Buffy vs Dracula (Buffy, Season 5, Episode 1)


Dracula seems to have everyone in his thrall in this first episode of season five.  Xander fully succumbed to the Master’s powers, and even Buffy seems taken in by his foreign charm.

From an outside perspective, if one doesn’t believe in Dracula’s powers, it merely seems that everyone has suddenly developed mild epileptic seizures. Unlike grand mal seizures, characterised by violent shaking and unconsciousness, petit mal seizures seem quite benign and unremarkable: the person having one simply seems to have ‘zoned out’.  Because of this, such seizures are sometimes called ‘absence seizures.’  (Schoolchildren experiencing one of these seizures may be accused of daydreaming or not paying attention in school.)

What might I suggest to counteract this insidious power of Dracula over Buffy and the Scoobies?  Can acupuncture or herbal medicine offer any help?

The formula Chai Hu jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang has, in fact, been used to treat epilepsy in Japan, and several Kanpo practitioners have claimed cures after a round of treatment by this formula or the similar Xiao Chai Hu Tang jia Gui Zhi jia Shao Yao Tang (Otsuka 2010, trans. de Soriano and Dawes, p72).

Chai Hu jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang focuses on relieving constraint of yang qi through venting the yang channels exteriorly and draining heat internally.  The Long Gu and Mu Li also serve to sedate and refocus the mind, and being salting in nature, will soften any phlegm present.  When the external yang channels are blocked, the patient can neither rotate externally (shao yang), nor more forwards (tai yang), nor stop him or herself once moving (yang ming).  Clearly, Dracula’s powers are focused on closing off the yang channels and his ‘magic’ hold over people is really only at an external level.  The constraint of yang qi on the interior leads to heat, and if phlegm were already present in a person — as perhaps in Xander’s case — this phlegm may begin to harass the heart and mind, leading to erratic behaviour, giving the impression that Dracula controls the affected person.  However, a few doses of Chai Hu jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang should release someone from Dracula’s hold.

The second formula combination, Xiao Chai Hu Tang with Gui Zhi jia Shao Yao Tang is composed of chai hu (7), ban xia (5), sheng jiang (4+4), huang qin (3), da zao (3+4), ren shen (3), and gan cao (2+2), plus gui zhi (4)  and shao yao (6).  This combination also focuses on releasing constraint, although it focuses more on the shao yang and tai yin systems than on the other two yang channels.  It also focuses more on the middle warmer, rather than the upper warmer.  It can be used for delirious speech as well as the more usual alternating chills and fever (or alternating attention and inattention).  It would seem this combination would therefore be more appropriate for Xander than for Buffy.

As for acupuncture, how can the condition be approached?  If we translated from the herbal physiological diagnosis, we are confronted with a simple case of constraint of the exterior, possibly beginning to move interiorly in Xander’s case.  I might suggest a sinew vessel treatment for Buffy, and a primary treatment approach for Xander.  However, a simpler approach might be available for each.

If the issue is simply one of constrained yang qi, then it would stand to reason that choosing one or two points which affect several yang channels and which release the exterior should be sufficient treatment.  Du-14 is one such point:  all yang channels meet here, and it is used to treat exterior conditions, rigidity of the sense organs and clear the brain.  It therefore seems ideal.  If releasing heat from the interior is necessary, the point can be bled and cupped (‘wet’ cupping). Bleeding will draw the heat from the interior, and cupping will help release the exterior and the tendons of the neck, allowing clear yang to ascend and descend properly.  In cases of extreme external cold and internal heat, the point can be bled and cupped, and moxa can then be applied subsequently to warm the exterior.

If Du-14 alone seems insufficient, Bl-35 is known as the meeting point of yang.  Not much used today, it may nonetheless bring yang qi from the Du Mai to the Tai Yang channel.  The drawback to using Bl-35 in this instance is that the pathogenic influence, if not fully released through TaiYang, may become trapped midway between the interior and exterior, and a follow-up treatment will be necessary.  Again, the point could be bled (and this might prove useful in cases of hemorrhoids caused by wei qi trapped in the digestive organs and unable to return to the exterior upon awakening — as can happen with too much day time napping).

As always, although based on Eastern Medical physiology, these posts are for entertainment purposes only.  If you feel you could benefit from Chinese or Japanese herbal medicine and acupuncture, please see a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

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