Gé Gēn Tāng Case – Liú Dùzhōu

Selected Clinical Case Histories of Liu Duzhou《刘渡舟临证验案精选》

Li X, a 38-year-old male.

He had suffered with persistent migraines for 2 years that remained unresolved despite long periods of treatment. He was introduced to Doctor Liu by a good friend and brought in for a consultation.

Chief complaint: right sided headaches, which commonly extended to the forehead and supraorbital ridge. This was accompanied by an absence of sweating, chills, a runny nose with clear mucus, irritability, a red complexion, dizziness, and poor sleep. The range of motion in his back was limited and he reported tightness in his neck and occipital area that became more severe during his headaches. His tongue was pale with a white coat, and his pulse was floating and slightly rapid.

This was differentiated as being cold pathogen lodged in the taiyang channels, resulting in symptoms of inhibited flow of channel qi.

Treatment required the promotion of sweat to expel pathogens, and unblock taiyang qi, so Kudzu Decoction (gé gēn tāng) was given:

Ephedrae Herba (má huáng) 4g
Puerariae Radix (gé gēn) 18g
Cinnamomi Ramulus (guì zhī) 12g
Paeoniae Radix alba (bái sháo) 12g
Glycyrrhizae Radix praeparata (zhì gān cǎo) 6g
Zingiberis Rhizoma recens (shēng jiāng) 12g
Jujubae Fructus (dà zǎo) 12 pieces.

Ephedrae Herba (má huáng) and Puerariae Radix (gé gēn) were to be decocted first with the froth removed before adding the other ingredients. After taking the decoction, the patient was covered up so a slight sweat could be obtained. He was to avoid drafts and cold.

After taking 3 packets, his back felt warm, which was followed by a mild sweat throughout the body, and a reduction in his headache and neck tension. 15 packets of the same formula were prescribed again, which completely resolved his headaches and neck tension.

A Cháihú jiā lónggǔ mǔlì tāng case – Huáng Huáng

Wang, 58-year-old male, 186cm/64kg. 

Initial consultation on June 11, 2019. 

History: Patient had a history of stomach disease for over 30 years, accompanied by an inability to eat much food, stomach distention following meals, poor appetite, no desire to eat, coldness in the lower abdomen, a fear of cold, constipation, difficulty falling asleep, and a shallow, dream-disturbed sleep.  

Lab results: Gastroscopy on May 2, 2019, which revealed intermediate chronic atrophic gastritis with intestinal metaplasia in the lesser curvature of the gastric antrum and mild chronic atrophic gastritis with intestinal metaplasia in the greater curvature of the gastric antrum.  

Signs: Sallow complexion, distinct abdominal pulsations, a long face, indifferent expression, slightly thin build, red tip of the nose, and a thin-slippery pulse. 

Prescription:

Bupleuri Radix (chái hú) 15g, Scutellariae Radix (huáng qín) 10g, ginger-fried Pinelliae Rhizoma praeparatum (jiāng bàn xià) 10g, Codonopsis Radix (dǎng shēn) 15g, Cinnamomi Ramulus (guì zhī) 10g, Poria (fú líng) 15g, prepared Rhei Radix et Rhizoma (zhì dà huáng) 5g, Fossilia Ossis Mastodi (lóng gǔ) 15g, Ostreae Concha (mǔ lì) 15g, Zingiberis Rhizoma (gān jiāng) 5g, Jujubae Fructus (dà zǎo) 20g; 10 packets, 1 packet for 2 days. Taken right before bed. 

Second consultation on July 2, 2019: Patient now had a desire to eat, daily bowel movements, and decreased coldness in his lower abdomen. If he overate then he experienced abdominal distention, still had a fear of cold, woke easily due to a dream-disturbed sleep, and was fatigued. 

Prescription 1: Same formula; 1 packet to be taken over 2 days. 

Prescription 2: Bupleuri Radix (chái hú) 15g, Paeoniae Radix alba (bái sháo) 15g, Aurantii Fructus (zhǐ ké) 15g, Glycyrrhizae Radix (gān cǎo) 5g, dried Lilii Bulbus (bǎi hé gān) 30g; 10 packets of each, to be taken on an alternating basis. 

Cáo Yǐngfǔ on the Use of Xiǎo Jiàn Zhōng Tāng 

Master Cao was a pivotal force in the classical formulas school (经方派) and was a true master in using the underlying principles and formulas found in the Shang Han Lun and Jin Gui Yao Lue. Master Cao felt that the medical texts, which followed were too insignificant to study and discuss, and therefore he attached great importance to the thorough study of these texts to his students, and felt that Zhang Zhongjing’s theories and formulas were the perfect framework for successful medical practice. In addition to being skillfully versed in these medical canons, Cao Yingfu was also an accomplished poet, often interweaving the two when attempting to convey his thought process in clinic, often instructing his students to compose a poem and matching it with a relevant line from the classics. This kind of inquiry and thought process truly shows the breadth of his skill and how his mind rarely waivered from the classical Chinese medicine concept of the human body being a reflection of his environment, the microcosm of the macrocosm.
However, master Cao was not completely strict in his formula choices and would often use formulas like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, Xiao Yao San, and Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, in addition to herbs such as niu bang zi, qian hu and various others. This shows that he was obviously well read and did not quickly write off more modern formulas. His use of these non Zhang Zhongjing formulas displayed his deep understanding in the formula constructions and where they were applicable. He advocated that students must understand and study the root of the medical philosophies and not just pick the flowers, and it’s from this same feeling that he encouraged his students to read the Yue Fu (乐府诗集) poetry of the Han and Wei dynasties and specifically the poet Wang Yuyang (王漁洋).

