To balance the organ systems at the changes of season, I have developed a series of herbal formulas to administer to my patients. At this time, during the seasonal node of Autumn Begins, I am recommending to patients that they utilize the formula for fall / metal element / Lung-Large Intestine which I call White Ox. One bottle will last for two weeks and is available upon request from the pharmacy at my office.
White Ox is a Chinese herbal formula designed to strengthen the Lungs and balance the metal element. The ingredients promote healthy functioning of the Lungs and respiratory system by increasing oxygenation of the blood; synchronizing the rhythm of the Heart and Lungs; relaxing the chest; promoting fuller inspiration and expiration; and resolving phlegm congestion. It can be used to treat shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma, dry or productive cough, irritated throat, sadness, depression, low self-worth, and a tendency towards perfectionism.
Balancing the Organs and Elements with the Seasons
Chinese thought marks the seasons with the subtle changes that begin 6 weeks prior to the equinoxes and solstices, the time of matured and peaked energy that marks the seasons in the West. This period is a good time to treat and balance the organs and systems of the body, which are easily disturbed by the changing conditions.
The Concept of Resonance in Chinese Medicine
Gan-ying (literally stimulus-response), or resonance, is a central concept in the practice of Chinese medicine.
It has been defined by one Chinese author as “the process by which a thing, when stimulated, responds according to the natural guidelines of the particular phases of vital energy engendered in itself and active in the situation.” This has several implications for the practice of Chinese medicine:
- Each part of the body is a holograph in correspondence with other body systems and with the environment.
- Proper treatment requires consideration of all aspects of the illness, the individual, and the environment.
- What arises from an illness is part of what caused it.
- Things that occur in relation to one another are causal to one another.
- What we encounter elicits what is already inherent within us.
- Health implies the capacity for spontaneous response to life.
Radix Codonopsis – Dang Shen – Codonopsis Root Codonopsis is used in this formula for its ability to nourish both Lung and Spleen qi. It tonifies the middle and augments the qi, tonifies the Lungs, nourishes the blood and promotes the generation of fluids. It is sweet, neutral, and enters the Spleen and Lung meridians.
Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici – Mai Men Dong – Ophiopogon Like other members of the lily family, ophiopogon treats dryness and heat in the Lungs, and alleviates sadness. It moistens the Lungs and nourishes yin, boosts the stomach and engenders fluids, clears the Heart and eliminates vexation, moistens the intestines and frees the flow of stool. It is sweet, slightly bitter, and slightly cold, and enters the Lung, Heart and Stomach meridians.
Tuber Asparagi Cochinensis – Tian Men Dong – Chinese Asparagus Tuber The ancient Chinese believed that this herb prolongs life and makes the body light. It nourishes yin and moistens dryness, clears the Lungs and engenders fluids. It is sweet, slightly bitter, and cold, and enters the Lung and Kidney meridians.
Bulbus Lilii – Bai He – Lily Bulb Lily treats dry, sticky cough, with an irritated throat. It helps with grief and loss. It moistens the Lungs and stops cough, clears the Heart and quiets the spirit. It is sweet and slightly cold, and enters the Heart and Lung meridians.
Radix Platycodi Grandiflori – Jie Geng – Balloon Flower A common ornamental flower, platycodon treats phlegm in the chest and throat. It is commonly used for laryngitis. It diffuses the Lungs and dispels phlegm, expels pus, and benefits the throat. It is bitter, acrid, and level, and enters the Lung meridian.
Caulis Perillae Frutescentis – Zi Su Geng – Perilla Stem One of three parts of the perilla plant used in Chinese medicine, this is one of the most useful herbs for relaxing the chest. It stops cough and levels panting, downbears the qi and disperses phlegm, and unbinds the qi of the chest. It is acrid and warm, and enters the Lung and Large Intestine meridians.
Cortex Albizziae Julibrissinis – He Huan Pi – Mimosa Bark Mimosa is used to treat a feeling of heaviness in the chest and spirit. Its name in English translates as “common happiness bark.” It resolves depression and quiets the mind, quickens the blood and disperses swelling. It is sweet and level, and enters the Heart and Liver meiridans.
Fructus Schizandrae Chinensis – Wu Wei Zi – Schizandra Berry Schizandra has a unique ability to both moisten and dry the Lungs as needed. It constrains the Lungs and enriches the Kidneys, engenders fluids and constrains the sweat, astringes the essence and stops diarrhea, calms the Heart and quiets the spirit. It is sour, sweet, and warm, and enters the Lung, Heart and Kidney meridians.