Dirty Girls (Buffy, Season 7, Episode 18)

In this episode, the misogynist preacher-servant of the First is introduced.   He stops to rescue a potential slayer from the Bringers.  At first he appears to be a good guy, but we soon see his views of strange women are not predicated on an innocent until proven guilty attitude.  Ultimately, he has a message for the Potential to bring the Slayer.  That message is burned onto the Potential’s neck.  Later, it provides a clue which Spike and Andrew piece together at an old California mission.

This is also the episode in which Faith returns to Sunnydale.  She re-encounters Buffy in a cemetery after leaving the hospital where the Potential has been treated.  Acupuncturists must respect a patient’s choice of medical treatment.  Thus, Faith’s comment as she left Willow with the Potential, namely that Faith and Hospitals don’t really get along, encapsulates that idea quite nicely.  If a patient wants to combine systems of medicine, great.  If she wants one or the other exclusively, so long as she is educated about possible outcomes, fine.  Anthropological research shows that social support networks are among the most determining factors in health outcomes.  Why sabotage a support system when a person needs it most?

Overall, this was a difficult episode to diagnose.  I’m going to extrapolate from the neck burn, however, and discuss nodules along the neck and how neck blockages interrupt the full trajectory of the LU Channel Divergence.   The episode’s recurring image is of ‘Darkness inside’.  Can the LU CD be used to treat that?  Interestingly, one of the key herbs in a neck nodule formula, Xuan Shen, is precisely oriented towards ‘dark’ or ‘mysterious’ feelings in a patient’s life.

The Large Intestine – Lung Channel Divergence contains points which don’t appear if the neck is blocked.  This is particularly the case with the LI CD.  It is worth remembering that not all points are active on a person’s body at all times.  When points don’t appear, or are rendered unworkable, the source of this condition must be sought.  Sometimes, the points are just not active because the person never has trouble with the aspect of life governed by that point.  Other times, the points are not active because qi has become stuck earlier in the channel — or perhaps not enough qi is flowing in the channel to be ‘read’ by the practitioner’s fingertips.  If qi is stuck, phlegm nodules — showing up as ‘kori’ or as hard lymph nodes — often result.  While kori can be needled with a Japanese technique and lightly dispersed, lymph node swellings call for herbal treatment.

(Kori are found by lightly palpating the skin and feeling for hard or tense areas of skin and flesh (but no deeper than that).  Those areas are then needled with a #2 sized needle and rapidly twirled in a dispersing direction.)

A simple herbal treatment for nodules around neck is composed of three herbs: Mu Li, Zhe Bei Mu, and Xuan Shen.  If blood stasis accompanies the condition (indicated by a purple tongue and choppy pulse), add another shell herb, Wa Leng Zi.  If the LU pulse overall seems hasty or lacking in qi, add Huang Qin to tonify LU blood.

Lung Channel Divergence is the start of the primary meridian cycle (for humans, but as mentioned in the last post, perhaps not for vampires).  It is responsible for diffusing qi (wei and ying qi) into the vessels.  In contrast, the Lung organ diffuses qi into the body as a whole. It can be used to tonify qi in cases of LU qi deficiency.  The method in that case is to needle the selected points with a deep-shallow-deep needle vibration technique.

The LU CD trajectory is rather short.  It begins at LU-1, where the LU channel emerges onto the chest.  From there, it moves to GB-22, the canyon by which ye, thick fluid, supports marrow, bone, and brain.  Here, the LU channel can draw on body fluids to form wei qi, or draw pathogens out from the jing-organ (marrow, bone, brain, GB) level and bring those pathogens to the exterior.

From the ShaoYang GB-22 point, the Lung channel divergence then spreads to TaiYang.  This is an odd phrase; TaiYang could mean either the Small Intestine (sinew?) channel, or the Bladder (sinew?) channel, or both.  Either way, it spreads to the outermost channels to provide defence for the body.  In terms of point location, however, several options present themselves.  Since the channel needs a connexion to the heart, options include HT-1 and SI-10 (as in the SI CD); or possibly the TaiYang Bladder points BL-44 and BL-15 (as in the BL CD).  Another possibility is HT-9 and SI-1, as the start of the Arm TaiYang sinew vessels.

From the TaiYang level, the channel divergence then connects to the LI organ.  This could happen at ST-25, but it could also mean moving from SI-1 to LI-11, the he-sea point and binding site of the sinew vessel.

However, the Tai Yang aspect of the LU Channel divergence also branches to connect to the breasts.  This can mean either through JueYin (the LV goes to the genitals and breasts) or YangMing (ST-17 is at the centre of the nipple).  If the channel moves from LI-11 to ST-17, this would allow a connection from the Large Intestine to the breasts along the YangMing channel.

The Tai Yang connexion also branches to the Lung organ; this can occur at LU-3, or at LU-1.  From the Lung, the channel divergence moves to ST-12.  ST-12, in addition to connecting to the diaphragm, releases the neck.  Finally, the channel ends at another neck releasing point, LI-18.  LI-18 is indicated for throat conditions like goiter and scrofula — in other words, cases in which phlegm nodules begin to appear and congest the thyroid and lymph nodes of the neck.  Earlier, when examining the LI Channel Divergence, two points were not on that channel when the neck was blocked.  These two points can help release the neck and open up LI-20 and ST-1 in such a case.

As always, these posts are for educational and entertainment purposes only.  If you or a loved one feel like you’ve been so depleted you’ve reached your last breath, or if you have mysterious lumps in your neck, please seek out a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

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Bring on the Night (Buffy, Season 7, Episode 10)

Andrew has been captured by the Scoobies, and sits tied to a chair, unresponsive to all external stimulation.  According to Dawn, who wants to slap him, pour ice water on him, try boiling water on him, Andrew might be in a ‘fugue state’.   Meanwhile, Willow tries a simple spell, but the First highjacks Willow’s spell.  Willow’s own personality was nearly lost, as the First or Dark Magicks started to take over Willow’s will.  Even after the spell ends, Willow can still feel the evil inside her.

Elsewhere, in the basement of Sunnydale High, Buffy encounters Principal Wood, who is surprised to see her up and about.  Buffy tells Wood she got some cream for the oozing that was going on while she was sick.  For other people, ‘things are backing up’.  They receive news about the Watcher’s Council, and Anya theorises that all the stuffy repression of the British Watchers’ Council caused them to explode.  The weight of saving the world is beginning to fall squarely on Buffy’s shoulders alone now.  Despite that loneliness, she is told she should feel ‘no pressure’.

