In preparation for the upcoming course with professor Feng Shi-Lun, I have been searching for interesting material to translate as part of the supplemental material for the course. I found a paper that was written by a student of professor Feng about a course he had recently taught. This course was a small gathering of eager students and, because of the size of the group, the atmosphere was informal with lots of questions, answers and discussion. The student marvels at professor Feng’s generosity and love and skill with the classic formulas. During this course, professor Feng presented many case studies. To start, he offered the idea that Zhang Zhong-Jing was no stranger to the idea of cosmetology and that way back in the time the Shang Han Lun was put together, there was a consideration to helping people be more beautiful.
He presented different cases that related to beauty. I’ve presented several of these rough translations below. I hope it inspires some to take this unique course. We have here:
- Butterfly facial patches (actually this facial issue commonly appears in women during pregnancy) treated with Xiao Chai Hu Tang plus Wu Ling San and with Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan.
- Acne treated with modified Gan Cao Xie Xin Tang.
- Obesity treated with modified Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang.
Case 1: Dark Facial Patches
Chen is a 45 year-old male
His first visit was March 4, 1966. In 1963 he developed hepatitis and his treatment had good results. However, in the last year he developed butterfly spots on his face. A blood test showed A/G = 1:1, His recent symptoms were as follows: epigastric blockage, poor appetite, aversion to greasy foods, chest oppression, right side rib-side pain, yellow urine, thick white tongue moss, wiry thin pulse. This was dampness and stasis obstruction of the 3 Yang. The treatment needed to harmonize and resolve the 3 Yang, disinhibit dampness and dispel stasis. The formulas were Xiao Chai Hu plus Wu Ling San.
|Tian Hua Fen||24|
|Da Zao||4 dates|
|Zhi Gan Cao||6|
Outcome: He took the above formula for ½ a month and the rib-side pain resolved. The yellow urine and yellow eyes had not yet cleared. He still felt weak and also had an aversion to oily foods and abdominal distention. I gave him the same formula removing the Dang Shen, Tian Hua Fen, Huang Qin and Da Zao and added Zhi Shi, Chi Shao, Tao Ren, Dang Gui and Chi Xiao Dou. I also added Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan, 1 pill/day. He took this for 2 months and the butterfly skin patches and dark skin decreased markedly.
Discussion: Butterfly patches and pigmentation relates to endocrine disorders. In this case the pigmentation and dark skin related to hepatitis. In Chinese medicine this is called “Hei Dan黑疸” . This is literally translated as darkness related to liver disorders. Using external treatments could not be effective. This must be treated internally so that the endocrine function. In this case I treated the liver combined with vitalizing the blood, supplementing the blood and dispelling stasis according to the presentation. This caused the health of the skin to recover.
The Jin Gui Yao Lue clause 18 on Blood Bi Deficiency Taxation Illness says: When there are the 5 extreme taxations (food damage, depression damage, sexual damage, starvation damage, overwork damage) with emaciation, abdominal fullness with an inability to eat, the luxuriance and protective ability of the channels and network vessels is damaged. On the interior there is blood dryness, the skin is dry and flakey and the eyes become dim. To moderate the middle and supplement deficiency use Da Huang Zhe Chong Wan. This points to the idea that vitalizing the blood and transforming stasis can renew the skin and improve one’s appearance. Our ancestors from the Han dynasty had already accumulated methods and treatments to promote beautiful skin. Da Chai Hu plus Di Dang Tang or Si Ni San plus Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan can be effective to treat pupura and flat lichen-like skin issues. There are reports of later generations using these internal methods to successfully disperse butterfly patches and darkly pigmented skin.
Chen, a 25 year-old man, is a worker at the capital airport. He came for his first visit on March1, 1967. He had suffered from facial acne for many years. It was sometimes light and sometimes more intense. This was often accompanied by ulcerations of his pharynx. These sores could be on the right or left. He had gone to the Beijing Medical College Hospital and had a variety of treatments but all were ineffective. Sometimes he had abdominal distention. His bowels varied from dry to sticky. His tongue moss was white and sticky at the root. His pulse was wiry and thin. I gave him Gan Cao Xie Xin Tang modified:
|Zhi Gan Cao||12|
|Da Zao||4 dates|
|Sheng Shi Gao||45|
Outcome: I gave him the above formula for 1 week and the throat pain was gone. After 1 month the acne had decreased. After 3 month it was gone.
Discussion: Acne is a chronic inflammatory illness that effects young people. It arises in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands on the face, chest and back. It can seriously impact one’s appearance. Previous generations of medical doctors have accumulated many external and internal treatment methods and formulas that deserve exploration. This case example is one of the most common patterns seen. This is a upper heat and lower cold pattern. It uses the bitter and pungent to open and down bear method of Gan Cao Xie Xin Tang with added flavors and the treatment was effective. It is clear that the Shang Han Treatise on Miscellaneous Illness already possessed effective clinical experience for this aspect of medicine.
Case 3: Obesity
Mr. Li was 40 years old and come for his first visit on September 20, 1995. His body was tall at 1.68 meters (5’5”) and his weight was 83 kilograms (183 lbs). This was a case of obesity and high cholesterol. He had taken western medicines as well as Chinese medicines for reducing weight for many months without effect. In the last month his weight increased to 93 kilograms. His skin felt like it was stretched tightly and he suffered from fatigue, depression and somnolence. His mouth felt tasteless and sometimes he had a bitter taste in it. He had abundant saliva and would vomit and belch. He had an increased appetite with intestinal sounds and gas. His pulse was moderate and his tongue was pale. His tongue moss was greasy and white. Abdominal diagnosis: Epigastric focal distention and hardness. Light pressure was uncomfortable. He was pot-bellied with spongy loose flesh. I gave him Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang with added flavors.
|Da Zao||3 dates|
|Zhi Gan Cao||3|
Outcome: He took 15 packages in all and his body weight decreased by 3.5 kg. There was a positive change in his symptoms. He continued on for 2 months and his body weight went down to 75 kg. (165) and his blood cholesterol became normal. A follow-up 2 years later showed that his conditioned remained normal.
Discussion: TCM considers obesity to be a condition of abundant phlegm and abundant Qi deficiency. However in this case there was a sticky white tongue moss and epigastric focal distention. According to the Jin Gui Yao Lue: Vomiting and Diarrhea Diseases, “When there is a pattern of vomiting with intestinal noises and epigastric focal distention, Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang governs. I used this formula with additions and subtractions because it matched this pattern. The effect was obvious. The Shang Han Treatise on Miscellaneous Diseases already had this experience of improving one’s appearance through weight loss.