When the Japanese invaded the south, his hometown of Jiangyin, Jiangsu province fell into enemy hands and on December 7th, 1937, he died heroically resisting the invaders. While master Cao died a hero, the world lost a great Chinese medicine master. We are very fortunate to have several of his books available in order for subsequent generations to learn from not just in China, but also around the world. It is my hope in translating some of his cases that this knowledge can spread. We are also very fortunate to have scholar-physicians like my teacher Dr. Huang Huang uphold this love and dedication to master Cao’s work and to classical literature.

Case 1
Female. Since delivering a child her cycles come every forty days, which are accompanied by distending pain in the epigastrium following meals. When the cycle arrives, there is pain extending from the stomach to the lower abdomen. During the pain she experiences a strong desire to have a bowel movement. After the bowel movement the pain would typically stop. Pain would return the following afternoon and stop during the menstrual flow, and once again come and go the following day. Both pulses were wiry.
This is liver and gall-bladder exploiting deficiency of the spleen viscera. In this case Xiao Jian Zhong Tang with Chai hu and Huang Qin is appropriate.


Gui Zhi 3 qian
Sheng Bai Shao 5 qian
Zhi (Gan) Cao 2 qian
Sheng Jiang 5 pcs
Hong Zao 12 pieces
Yi Tang 2 liang
Chai Hu 3 qian
Jiu (Huang) Qin 1 qian
Tai Wu Yao 1.5 qian

After one package, her pain stopped and the menses ceased. Patient continued with two more packages, after which the condition resolved.
The master (Zhang Zhongjing) in his great classic said:


“In cold damage, (when) the yang pulse is choppy and the yin pulse is wiry, as a rule there should be urgent pain in the abdomen. First give Xiao Jian Zhong Tang; if it does not reduce, Xiao Chai Hu Tang governs.”
“伤寒,阳脉涩,阴脉弦,法当腹中急痛,先与小建中汤,不差者,小柴胡汤主之”.

Cao Yingfu (曹颖甫): Now here (in this case) I feel it goes without saying that there had not been a reduction and I immediately added Chai Hu and Huang Qin to treat her, why not? This woman’s situation was a menstrual disease and many belong to Chai Hu patterns, and so it was clearly obvious (to add it). The following day it was reported that the disease had resolved.

Case 2
Abdominal pain which liked pressure. During episodes of pain a distressing sensation of cold air was felt moving up and down (the body). Pulse was wiry-deficient. In addition there was an aversion to cold.
This is due to the liver exploiting the spleen and Xiao Jian Zhong Tang governs.
Gui Zhi 9g
Bai Shao 18g
Sheng Jiang 9g
Zhi Gan Cao 6g
Da Zao 6g
Yi Tang 30g

Liáo Shēng annotation: “This case is a pattern of abdominal pain (due to) central yang insufficiency with interior deficiency. The patient experienced abdominal pain, which liked pressure, the pulse was wiry-deficient and an aversion to cold was present. This signifies the overabundance of yin cold-qi, central yang insufficiency, and liver wood exploiting spleen (earth). Therefore Xiao Jian Zhong Tang was used to treat and resolve the condition.
The function of this formula is to supplement deficiency, quiet the center, moderate urgency and stop pain. The name of this formula is center fortifying (decoction). Fortify means to establish or set up, and because central qi is insufficient, it is very important to ‘establish’ or ‘set it up’. The formula contains sweat inducing (herbs) and not central effusing (herbs). It is referred to as a ‘minor’ (decoction) and only half (of the formula) resolves the exterior, so it does not completely secure the center. Xiao Jian Zhong Tang uses a heavy dose of Yi Tang, which is sweet, warm and serves as the sovereign to supplement the center. Bai Shao is the minister, which is sour and sweet to tonify yin. The assistant Gui Zhi is acrid-warm, which effuses and scatters. Combined with Bai Shao it regulates the nutritive and defense. In addition, Gan Cao, Da Zao and Sheng Jiang, which are sweet moderating and acrid warm, nourish the stomach and harmonize the center. Therefore (this formula) is able to warm and nourish central qi, calm and supplement yin and yang and regulate the nutritive and defense.”

*Xióng Liáo-Shēng (熊廖笙) style name Yǐ Xíng (以行) was born in 1905 in Ba County in Chongqing, Sichuan Province. Master Xióng was well versed in the classics, primarily the Nei Jing, Nan Jing, Shang Han Lun, and Jin Gui Yao Lue. The author of several books, Dr. Xióng possessed a deep and profound scholarship of the Shang Han Lun and was highly skilled in distilling the essence and precise details of various ancient doctors cases, which were found in his various annotations.

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Huáng Huáng’s Use of Guì Zhī Fú Líng Wán in Respiratory Conditions

Cinnamon Twig and Poria Pill (guì zhī fú líng wán)

Indications: Bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary arterial hypertension, pleurisy, pleural effusion, interstitial pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, and recurrent pulmonary infections typically manifesting with a dark-red complexion, a stifling sensation and pain in the chest, purple lips and a dark tongue. This formula has a blood invigorating, stasis transforming effect, which can improve the blood supply of the heart and lungs.