Technically, a fugue state is not a state of insensibility, but one of amnesia.  However, failure of the senses and sinews is a characteristic sign of the Heart Channel Divergence.  After the body has used up jing, blood, and Stomach fluids to contain a pathogen, the next humour available to the body is sweat.  At this point, the pathology has moved from being acute and has instead become a chronic condition.  Sweat is the yin and fluid of the Heart.  Physiologically, the sweat and vessels of the Heart support the wei qi of the arm TaiYang (SI) vessel, and the sinews themselves.  (The Heart controls the mai, or vessel-pulses of the body, while SI-10 moves blood into the sinews to nourish them.)  The Mai, being an extraordinary organ, are filled with yuan qi; thus, we see the relation of yuan qi and wei qi through the medium of the Heart Channel Divergence.  As the Heart begins to lose its yuan-level resources, it begins to close off the upper orifices; the shen can no longer peer out into the world, leading to failure of the senses.  As the sinews lose the blood and fluid which animate them, they, too, begin to fail.

The trajectory of the HT CD begins at HT-1, the emerging point of the Heart meridian, and a place well known as a source of sweat in the body (the palms of the hands, HT-8, is another well known sweaty area).  From HT-1 the channel then moves to GB-22, the lower confluent point.  In previous ages, GB-22 was a contender for the Great Luo of Spleen point; thus the point has a very close relationship with blood and jing.  The Great Luo of the Spleen is the last of the luo points before they pour into the jing-supplied Extraordinary Vessels.  GB-22 is also a good point for addressing ye-thick fluids, as it forms the ‘canyon’ which from which ye-thick fluid nourishes the marrow, bones, and brain.

From GB-22, the channel enters the heart and emerges at CV-17, the mu point of the Pericardium, or Heart Protector.  CV-17 is both where wei qi homes in and a place where both the Kidney and Liver circulate their energetics.  Again, wei qi and the previous humours are meeting here, and thus CV-17 can be a place where the pathogen can be redirected to another humour or channel.  From CV-17, the Heart Channel Divergence travels upwards to CV-23.  CV-23 is known for its ability to nourish yin; in a subsequent post, I will explore its relationship to KD-1.

From CV-23, the channel travels to the tip of the tongue (and thus an inability to speak or articulate the voice is a primary indication for using this ‘point’), before dispersing onto the face and closing at the Upper Confluence of BL-1.

At BL-1,  the channel has moved a pathogen upwards and can bring heat into the brain here (manifesting in mania, hysteria, brain fever, or a loss of senses); yet it also has the capacity to release heat trapped in the four limbs.  Thus, physiology and pathophysiology are closely entwined.  How the body deals with the pathogen at this particular point relies very much on the resources available to it:  can it draw on sweat to release heat in the four limbs?  Or is the body’s fluid depleted, in which case the next set of CDs the pathogen will encounter is the SJ-PC Channel Divergence.  The SJ CD begins at Du-20, at the top of the head.  The pathogen will have passed through the brain to that point and into the next channel set.

In terms of Herbal Medicine, this Channel Divergence is closely related to Ye-thick fluids, the humour of the Small Intestine CD.  The formula Zeng Ye Tang is used for ‘things backing up’, i.e. to relieve constipation, and could make a nice supplementing formula for a person with dryness of sweat.  I would add musk or Niu Huang to Zeng Ye Tang if I were attempting to revive someone’s senses, however.

More specifically to the Heart, Shi Gao is a good single herb to generate fluid when the Heart is too much yin due to the ‘big sweat’ aspect of Yang Ming disease.  Yu Ping Feng San and Mu Li San are also effective at astringing the surface to stop the leaking of sweat; however, neither is especially good at generating fluid.  In Yu Ping Feng San, Bai Zhu drains dampness, but it does also have a tonification aspect.  In Mu Li San, which is particularly good for addressing day time sweating, no fluid generating herbs are included, unless one substitutes honey-fried Huang Qi for plain Huang Qi.  The original formula for Yu Pin gFeng San, in fact, calls for honey fried Huang Qi.

Of course, to guide a formula to the CDs, a wei qi oriented herb (in this case, Huang Qi) and a yuan-qi oriented herb are added to act as envoys.  Ye Jiao Teng might work, but I’d add Sang Ji Sheng as well, for a trio of Huang Qi, Ye Jiao Teng, and Sang Ji Sheng.  Finally, E Jiao might actually be the best item to add to any of the above formulas.  Being skin, sweat, and essence combined, E Jiao is an excellent way to address the concerns of nourishing and astringing.

As always, this post is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  If you or a loved one are sweating so much you’ve lost your senses, please seek qualified assistance. 

Happy Slayage!

Never Leave Me (Buffy, Season 7, Episode 9)

Now that Spike has taken up residence in the Summers’ household, the Scoobies debate what to do with him.  Anya suggests putting something sharp through Spike’s chest to deal with his sleeper-side.  Buffy, however, decided to take a few days off work, so Dawn lets Principal Robin know that Buffy won’t be in, giving as the excuse what TCM would call ‘sudden turmoil disorder’, or as Dawn said Buffy’s words literally were: ‘I have stuff coming out both ends’.

Meanwhile, the First, in the form of Jonathan, appears to Andrew, requesting more blood to open the seal.  Andrew is having regrets at killing his best friend, but Jonathan/ the First tries to reassure Andrew:  Jonathan has become one with hope and light, but without ulcers.  To reference Anya’s solution for Spike, ulcers sometimes feel like a sharp stab in the chest.

Treating ulcers with Channel Divergences will not be the topic of today’s post.  Instead, has anyone ever noticed Anya’s particular mannerisms?  Ever notice that when she’s human she has more wind-tremours than when she’s a demon?  Is this because Liver-anger can be channeled more successfully through a demonic jing-essence-body than a human one?  Regardless, both Anya’s facial tics and Buffy’s sudden turmoil disorder can be treated through the Bladder Channel Divergence.

The CDs treat form, not function, so what ‘form’ is being treated?  With regard to facial tics, the form is one of constancy.  A facial tremour is the inability of the form to hold itself in a consolidated manner.  Likewise with sudden turmoil:  diarrhea and vomiting are clearly representative of the body’s inability to consolidate what it has taken in.  The Bladder CD excels at consolidating form, in part because as the first of the Channel Divergence sequence, it draws on the body’s jing to contain pathogenic influences (the Bladder CD can also transform jing into wei qi to expel wind from the body through its ability to hold and consolidate yang qi).  Not retaining essence through over-sweating, leaking fluids and stool, or a consumption of essence (including De, or ‘virtue’, in Han and pre-Han dynasty HuangLao thought) are signs that the Bladder CD may be involved in the pathophysiology of a patient.

