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1. Introduction
2. Herbal Medicine
3. Practical use
4. Traditional Chinese herbal medicine
5. Traditional Chinese herbal medicine practice
6. Using the PAS in herbal medicine
7. ANALYSIS OF SI JUN ZI TANG - FOUR GENTLEMEN TEA - herb guide
 

 

Introduction

Herbal Medicine, sometimes referred to as Herbalism or Botanical Medicine, is the use of herbs for their therapeutic or medicinal value. An herb is a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, aromatic or savory qualities. Herb plants produce and contain a variety of chemical substances that act upon the body.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to mankind. Herbs had been used by all cultures throughout history. It was an integral part of the development of modern civilization. Primitive man observed and appreciated the great diversity of plants available to him. The plants provided food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Much of the medicinal use of plants seems to have been developed through observations of wild animals, and by trial and error. As time went on, each tribe added the medicinal power of herbs in their area to its knowledgebase. They methodically collected information on herbs and developed well-defined herbal pharmacopoeias. Indeed, well into the 20th century much of the pharmacopoeia of scientific medicine was derived from the herbal lore of native peoples. Many drugs commonly used today are of herbal origin. Indeed, about 25 percent of the prescription drugs dispensed in the United States contain at least one active ingredient derived from plant material. Some are made from plant extracts; others are synthesized to mimic a natural plant compound.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people, 80 percent of the world population, presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Herbal medicine is a major component in all indigenous peoplesí traditional medicine and a common element in Ayurvedic, homeopathic, naturopathic, traditional oriental, and Native American Indian medicine. WHO notes that of 119 plant-derived pharmaceutical medicines, about 74 percent are used in modern medicine in ways that correlated directly with their traditional uses as plant medicines by native cultures. Major pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting extensive research on plant materials gathered from the rain forests and other places for their potential medicinal value.

Practical use

Substances derived from the plants remain the basis for a large proportion of the commercial medications used today for the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, asthma, and other problems. For example, ephedra is a herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for more than two thousand years to treat asthma and other respiratory problems. Ephedrine, the active ingredient in ephedra, is used in the commercial pharmaceutical preparations for the relief of asthma symptoms and other respiratory problems. It helps the patient to breathe more easily.

Another example of the use of a herbal preparation in modern medicine is the foxglove plant. This herb had been in use since 1775. At present, the powdered leaf of this plant is known as the cardiac stimulant digitalis to the millions of heart patients it keeps alive worldwide.

Herbal Medicine can be broadly classified into various basic systems: Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, which is part of Traditional Oriental Medicine, Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine, which is derived from Ayurveda, and Western Herbalism, which originally came from Greece and Rome to Europe and then spread to North and South America.

Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbalism have developed into highly sophisticated systems of diagnosis and treatment over the centuries. Western Herbalism is today primarily a system of folk medicine.

Interest in the United States had been growing in the recent years from the reported success stories from the use of herbs. For example, St. John's Wort is widely used in the treatment of mild depression without the need for Prozac. St. John's Wort does not have the side effects such as that of Prozac. There are some Ayurvedic herbs that are very useful for reducing cholesterol, diabetes etc. Similarly the popularity of Ginseng and Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) is rising due to its beneficial effects.

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Traditional Chinese herbal medicine

Chinese herbal medicine has been used as a form of treatment for a multitude of ailments ranging from acute infections to chronic fatigue. There are hundreds of commonly used individual herbs that are nearly always used in combination with other herbs to counteract possible side-effects and address various aspects of an illness. The prescribing of Chinese herbal medicine is based upon an individual diagnosis using the techniques of pulse and tongue evaluation in conjunction with the reading of other signs and symptoms to form a unique pattern diagnosis. Those diagnostics give a complete view of the human health in terms of Qi (or Chi - vital energy) flow.Qi is both the life force (or vital substance) and the organizing principle flowing through all things and establishing their interconnectedness. Chinese believe that every living thing (both human and non-human) has Qi.

When Qi flows freely through the meridians, the body is balanced and healthy, but if the energy becomes blocked, stagnated or weakened, it can result in physical, mental or emotional ill health. An imbalance in a person's body can result from inappropriate emotional responses such as: excess anger, over-excitement, self-pity, deep grief and fear. Environmental factors such as cold, damp/humidity, wind, dryness, and heat can also cause imbalance so as factors such as wrong diet, overwork and too much exercise.

To restore the balance, the Chinese Herbal Medicine specialist choice of formula(s) of herbs that will counteract that imbalance.

