The In-between Time

Okay, what if I am starting to feel that I am coming down with something and am feeling like I’m getting very sick?  What do I do?  The message we are all getting is to stay home in isolation until or unless our symptoms become critical.  In the main media, there is not much offered as to how to care for each other when we are in the in-between time of sick but not critical.

Although I know Chinese herbal medicine can be helpful to people before you are sick and in the critical period, it is this in-between time that is super important for us Chinese herbalists now.  We have the possibility of preventing the illness from becoming critical and of relieving a tremendous amount of suffering.  We may have the skill to keep people off of respirators and out of hospitals.

However, before talking about how we might best treat this issue as our patients come down with it (which I’ll do in the next posts), I’d like to offer a note of caution: […]

Working with Acute Respiratory Issues: A Different Perspective

I’d like to offer a slightly different perspective on treating patients who may get ill from this rapidly spreading virus.  Keep in mind that I’ve not seen any patients with this particular virus so my thoughts are theoretical.  At the same time the perspective I am offering is the one I use in my practice anyway.  Colds and flus are often considered quite difficult to treat.  One reason is that they change quickly and you have to get it just right in the moment.  There are many Chinese herbal remedies out there but, in my experience, formulas like Yin Qiao San or Gan Mao Ling are not effective most of the time.  In addition, using Chinese herbs as western drugs is also not effective.  What I mean by this is that giving people herbs that are considered anti-viral or immune enhancing doesn’t work.  I’ve seen writings by herbalists suggesting this method as a way to approach Covid-19 . This is theoretical too and, given my experience, I very much doubt that this would be helpful.

Modern TCM offers some helpful […]

By |2020-03-13T12:33:46-07:00March 13th, 2020|Classic Formulas, Theory and Practice|0 Comments

Pediatric UTI

Turret’s Syndrome

Okay, just to be clear, in the last post, the child did have turrets on his head.  This is, of course, why it was called Turrets Syndrome.  Along with having Tourette’s syndrome.  (how’s that for trying to weasel out of a mis-spelling!)

At any rate, I hope it was a useful case inspire of the mortifying spelling error!  And below is another installment.  This case shows us that we cannot take a symptom or disease based approach to illness.  This girl was treated for UTI with Ba Zheng San, and for frequent urination with Suo Quan Wan and Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, all to no avail.  The physician finally noticed some key factors; the extent of external pressure in her life, how keyed up and timid she was, along with the deficiency.  This is what led him to Gan Mai Da Zao Tang.  For those who work in pediatrics, this is actually a common pattern for bed-wetting as well.

The patient was a 10 year-old girl.  She came for an initial visit on June 18, 2006.  She had suffered from frequent and urgent urination for more than 3 years.  This had come on three years previously […]

By |2020-03-05T03:59:58-08:00March 5th, 2020|Classic Formulas, Pediatrics, Pediatrics|0 Comments

Pediatric Tourette’s Syndrome Case

While on the topic of Gan Mai Da Zao Tang‘s use in pediatrics, here’s another interesting case.

Pediatric Tourette’s syndrome

The patient was an 8-year-old boy who came for a consult on January 5th, 2005.  He frequently blinked his eyes and moved his mouth.  This had gone on for more than ½ a year.  This began after a common cold.  He blinked and moved his mouth, furrowed his brow and was easily agitated.  He was often angry and had to move about a lot.  When this was extreme he would speak wildly, hit people and destroy objects.  He had undergone western medical treatment but the diagnosis and treatment history is not clear, but the effect was not evident.  At the time of his consultation, he was blinking, furrowing his brow and moving his mouth a lot.  He was clearly agitated.  His speech was full of curses and obscenities.  His appetite and bowels were fine.  His urine was reddish yellow.  His pulses were wiry and thin.  The electroencephalogram was slightly abnormal.  He was given 3 packages of Gan Mai Da Zao Tang with the following herbs:

Chan Tui 8 gm
Gou Teng 6 gm
Fa Ban Xia 6 gm

This was decocted in water, one package for one day.

Second visit:  His disposition had changed […]

By |2020-03-03T12:50:21-08:00March 3rd, 2020|Classic Formulas, Pediatrics, Pediatrics|0 Comments

Gan Mai Da Zao Tang in Pediatrics

Gan Cao is said to “moderate acuteness.”  In the last post on using Gan Cao to treat mushroom poisoning, Gan Cao was used to treat an acute illness.  However, This is not quite what this idea of moderating acuteness means.  The Chinese character for this “acuteness” is an awkward one to translate. Obviously it is awkward because “acuteness” is such a strange word, turning and adjective into a noun!   Jí, 急, can be translated as acute but it can also be translated as urgency or anxious.  When speaking of abdominal diagnosis, a 急 finding means that you are finding tension and hypertonicity in the abdominal muscles.  With this in mind, we can say that Gan Cao relaxes tension, whether emotional or physical.  We see it used in formulas to do just this, such as in Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang or Xiao Jian Zhong Tang.   Then there is the wonderful formula Gan Mai Da Zao Tang.  This formula is made up of just three herbs:  Gan Cao, Da Zao and Xiao Mai.  Often the Gan Cao is […]

Early Bird Rate Extended to April 1, Chicago and Shen Nong

A new round of the White Pine Graduate Mentorship Program is beginning October 23,2020.  We’ve extended the early-bird rate to April 1, 2020.  For more information about this two-year training in diagnosis and treatment with classical Chinese herbal medicine, click here.