How does the Bladder Channel Divergence apply these functions physiologically, as revealed by the channel trajectory?

The Bladder Channel divergence begins at BL-40, the Doorway to the Earth point and first Confluence of the Channel Divergences, bringing together the Bladder and Kidney channels.  As mentioned earlier, this point connects to BL-23 and Ming Men, allowing the channel clear access to the jing-storing Kidneys.  The point also pushes wei qi to the gluteus, and from BL-30, the channel goes to BL-36.

The area of the body around BL-36 is a primary holding area for latency.  It stores trauma, whose release can be facilitated by gua sha or through needling GB-27.  Trauma homes in here for several reasons.  On the one hand, the point controls the body’s ability to discharge via the bowels:  trauma seeking an exit.  On the other hand, it supports the spleen’s ability to ascend qi, to move things back up:  trauma seeking integration.  In a way, this is the point where pre-natal qi as jing meets post-natal qi, where the ‘template’ for forming the body meets the components which need to be assembled.

From BL-36, the trajectory goes directly to the Doorways of the Earth points at Du-1, Du-4, and CV-4. These points were all discussed in the previous post.  Du-1 relates to consolidation and the emotional build-up of individuation; Du-4 to the blueprint of life and access to jing as well as to the Dai Mai (again, in an attempt to expel the pathogen). CV-4 relates to the balance of yin and yang in the body, and can draw up more primal resources to contain the pathogen, or to transform yin into wei to expel the pathogen.

From CV-4, the channel moves downwards, encountering CV-3 (top of pubic hair margin, technically), then penetrating the sacral liao at BL-32. CV-3 is the mu point of the Bladder organ (CV-4 is the mu point of the other TaiYang organ, the Small Intestine), and BL-32 is associated with hormonal balance in the body (the ye-thick fluids of the Small Intestine).  Both points treat urinary difficulty and incontinence, seminal emission, and pain in the lower trunk.  From the sacrum, the channel moves upward to connect with BL-28 (the shu transport point of the Bladder Organ).

From the cycle beginning at the Bladder Mu and moving to the Bladder Shu points, the channel then traverses the Hua Tuo points. The Hua Tuo points in particular are the terrain of wei qi; but as they are associated with biomedical nerve-roots, they also have an effect on how jing-qi is distributed to organs.  Pathophysiologically, they can be thought of as diverting wind to an organ, and then, to make the wind and cold latent, the Hua Tuo are the points through which the body sends jing to the organ in question.  The development of masses and tumours in those organs,or hormone disruption more generally, can both be explained in this manner.

At Du-11 (Shen Way), the channel wraps through BL-15 (HT shu point) and BL-44 (Door to the Shen) to CV-17 (mu point of the Pericardium) to form the external Bao Mai and connect with the Heart.  If jing has begun to degrade in phlegm, which is one way to think of cholesterol in the blood, the channel will utilise the Heart to ‘vapourise’ (Am: vaporize) the phlegm.  Psychologically, this wrapping of the vessel is the jing meeting the shen to form jingshen before it moves to the Sea of Marrow.

From CV-17, the channel goes to BL-10, the Window to the Sky point and upper confluence of the BL-KD Channel Divergence.  Some texts list the channel as stopping here; others theorise that it moves to the brain and from there to BL-1.  BL-10, in the context of the Bladder Channel Divergence, has the ability to descend excess yang in the head and draw it to the chest, to the most yang of the solid organs, the Heart.  BL-1, as one of the upper orifices, as the ability to release wind from the body.

Treatment and point selection vary by case, but all would include BL-40 and either BL-10 or BL-1.  In Buffy’s case, the points selected would focus on consolidating:  BL-36, CV-3 or Du-1 for diarrhea; CV-17 for vomiting.  Needles would be inserted in a simple ascending order:  bilaterally, beginning with BL-40, angled towards the head.  Needle technique would be deep-shallow-deep, with vibration at each depth.

In Anya’s case, the treatment goals are to expel the wind, so a looping order would be called for.  Points would be selected based on their ability to transform jing into wei or yang qi.  The needles on one side would be angled upwards until BL-10, whose needle would point to the paired BL-10 point on the other side of the body.  The other side of the body would be needled with needles angled towards the feet.  Finally, the jing well point of the Bladder would be needled.  Begin on the side of the body which has pain, needle the jing well point of the side which does not have pain or tics.

The herbal formula associated with this Channel Divergence is Da Cheng Qi Tang.  In Anya’s case, I would add Chi Shao, to move blood and expel wind, and increase the dosage of Hou Po, for a similar reason.

As always, these posts are for educational and entertainment purposes only.  If you or a loved one are suffering from sudden turmoil disorder, please see a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

Flooded (Buffy, Season 6, Episode 4)

Buffy’s basement is flooding. Her pipes are leaking and need replacing. In the midst of such mundane terrors of everyday life, Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew are introduced as the villains of the season.  I might argue that Willow is the real ‘Big Bad’ of Season 6 (Magic as a general concept, or Amy as in instigator are close runners up), but the gang of three ‘supervillains’ makes a nice red herring.

Oh, and Buffy needs a job.  Having only a high school education and some kept-undercover Slayer skills, she’s having difficulty fitting into the world and finding her place.  I don’t quite understand why no one thought to suggest Buffy become a personal trainer. She’d make a great kickboxing coach, if she didn’t accidentally injure her clients.  The episode raises the question of how the internal vocation of the jing-shen meet the societal value of that vocation-service, as recognised through remuneration.  That is, what if your real work isn’t paid?  What then?

Among the extraordinary channels, the Yang Wei Mai control the integration of the surface with the interior.  Wei means ‘net’, and is similar to the network of pipes in her house which are bursting.  In Buffy’s case, her interior vocation isn’t being integrated with the external world, leading to an internal crisis of the net giving out — thus Buffy’s financial-vocational crisis as well as her flooding house.  (Houses in dreams are often metaphors for the body.)  Of course, usually, the Dai Mai is concerned with restraining leaking — but I’d rather treat the root of the problem, and thus the Yang Wei Mai will suffice.

So what points should be needled?  The Yang Wei Mai originates at the point UB 63 and ascends along the the GB meridian up the leg and sides of the body passing thru GB 35. It continues to UB 59 and up to the hip (GB 29). Then it continues along the lateral aspect of the body to LI 14 at the shoulder, to TH 13, TH 15 and to GB 21. It then travels down to SI 10, over to GV 15, GV 16 and then to GB 20. It continues downward along the GB meridian from GB 19 thru to GB 13 where it ends, fully traversing TaiYang, ShaoYang, and YangMing aspects of the body.