Usage & Modifications:

1. Patients for whom this formula is suitable tend to have a red or purple-red complexion, abdominal fullness, resistance to pressure in the lower left abdomen with possible tenderness, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, stirring palpitations, and a dark tongue body with possible purple spots.

2. For patients that experience diarrhea after taking the formula, have them take in after meals or decrease the dosage.

3. Use with caution in pregnancy.

4. Modifications:

  • If there is a stifling sensation and pain in the chest, a chronic cough, and a wan and sallow complexion, add Angelicae sinensis Radix (dāng guī) 15g, Chuanxiong Rhizoma (chuān xiōng) 15g, and Salviae miltiorrhizae Radix (dān shēn) 15g
  • If there is a stifling sensation in the chest, abdominal distention, and an oily complexion, add Citri reticulatae Pericarpium (chén pí) 20g, Aurantii Fructus (zhǐ ké) 20g, and Zingiberis Rhizoma recens (shēng jiāng) 20g
  • If there is a stifling sensation in the chest  and constipation, add Aurantii Fructus (zhǐ ké) 20g, Allii macrostemi Bulbus (xiè bái) 20g, and Trichosanthis Fructus (quán guā lóu) 30g.

Representative Case History:

Yu, 74-year-old male, 160cm/70kg.

Initial consultation on June 5, 2018

Chief complaint: Recurrent cough and wheezing for 9 years, with dyspnea, an inability to climb stairs quickly, and abdominal distention following meals.

History: In April 2018 during a hospital visit, he was diagnosed with an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, cardiac insufficiency, heart valve disease, and a fatty liver.

Signs: average build, dark, red and oily complexion, obvious bags under the eyes, purple-dark lips and tongue, stasis marks under the tongue, abdominal fullness, and resistance to pressure in the lower costal arch (flanks).

Prescription: Cinnamomi Ramulus (guì zhī) 10g, Cinnamomi Cortex (ròu guì) 10g, Poria (fú líng) 20g, Paeoniae Radix rubra (chì sháo) 20g, Moutan Cortex (mǔ dān pí) 15g, Persicae Semen (táo rén) 15g, Angelicae sinensis Radix (dāng guī) 15g, Chuanxiong Rhizoma (chuān xiōng) 15g, Salviae miltiorrhizae Radix (dān shēn) 15g, Aurantii Fructus (zhǐ ké) 30g, Citri reticulatae Pericarpium (chén pí) 30g, Zingiberis Rhizoma (gān jiāng) 10g; 15 packets.

Second consultation on June 25, 2018: After taking the herbs, his breathing was smooth and easy, however cough and wheezing were still present, but he was still able to play mah-jong. The same formula was continued.

Third consultation on August 20, 2018: No labored breathing when walking and he was able to climb 3 floors. The stasis marks under his tongue had improved.

Huáng Huáng – A Bàn Xià Hòu Pò Tāng Case

Huang, 65-year-old male, 171cm/75kg. 

Initial consultation on January 29, 2019.

History: Superficial gastritis with ulceration for over 10 years. Patient reported that he often experienced abdominal pain after taking western medications as well as abdominal discomfort after eating fruit. He felt a sticky sensation in his umbilicus, and also experienced abdominal distention, belching, poor appetite, difficulty falling asleep, and had no issues with his bowel movements. He was worried that his digestive disease will develop into cancer, and therefore, his mood was quite poor. 

Signs: Robust build, double eyelids, frowning eyebrows, lively facial expressions, a red face, and dusky red lips. In addition, he procrastinated when he spoke. His abdomen was soft, there were purple stasis marks below his tongue, his throat was red, tongue coating slightly greasy, and his pulse was slippery. 

Prescription: jiangbanxia 15g, houpo 15g, fuling 15g, sugeng 15g, zhike 15g, zhizi 15g, lianqiao 30g, huangqin 10g; 9 packets; 3 days on, 2 days off. 

Second consultation on February 26, 2019: After taking the formula, his symptoms had improved. However, once stopping them, the symptoms returned, yet this time there was no abdominal pain, and only a feeling of discomfort, plus the location of the pain had now changed. He was also belching, had subcostal distention, and his sleep was reduced. 9 packets of the same formula with chenpi 20g was given; 3 days on, 2 days off. 

Selected Clinical Case Histories of Liú Dù-Zhōu – Gé Gēn Tāng

 

Li X, a 38-year-old male. He had suffered with stubborn migraines for 2 years, which had not resolved despite being treated for a long time. He was introduced to Doctor Liu by a good friend and brought in for a consultation. 

Chief complaint: right sided headaches, which commonly extended to the forehead and supraorbital ridge. This was accompanied by an absence of sweating, chills, a runny nose with clear mucus, irritability, a red complexion, dizziness, and poor sleep. During examination, the patients’ range of motion in his back was inhibited, and on inquiry, the patient reported that his neck and occiput usually felt tight, more severely so during his headaches. His tongue was pale with a white coat, and his pulse was floating and slightly rapid. 

This was differentiated as cold pathogens being lodged in the taiyang channels, resulting in symptoms of inhibited flow of channel qi. 

