Forever (Buffy, Season 5, Episode 17)


As the Scoobies attempt to create a life without Joyce, Dawn teams up with Spike in an attempt to resurrect her mother.  We are introduced to a character who becomes pivotal in the final episode, Doc, whom we realise may not be all that he seems when Dawn glimpses his lizard-like tail.  Doc offers Dawn a tonic to help with grieving in lieu of the resurrection spell.   Meanwhile, Buffy admits to keeping busy because if she stops, then her mother is really gone.  Grief from the perspective of luo vessel physiology, then, will be the topic of this post.

Grief can be treated with needles at LU-7 (the luo point of the Lungs), due to the association of the metal phase (to which both the Lung and Large Intestine belong) with grief and sadness.  Grief due to a known cause can be treated with a luo vessel treatment using SP-4 and PC-6 to ‘activate’ the ying qi level of considered or ‘digested’ perception, followed by LI-6.

In terms of luo vessel dynamics, repletion of the LU luo vessel manifests as ADHD, a ‘hot hands’ feeling of constantly needing to be busy — not unlike Willow’s constant change of wardrobe in the previous episode, and very much like Buffy’s constant need to be busy or else it means her mother really is dead.  It seems to be no surprise that the two — the physical action of keeping busy, and the internal sensation of grief — should go together.  Xander seemed to intuitively recognise the benefits of bleeding the luo point — LU-7 — for grief, also in the previous episode.  ‘It hurts.  It means you’re alive.'(In depletion, the Lung luo is associated with yawning, stretching, and frequent urination — a sort of ‘boredom’ syndrome.)

For grief, both LU-7, and LI-7 are both useful.    Physically, the Large Intestine luo deals with tooth decay and a constant mulling over events.  This, too, seems related to grieving:  what could I have done differently?  Tooth decay is often seen as a sign that a pathogen is being stored away, and is trying to come out in some other way.  Metaphorically, this can mean the person is feeling grief, and instead of crying, the grief is coming out through thoughts kept within — although that metaphorical interpretation may fit better a depleted luo vessel symptom.  In depletion of the Large Intestine luo, the person experiences ‘cold teeth’, or perhaps we would say the person’s teeth are ‘set on edge’, and an obstructed diaphragm — again, a feeling in grief when one cannot seem to catch one’s breath, or when the crying just won’t come.

One could conceivably choose to simply bleed both LU-7 and LI-6, and any spider veins along the trajectory of each channel (the LU to the thenar eminence and the LI to the shoulder, jaw, lower teeth, and ear).  I might moxa not the luo point, but the source point, turning the treatment into a source-luo combination.  The Lu would draw on the yang and yuan qi of the Large Intestine to move grief outwards, perhaps in the form of tears (the LI controlling jin-fluids), and the LI would use the yuan and yang qi of the Lungs to close the body off to pathogens progressing more deeply into the body (the function of Yang Ming is to ‘seal off’ the body).

For a tonic to treat grieving, I could recommend several — I’ve given plenty of formulae for grief in previous posts.  Here, I will focus on envoy herbs for blood formulas and note that Huang Qin goes to the blood level of the Lungs, and thus would harmonise with other blood-oriented formulas.  For the Large Intestine luo, I would suggest Ce Bai Ye or Huai Hua.  Ce Bai Ye has the benefit of also clearing the Lungs.  The root of Prunus Japonica treats tooth decay, as does the seldom used Shu Yang Quan; perhaps a better choice for the LI luo vessel in cases of tooth decay is Mu Zei, used in European herbalism to purify the teeth and fill in shallow cavities.  Do not use Mu Zei in cases of kidney stones or gout.  The other option for a herb which moves blood and goes to the Large Intestine is Da Huang.  Both Da Huang and Huang Qin combine well together, and could conceivably be used in moderation (with a blood moving formula like Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang) for someone who has pent up grief which will not come out, but which still causes much pain.

As always, this post is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  If you are grieving, or know someone with ADHD whom you think would benefit from Chinese medicine, please see a qualified practitioner.

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