The most salient point on the vessel for us would be UB-63, which treats leaky bladder (think leaky pipes/ leaky bladder).  UB-63 also treats ShaoYang issues, like damp-heat pouring out of the body (again, Buffy’s leaky pipes).  I would add LI-14, which clears the vision, in the hope that Buffy can see her role in the world more clearly.  For the ShaoYang point, I would select TH13 NaoHui, and purposely mis-translate the point’s name as ‘Brain Meeting’ rather than ‘Upper Arm Meeting point’.  In other words, I would use the point to bring the mind’s attention from securing leakage to clarity of vision, to the union of jing and shen in the experience of the world.

A little too metaphorical?  Perhaps.  But try it and see what happens.  Relaxing tense shoulders will almost always induce a little clarity of thought.  Besides, if you want a more exacting correspondence between point names and the function I’m trying to elicit, you can always choose TH15, Tian Liao, ‘Heavenly Foramen’.  Buffy fell through a hole in heaven, and maybe there’s a blockage at that point.

Ye Tian-Shi lists several herbs useful for treating the Yang Wei Mai and integrating yang activity in body.  Xiao Hui Xiang, Bai Zi Ren, and Fu Ling all free the flow of the network vessels.  Bai Zi Ren in particular is good for calming the mind and harmonising the shen, hun, and po.  In the case of the Wei Mai however (according to Bob Flaws), Ye Tian-Shi recommends not just herbs, but a particular formula:  Dang Gui Gui Zhi Tang jia Lu Jiao Shuang.

As always, these posts are for entertainment and educational purposes only.  If you or a loved one have ‘leaky pipes’ or are trying to find your vocation, please see a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

Beer Bad (Buffy Season 4, Episode 5)

Being both an occasional bartender and a college student (again) has given me a new appreciation for this episode.  In this episode, Xander gets a job as a bartender, part of his efforts to incorporate himself into the college life of his friends.  Buffy goes to his bar in order to taker her mind off Parker, but she sees him picking up yet another woman there.  After lingering for a little bit, Buffy decides to leave, but is invited by some rather arrogant students to join them for a night of beer.  The guys who invited Buffy over had earlier been insulting Xander’s socioeconomic status potential in comparison to their own current social capital and potential future economic status.  Apparently, Xander was not the first to be so insulted, and later we learn that Xander’s boss has been spiking one of the micro-brews so popular with these up-and-coming students.  The resulting potion turned the group — and Buffy along with them — into uncouth, dim-witted paleolithic hominids.

Happily, although I’ve experienced a packed bar, the patrons I’ve encountered have been uniformly friendly.  I’ve had no need to devise any potions with which to spike the drinks.  On the other hand, Chinese medicine has a long tradition of making medicinal wines, and one does not need to be either a warlock nor have a bevy of bottles and bunsen burners in order to make them oneself.

(As a side note, if I needed to treat Buffy with acupuncture, I’d use the shu points, which the Ling Shu indicates are to be used in cases where the pathology fluctuates with time.  Since Buffy appears to have a condition which took her back in time, and this condition is related to her fluid consumption, I would choose SP-3, SP-9, and ST-42.  SP-9 is chosen as a he-uniting point, which the Ling Shu advises for conditions relating to food and drink.  I chose the Spleen because it is responsible for change and transformation; the gallbladder would be my second choice, for a similar reason, but the gallbladder is more associated with changes of spirit/ mind/ affect or the curious organs as a group.)

Chinese medicinal wines can be loosely divided into those made for consumption (not more than a 25ml shot or two per day) and those for external application.  While the latter would more properly be called ‘liniments’, because they are made in essentially the same way as consumed medicinal wines, using rice wine or vodka, I associate them in my mind (though I clearly label them in order to differentiate them in my practice!).

The general process of making a medicinal wine is fairly simple:  take the herbs, wash them, place them in a container which can be sealed, add vodka or rice wine (not more than 30% alcohol by volume, or 60 proof), and leave to soak out of direct sunlight for three months or more.  Periodically shake the bottle during this time, to ensure the herbs become evenly mixed.

Two formulas are included below as examples, both drawn from the martial arts tradition.  Unfortunately, I do not have the bibliographic references on hand…  The first, though, is from A Tooth from the Tiger’s Mouth by T. Bisio, a book i highly recommend for those interested in external medicine.

Trauma Liniment

Take 12 g each of Da Huang, Zhi Zi, Huang Bai, Hong Hua, Mo Yao, Ru Xiang, Xue Jie, Lu Lu Tong, Dang Gui Wei.  Soak in 1 gallon (4.5 litres) vodka or rice wine for 30 days.  use on any contusion, especially to the shins.

Jin Feng Jiu

Take 3g each Sheng Di, Shu Di, Dang Gui, Mai Dong, Di Gu Pi, Yin Yang Huo, and 1.5 g of Sha Ren.  Grind or use whole to make wine.  Add to a fifth (750mL) of 80 proof alchohol or less.  Steep for 60 – 90 days.  Harmonises jing, quiets restlessness.  It is recommended that men refrain from ejaculation during the period when taking this medication.

Lu Rong Ren Shen Jiu

Take 10g each of Lu Rong and Ren Shen.  Steep the powdered herbs in a fifth (750mL) of rice wine for 60 days.  Dose at 1 oz daily to strengthen the bones and sinews.  If the patient experiences too high an increase in libido, add several berries of Wu Wei Zi, to astringe essence.

Of the above formulae, naturally I would recommend using the trauma liniment to treat the characters in this episode.  Except for Parker.  He might benefit from taking the second formula to calm and anchor his passions.

As always, this post is for informational purposes only.  Please do not make your own medicinal wines for consumption unless supervised by a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

The Harsh Light of Day (Buffy Season 4, Episode 3)

Ah, the beginning of college.  So many people to meet, so many interesting personalities to encounter.  Looks like the time for all sorts of new sexual relationships to begin, too, at least in Sunnydale (Xander-Anya; Buffy-Parker; Spike-Harmony).  And with those new sexual relationships come the possibility of infectious diseases.  As one clinician commented to me once, ‘this is what happens when you put college men and women together at the start of the year.  Everyone just goes [sex-]crazy.’