Treatment required the promotion of sweat to expel pathogens, and unblock taiyang qi, so Kudzu Decoction (gé gēn tāng) was given: 

Ephedrae Herba (má huáng) 4g
Puerariae Radix (gé gēn) 18g
Cinnamomi Ramulus (guì zhī) 12g
Paeoniae Radix alba (bái sháo) 12g
Glycyrrhizae Radix praeparata (zhì gān cǎo) 6g
Zingiberis Rhizoma recens (shēng jiāng) 12g
Jujubae Fructus (dà zǎo) 12 pieces

Ephedrae Herba (má huáng) and Puerariae Radix (gé gēn) were to be decocted first with the froth removed before adding the other ingredients. 

After taking the decoction, the patient was covered up so a slight sweat could be obtained. He was instructed to avoid cold drafts. 

After taking 3 packets, his back felt warm, which was followed by a mild sweat throughout the body, and a reduction in his headache and neck tension. 15 packets of the same formula was
prescribed again, which completely resolved his headaches and neck tension. 

Selected Clinical Case Histories of Liu Du-Zhou (Liú Dù-Zhōu lín zhèng yàn àn jīng xuǎn)

The Wandering Kidney – A Discussion on Shèn Qí Wán by Keisetsu Ōtsuka

 The Wandering Kidney
– Keisetsu Ōtsuka (大塚敬節)
A while back, a male presented at the clinic looking to improve his overall health.  He complained that he would be easily fatigued following exercise, and afterwards would experience lower back and abdominal pain. He had been diagnosed with various conditions such as gallstones, kidney stones, and chronic appendicitis. Most recently following thorough examination, he was diagnosed with a wandering or floating kidney[1]on the right side. During abdominal diagnosis his kidney was easily palpated below his ribs on the right side when sitting up, however, when laying down the kidney was difficult to palpate. His appetite was normal as were his bowel movements and urination.
Shèn Qì Wán was administered, in accordance with the Jīn Guì Yào Lüè line that states,
“For deficiency taxation manifesting with lumbar pain, lesser abdominal hypertonicity, and inhibited urination, Bā Wèi Shèn Qì Wán (Eight-Ingredient Kidney Qi Pill) is indicated”.
After one month his fatigue had markedly improved and he no longer felt the lower back and abdominal pain.
Not long after this case, I saw a woman with a floating kidney, for which I reluctantly administered Shèn Qì Wán. Although the previous patient had excellent results with the formula, after giving this patient Shèn Qì Wán, she suffered from vomiting and poor appetite. The formula was discontinued after two days. This patients’ entire abdomen was soft and weak, with water sounds in the abdomen on percussion. In addition, her pulse was weak, appetite poor, and she experienced abdominal, back and lumbar pain, which were affecting her work. If Shèn Qì Wán is used in gastroptosia[2] or in patterns associated with sluggish stomach function manifesting with poor appetite, diarrhea, or vomiting there will frequently be side effects and great difficulty in resolution of the patients’ condition. There is also a line related to the formula in the Jīn Guì Yào Lüè, which states, “Eating and drinking as normal”, which clearly specifies that Shèn Qì Wán is not indicated in cases involving obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract. Although the line is very clear, I still administered the formula, ignoring the pattern identification and therefore failed to control the disease. I changed the formula to Liáng Zhǐ Tāng, which was able to control the symptoms, and reduce the abdominal, back and lumbar pain. In addition, this patient also had obvious umbilical pulsations.
The famous Japanese doctor Wada Tōkaku (和田東郭– 1744-1803), said that umbilical pulsations are a typical Dì Huáng formula sign, but should be combined with lóng gǔ (Fossilia Ossis Mastodi), mǔ lì (Ostreae Concha), guì zhī (Cinnamomi Ramulus) and gān cǎo (Glycyrrhizae Radix) formulas, which also present with umbilical pulsations. Therefore one must be cautious in using Shèn Qì Wán based on umbilical pulsations alone.
Liáng Zhǐ Tāng is líng guì cǎo zǎo tāng (Poria, Cinnamon Twig, Licorice, and Jujube Decoction) with the addition of zhǐ shí (Aurantii Fructus immaturus), bàn xià (Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum), and liáng jiāng (Alpiniae Officinarum Rhizoma). When I find umbilical pulsations with hardness in the abdomen, I will typically use this formula to attack and move the pain.

[1] Floating kidney is a condition that is also termed as hypermobile kidney or the wandering kidney. The medical name of such a condition is nephroptosis. In such a condition the kidney is seen to drop downwards when a person stands up or is transiting from a lying down to an upright position. It is also known as the kidney prolapse condition. The kidney moving downward suggests that it is not fixed fully by the tissues that surround it. Such a condition is not uncommon and has been noted over a century by physicians in many cases.
[2] Downward displacement of the stomach.

A case of Xiǎo Jiàn Zhōng Tāng (minor construct the middle decoction)


Fàn Zhōng-Lín

A 22-year-old female factory manager from Chóng Qìng city presented at the clinic.

