Articles

About Side-Effects

There is no such thing as a side-effect. Any medicinal, be it an herb, a pharmaceutical, a vitamin, a food, etc., has only a set of actions, or effects. Side-effects are just those effects we do not like, but there is nothing “side” about them. We discuss this in Chinese medicine as indications and contra-indications. […]
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The Smallest Dose

I do not think that anyone likes to take medicine. I’ve never met someone who takes prescription drugs and is happy about it. However, the reality is that most people do regularly use at least one prescription medication, and they have to develop a perspective to help them deal with this. There are two which […]
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The Receptivity of Blood

The Spleen manufactures Qi from the transformed essence of food and drink. In the Heart, this mixes with the extracted Qi of air and is transformed into Blood through a process known as red transformation.
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Disposition

Disposition – A natural or acquired habit or characteristic tendency in a person or thing. The first thing I learned in school regarding herbal medicine had to do with the structure of the Shen Nong Ben Cao, the Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica. Written sometime around 150 AD, it is one of the oldest herbal medicine […]
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About Earth

It is unclear historically when the Five Element theory arose, but it does appear in the literature by about 500 BC. Initially, the Five Element theory (the term Five Agent theory is technically more correct, but Five Element has become more popular and familiar and so I use it here) was simply a grouping. Phenomena […]
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Authorship in Chinese Literature

The practice of ascribing writings or teachings to mythological figures is a common Asian practice, and one worth saying something about. In my own studies of Chinese literature, I have noticed three patterns. One is the crediting of a body of knowledge to a mythological figure, which lived in some time before recorded or even […]
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Nothing to Study – The Concept of an Organ in Chinese Medicine

The concept of organs in Chinese medicine can sometimes be a confusing topic for patients. In a Western culture, it can be very difficult to understand that Liver depression (this is the technical term for Liver Qi stagnation) is not going to show up on a blood test. This brings up the very important topic […]
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The Kidneys Store the Jing

“The Kidneys store the Jing” is one of the stated functions of the Kidneys in Chinese medicine. The term Jing is one which has no English language equivalent. It refers to a substance which is endowed to each person, through their parents, at the moment of conception. It has both a qualitative and a quantitative […]
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Menopause is not a Disease

The word “shen” means spirit in Chinese medicine. There is a global concept of Shen which reflects the quality of a person’s vitality and life force. Each organ also houses a particular Shen, such as the “zhi”, or will, for the Kidneys, and the “shen”, or spirit, for the Heart. Heart Shen is physiologically an […]
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Honesty – The Virtue of the Spleen

The Spleen is the organ whose Chinese function is most difficult to understand from a Western biomedical perspective. Unlike all of the other organs, the Chinese concept of the Spleen has very little to do with the anatomical spleen (see also Nothing to Study – The Concept of an Organ in Chinese Medicine).  Some of […]
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Benevolence – The Virtue of the Liver

Each of the five Chinese organs, or Zang, has associated with it a corresponding emotion. This emotion is the quality of energy governed by the respective organ, experienced on a human level. In health this energy flows freely, but in imbalance it becomes stagnant, expressing itself as a recurring emotion. Because the Liver governs the […]
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Wisdom – The Virtue of the Kidneys

The basic paradigm of virtue in Chinese medicine is as follows: Virtue, “de” in Chinese, implies contact with original nature. The character symbolizes accordance between and action in accordance with one’s heart-mind (the Chinese term “xin”, or Heart, literally translates at heart-mind.  Virtue is what manifests when one acts in accordance with one’s true nature. […]
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Propriety – The Virtue of the Heart

How can a person know the Dao? By the heart. How can the heart know? By emptiness, the pure attention that unifies being and quietude. The heart is never without treasure, yet it is called empty. The heart is never completely filled, yet it is called unified. The heart is never without movement, yet it […]
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Preciousness and Righteousness – The Virtues of the Lungs

As summer comes to an end and fall begins, the inner beauty of nature is revealed in bright colors and clear skies. At the same time, having peaked, flowers and trees begin to outwardly die as their energy returns to the earth for restoration over the winter. The beauty of fall is tied to its […]
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