(As a side note, this episode made me realise that Spike is the embodiment of Buffy’s relationship shadow.  He’s the one who always spoke clearly about her relationship with Angel, and in this episode he appears right after Buffy is figuratively punched in the stomach by Parker.)

Lucky for Spike, he prefers syphilis to Harmony.  Given Harmony’s petulance, I can see why.  While I might suggest a Japanese KD channel treatment for Harmony, to centre her enough that she is no longer needy, has a sense of self that she can manage, stop her whining (the sound of Kidney water is groaning, which could include whining, like ice giving way in the winter), and give her the confidence to be alone and at peace, it is Spike’s syphilis, and another spirochete bacteria, Lyme’s disease, that I want to address in this post.

Syphilis was difficult to treat, both in Asia and in Europe (and later, after colonisation, the Americas and Africa as well).  Today, powerful antibiotics have proven fairly successful in treating syphilis, and I typically refer patients I suspect of having an STI out to an allopathic clinic.  Since herbal medicine acts more slowly than pharmaceuticals, and since STIs are very easy to transmit, it makes more sense from a public health perspective.

Historically, one reason syphilis was difficult to treat is because it appears to goes away, becoming latent in the body, only to re-emerge as ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’ syphilis.  Therefore, it is difficult to know if a cure was effected.  Interestingly, mercury was used in both Western and Eastern medicine, and a homeopathic tincture is still given to people who have inherited a certain syphilitic pattern from their grandparents.  The indications for this medication remarkably parallel descriptions of when mercury was indicated for use in the Shen Nong Ben Cao.  Because homeopathic tinctures have no identifiable active substances — the poisons have been tinctured away into incredible minute quantities — it raises the question of whether a purified form of mercury, amalgamated with other substances to destroy its toxicity, was used, similar perhaps to how mercury-containing compounds are still used in Tibetan medicine today.  This idea becomes all the more potent when one considers that homeopathic tinctures often have the opposite effect of what their constituent substances have.  In other words, if the description of mercury’s effects in the Shen Nong Ben Cao parallel those of the homeopathic materia medica, it stands to reason that actual mercury was not being used, but rather some modified form of it.

Speculations about mercury aside, both syphilis and Lyme’s disease are caused by the rather novel class of bacteria called spirochetes.  Both have a tendency to go latent.  Therefore, the Channel Divergences, which are specifically concerned with latent pathogens, are an ideal place to begin looking for diagnostic clues.  Since we don’t have an actual case in front of us, let us turn to the herbal tradition first, and see what possible channels we can derive from there.

Herbally, Tu Fu Ling, or smilax glabra, was used to treat syphilis (in addition to mercury).  Tu Fu Ling relieves toxicity, eliminates dampness, clears heat, and goes to the Liver and Stomach channels.  Interestingly, in the Buddhist tradition, heat is a form of desire; so this herb may also help regulate sexual desire (although by the time someone contracted syphilis from over-frequenting brothels, or from a partner who did so, such regulation might be considered too late; at the very least, it may stem transmission, however).  For these purposes, it was often combined with Jin Yin Hua (which also relieves toxicity, and goes to the LU/LI and ST channels) and Bai Xian Pi, cortex Dictamni.  Bai Xian Pi goes to the Spleen and Stomach channels and eliminates dampness and damp-heat, including dampt-heat bi.

From these three herbs, we can think of the ST/SP, LI/LU, and possibly the GB/LV channel divergences as possible places to start.  However, since only one of the herbs is specific to bi-syndrome, namely Bai Xian Pi, I would suggest we look at the ST/SP channel divergence first.

Usually, I think of the ST/ SP channel divergence when I am confronted with someone who has food allergies, IBS, or other digestive problems.  However, the opening point for this channel divergence is ST-30, which happens to be associated with the Chong Mai, and thus with the blood.  The ST/SP CD is particularly concerned with using fluid, usually to support blood, but also to allow the opening of the upper orifices.  the sensory orifices rely on pure yang fluids to function properly.

The other function of the ST/ SP CD is to treat cases of phlegm misting the orifices, both the upper orifices in the case of cataracts, and the orifices of the Heart.  In this respect, one can see how an unresolved pathogen like Lyme’s disease can progress to the SI/ HT CD, symptoms of which include neurological problems.  These problems, from the point of view of Classical Chinese medicine do not begin spontaneously; they have a history.  That history involves the consumption and drying of fluids.  The first signs may be fever and thirst, middle signs numbness and tingling of the limbs, and the latter signs occur after the pathogen has depleted the thin fluids, and the body must now draw on thick fluids supplied by the SI/ HT CD.  In the case of the SP CD, phlegm-fluid is trying to block wind, that is, neurological symptoms, from moving to the head.  The treatment goal, then, is to release the wind and generate fluid.

The point selection would then be ST-30 (opening point), ST-9 (opens the orifices), CV-23 (for poor memory), BL-1 (closing point).  CV-12 or CV-14 could be added, depending on symptoms; CV-12 disperses into the Spleen (being the root of SP-1), while CV-14 would help any HT or Shen related symptoms.  The points would be needled in pairs ascending the body, or looped from healthy side to unhealthy side, so that the final point ends up being SP-1 or ST-45.  The needle technique would be shallow-deep-shallow, if trying to expel the pathogen.  If the person has no fluids in reserve, then the needle technique would be deep-shallow-deep, in order to promote latency.  I would then consider nourishing the HT and ye-fluids with herbal medicine (Zeng Ye Tang comes to mind:  Xuan Shen, Shu Di, Mai Dong).

Regarding the GB/LV channel divergence, which is the other possibility based on herbal theory, I would note that in Europe a small purplish node sometimes occurs on the scrotum, near the nipple, or on the earlobe not long after infection.  All these areas are associated with the LV or GB channel divergence.  The GB/LV CD is usually affected before the ST/SP CD.  This might come about in the case of Lyme’s disease when the person has adequate physiological fluids, or when the pathogen enters directly into the blood, which is stored by the LV.  (Thus, from the tick’s connection to the blood, a pathology can manifest in the Sea of Blood — the Chong Mai, ST-30; or in the LV, which stores the Blood.)

The treatment points would then be CV-2 or CV-3 (top of pubic hair is what the Ling Shu states); LV-13 (SP mu point, drains into Dai Mai); ST-5 (holds latency); GB-1 (closing point)

Finally, if we think of the skin as the point of entry, we could look at the LI/ LU channel divergence.  Only two points are common to both channels, ST-12, LI-18.  I might use this for the initial stages, perhaps, when infection is only skin-deep, but once a rash has developed, I would stick to either the ST-SP or GB-LV Channel Divergence, if treating exclusively with acupuncture.