In July 1959 the patient had developed a high fever and lost consciousness. She was immediately taken into a local hospitals emergency department for investigation. She was administered an anti-pyretic medication, however her fever would not reduce. She was also given various medications to manage and reduce her heat all to no avail. Her diagnosis was inconclusive. At this point she was discharged from the hospital after requesting Chinese medical treatment. After taking two packages of a heat reducing formula, she had gradually regained consciousness. However, in the evening the following day she once again lost consciousness. Again, she was sent to the hospital for treatment, but as she had once again come down with a critical condition as before, they were still unable to make a clear diagnosis. The old Chinese medical doctor[1] was once again consulted who said he was able to diagnose her. After taking Chinese medicinals, her condition gradually improved.

The old Chinese medical doctor believed her condition was due to cerebral stagnation. She was sent for examination and film of her head, which clearly showed blood stagnation in her cranium, and was thus immediately sent to surgery in order to escape any form of danger.

A month following the surgery she was experiencing twitching in her extremities and coldness in the lower half of her body. She was discharged from hospital and continued using herbal medicines for the next five or six years, with very little clear improvement. In 1965 she travelled here to Róng[2] for a consultation.

Her current symptoms were, twitching in her extremities on the right side, occasional deviation of her mouth and eyes, which occurred five or six times per month and would precede the twitching. Afterwards she would feel numbness on her right side. Over the last few years she was especially fearful of cold, and even during the intense heat of June she would wear a sweater, and her extremities still experienced coldness. Her menstrual cycle was irregular with a pale dark color. Her vision had been receding becoming dim and unclear, and her memory and reaction time were remarkably decreased and slow. She was fatigued and had a poor appetite. Her tongue was pale with a scant amount of grey coating. Pulse was deep and thin.

Symptoms and Disease Mechanisms

  • Deep thin pulse, pale tongue, fear of cold, cold extremities, fatigue, twitching in half the body and extremities: symptoms belongs to a Tài Yīn and Shào Yīn spleen and kidney yáng deficiency pattern.
  • Twitching of the extremities, deviation of the mouth and eyes: This pattern belongs to tetany disease[3].

After suffering from such a major illness, both qì and blood are damaged, and thus tetany may form. When qì and blood are both deficient, the sinews and vessels will jerk and become hypertonic. For example, Sù Wèn chapter 74 ‘The Great Treatise on the Utmost Truth’ says,

“All Cold, with contraction and tautness belongs to the kidneys”. 

The Channels and Sinews chapter (ch.13) of the Líng Shū says,

“[When] the sinews of the Foot Shào Yīn [are diseased], [they manifest with] epilepsy, tugging and tetany”.

Analysis

Tài Yīn, Shào Yīn; qì and blood deficiency.
Among these the qì and blood deficiency are primary.

Treatment Strategy

Here it is appropriate to first warm the center, strengthen the spleen, and harmonize qì and blood.
For this xiǎo jiàn zhōng tāng (minor construct the middle decoction) masters.

Formula:

guì zhī (Cinnamomi Ramulus) 12g
zhì gān cǎo (Glycyrrhizae Radix preparata) 6g
bái sháo (Paeoniae Radix alba) 15g
shēng jiāng (Zingiberis Rhizoma recens) 30g
hóng zǎo (Jujubae Fructus) 15g
yí tang (Maltosum) 60g (dissolved in decoction)

6 packages were given.

She took the six packages above, and followed up ten days later, at which point the twitching in the extremities only occurred once, and the numbness in the body was reduced. In addition, both her spirit and appetite were harmonized, and she was overall making a great recovery.

[1] A Lǎo Zhōng Yī (老中医 ) refers to an older, highly experienced Chinese medical physician, typically held in very high regard throughout the country.
[2] Róng is another name for Chéng Dū.
[3] Refer to chapter 2 in the Jīn Guì Yào Lüè.

Headache: Two cases by Liu Duzhou 劉渡舟

Headache: Two cases by Liu Duzhou 劉渡舟

Translated by Daniel Eng, L.Ac.

Case 1: Zhenwu tang + Ling gui zhu gan tang

Liu Duzhou
Mr. Li, male, 32 years old. The patient was a driver. When he drove in the summer, the weather was hot and he would freely drink ice-cold beer or soda, daily and without restraint. When autumn came he started experiencing headaches every night. The pain was severe, and he had to knock his fists against his head or take analgesic pills in order to obtain relief; it was also accompanied by blurred vision. The condition had persisted for over a month.
On visual inspection, the patient’s facial complexion was dark and sallow, his tongue was pale and tender with a wet, slippery coating, and his pulse was deep, wiry and moderate. This was a case of yang deficiency with water overflowing, turbid yin escaping upward, and clear yang being stifled.
Fuzi 12g, fuling 18g, baizhu 9g, shengjiang12g, baishao 9g, guizhi 6g, zhi gancao 6g
After taking six packets of the medicine, the headaches had lessened significantly. His formula was changed to Ling gui zhu gan tang, and after four packets he was cured.
Commentary by Dr. Liu: Zhenwu tangis also known as Xuanwu tang.Xuanwu is the spirit that controls water in the north. Because this formula has the function of supporting yang and controlling water, it is therefore named Zhenwu tang; it is used for patterns such as Shaoyin yang deficiency with cold, and water qi failing to transform. The Shanghan lun says: “Abdominal pain and inhibited urination . . . means there is water qi.” This indicates the key pathomechanism of this pattern. Yin deficiency with hyperactive yang often stirs wind, while yang decline with exuberant yin often stirs water—this is a basic rule of the occurrence and development of disease. Yang deficiency stirring water is normally treated with the Ling gui formulas; if the disease has reached the kidneys, with yang qi deficiency and decline, palpitations, dizziness, instability when standing, and swaying as if about to fall to the ground, then we must treat using Zhenwu tang.If one takes Zhenwu tang,and the kidney yang is warmed yet the water qi is still unable to transform completely, then we can further use the warming herbs of the Ling gui formulas to harmonize.

