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  • Wen Bing (warm diseases)

    Doctor shows information: traditional chinese medicineAs a first year Acupuncture Student, I was briefly introduced to the theory of how invasions of Wind-Heat can cause symptoms at the 4 levels: Wei, Qi, Ying and Xue. At the time, I was busy studying hundreds of Acupuncture points and herbs, and learning all about Diagnosis from a TCM and also Allopathic point of view, so I just became vaguely familiar with the symptoms of each level: Fever and aversion to cold at the Wei level, aversion to heat at the Qi level, the fact that there is a lower grade fever, at night and irritability at the Ying level, and then of course, bleeding symptoms at the blood level.

    Now that I am studying for the Herbalist exam, I am re-visiting the Wen Bing, through the works of Maciocia, a TCM legend who has simplified and documented many TCM textbooks in clear, correct English. I am also, currently fighting off a late-summer wind heat invasion, which is causing sore throat, red hot eyes and sporadic sneezing fits that make my daughter laugh.

    So, for this Wind-heat invasion, the goal is to expel wind and clear heat with pungent-cool herbs. I have been taking Yin Qiao San on and off for a few days (I am pregnant, so I don’t want to overdo it on the herbs) and am presently drinking a nice infusion of Gui Zhi, Ju Hua, Bo He and Gan Cao. It has really helped to clear the red heat out of my eyes in the time I have been writing this.

    What I really wish to get straight about this whole Wen Bing theory is the Qi level. I had memorized it as the 4 bigs, (Big Fever, Big Sweat, Big Thirst, Big Pulse) and filed it in my Acupuncturist’s brain as “clear heat” using points like LI 11 etc…  But now, with the CTCMA Board exam looming, I see that there is more to it than that.

    First of all, the Qi level is sub-divided into

    a) Lung Heat (Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang): high fever, feeling of heat, cough, breathlessness, coughing yellow sputum, thirst, restlessness, sweating. T: red with yellow fur. P: overflowing and rapid

    b) Lung Phlegm-heat (Qing Qi Hua Tan Tang): high fever, feeling of heat, restlessness, thirst, vomiting after drinking, cough, breathlessness, pain in the chest, coughing of profuse amounts of sticky yellow sputum, oppression of the chest, nausea, dry stools, dark urine, T: red, with sticky yellow fur, P: Slippery and Rapid.

    c) Stomach Heat (ah…Bai Hu Tang) : 4 Bigs: high fever, intense thirst, feeling of heat, restlessness, profuse sweating, coarse breathing. T: Red with dry-yellow fur. P: Overflowing, or, wait for it… Big!

    d) Stomach and Intestines Dry-Heat (aka stomach fire) (pick a version of Cheng Qi Tang): High fever which is worse in the afternoon, constipation, dry stools, a burning feeling in the anus, abdominal pain and fullness (worse with pressure), restlessness, thirst, faint feeling, delirium. T: Red with thick yellow/brown/black fur. P : Deep, full and rapid.

    e) Gall Bladder Heat (Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang): Alternation of feeling hot and cold, but more hot, bitter taste, thirst, dry throat, irritability, hypochondriacal pain, nausea, feeling of fullness in the epigastrium. T: red, yellow fur on right side. P: Wiry-Rapid.

    f) Shao Yang pattern ( Xiao Chai Hu Tang): As above, but with less heat and not so much phlegm or dampness.

    g) Stomach and Spleen Damp-Heat (Lian Po Yin): Continuous fever which decreases after sweating, but then returns.  A feeling of heaviness of the body and head, oppression of the chest and epigastrium, nausea, loose stools, a sticky taste. T: Red with a sticky yellow fur. P: Slippery and Rapid.

    As a point of interest to anyone studying for the Pan-Canadian Herbalist exam (and who else would have read this far along?) All of the above formulas are included in that list of 171 formulas that we need to memorize, with the exception of Lian Po Yin.

    It has been great to review these formulas and presentations, which have become familiar, from the perspective of the Wen Bing.

    I have to take a break for now, but will add in more about the Ying and Xue levels later.