Traditional Chinese herbal medicine practice

The vast majority of herbal treatments use formulas containing four or more herbs. Only a few herbs are used by themselves alone. There are several reasons for this.

  1. To strengthen the effect of the formula.

  2. To affect related secondary aspects of the illness.

  3. To prevent the formula from causing side effects or illness by balancing it effects.

One commonly used format or template for designing herbal formulas is based on the monarchical form of government. At the top is the king or emperor. Next are the ministers or deputies. Last are the assistants or adjutants. There is one special role assistant - that of guide or messenger herb. A memory trick to remember this template is to consider it as KMAG.

Any herb can fill any of these roles. Which role depends on which herbal formula the herb is used in. They roles work together in these ways:

King Herb - The herb which is directed to and has the strongest effect on the most important imbalance/pathology

Minister Herb - This herb is directed to the main imbalance/pathology and to the secondary imbalance/pathology

Assistant Herb - there are three types:

Guide - Envoy - Messenger Herb - focuses actions of the other herbs on a particular organ, channel or region of the body.

The KMAG template is possibly the dominant method of designing a formula but several others have been  very important and are in common use today.   Chinese herbs are selected for use in a formula by any single or combination of five characteristics.

HERB TEMPERATURE
HOT WARM NEUTRAL COOL COLD
5 ELEMENT TASTE OF THE HERB
WATER WOOD FIRE EARTH METAL
SALTY SOUR BITTER SWEET SPICY
DIRECTION OF THE HERB
UP DOWN OUTWARD INWARD
CHANNELS WHICH THE HERB ENTERS
When taken internally the herb's properties enter channels affecting the connected organs and regions of the body.
HERB ENERGETICS (ie. effect on Qi)
DIAPHORETICS RELEASE THE EXTERIOR
ANTI-PYRETICS CLEAR HEAT
PURGATIVES DRAIN DOWNWARD
MEDIATING HARMONIZING
MOSTURIZING MOSITEN DRYNESS
XXX WARM THE COLD
STRENGTHEN TONIFYING, NOURISHING
DIGETIVE REGULATE QI of MIDDLE
BLOOD REGULATING MOVE COAGULATED BLOOD
BLOOD REGULATING STOP BLEEDING
ASTRINGENT STABILIZE & CONTAIN
SEDATIVE CALM the SHEN
ANTI-CONVULSANT ELIMINATE WIND
XXX ELIMINATE PHLEGM
RESUCITATING OPEN the SENSES

There are two objectives of this section. The first is to introduce the lay person to Chinese Herbology. The second is to demonstrate the complexity of the formulas. After even a cursory study of the example above it should be apparent that a lay person should consult a professional before using Chinese medicinal herbs.

Using the PAS in herbal medicine

As described above the main task of herbal medicine specialist (and other Traditional Chinese Medicine specialists) is to determine the imbalances (deviation from norm) of Qi. To determine the deviations of Qi, TCM specialist uses many methods, one of them is the Pulse diagnostics. This diagnostic allows describing the flowing of Qi very accurate, but it takes many years to master it and some talent is needed. Now the specialists in Pulse diagnostics develop a computer system which allows using the Pulse diagnostics by amateurs. To completely master the computer Pulse diagnostics (Pulse Analysis System) you need from 1 week (for making a brief diagnosis) to 1-2 month (for making a detailed diagnosis).

The main tool in PAS is the Health Matrix (figure 1). For example the matrix below shows significant inbalance in Gall Bladder channel (the Yang side,organ of Water element). For example the matrix below shows great inbalance in Gall Bladder channel [5.54], it is caused by Excess of Moisture Qi [1.61] and Wind Qi [0.96], also this channel has significant Lack of Cold Qi [-0.93] and Heat Qi [-0.79]. The Lack of Fire Qi [-1.05] shows the direction of this process. The Health matrix give you a detailed map of Qi flow deviations, all you have to do is to balance Qi using herbal therapy and other methods that you know.

Health matrix example
Fig.1 PAS Health Matrix example.

Health Matrix is a perfect diagnostic tool for herbal medicine specialist (it was developed for and by Sergey Paskanov) and other Traditional Chinese Medicine specialists. Also PAS has more than 10 types of analysis such: Hexagram, Qi of Elements projections, Qi circulation, Wu-Xing scheme, etc.

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Next will be an analysis of common Chinese herbal medicine formula.

ANALYSIS OF SI JUN ZI TANG - FOUR GENTLEMEN TEA - herb guide

Below is an analysis of a an extremely common formula. Qi deficiency (Lack) is the imbalance/pathology for which it is prescribed so the definition of Qi Deficiency is presented first.