Case 2: Guizhi qu gui jia fuling baizhu tang

Ms. Jin, female, 42 years old. The patient had been suffering from left-sided migraines for over three years. She had tried many treatments without effect. Accompanying symptoms included stiff nape; distention, fullness and discomfort of the chest and epigastrium; and frequent, scanty urination. Bowel movements were normal. The pulse was wiry and tight, and the tongue fur was wet and slippery almost to the point of dripping.
Fuling 30g, baishao 30g, baizhu 10g, zhi gancao 10g, dazao 12 pieces, shengjiang10g.
After taking six packets, she was cured.
Commentary by Dr. Liu: Line 28 of the Shanghan lunsays: “When Guizhi tangis taken, or down-purging is used, and there is still pain and stiffness of the head and nape, feathery-warm heat effusion, no sweating, fullness and slight pain beneath the heart, and inhibited urination, Guizhi qu gui jia fuling baizhu tang masters.” Physicians throughout the ages have had quite different understandings of this line from the original text. For example, Xu Dachun of the Qing dynasty said: “Whenever formulas are modified, it is always the assistant or envoy herb [that is removed]. If the chief herb is removed, a new formula name is given. Here guizhiis removed, yet [the formula] is still named after guizhi;this cannot be explained.” Qian Tianlai also said: “The significance of treatment with Guizhi qu gui jia fuling baizhu tang is unclear. I am afraid that this was the error of a later copyist—it is impossible to know. Even if one uses it, I am afraid that it will not necessarily be effective.” And Wu Qian, the author of the Yizong jinjian, asserted even more directly that “remove guizhi” was erroneously written instead of “remove shaoyao.
So, how should we understand this issue? First, we should remember the features of Guizhi tang and its modifications and transformations. The biggest feature of Guizhi tang is that it moistens yin and harmonizes yang, and the herbal combination that achieves this feature is guizhi combined with shaoyao. Guizhiand shaoyao,one yang and one yin, clinically can be taken to form a dichotomy. For example, there is a Guizhi jia gui tang,so there is also a Guizhi jia shaoyao tang;therefore, since there is a Guizhi qu shaoyao tang,there should also be a Guizhi qu gui tang. This way, yin and yang are counterparts, and this fits the objective rules of disease transformations and their treatments. If we analyze along these lines, Guizhi tang with the removal of guiis actually a real phenomenon.
Furthermore, from the perspective of the herbal composition of Guizhi qu gui jia fuling baizhu tang, it wouldn’t hurt to compare it to Ling gui zhu gan tang,in order to understand more clearly the significance of removing gui.In the Shanghan lun, Zhongjing used Zhenwu tang to support yang and disinhibit water, so he also had Zhuling tang to supplement yin and disinhibit water as its counterpart. This is because fluid metabolism dysfunction in the human body is related to the two aspects of yin and yang. Therefore, since Zhongjing offered Ling gui zhu gan tang to unblock the yang and disinhibit water, he should have a formula to harmonize yin and disinhibit water as its counterpart. The answer to this question lies precisely in Qu gui jia fuling baizhu tang.
This formula’s herbal composition is as follows: fuling, shaoyao, baizhu, zhi gancao, shengjiang and dazao.If we look at these ingredients, it is not difficult to discover that the four ingredients fuling, shaoyao, baizhuand zhi gancao are exactly analagous to the four ingredients of Ling gui zhu gan tang, with guizhiand shaoyao as yin-yang counterparts. For this reason, it wouldn’t hurt to call this “Ling shao zhu gan tang”for the moment. “Ling shao zhu gan tang” uses shaoyaoon one hand to moisten the ying and harmonize yin, and on the other hand in combination with fuling, so it also has the function of removing water qi and disinhibiting urination. So the ability of Ling shao zhu gan tang” to harmonize yin and disinhibit water is in exact yin-yang relationship with the ability of Ling gui zhu gan tang to unblock yang and disinhibit water. And the fact that shengjiang and dazao are further included is just like how Ling gui zhu gan tang also has the adaptations known as Ling gui zao gan tang and Ling gui jiang gan tang.
Even if this is so, why didn’t Zhongjing simply name it “Ling shao zhu gan tang,” instead of naming it Guizhi qu gui jia fuling baizhu tang? There may be two reasons for this. The first is that in Zhongjing’s writings, there is often a paired relationship between lines that appear before and after each other. After all, Line 21 lists Guizhi qu shaoyao tang, so Line 28 goes on to mention Guizhi tang and the method of removing gui. This causes a person to compare, so that they see the difference between “chest fullness” in the line above, and “fullness and slight pain beneath the heart” in the line below.
Secondly, Zhongjing was afraid that later generations, upon seeing “pain and stiffness of the head and nape” and “feathery-warm heat effusion,” would grasp onto guizhi and not let it go, overly insistent on the exterior-releasing function of guizhi; so he emphasized that for this formula we must remove guizhiand keep shaoyao. Therefore, when reading Zhongjing’s books we must search in hidden places to tease out deeper meanings.
In the clinical use of Guizhi qu gui jia fuling baizhu tang, the key to pattern differentiation lies in “inhibited urination.” Inhibited urination is a manifestation of bladder qi transformation dysfunction, leading to water evil stagnating internally. Water evil stagnating internally in the bladder can obstruct the flow of yang qi in its channel. When yang qi is blocked and the channel is inhibited, there may be external signs such as feathery-warm heat effusion and pain and stiffness of the head and nape, so it looks like an exterior pattern but really is not an exterior pattern. When the water evil congeals and binds, blocking the qi mechanism and causing interior qi disharmony, there may be interior signs such as fullness and slight pain beneath the heart, so it looks like an interior excess pattern but really is not an interior excess pattern. Therefore the methods of promoting sweating and down-purging are both inappropriate. The pathomechanism of this pattern is as follows: inhibited urination → water blocking the bladder → external qi obstruction and internal qi binding.
If the key to pattern differentiation is inhibited urination, why don’t we use Wuling san to disinhibit urination? This issue has already been clearly explained by Tang Rongchuan of the Qing dynasty. He said: “Wuling sanis for the qi of Taiyang failing to reach the exterior, so guizhiis used to diffuse the qi of Taiyang; when the qi reaches the exterior, water will descend on its own, and urination will be disinhibited. This formula [Guizhi qi gui jia fuling baizhu tang]is for the water of Taiyang failing to descend, and therefore guizhi is removed, and fulingand baizhu are further added to move the water of Taiyang; when the water descends, the qi will reach the exterior on its own, and signs such as headache and heat effusion will naturally be resolved. Those without sweating can be cured with slight sweating, and therefore Wuling sanmakes special use of guizhito promote sweating; sweating is what disinhibits water. This formula makes special use of fulingand baizhu to disinhibit water; disinhibiting water is what promotes sweating. Actually this is due to the knowledge that water can transform qi, and qi can move water.”
Source: Liu Duzhou, ed., Jingfang linzheng zhinan (Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House, 2013), pp. 50–53, 126–128.

