5 Steps to ‘Shang Han’ treatment

I am currently reading a book titled ‘5 Steps to Shang Han treatment based on Pattern Identification”. It is a fascinating look at a very systematic approach to diagnosis and treatment using the formulary of Zhang Zhong Jing. The book is essentially centred around three very famous modern physicians, Hu Xi Shu (胡希恕), Liu Du Zhou (刘渡舟) and Fan Zhong Lin(范中林). The book includes numerous case studies by each one of them detailing their step-by-step process from diagnosis to treatment. The 5 step process is as follows;

I. TCM diagnosis (signs, symptoms, origin and constitution of patient)
II. List of disease mechanisms (6 channel differentiation, differentiation of principles, zang-fu, channels, etc…)
III. Comprehensive analysis (detailing process and location of disease)
IV. Formulas according to pattern
V. Medicinals according to pattern

I would like to offer a translation of one case from the book by Fan Zhong-Lin a prominent physician in the Fire God school of thought (火神派).

Mr.Yang, a 54 year old male from Cheng Du presented at the clinic.

Step 1: Chinese medical diagnosis
October, 1960. Over the last 2 years every day after breakfast, the patient felt very warm and feverish. His body temperature was always around 38 degrees celcius. He had relatively copious sweating that would go on for about 2 hours. Once the heat would decline, the sweating would stop and he would feel an aversion to cold. His daily symptoms included; dizziness, a bitter taste in the mouth, dry throat, chest and rib-side fullness as well as vexation and agitation felt in the chest. His tongue body was red and the coating was slightly yellow and greasy. Pulse was wiry-rapid. At his previous hospital examination the cause of his fevers were unknown and the medications administered had very little effect.

Step 2: List of disease mechanisms
The wiry pulse, alternating cold and heat, bitter taste in the mouth, dry throat, dizziness, chest and rib-side fullness and heart vexation are all obvious Shao-Yang channel signs and symptoms.

Step 3: Comprehensive Analysis

This is Shao-Yang channel disease heat effusion. Treatment methods should involve harmonizing and resolving the Shao-Yang.

Step 4: Formula according to pattern
Xiao Chai Hu Tang with additions and subtractions governs.
This condition has been going on for 2 years so as the Shang Han Lun says “When Chai Hu signs still exist, administer Xiao Chai Hu Tang”

Step 5: Medicinals according to pattern

Because the signs of heat effusion, sweating, thirst and a red tongue signify depressed heat, we remove Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis) and Da Zao (Fructus Jujubae) , and add Zhi Mu (Rhizoma Anemarrhenae) and Shi Gao (Gypsum Fibrosum) to clear heat.
In addition, because the chest and rib-side fullness were quite severe, this can signify that the pattern is interspersed with damp evils, therefore Mu Li (Concha Ostreae), Chen Pi (Pericarpium Citri reticulatae) and Fu Ling (Poria cocus) were added to percolate dampness, transform stasis and disperse bind.


Chai Hu 24g
Huang Qin 10g
Fa Ban Xia 15g
Sha Shen 15g
Gan Cao 10g
Zhi Mu 15g
Shi Gao 30g
Mu Li 24g
Chen Pi 9g
Fu Ling 12g

After taking one package of the above formula, the heat declined and there was a reduction in most of his symptoms. After stopping the herbs he was instructed to rest and take care of himself for several days and afterwards he would recover. After much time the patient had come to visit Dr. Fan at his home and reported the condition had not recurred.

4 thoughts on “5 Steps to ‘Shang Han’ treatment

  1. Thanks Lancy.It's a great book! I love reading any book with Hu Xi-Shu (胡希恕) cases. He had a very profound yet simple approach to the Shang Han Lun that seemed to yield some pretty impressive results.Again, thanks for reading.

  2. Lancy

    I have been studying Shang Han Lun for almost 6 months now. The last 2 weeks has been about Shao Yang. So this is super interesting I am going to look for this book. Thanks for translating keep up the good work!

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