As always, although based on actual Classical Chinese medical theory, this post is for entertainment purposes only.  If you feel you could benefit from the traditions and techniques of Chinese Medicine, please find a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

Living Conditions (Buffy Season 4, Episode 2)

Ah, the roommate from another dimension.  I’m afraid many of us have been there.  I mean, many of us have been in the position of having a roommate from another dimension, rather than having been to the dimension the roommate happens to be from.  Although, some roommates will just suck you into their world regardless of all your own attempts to maintain your hold on this reality…

In this episode, we learn that Kathy, Buffy’s first college roommate is a demon who escaped her dimension to come to Sunnydale as a student.  Through the use of an arcane ritual involving blood and a scorpion, she attempts to steal Buffy’s soul while Buffy sleeps.  Having Buffy’s soul means that Kathy will not be detected by her home dimension’s ‘missing child’ task force;  instead, Buffy the Soul-less one, will be taken back to the dimension Kathy affectionately calls ‘Nebraska’.  Buffy is only aware that she is having very strange dreams.  Buffy’s friends believe she is over-reacting, and begin to suspect she may be going slightly mad.

So what can Chinese Medicine do for Buffy now?  The ritual offers some clues, actually.  Scorpion, or Quan Xie, is used medicinally to extinguish wind (i.e. tremours, stubborn headache) and goes exclusively to the Liver channel.  The use of blood in the ritual, especially during dream-time, also points to the Liver.  At night, the blood returns to the Liver, where it nourishes the hun, the ethereal soul, and anchors those souls (usually numbered as three) to call them back from wandering about while a person dreams.

The hun can be thought of as that aspect of the soul which involves the person’s personality; it survives for about three generations after a persons death, having exited via the mouth (or the top of the head, depending on one’s tradition).  It is the soul-aspect of an ancestor that is honoured in the household shrines.  (The other aspects of the soul, the shen and the po have been treated elsewhere.  The po return to the earth with the bones, the shen departs to wherever it needs to go next.)

Therefore, from the perspective of Chinese medicine, the ritual being used by Kathy involves taking the hun from Buffy when they are most accessible — during sleep.  They are loosened from Buffy through the use of foreign blood.  In case Buffy’s own lack of blood should give rise to wind — when the vessels are empty of blood, they often fill with wind instead, sometimes leading to madness — a scorpion is used.

It’s all well and good to understand the mechanism of an illness, but what can be done about it?  In this case, I would say we need to anchor the hun by nourishing Liver blood.  For points, I would use BL-47, hun men (“Ethereal soul gate”) and BL-17, the shu point of blood.  I would also consider thread moxa on Du-26, not only a ghost point but also near the mouth from which the hun are being drawn out of Buffy.  (Used as a ghost point, the area is pricked in order to draw a drop of blood.)

Finally, if I were particularly keen on discerning where the hun are located during the day, I would consult with some of the Dunhuang manuscripts on iatromancy, which detail how the hun move from point to point following the waxing and waning of the moon.  (See Lo and Cullen 2005, Medieval Chinese Medicine.  Routledge.)    The Qianjin yaofang notes that the renshen is located in the navel at age 19; and then moves to the heart.  The Wuwei manuscripts from Gansu locate the shenhun in the heart at that time, moving to the abdomen (which I take to mean CV-12, the ST mu) the following year.  Since Buffy is 19 at the time of this episode (using the Chinese system of counting birth as ‘1’, and the end of the first year of life as age 2), I would want to address either CV-12 or CV-14 as well.  Note the scorpion seems to be crawling upwards from these areas, past the pericardium-mu point of CV-17, and towards the mouth during Buffy’s dreams.

For herbal medicines, I would use Xi Xian Cao, steamed in wine (jiu zhi Xi Xian Cao) together with Ba Zhen Tang.  Xi Xian Cao (herba siegesbeckiae), can help the Liver bank blood and experiences.  it calms the spirit when there is a tendency for it to rise or not be contained, and is specific for physically restless insomnia.   The Ba Zhen Tang is simply present to nourish the blood overall, and to ensure that the po remain anchored to the presence of qi.  I might think of also using Gui Zhi Long Gu Mu Li Tang for a similar purpose, the gui zhi and bai shao, or the sheng jiang and da zao combinations acting to harmonise the qi and blood (as wei and ying qi), and thus maintain the balance between hun and po, hopefully preventing Buffy from going mad and becoming dominated by the sometimes perverse po.

In the end, of course, Buffy gets her soul back, and Kathy is banished — well, taken by her father — back to the dimension from whence she came.

As always, this post is to entertainingly illustrate the ways in which Chinese medical theories can be applied to various situations.  If you feel that Chinese Medicine may benefit you, please see a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

Graduation Day, Part Two (Buffy, Season Three, Ep 22)

This is it for the Scooby Gang:  The End of High School.  Happily for the fans of the show, Buffy does go to college, for one year, at least, and the show continues on.

This episode sees the culmination of all the mayor has worked towards.  His ascension went off without a hitch, really, except he neglected to realise that it left him vulnerable.  Once the Mayor assumed his snake-like demon form, the Scooby Gang were able to lure him into the library, the centre of the Hellmouth that is Sunnydale.  In the emptied out library, the Mayor meets his doom:  plastic explosives.  Buffy once again has taken part in a plot to destroy the actual buildings of her high school.  Lucky for her, Principle Snyder was eaten before he found out, she presumably received her diploma, and those pesky ‘permanent records’ — also presumably exploded.

But what to do with all those leftover demon-snake parts?  Chinese medicine, naturally, has the answer, and this post will look at some of the many uses of snakes in the herbal medical tradition.

The Divine Farmer recommends snake skin (She Tui)  to treat fright epilepsy, madness, hemorrhoids, worm toxins, and ‘tuggings and slackenings’ in children.   The Divine Farmer also notes that snake skin is better if baked.

The first three pathologies are often due to the presence of wind in the body.  Hemorrhoids are typically noted as being caused by ‘wind in the intestines’, giving rise to both itching and bleeding.  The bleeding can be caused by the body either trying to expel the wind on its own — one treatment principle is to move blood to expel wind — or due to the wind forcing the blood from the vessels.  Likewise, fright can scatter Heart qi and cause the vessels to empty of blood, leaving them to be filled with wind.  Madness can likewise be caused by such an underlying physiological process.  (I should note that ‘wind’ in Chinese Medicine can often signify ‘change’ in a person’s life or environment.)