A Concretions and Conglomerations Case- Féng Shì-Lún (冯世纶)

%E5%86%AF%E4%B8%96%E7%BA%B6.jpgA seventy-two year old retired gentleman presented on September 14, 2004 with a three- year history of liver and spleen hypertrophy.

At sixty years of age he had contracted and suffered from gallbladder inflammation and onychomycosis (ringworm of the nails). At sixty-nine he was given griseofulin to treat the ringworm, which consequently damaged his liver function.  In 2001 his ringworm had gotten much worse and so he was administered Itraconazole for several months. Although the ringworm did improve, his liver function was now abnormal, and his blood platelets had decreased.  His diagnosis was drug-induced hepatitis with splenic-liver syndrome. Western medications were ineffective. The results of his medical exams were as follows:

Blood panels: WBC 4.6 x 1012/L, RBC 3.93 x 1012/L, Platelets 59 x 109/L.

Ultrasound showed a fatty liver, liver enlargement (hepatomegaly), spleen enlargement (splenomegaly), with the thickness of the liver being 156mm and the thickness of the spleen being 70mm.

Liver function tests: AST 45IU/L, TP 8.4g/DL, GGT 76IU/L, TBA 37umol/L.

Current symptoms: Lack of strength, dryness of the mouth in the morning, frequent chest fullness, and frequent passing of flatus. He had a white tongue coat, which was greasy at the root, and his pulse was wiry and thin.

Pattern identification and basis of treatment:

Chest fullness belongs to Shào Yáng

Mouth dryness belongs to Yáng Míng

Lack of strength is associated with Tài Yīn

He was administered a modified version of xiǎo chái hú jiā shí gāo tāng (Minor Bupleurum Decoction with Gypsum)

chái hú (Bupleuri Radix) 12g

huáng qín (Scutellariae Radix) 10g

bàn xià (Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum) 15g

dǎng shēn (Codonopsis Radix) 10g

zhǐ shí (Aurantii Fructus immaturus) 10g

chén pí (Citri reticulatae Pericarpium) 30g

shēng jiāng (Zingiberis Rhizoma recens) 12g

dà zǎo (Jujubae Fructus) 4 pieces

zhì gān cǎo (Glycyrrhizae Radix preparata) 6g

yīn chén hāo (Virgate Wormwood herba) 15g

dān shēn (Salvia Militiorrhiza) 15g

tiān huā fěn (Trichosanthis Radix 12g

biē jiǎ (Trionycis Carapax) 10g

wǔ wèi zǐ (Schisandrae Fructus) 10g

shēng shí gāo (Gypsum fibrosum) 45g

Seven packages were given.

Question: Is the ancient rén shēn actually dǎng shēn, bái shài shēn or gāo lí shēn?

Answer: If we look, we see that rén shēn’s applications in Zhòng Jǐng’s formulas are quite numerous, and dǎng shēn is capable of meeting these major requirements.

Question: In this treatment xiǎo chái hú tāng (Minor Bupleurum Decoction) was used, and in Japan it is also frequently used for hepatitis. Is this formula especially efficacious at treating hepatitis?

