“Witch” (Buffy Season 1)

That was some exuberant fire at the start of this episode, leading to spontaneous combustion of the hands. Later, Willow makes a comment about her hands getting sweaty when she gets nervous.   Midway through, Buffy also ends up a bit manic, albeit somewhat drunkenly so.  I’m seeing a pattern emerge among all three characters.

Please remember the observation and analysis which follows is intending as a theoretical and amusing illustration of TCM diagnosis. Do not attempt to diagnose or treat yourself, except under the guidance of a licensed and competent practitioner.

Lets’ start with the cheerleader (whose name I’ve already forgotten.  She obviously was not a recurring character.)  I think it unlikely the cheerleader was so extremely yin deficient she was experiencing a hitherto undocumented form of five-palm heat.  Since the hands are what exploded into flame,  it makes me wonder:  did this fire emerge from a specific channel, rather than from an organ disharmony?

The common organ categories of fire include Stomach fire, Heart fire, and Liver fire. Even Giles makes the connection that spontaneous combustion usually happened after someone become extremely angry, which sounds like an extreme case of Liver fire to me.  But the cheerleader was obviously not angry — in fact, she seemed rather exuberant and, well, peppy.  I would expect to see Stomach fire in a case of mania, but the stomach channel doesn’t travel to the hands, unless we think of the Yang Ming channel as a continuous vessel.   If that heat transferred from the ST to the LI channel, we could say this young lady had an extreme case of Yang Ming heat.  On the other hand, the Heart channel does travel to the hands, and it can also lead to mania.  So perhaps she has Heart fire.   I would expect her to also have tongue sores, though, and she didn’t seem to have any trouble shouting, or cheering, away.  On the other hand, the PC channel also goes to the palms and it deals with blood, so maybe we can avoid becoming overly specific by looking at that substance the Liver, Heart, Pericardium, and Stomach all have in common: blood.

For those of you who would argue the Stomach-blood connexion, I would point out that the Ling Shu advises if one has a problem with blood, treat the Stomach meridian.  The Stomach channel happens to have two points called “Sea of Blood”, in addition to “Qi Chong”, a point on the Chong Mai, which is also known as a “Sea of Blood.” It also has a he-sea or he-uniting point, known to help resolve blood stasis, and a Sea of Qi point at ST-9, if one wishes to invigorate the qi aspect of blood.  So I guess that makes five points. Clinically, in cases of blood deficiency, I’ve seen quicker results by using Stomach points in lieu of LV8 to generate blood. LV8 seems to only store blood that has been made, and I’ve used it more in cases of insomnia (often together with LV14, the actual location where the Liver stores the blood).

So, with the cheerleader, we have extreme blood heat.  With Buffy, her drunken-like mania seems a little more in line with ST fire or yang ming heat.  Willow’s sweaty palms due to nervousness wouldn’t fit into a heat pattern so much, although they could potentially be treated by bloodletting LU-7, the luo point whose channel goes to the palms.  This point is also good for people who can’t seem to pay attention to any one thing for long, a sort of ADHD feeling of having “hot hands.”

Extreme blood heat is treated herbally using an obsolete substance:  rhinoceros horn.  Today, we use water buffalo horn, or sometimes goat’s horn, instead.  I’m really not sure why, since rhino horn is composed of condensed hair, whereas the other two substances are composed of, well, horn.  Horn has the added benefit of subduing any wind which might have been stirred up through the consumption of blood.  This substance is used in xi jiao di huang tang.  An alternate formula might be zhi bao dan, which is specific for manic behaviour.  The classic formula for yang ming heat, of course, is Bai Hu Tang.

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang uses water buffalo horn (shui niu jiao), raw chinese foxglove root (sheng di huang), red peony root (chi shao), and the root bark of the tree peony (mu dan pi).  What I find interesting about this formula is that it was composed in the middle of the Tang dynasty, around 650 CE, rather than later, when the warm disease school was prominent.  On the other hand, the “Magical Rhinoceros Special Pill”, which is a modification of the principal formula, was composed during that time.  So was Hua Ban Tang, which contains elements of Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang and Bai Hu Tang:  shi gao, zhi mu, gan cao, xuan shen, shui niu jiao, jing mi (non glutinous rice).   This is just Bai Hu Tang with xuan shen and water buffalo horn.

So much for a nice anti-fire toxin formula.  Maybe add some jin yin hua and lian qiao to one of the above base formulas.  Or you can just try Wen Qing Bai Du Yin.

As for acupuncture, usually bloodletting the jing well points is an effective way to release heat.  However, since half of the cheerleader’s jing-well points went up in flame, including those on all the fire channels, the only other option would be to bloodlet the second toe.  After one puts out the fiery hands, of course.

Before I forget, two or three more elements emerged in this episode. One was about mothers and daughters, and the other concerned trying to relive one’s life.  The last is perhaps about living vicariously — to the point of switching bodies. Since this final element gets brought up again in the fourth season, I will refrain from discussing it now. (I need to unwind its theoretical complexities, since they don’t teach us this sort of thing in school, you understand.)

With regard to having trouble coping with the time, a useful point might be LV14, “Complete Cycle.”  Given the rather blunt finesse of sophomore Buffy’s use of pointed objects, if she were to treat this point, the danger of pneumothroax would be exceedingly high.  Luckily, this point should be plum-blosssomed, rather than needled.  It is of benefit to those who are stuck in a pervious stage of life and unable to move on; hence it’s reference to completing a cycle in one’s life, probably referring to the cycles of seven or eight (or ten) which characterise individual lives.   It can also help those who fall in love with people much younger than themselves, perhaps as a translocated way of living vicariously through them.  As a result, I sometimes call it the pedophile point, although I’ve not had the chance of using it for this purpose.

Another selection of points could be called for.  Since Buffy would certainly be able to do some very deep needling, and likely would have a nice vibrating technique to accompany such puncture wounds, and the extraordinary channels, that is, jing, responds well to this sort of attack, I would advise that Buffy treat Amy’s mother using an EV. The extraordinary vessel which governs how one integrates with time are — you guessed it — the Wei Mai.  LV-14 happens to be ont he trajectory of Yin Wei Mai.  I would add to this point BL-58 (as a luo point, to release emotions); SP-16 (Abdomen’s lament — lamenting the way society glorifies youth, Spleen being representative of society), and CV-23 or 22 which can be used for when someone’s voice has changed and it seems like they are a different person.   That certainly seems applicable in this case.  Multiple Personality Disorder points to keep in mind, I guess.  I might also, if I’m am using both Yin and Yang Wei Mai, add in GB-13 (Root of the Shen, mind), which Li Shi-Zhen appends to the trajectory of Yang Wei Mai so that these experiences can be resolved in this lifetime through the changing of one’s mind.  And if we are treating the Wei Mai as luo vessels which deal with emotion, all these points can be either bled or plum blossomed.

But keep in mind that such activities are not to be undertaken except under the guidance of a licensed practitioner.  The foregoing discussion has been for theoretical purposes only.

Happy Slayage!


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