Colourful alternate names for snake skin include ‘robe of the baby dragon’ or ‘shirt of the baby dragon’ (long zi yi, long zi dan yi).  I’m not so sure that Mayor Wilkins could be considered a ‘baby dragon’, however.  On the other hand, I wonder if his boens could be used in place of Long Gu (Dragon bone) to settle the spirit, astringe the essence, and reduce palpitations along the Ren Mai, when felt by the practitioner during hara diagnosis?  (Gui Zhi jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang can be used to settle such palpations and relax the Ren Mai.)

Today, (at least) two types of snakes are used in the Chinese Herbal tradition.  Bai Hua She is said to enter the blood level and the Liver channel.  It penetrates into the bones to  gather wind and invigorates the Luo-collaterals to quiet siezures.  Moving blood and having an affinity for the Wood channel allow it to extinguish both internal or external wind.  Since it unblocks the channels, it can be used in Luo Vessel treatments as well. Dosage range is 1-1.5g powdered; 3 – 10g whole.  I have seen whole snakes placed in vats of wine with other herbs in order to create medicinal soaks and liniments for use in massage and after martial arts training.

Wu Shao She is the other snake used today.  It is milder than Bai Hua She, and so its dosage is comparably larger:  2-3g powdered; 6-10g otherwise.

As always, this post is for informational purposes only.  If you want to collect your own snakes and snake skins for use as medicines, please seek the guidance of knowledgeable practitioners.  Happy Slayage!

Graduation Day, Part One (Buffy, Season Three, Ep 21)

As graduation day, and thus also the Mayor’s Ascension, approaches, the cast of characters are brought into closer and closer proximity.  The stakes are raised when Angel is shot by a poisoned arrow, the only antidote to which is the blood of a slayer.  (Luckily, the Chong Mai was stabilised just last week, so the Sea of Blood that Buffy has at her disposal should be adequately filled…)

Although the particular poison affecting Angel is only cured by blood, other poisonings can and have happened throughout the course of medical history.  In fact, one can argue that the most potent medicines have always been toxins applied in a judicious manner.  Today, potentially toxic substances are still used in Chinese herbal medicine, but through centuries of experience, several methods of preparing the medicines in order to decrease their side effects have been developed.  Not all poisons and toxins are dangerous to the same degree.  Some merely cause mild nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting; others dangerously lower blood pressure, stop breathing, or cause sudden bleeding.  Still others are toxic acutely, while others are dangerous only over the long term.  For these reasons, it is important to have qualified practitioners — rather than governmental restrictions — who know how to properly prepare, formulate, and administer herbal medicines.

This post will treat exactly that topic:  dealing with herbal poisonings.  Please note, these are only immediate remedies for accidental poisonings with herbs like Fu Zi (aconite), and are not designed to replace a call to your local poison control centre.

The most common method of detoxifying herbal ingredients, aside from increasing boiling time, is to mix in fresh ginger juice.  The herbs and fresh ginger are then dry-fried and left to cool.  Fresh ginger (sheng jiang) itself is also often added to formulas during the boiling time, in order to reduce the actively toxic compounds present in some herbs.  Xi Xin (asarum), in particular, is nearly always used in combination with ginger.

Gan Cao, or licorice root, in both its honey-fried and unprepared forms, is another remedy often used for Fu Zi poisoning.  Gan Cao is one of the most commonly used herbs in Chinese medical formulas, and is credited with the property of  ‘harmonising’  the other ingredients in the formula.

Mung beans are one of the most common detoxifying foods, and appear in both Chinese and South Asian (Ayurvedic) dietary medicine.  In Ayurveda, the combination of rice and mung beans, or chikadi, is recommended as a nutritious and detoxifying food.  In Chinese medicine, mung beans (cooked, not raw) are the supreme antidote for Fu Zi poisonings, given even in hospital.

Milk is likewise a common food given to those suspected of poisoning.  It is rarely (if ever) used in Chinese medical formulas, but is part of some tonification programme for cancer patients before they enter chemotherapy in the PRC.  In the past, the milk that would be given was unprocessed and unhomogenised.  I do not know how the addition of other substances (e.g. vitamins) to milk today would affect its properties, although several friends have suspected that processed milk is more to blame for their lactose-intolerance than lactose itself.  (They seem to have little difficulty when drinking raw milk, for example.)

Finally, honey is often added to herbs in the course of their preparation in order to detoxify them.  Gan Cao, Huang Qi, and Sang Ye are the most commonly honey-prepared herbs I can think of, and all of those are fine to consume raw.  As an antidote, honey seems given after ingestion of the poison, or to draw out poisons from the skin.  I personally would use honey as an antidote only in this latter case — as a drawing salve — and try the previous herbs first, if I had no other recourse to treating the poison (e.g. by inducing vomiting, for example).

Water is not mentioned as an antidote to poisonings in classical sources.  Perhaps this is due to the possibility of contamination by water-borne diseases, which would only make the situation worse.  Nonetheless, when clean water is available, flushing the body with fluids can often help the person eliminate the poison from his or her system.

The Nan Jing mentions using acupuncture remedies for herbal mistakes, but I cannot recall those instances; otherwise, there really isn’t much that acupuncture can do for poisonings, to my knowledge.  (Except bee stings — which I would treat as fire-toxins in the blood and use the SI channel to treat.)

Although this post is for theoretical purposes only, please, if you suspect poisoning, contact the appropriate personnel as soon as possible.

Happy Slayage

The Prom (Buffy, Season Three, Ep 20)

This is the episode in which Hell Hounds with a taste for the well-dressed are unleashed on Buffy’s senior prom classmates.  It is also the episode in which Joyce tells Angel that he must break up with Buffy, and do what she cannot.  While he does appear in time to have the last dance with Buffy, this is good-bye to the Buffy-Angel romance in Sunnydale.

Before the last dance, and before Joyce’s talk, if I recall correctly, was the dream-sequence scene which will be the focus of today’s diagnosis.  The context of the dream is the heart-rending decision which needs to be made between the two of them; the actual content of the dream sees Buffy explode into flames.

Clearly, the heart organ, being a fire-phase organ, is implicated.  However, I would like to suggest two other options.

First, dreams can have diagnostic significance in Chinese medicine, as elucidated by the Yellow Emperor in the Su Wen, and elaborated upon in the Jia Yi Jing (scroll 6, chapter 8).   Dreams of fire indicate an exuberance of both yin and yang; they are not anchored.  Dreams of smoke and fire, and hills indicate something going on with the Heart or Small Intestine, that is, with the fire-phase related organs.  (Technically, in the Jia Yi Jing, counterflow qi invading the small intestine would give rise to dreams of crowded streets and cities.)  In relation to the correspondence with fire-phase organs, I would extend the diagnostic possibilities to include the vessels (controlled by the Heart); the thick fluids and sweat (administered by the SI and HT); and also to the actual pathogen of fire itself.