Answer: Not necessarily. Chinese medicine looks at the individual systems when treating and is not influenced by western medical diagnosis.  Japan’s misuse of this formula for treating hepatitis has created lots of disputes around the use of this formula, mainly because they are not relying on pattern (identification) for herb usage and strictly use western medical diagnosis to determine its use. From the perspective of orthodox Chinese medicine this use is incorrect, erroneous and can bring about side effects from the formula.  In this case xiǎo chái hú tāng (Minor Bupleurum Decoction) was used for an extended period of time, yet none of these so-called side effects were observed. These are the lessons the Chinese western integrative doctors should be drawing from.

Second consultation on September 21, 2004:  The chest fullness was not as pronounced, yet he was still lacking strength and was frequently passing gas. Shēng shí gāo (Gypsum fibrosum) was removed from the previous formula and 30g of chén pí (Citri reticulatae Pericarpium) was added. Seven packages were administered and he was also given dà huáng zhè chóng wán (Rhubarb and Ground Beetle Pill) and was instructed to take three grams once daily.

Third consultation on October 8, 2004:  Gas was reduced and bowel movements were normalized. The chén pí (Citri reticulatae Pericarpium) was kept at 30g and 15g of cāng zhú (Atractylodis Rhizoma) was added. Fourteen packs were given.

Fourth consultation on October 22, 2004: Chest fullness was still not pronounced, he experienced itchiness of his abdomen and back, he was only tired after walking and his mouth was no longer dry in the morning. Here we see the lack of strength and harmony of the mouth (no abnormal taste or sensation in the mouth) as the key signs of a Tài Yīn vacuity pattern. Therefore fú líng yǐn (Poria Beverage) is used combined with medicinals to nourish the blood, eliminate stasis, and soften hardness.

bàn xià (Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum) 10g

dǎng shēn (Codonopsis Radix) 10g

zhǐ qiào (Aurantii Fructus immaturus) 10g

chén pí (Citri reticulatae Pericarpium) 30g

cāng zhú (Atractylodis Rhizoma) 10g

fú líng (Poria) 12g

bái sháo (Paeoniae Radix alba) 10g

táo rén (Juglandis Semen) 10g

dāng guī (Angelicae sinensis Radix) 10g

chuān xiōng (Chuanxiong Rhizoma) 6g

yīn chén hāo (Virgate Wormwood herba) 15g

dān shēn (Salvia Militiorrhiza) 15g

biē jiǎ (Trionycis Carapax) 10g

wǔ wèi zǐ (Schisandrae Fructus) 10g

After taking seven packages he occasionally had a dry mouth with a bitter taste and his GPT levels had increased. He was given a modified version of the formula from the first consultation. Afterwards he had abdominal distention, a lack of strength, and an absence of dryness or bitterness in the mouth. He was then given a modified version of the formula from his fourth consultation.

He was seen again in April of 2005 where he was commonly experiencing a dry mouth with a bitter taste, and a lack of strength in the lower limbs. His tongue coating was white and greasy and his pulse was wiry and thin.  This was a Jué Yīn pattern of blood vacuity with water exuberance and cold-heat complex for which he was given a combination of chái hú guì zhī gān jiāng tāng (Bupleurum, Cinnamon Twig, and Ginger Decoction) and dāng guī sháo yào sǎn (Tangkuei and Peony Powder) to treat it. This formula was taken for roughly one year after which his abdominal distention, poor appetite, and lack of strength were resolved, and his overall spirit had improved. In July of 2005 he returned for a follow-up ultrasound. The results were as follows:

1.     Hepatic diffused lesion

2.     Spleen enlargement, increase of the Spleen’s portal vein (thickness of liver was 110mm, and the thickness of the spleen was 50mm)

Overall, his symptoms were improved, and his liver and spleen had reduced in size. He was advised to stop his formula and keep a close watch (on his symptoms).

Question: In the first consultation this man was given a modified version of xiǎo chái hú tāng (Minor Bupleurum Decoction), in the fourth consult he was given wài tái fú líng yǐn (Poria Beverage from the Wài Tái), and afterwards he was given a combination of chái hú guì zhī gān jiāng tāng (Bupleurum, Cinnamon Twig, and Ginger Decoction) with dāng guī sháo yào sǎn (Tangkuei and Peony Powder). Can you please elucidate as to whether a half interior half exterior pattern can shift into the interior, and also if an interior condition can shift into the half interior half exterior?

Answer:  It’s not exactly like that. Generally, a disease shifts due to the diminishing of fluids and can pass through the exterior, half exterior half interior, and interior. In disease, Shào Yáng can pass through to Yáng Míng, but Yáng Míng can absolutely not pass to Shào Yáng. This is the reason it is said that in Yáng Míng disease “there is nothing to return to”.  So when a disease presents as a combination of half exterior half interior with an interior (condition), one must use medicinals on the basis of the aspect that is stressed more.

Question: It is said the Dr. Hú was greatly influenced by the great Kampo doctors.  What are the differences and similarities between his research on the works of Zhòng Jǐng’s to those done by Japanese physicians?

Answer: Both sides attached great importance to the work of Zhòng Jǐng and the reasoning, thought process, and identification of the cause of diseases. They both used the perspective of the eight principles pattern identification in order to research and study classic formulas, and paid particular attention to formula pattern correspondences. They felt the six channels were established rules (suitable) for (diagnosing) hundreds of diseases.