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Archive for the ‘Wei Qi’ tag

Infertility and TCM: Part 11: The Answer My Friend Is Blowin’ in the Wind

By David Kreiner MD

September 8th, 2014 at 5:49 pm

 

credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


According to the ancient Chinese text, “The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huangdi Neijing, 黃帝內經) “, written about two thousand years ago, the emperor Han asked his physician minister why his people in one town were all sick with colds but not elsewhere in the empire.  The wise minister, credited for accumulating and developing much of what is considered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), answered almost in song…”the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind…the answer is blowin’ in the wind”.

The common cold as we know it in Western Medicine is caused by viruses of a variety of types and species.  Today in Western Medicine, we have the capability of identifying the specific affecting virus.  TCM focuses on the syndrome of symptoms the patient exhibits from his/her illness.  The “common cold” typically causes fever and chills, headache, perhaps body aches, nasal congestion and mucus and avoidance of cold.  TCM since the time of Emperor Han and before has classified this set of symptoms as the Wind Cold… caused by “bugs” carried by the wind… which attacks the exterior of the body through the nose and the skin.  The wind pathogen invades the body surface which is blocked by the defending Wei Qi that as a result of the attack stagnates causing the fever.  The Wei Qi is also responsible to warm the body so as it is weakened by the pathogens it will induce chills in the affected individual.

Over the course of hundreds of generations, various herbs… which may include parts of a variety of plant species, animal species and minerals… have been observed to diminish the course of the illness as well as ameliorate the symptoms.  These herbs are prepared in numerous different ways depending on the illness and symptoms being treated, but often include cooking and drinking the finished product as a type of tea.  In the case of the Wind Cold, a feature of the herbal decoction, Ma huang tang, is to induce sweating in an effort to expel the affecting pathogen through the skin pores.  Acupuncture applied to specific points of the body can also induce sweating and “release of the exterior” pathogen so that it is eliminated from the infected superficial layers of the body.

In TCM, a variation of the common cold that is notable for inducing more fever than chills, a sore throat, and sweating is referred to as the Wind Heat.  Treatment, like for the Wind Cold, includes “releasing the exterior” as the pathogens are attacking the superficial layers much like they do with the Wind Cold.  However, therapy utilizes cooling herbs rather than warming herbs.  In TCM, the nature of a syndrome was established in conjunction with the development of an effective treatment.  Since, the “cooling” herbs were noted to benefit patients beset with the Wind Heat, not only did the treatment become standard, but it helped define the syndrome itself.  This is the way syndromes and treatments become established in TCM over the course of generations of experience.

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Do you use herbal teas or other herbal treatments to help prevent or recover from colds and flu? What do you use and has it helped?

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