants took part in the exercise 9 times over the course of 6 years. I hope to use my MUIH internship opportunity and ANFT guide certificate to design a new research study to validate and expand on Dr. Ohtsuka’s research.

Selected Artifacts

The artifacts below represent important milestones in my journey of herbal medicine.

Lavender field

Lavender field

I produced a Lavender monograph for HRB 600. This monograph was built over 14 weeks as I learned about the history of Lavender, its phytochemical makeup, its phytotherapy potential, and preparation and dosing instructions. Another big challenge was learning where to find authoritative sources to herbal questions. This monograph also compares the use of other gentle nervines – which helped expand my materia medica so much. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Communication Tools

Communication Tools

I wrote an article about patient-provider communication for ISCI 631. In this paper I introduce the topic of patient-provider communication from a western herbal medicine perspective. I define the term “placebo effect” and provide a background of how the phenomenon has been studied. Researching this paper really gave me an insiders perspective into the philosophy of western herbal medicine clinical practice. I plan to build on what I have learned as I dive into new areas of health information seeking and sharing behaviors.

A medical record

Medical record file

This is a literature review and research proposal I wrote for ISCI 610b on Personal Health Records and health information sharing behavior. My paper on patient-provider communication inspired me to think deeply about the artifacts created during communication. This paper is a review of the relevant literature on the topic and identifies questions which I hope to answer in the future by conducting research on the topic of personal health record use in clinical practice. I am very excited about the prospect this research can have on my own personal growth, but also on the western herbal medicine community.

Journal

Field Journals


These are my field journals from two of my courses at MUIH:

CAM

Complementary & Alternative Medicine

This is a review paper I wrote for HRB 620b about the latest news articles on Diabetes Research in Complementary & Alternative Medicine. I decided to focus on 3 new promising techniques researchers are investing to improve glycemic management: (1)Bariatric Surgery (2)Intermittent fasting. (3)Herbal medicine. In this review, I provide the history and current state of each of this prospective treatment options.

Kitchen herbs

Kitchen herbs

This is a white paper I wrote for HRB 620b about Using Kitchen Herbs to Support Wellness in Type 2 Diabetics. I decided to focus on 3 new promising techniques researchers are investing to improve glycemic management: (1)Bariatric Surgery (2)Intermittent fasting. (3)Herbal medicine. In this review, I provide the history and current state research on each of these prospective treatment options.

Workshop room

Diabetes Course Outline

One of the goals for starting my business supporting Type 2 Diabetics is to provide educational materials. Current statistics from the American Diabetes Association show that only 6% of new diagnosed diabetics take a class about their chronic illness. This document describes a Diabetes Community Class that I would like to put together, accessible from my business website.