Continuing our Single Herb Trek To TCM Success….
Dispel Wind/Damp Herbs
This class of herbs refers to herbs that are used for Bi syndrome or for painful obstruction syndrome. “Bi” means pain. Pain occurs when the channels and tissues are obstructed and cannot allow for Qi or Blood flow. Cold, heat, wind, and damp can all cause this problem, and all of these are addressed in this category at some point.
Acute conditions and problems that haven’t been around long are generally the result of an excess.
When something occurs for long enough, however, and becomes chronic, you are then looking at a deficiency causing obstruction of Qi and blood. Long term chronic conditions like arthritis fall into this category. There is also a section for strengthening sinews and bones that would help with arthritis.
Du huo, wei ling xian, mu gua, chuan wu, bai hua she, wu shao she, hai feng teng
Herbs start on page 5 of the PDF linked above.
Qin jiao, han fang ji, sang zhi, xi xian cao, si gua luo, ren dong teng, hai tong pi.
Sinews (also referred to as tendons in some books) can include disc and cartilage as well as ligaments. The herbs in the two previous sub-categories were more for excess/external pathogens influencing the body. These are more for deficiencies and as such, they are for chronic Bi syndromes.
Wu jia pi, ci wu jia, sang ji sheng, gou ji, qian nian jian
These herbs treat phlegm and wheezing. This includes subsections for 1) Phlegm-Cold, 2) Phlegm-Heat, and 3) Coughing and Wheezing. While phlegm can cause cough and wheeze, you might also have patients with cough but no phlegm. Some of these herbs serve as expectorants, some don’t.
Some of these herbs serve as expectorants, some don’t. If you see the term “transform phlegm” in the notes, this refers to boosting the Spleen’s ability to control the damp/water metabolism and fix the problem. “Expel phlegm” refers to an expectorant function of some kind.
Phlegm is not an exogenous pathogen, but occurs in the body resulting from an exterior trigger. Phlegm is damp that becomes congealed by heat, cold, body fluid deficiency, etc. A brief primer on terminology: phlegm = mucus, sputum = mucus/phlegm that you cough or spit out.
Notes start on page 3. Phlegm cold is generally more watery than phlegm-heat, but still sticky, mucusy goo. Kind of like the clear or white mucus or even runny nose goo that is produced at the beginning of a cold or allergies. Determine whether cold or heat is the predominant problem in the body before you pick your phlegm resolution herbs.
Ban xia, tian nan xing, bai fu zi, bai jie zi, xuan fu hua, bai qian, jie geng
(those last 2 “ophans” got covered in a different lecture, hence the different link.)
Notes start page 2 of PDF linked above. Phlegm-heat goo is yellow, sticky, and thick. The yellow might come in different shades or degrees. Yellowy phlegm is heat. The greener the phlegm gets, the more the heat is moving in the direction of toxicity. Phlegm-heat is much more condensed than phlegm cold or phlegm damp. This is phlegm that has been “cooked down” into thick sticky junk.
Qian hu, chuan bei mu, zhe bei mu, gua lou, zhu ru, zhu li, pang da hai, hai zao, kun bu, hai ge ke, wa leng zi, hai fu shi.
A cough won’t kill you, but it can make you wish you were dead! A wheeze, on the other hand, can indicate a life threatening condition. Wheezes come from phlegm in the lung. What you are hearing is the air “whistling” past the phlegm blockage.
Xing ren (page 6…it got orphaned from the other herbs listed in the PDF linked above for this category), zi wan, kuan dong hua, su zi, bai bu, pi pa ye, bai guo, pi pa ye, sang bai pi, ting li zi,
Notes start on page 5. This refers to dampness in the middle jiao (as opposed to the herbs in the previous category, which focus on the upper jiao). These herbs are mostly warm in nature, so they treat damp/cold in the middle jiao. These herbs largely “wake the Spleen” so that it can do it’s job and process the excess dampness.
Note all of the digestive symptoms in these herbs when you study them. Nausea and vomiting can be a result of damp in the middle. Damp blocks the natural movement of qi, so nausea and vomiting can be a result of the stomach being unable to move qi downward.
Some of these herbs can also treat exterior dampness (huo xiang, pei lan, and cang zhu). Also be aware that there is difference between drying damp and transforming damp. When a summary of an herb says it dries damp, this is a stronger effect than transforming damp.
Huo xiang, pei lan, cang zhu, hou po, sha ren, bai dou kou
Look for bloating and distention in the abdomen and sometimes just around the stomach. When it’s just in the stomach area that’s often called “focal distention” – a food baby! Food stagnation means the stomach isn’t processing the food and sending it downward. That’s why it’s often in the aromatic herb section, even though the herbs aren’t aromatic. We’re still dealing iwht the middle jiao.
People with chronic food stagnation are often frequent over-eaters, which totally bums the Spleen out after a while, causing Spleen qi deficiency. These herbs are often used in combination with other herbs that regulate and/or tonify Qi, strengthen the Spleen, warm the Spleen yang, aromatically transform damp and/or purge the system.
All of these herbs enter the Spleen and Stomach channels.
Shan zha, shen qu, mai ya, gu ya, ji nei jin, lai fu zi.
This is all about Qi stagnation, a very common diagnosis in Western cultures: we eat poorly, we don’t move, and we have constant high levels of stress. All of these will cause the Qi to get sluggish eventually.
Qi can get stagnant in the middle jiao, the liver, and the lung. Impairment of the Qi movement can also impact the kidneys as well as the heart.
Chen pi, qing pi, zhi shi, zhi ke, mu xiang, xiang fu, chuan lian zi, wu yao, da fu pi, chen xiang, fo shou, xie bai, tan xiang
This refers to getting the blood to do what it’s supposed to do – either make it move, stop it from bleeding out, or something of that sort.
This section treats the symptom (the branch), but not the root of the problem.
Xian he cao, bai ji, xue yu tan, zong lu tan, da ji, xiao ji.
Qian cao gen, pu huang
This is deficient cold due to deficiency of Yang. Know that these herbs only treat the symptoms/branches. You need to tonify the underlying Yang deficiency also. Notes start page 2.
Pao jiang, ai ye
Herbs that Invigorate Blood
Blood stagnation is the sluggish movement of blood. When it stops altogether it’s referred to as blood stasis.
Notes start on page 4.
Chuan xiong, yan hu suo, yu jin, jiang huang, ru xiang, mo yao.
(Those last 2 got orphaned into the 1st page of the next class. Sorry.)
Notes start on page 2. Read the intro to get a bead on what’s happening with irregular menses and this herbal category.
Dan shen, hong hua, tao ren, yi mu cao, ze lan, ji xue teng, wang bu liu xing
Notes start on page 2. Fractures, contusions (bruising), hematomas, ligament/tendon injuries, and other inflammations caused by trauma resulting in blood stasis.
Zhe chong, su mu, gu sui bu, xue jie
Notes start on page 3. “Masses” are any lumps that aren’t supposed to be there. Cancer is not a TCM diagnosis, but is often considered to be a mass. Stagnation and heat cause DNA replication changes and result in cancer or pre-cancer. Do these “cure” cancer? Don’t claim that. The feds will be all over you like white on rice.
E zhu, san leng, chuan shan jia (endangered species….don’t use it).
These herbs are about interior cold in the organs. There are two types: excess cold (just too much in the body from weather, diet, etc.) and deficient cold coming from yang deficiency. That second kind is what we are talking about here.
Fu zi, gan jiang, rou gui, wu zhu yu, xiao hui xiang, hua jiao, ding xiang
See you in Single Herbs 3 for this final round of TCM hazing hell!