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February 6, 2017

Jordan Wheeler, AIMC Berkeley’s New Pharmacy Manager

Jordan Wheeler has been studying natural medicine for the last 10 years, first obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University in Seattle. He then earned his Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco in 2013. During his time there, he spent several years working in the Auricular Clinic, which offers acupuncture to low-income community members.

Having completed the didactic portion of the Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM), Jordan has since switched to the transitional Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to focus on integrative medicine care. His practice, Focal Point Acupuncture, is located in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District where he treats a variety of conditions including allergies, dermatology, acute and chronic pain, anxiety, and immune disorders. Jordan recently joined AIMC Berkeley as their Herbal Pharmacist and is excited to be joining their faculty in the New Year.

Q. What are some of your plans for the pharmacy at AIMC, Berkeley?

I am incredibly grateful to work for such a well-established pharmacy. I’m not sure the students are aware, but having interacted with several of the acupuncture school pharmacies in the Bay Area, AIMC is one of the best. We maintain high quality herbs and an extensive product list. The first thing I did when I started was to reorganize the shelving system and remove the cabinet doors so all the herbs are front and center! I am still getting a feel for what sells and what doesn’t, but I am hoping to bring in newer, more exciting products. I will definitely be bringing in more topicals and am doing research into the possibility of bringing in supplements, glycerites, and tinctures. Additionally, I am working my way through our raw herb inventory to make sure that we carry all the herbs on the CAB examination list that we can obtain.

Q. What attracted you to the job of Pharmacy Manager at AIMC, Berkeley?

I have over 10-years herbal experience, first beginning in western herbalism. So a part of me is always connected to the herbs. When I heard about the position here at AIMC, I jumped at the opportunity. All the schools in the Bay Area have such strong reputations and while jobs don’t open up very often, I’m very fortunate that one did specifically where my passion lies. I have lived in San Francisco for the last 6 years, but a part of me has always been enamored with Berkeley and the East Bay. I find the lifestyle and pacing much more akin with how I live, so I was additionally excited to be able to accept the job here in Berkeley!

Q. We notice you have some herbal and nature tattoos on your arm. Tell us a little bit about your connection to the herbs you had tattooed on your body?

I waited a very long time to get my first tattoo. I have always loved tattoos since I was young, but wanted to wait until I found something meaningful. My first tattoo is of the Datura plant on the side of my torso. During my undergrad, I wrote a very in depth monograph on the plant and developed a special respect and relationship with it. While I don’t use it medicinally, I believe it has very powerful energetic properties. Around my forearm I have the silhouette of an evergreen forest as I grew up in the northwest and a piece of my heart will always remain there. On my upper arm, I have the buds of the Sarracenia plant, which is the carnivorous trumpet pitcher. I find carnivorous plants fascinating and cultivate them at home. While that is the current extent of my plant based tattoos, I have a special relationship with plants and will probably add more as inspiration hits.

Q. Are there any herbs or medicinals that you would consider your buddies—i.e. you have a particular relationship with and why?

Picking a favorite herb would be like a parent picking a favorite child. For me it is quite difficult, especially considering my background in western herbalism. I’ve utilized hundreds upon hundreds of herbs over the course of my career, and while there is always those herbs I come back to, I am constantly reviewing herbs I may have forgot about, or researching new uses for those I commonly use. As often as possible I try to combine Eastern and Western herbs. Our scope of practice covers all herbs, so I see no reason to not combine the best of both worlds. One thing I do love to do is add calm spirit herbs to my formulas. We live in a society of constant stimulation, stress, and pain. I love the herbs in this category because they are so grounding and supporting. Even if it’s a tiny amount in a formula, I find that even energetic doses can have a huge impact on a patient’s well-being. As we head towards winter, one of my favorite western herbs is to make elderberry syrup at home. It is such a simple recipe, but extremely effective (and tasty as well)!

Q. Is there anything we wouldn’t necessarily know about you that you want to share with us?

I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. In addition to being an herbalist and student for the last 10 years, I’ve previously worked in renovation construction, ran a wine bar, worked in the food industry, as a bartender, as an event promoter, administrative assistant, and I ran finance for retail stores.

Q. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of TCM?

Outside of TCM, my hobbies are about as varied as my work history. I love bicycling and will ride my bike as much as possible. I cultivate carnivorous plants. Building and designing lighting. Cooking and baking. Traveling. Exploring new places, either at home or abroad. The list goes on!

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