March 14th and 15, I am teaching a two-day program in downtown Chicago on Treating the Life Force with Classical Chinese Herbalism.  For those who would like to know more or register, click here. 

Finally, I will be on a panel at the annual Shen Nong Society Conference in New York City, March 21-22, 2020.  This is a wonderful conference, in part because it is relatively small and intimate.  You’ll have a chance to study with Volker Scheid and Suzanne Robidoux.

By |2020-02-29T04:22:36-08:00February 29th, 2020|Classic Formulas, Newsletter, Our Courses|0 Comments

Mushroom Poisoning Case and Teensy Weensy Formulas

I’ve posted a lot about Teeny Tiny formulas.  These are formulas that are made up of two herbs such as Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang or Gan Cao Gan Jiang Tang.  I love teeny tiny formulas because, they are always building blocks for other formulas. For example, Gua Lou Mu Li Tang is a teeny tiny formula in its own right but it is also in Chai Hu Gui Zhi Gan Jiang Tang.  When you understand them, you can see why it is important that Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang is found in Xiao Jian Zhong Tang.  Knowing about Gua Lou Mu Li Tang or  Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang tells you something about why it is in these larger formulas.  It informs your understanding of the larger formulas.

There are Teeny Tiny formulas and THEN there are the Teensy Weensy formulas.  These are formulas that maybe should not even be considered formulas since they are made up of just one herb.  There are a bunch of examples of this […]

By |2020-02-26T06:43:04-08:00February 26th, 2020|Classic Formulas, Individual Herbs|0 Comments

Meta-Practice? What’s That?

On March 21-22, 2020, Volker Scheid will be teaching on Developing Meta-Practice in the Treatment of Menstrual Disorders at the Shen Nong Society Conference.

In the world of gaming, the word “meta” is used to refer to the “most effective tactic available.”  Although there are several meanings of the word “meta,” in general it means to have a greater, more comprehensive view of a subject.  There is metaphysics or metamathmatics.  A metaphor gives us an understanding of a subject by standing back from the subject and seeing what it is like in the context of other things or phenomena.  Taking all this into account then, meta-practice can be defined as a practice that allows us comprehensively review medical texts and teachings and integrate that which is valuable.

These ideas so reflect my own approach to practice and teaching.  Although I teach primarily from the view of classic herbal medicine, for me, the practice is a living, breathing, open-source dance with available material.  For example, I studied with the late Dr. Qiu Xiao-Mei in Hang Zhou, PRC long ago.  She was highly influenced the Fu Qing-Zhu and wrote a text of her own experience as a Chinese medical gynecologist and obstetrician.  She created her own experiential fomula called Supplement Certainty Decoction, which causes […]

Can Chai Hu Excessively Raise the Qi?

When I first learned about Chai Hu, I learned that, among other functions, it serves to “raise the Yang Qi.”  In combination with Huang Qi, it is used for this purpose in Li Dong-Yuan’s Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang.  Because this function has been attributed to Chai Hu, I learned that I must be very cautious using it.  I could over raise the Qi.  My guess is that other practitioners are familiar with this caution as well.  I was under the impression that I could, in using Chai Hu, raise the pressure in a person’s upper body by sending the Yang up.  Indeed, the Formulas and Strategies cautions us to avoid using Chai Hu in cases in which the liver Yang is rising pathologically.  Many practitioners take this to the extreme of avoiding Chai Hu for any case of headache or hypertension.  Zhang Xi-Chun cautions us in this respect as follows:

“For raising the liver, Chai Hu is the most effective.  However when there is a pattern of liver not rising and stomach not descending, Ma Ya should be used instead of Chai Hu.  This is because, Chai Hu not only raises the liver, it also can excessively raise the stomach Qi. On the other hand, Mai Ya can not only raise […]

Clarifying Diagnosis Course

Healthy Seminars is having a cyber Monday sale I thought you all may be interested in as well.  You can purchase my new online Clarifying Diagnosis course here and apply half of the cost to your tuition for the White Pine Graduate Mentorship Program.  The coupon code for 30% off is GRATEFUL30.

Please feel free to contact me at with any questions.

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