Dispelling Myths about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

TCM healing centers around the immune system of patients. In viewing the body as a whole, it identifies a disease condition by the “syndrome” rather than the “disease nomenclature”. It seeks to apply conducive herbs and acupunctures to maneuver the patient’s innate immunity to fight off diseases. Similar to the idea of viriditas or “force of life” coined by abbess Hildegard von Bingen, this vital energy is reflected in the microcosm of human physiologies as well. It is an attribute of the divine nature to self-adjust and heal. By clearing the obstructions to let this vital tendency work on the body, patients can achieve recovery, at the same time, to not dread of the complications often associated with modern medical interventions. TCM is such a way to re-awaken that inherent viriditas in us.

[VIDEO] Treatment of COVID-19: TCM Herbs, Remdesivir, Hot Toddy, Infrared Sauna, Vitamins etc

Originally on YouTube, this video was taken out for alleged violations, for the fear that people would injure their health through self-help and not going to hospitals. Across the years, YouTube censorship has dramatically increased.

[UPDATE] Full Report "Treatment of COVID-19"

*Dr. Huang Huang's article on COVID-19 Syndrome-Formula Correspondance, which he referred to as Fang-Zheng Correlation
*On May 1, 2020, International Jingfang Institute at Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine published their English version of COVID-19 Jingfang treatment

More on fundamentals of TCM, refer to Kaptchuk TJ. The Web that has no Weaver: understanding Chinese medicine, McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Read about the ecological degradation that threatens TCM's very existence: “Doomed Forests Are TCM’s Woe” by Zhu Guoben, former deputy chief of Chinese National TCM Administration (NTCMA).
Most of the answers to the questions below were taken as exerpts from the book Life In TCM: Lou's Adventure in Jingfang Medicine.
-Contents of the book: Contents
-Regarding the English rendering of key TCM terminologies, read:
Translator's Notes
-Interested in acupuncture? Read:
Chapter 3. Master Acupuncture Overnight
-Importance of knowing patient constitutions: Chapter 19. Kismet Comes When Least Expected
-Pattern of Six Stages begins with: Chapter 20. Into the Taiyang Stage

What’s syndrome differentiation in a nutshell?

Gather information about patient's symptoms and physical constitutions through the four examinations, namely, observing, listening, asking, palpating. And use syndrome-formula correspondence to decide which formula corresponds to the patient's syndrome.

What’s the difference between “Jingfang” school and “Shifang” school of TCM?

Jingfang school traces Zhang Zhongjing’s legacy (Shang Han Lun, or "Treatise on Cold-Induced Damages"). With diagnosis guided by syndrome-formula correspondence, it is analogous to Materialism school in Philosophy. Shifang school trails after Huangdi Neijing (Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor); guided by the rational deduction of causation to diagnose a disease. Shifang is also called ‘Yijing’ medicine and akin to the Spiritualism school of yin-yang philosophy. (Jingfang is about knowing "how to treat a disease" while Yijing deals with "why the disease occurs.")

Why is the cause of the disease not important?

Modern medicine studies the etiology and diagnosis of acute or infectious diseases for centuries without reaching a definite conclusion. Zhongjing simply summarized treating a disease as bellows, “Diseases with fever or aversion to cold occurs in Yang stages; diseases without fever or aversion to cold occurs in Yin stages”, to bypass the need to know disease causations, and rather, to practically tackle ‘how’ to cure a disease. Compared to knowing ‘why’, understanding ‘how’ is more important and efficient.

How to treat common cold?

Our understanding towards common cold should be holistic. It is constantly revealed that early stage colds manifest in the same manner regardless of pernicious agents. So long as there are evil chills or aversions to cold, pungent-warm drugs should be recruited. Only when the disease has progressed into further stages and become interior-heat should we consider pungent-cool exterior-releasing drugs. As a result, Kampo doctors Keisetsu Otsuka, Yakazu Domei, Shimitsu Toutarou, Fujihira Ken, Tatsuno Kazuo and others have decreed Gegen Tang (Pueraria Decoction) and Guizhi Tang (Cinnammon Decoction) to be the primary cure for initial-stage common cold, as well as other acute or infectious conditions. They even enlisted Gegeng Tang as a must-have for family emergency medicines.

What's the importance of goosebumps?

Examining goodbumps or hair standing on its end tells you if the patient has evil chills. Having evil chills regardless of fever or body temperature, is considered an exterior-cold syndrome in TCM, thus using exterior-releasing drugs to induce perspiration while maintaining the body warmth. Fever without evil chills is considered interior-heat syndrome, thus using formulas to clear heat and drain inner fire, at the same time, removing clothes and cover to help bring down the fever.

Is hospitalization necessary?

Strictly speaking, for persistent high febrile cases, hospitalization is the best. Even when patients are given herbal decoctions, IV should also be administered. After studying contents on death in Shang Han Lun, I found that many of the deaths occurred not as a result of diseases, but an imbalance of water and electrolytes. Therefore, for patients with sustained high fever, especially children, it is crucial to prevent such imbalance.

What's TCM Rashomon?

Japanese social psychologists remarked, "An exact incident might be interpreted differently by participants from different angles. Confided in oneself, a person believes he or she is telling the truth. But the fact is, people tend to see the part of the truth that is self-serving, and forget about the rest that is not. It is our limitation to let such self-protective mechanism kick in. Through misinterpreting or ignoring things we find none-self-serving, we keep our fragile integrity. This is what director Akira Kurosawa tried to depict in his film Rashomon. The distinct angles taken by different TCM schools were the reason for the Rashomon-like controversy of this field.

How's Zhang Zhongjing as a person?

He is the son of humanity made of flesh and blood, yet in his time Zhongjing was rejected by the mainstream society. His lament can be heard throughout the preface of Shang Han Lun. Risking expulsion by the institutionalized medical circle, he was audacious enough to complete this book. Although it is now considered a medical classic, back then, Shan Han Lun was belittled and had no place in the imperial record. But he won’t be forgotten. Genuine expression doesn’t necessarily ensue the birth of a classic, but to be a classic it must have been born out of genuine expression. An upright dissident, Zhongjing lived up to the name of a true clinician: disciplined under the sage’s legacy, eclectic towards fellow practitioners.

Six Stages:
Yang Stages: Taiyang-Yangming-Shaoyang 太陽-陽明-少陽
Yin Stages: Taiyin-Shaoyin-Jueyin 太陰-少陰-厥陰

Pernicious Influence 邪
Pattern of Six Stages 六經辯證
Syndrome Differentiation 辯證治療
Syndrome-Formula Correspondence 方證相對
Shang Han Lun / Treatise on Cold-Induced Damages 《傷寒論》
Huangdi Neijing / Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor《黃帝內經》

Important Figures in TCM Development:
  • China:
  • Zhang Zhongjing 張仲景 (150-219)
  • Huangfu Mi 皇甫謐 (215-282)
  • Sun Simiao 孫思邈 (581-682)
  • Li Shizhen 李時珍 (1518-1593)
  • Ye Tianshi 葉天士 (1667-1747)
  • Lu Yuanlei 陸淵雷 (1894-1955)
  • Cheng Dan'an 承淡安(1899-1957)
  • Japan:
  • Yoshimasu Todo 吉益東洞 (1702-1773)
  • Yumoto Kyushin 湯本求真(1876-1941)
  • Sawada Ken 澤田健 (1877-1938)
  • Otsuka Keisetsu 大塚敬節(1900-1980)
  • Yakazu Domei 矢數道明 (1905-2002)