Zhen Qi Deficiency (Lack)
NOTE: The Lungs and Spleen are the only sources of Qi. Zhen Qi deficiency is therefore composed of Lung and Spleen Deficiency (Lack).

Treatment Principles
Remember: Illness = Imbalance, Health = Balance
A. General Treatment Principle is always: Restore Balance
B. Specifically: Remove excess, Supplement deficiency.
C. Is there an Excess? No.
C. What is Deficient in our situation? Zhen Qi
D. Therefore the specific Treatment Principle is supplement/tonify Qi.

SI JUN ZI TANG
ROLES AND PROPERTIES OF INGREDIENTS

NOTE: CX = contra-indications
I. King - Ton Qi Category
A. Name: Ren Shen - Ginseng
B. King Actions: Tonifies Source Qi, Tonifies Lung & Spleen Qi.
C. Also generates fluids, slightly Tonifies Heart Qi, calms Shen.
D. CX - Yin Deficiency w/ Heat, Liver Yang Rising, hypertension.

II. Minister - Ton Qi category
A. Name: Bai Zhu - White Attractylodes
B. Minister Actions: Tonifies Qi, Tonifies Spleen, Resolves Damp (Moisture).
C. Also: stabilizes the exterior-stops sweating, calms fetus.
D. CX - Yin Deficiency w/ heat.

III. Assistant - Drain Damp (Moisture) Category
A. Name: Fu Ling - Poria
B. Assistant Actions: Drain damp, Tonifies Spleen.
C. Also: Resolves Phlegm, calms Heart and Shen.
D. CX - Cold due to Yang Deficiency.

IV. Guide - Ton Qi Category
A. Name: Gan Cao - Licorice Root
B. Guide & Assistant Actions: enters all 12 main channels,
harmonizes herb combinations (mitigates harsh effects),
Tonifies Spleen.
C. Also: Tonifies Heart Qi, Clears Heat & Toxins, Tonifies Lung Qi and stops cough, relaxes tendons and relieves spasms and pain, moderates actions of other herbs.
D. CX - excess Damp, Nausea/Vomiting

Analysis - Actions and Balance

The Treatment Principles of Si Jun Zi Tang are Tonify the Qi, Regulate Damp.

I. Enactment of the Treatment Principles

Tonify Qi - This occurs predominantly via the Lungs and Spleen - the two sources of Qi.

Ren Shen and Bai Zhu tonify the Spleen & Lung. Ren Shen tonifies Source Qi. Gan Cao assists in tonifying the Spleen.

Regulate Damp - 1) Damp accumulates when Spleen Qi is deficient.
2) Excess Damp can result from Ren Shen generating fluids.
3) The Minister and both assistants Resolve Damp and Tonify the Spleen.
4)Fu Ling drains damp compensating/balancing for K&M.

II. Temperature

The temperatures of the component herbs are
sl. warm, warm, neutral, neutral.

A Qi Deficient person is probably cool (Qi warms).

The Temperatures of the component herbs therefore balance
each other.

III. Tastes

slightly bitter, bitter, sweet.

A Qi Deficient person is likely to have Excess Damp.
Also, Excess Damp results from Ren Shen generating fluids.

The energetic actions associated with Bitter are drying and purging.
The energetic action associated with Sweet is tonifying.

Drying and purging will help to resolve Damp.

Sweet and Spleen are both Earth correspondents. Sweet herbs will tonify the Earth Element. When the Spleen is tonified it will regulate Damp more effectively.

IV. Channels

Ren Shen enters the Spleen, Stomach, Lung, and Heart channels to tonify those organs.

Bai Zhu enters the Spleen and Lung channels to Tonify those organs.

Fu Ling enters the Spleen, Stomach, and Heart channels to tonify those organs.

Gan Cao enters all twelve channels carrying the Qi of the King, Minster and Assistant herbs along with it.

There are two objectives of this section. The first is to introduce the lay person to Chinese Herbology. The second is to demonstrate the complexity of the formulas. After even a cursory study of the example above it should be apparent that a lay person should consult a professional before using Chinese medicinal herbs.

Questions ? E-mail: e-mails list Emails list ICQ: 60257194 or use Forum Forum at Pulse Academy
 

Used materials from:
www.holistic-online.com
www.americanacupuncture.com
www.acupuncture.com
Book of Gavaa Luvsaan the "Ocherki metodov vostochnoy reflexoterapii"
("Sketches about eastern reflex - therapy methods")

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