Saffron, cumin, thyme and pepper, mixed into things like guacamole, quinoa, fruit salad, and an herb butter stick. Faculty member Monika Nuffer, PharmD, teaches the elective course, Special Topics in Integrative Health and Medicine (IHM) and makes tasty snacks during the first week of classes each fall. They’re not just good – but good for you!

For example, the guacamole she makes includes toasted cumin, a spice known to have many health benefits including improved digestion and being a good source of iron.

Other recipes include beneficial herbs like basil, thyme, saffron, parsley, and mint. Tagawa Gardens in Centennial, CO donated the herbs. Here are the recipes that were featured in the class so you can take a look, download them, and make them yourself: IHM Recipes.

The elective is designed to develop a broad knowledge base in the field of IHM and is one of the most popular electives at CU Pharmacy. The lecture and interactive course covers the clinical application of common herbal products and bio-identical hormones and touches on core IHM domains and regulatory issues. Providing an overview of different practices (chiropractic, acupuncture, natural remedies, and indigenous medicine and more), and how these treatments might be used in conjunction with Western medicine, the course provides students with opportunities to further develop problem-solving, literature searching and communications skills.

Not only is the elective popular because of the yummy snacks, but pharmacists with knowledge in IHM also fills a need in healthcare as the use of alternative therapies continues to go up. Around 33% of Americans over the age of 18 use some form of complementary/alternative therapy or integrative health and medicine (IHM). In addition, about 72% of patients do not report IHM use to their health care provider. Pharmacists are frequently asked by patients for their opinion. In order to meet that need, CU Pharmacy not only offers the elective course but also a certificate in IHM.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Nuffer also sees patients at the Center for Integrative Medicine.

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