Two important methodologies in the diagnosis and pattern identification of Chinese Medicine:
- By using the disease as guiding principle and then apply the appropriate or relevant formula to treat the disease. For example the principle treatment strategy of hypertension based on TCM pattern identification is liver and kidney yin deficiency with hyperactive liver yang and interior wind stirring, and so the corresponding treatment principle is to nourish yin, sedate hyperactive liver yang and extinguish wind. For upflaming of liver fire, the treatment would invoke Long Dan Xie Gan Tang. This methodology may be considered to be “treatment of a specific disease with a specific formula “. In other words, it is an endeavour to find the optimum treatment for a particular disease (i.e hypertension) by using the most efficacious formula.
- By using the formula as a guiding principle to treat diseases. For example, the pathogenesis of Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang is the upsurge of water qi with the main clinical features being palpitations, a watery tongue etc. With this in mind, irrespective of whether it is coronary heart disease, gastritis, hypertension or ENT related diseases, Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang can be used if the disease reflects the relevant pattern of Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang. This methodology may be considered to be a strategy of seeking for a generally effective formula (i.e. Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang) for the treatment of numerous diseases with a pre-requisite that they all manifest according to the same pattern.
This second methodology also relies on a deeper understanding of pattern and disease identification. It is a strategy where the formula and its associated pattern are used to deduce and ultimately identify the pathogenesis. In general, most Chinese medicine practitioners are more focused on the first methodology and are not familiar with the second methodology. However, for clinical efficacy, the second methodology by far the more important, and is an indication of the depth of knowledge of the practitioner. On that basis, we are using three Shang Han Jing Fang (Ling Gui zhu Gan Tang, Da Huang Huang Lian Xie Xin Tang and Da Qing Long Tang) to illustrate how the second method can be applied.
This article is an extract from the Pearls of Wisdom Seminar in 2002. You can purchase the entire article as a downloadable pdf. Alternatively you can download the Pearls Souvenir Book which contains a total of 14 seminar and workshop lectures from Pearls of Wisdom Seminars 2002-12.
Pearls of Wisdom Souvenir 10th anniversary edition collecting 14 seminars and workshops from 2002 to 2012.
Clinical Observation of the Treatment of Modern Difficult-to-treat Diseases with Shang Han Jing Fang
About Professor Zhang Wen Xuan
Professor Zhang Wen Xuan is one of China’s foremost experts in Shang Han Lun and Wen Bing, having worked for many years as both lecturer and researcher at the Shaan Xi College of Chinese Medicine, the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. In more rec… Read more »