Fire as a pathogen can affect the Heart, Stomach, Liver, Lungs, and Skin, and give rise to ‘fire toxins’.  Given the context of the dream, I would diagnose fire harassing the Heart.  Heart fire is often drained via the Small Intestine channel, or through the SI and Bladder.

Ying-spring points are recommended by the Nan Jing to treat fire conditions, so I would think of SI-2 being a good point to treat; to make the connexion to the Heart more explicit, I might add the luo point of the SI channel, SI-7 to the treatment.  I would not bloodlet the luo point, since I am using it in its capacity as a connecting point between the Heart and Small Intestine.  This gives a simple two point combination treatment to address the fire component.  However, it does not address the underlying factors, nor does it strengthen the most likely places the pathogen would move to after the Heart.

From the Heart, fire could move to the Lungs, which are very susceptible to dryness and heat.  After heartbreak, some people experience a period of dryness and numbness.  One could also argue this post-heartbreak experience is due to sadness and grief, which can weaken the Lung and make metal susceptible to illness.  In Buffy’s case, augmenting fluids, especially thin fluids in the case of the Lung, but also the water element more generally, would be recommended.

Taking a primary meridian perspective, rather than the previous three burners or physiological perpective, what follows the HT and SI channel in sequence is the Bladder and Kidney pair of channels.  Being water-phase related channels, one might think of tonifying them to build up fluids, extinguish fire, and arrest the progression of the pathogen.  A little bit of rest and darkness after a break up is often a good thing.  Points to think about would be KD-10, a water point on a water channel.  BL-40, which connects to Ming-Men, BL-23, may also be a good point to use.  In combination with the SI points mentioned above, it may be able to draw fire back to their source in the Kidneys, much like the herbal combination Huang Lian and Rou Gui.  I would not, in this case, use KD-2, since the KD are not experiencing a fire pathology as of yet, but I might consider tonfying KD-3 or BL-62.  Regardless, the treatment principle is to ensure that Kidney qi remains firm or stable.

With regard to herbs in general, Zhi Zi is a good heart fire herb, and treats a feeling of oppression in the chest, near the xiphoid process and the mu-point of the Heart.  In fact, one way to tell if zhi zhi should be added to a formula is to palpate that area; if tenderness is elicited, zhi zi could be added with good effect.  Buffy experienced chest oppression in this episode, reflective of her acute heartbreak.  (Regarding heartbreak, I might also think of the Pericardium, in its role as ‘Heart Protector’, and therefore add Dan Shen, and Xuan Fu Hua).  The resulting base formula is thus:  Dan Shen, to invigorate blood and supplement the PC and HT; Xuan Fu Hua, which descends, and treats the Lungs as well as the Heart; and Zhi Zi, to clear the fire.  Wu Wei Zi could be used to maintain the stability of Kidney qi and Lung qi both.

If the Lungs are thought to be in particular danger, I would also augment the three herbs with Huang Qin and Sha Shen.  Huang Qin is both tonifying for the Upper Warmer and it clears heat.  Sha Shen is moist and nourishes the Lungs; since HT fire can easily be transmitted to the LU, drying the fluids of the UW, Bei Sha Shen would be my chosen variety.

The other formula I might suggest would be Huang Lian E Jiao Tang, which treats kidneys, clears lungs, and descends fire.  The ingredients are huang lian, e jia, huang qin, bai shao, and ji zi huang (egg yolk).  This is a very tonifying formula, and if yin seems to be abundant (it has been so long since I’ve watched this episode, I cannot comment on the yin status of Angel and Buffy), then perhaps the simple but effective Jiao Tai Wan (ten parts huang lian to one part rou gui), as mentioned above, would suffice.

The second alternative I would suggest, and the one I would favour most, is to look at the Chong Mai.  The pathway of the Chong Mai follows that of the Kidney channel on the abdomen, and it disperses into the chest or heart (in men, it also continues and disperses onto the face, giving rise to facial hair).  As such, a different treatment strategy would be to stabilise the Chong Mai.  Treating the Chong Mai would serve the purpose of reigning in both yin and yang, as the initial dream diagnosis would require; but having its origin in the kidneys, stabilising the Chong would secure Kidney qi, as the previous treatment strategies mentioned.

Several herbs could serve this purpose, chief among them being Lu Rong.  Lu Rong tonifies the Du Mai, but also stabilises the Ren and Chong Mai.  Gui Ban seems to have its primary effect on the Ren Mai, and thus I would not consider it as a primary herb.  However, in the formula Gu Jing Wan, gui ban is used as the chief herb.  The formula clears heat and nourishes yin.  The formula typically treats continuous menstrual bleeding, or “gushing and trickling disorder”.  The ingredients, as provided by Zhu Dan-Xi, are prepared gui ban, dry fried bai shao, dry fried huang qin, dry fried huang bai, chun pi, and xiang fu.  In our current case, chun pi can be eliminated, since it focuses on astringing blood.  

The formula Shou Tai Wan, usually used to stablise the fetus in case of threatened miscarriage, relies less on animal ingredients, but its signs and symptoms have little to do with heat.  Nevertheless, for reference, the herbs in that formula are two parts tu si zi, and one part each of sang ji sheng, xu duan, and e jiao (this last being an animal product).  Interestingly, e jiao does clear the lungs, in addition to its role in stopping bleeding.

The point prescription I would use in this case would be:

Sp-4 to open the chong mai

KD-12, whose alternate name is ‘Yin Gate’

KD-14 is named after the stars which appear around prom time, between May 21 and June 4.  It treats accumulations of all sorts, though not fire.  Nonetheless, it might be interesting to consider this point. KD-15, Huang Shu relates to the area below the heart, and thus would be considered if KD-14 is not chosen.

KD-21, named ‘Dark Gate’, which in this particular instance I would relate to the mysterious process of love, heartbreak, life choices, and the unknown that comes with past loss and future potential.

PC-6 could be added to close the sequence, though I don’t consider this necessary.

As always, this post is meant for informational and entertainment purposes only.  If you feel you could benefit from Chinese medicine, please seek a qualified practitioner.  I am happy to provide references in MA, NY, FL, VT, CA, and in Oxfordshire, UK.

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