1. Jing Jie: Functions and Clinical Applications
1.1 Dispel wind and release the exterior
Jing Jie Sui’s acrid, warm properties promote sweating and dispel wind, thus releasing the exterior. It is therefore indicated in patterns of exterior constraint characterised by aversion to cold, headache, absence of sweat, generalised body aches and other symptoms associated with exterior constraint. Jing jie is warm but not parching, and so it is often combined with acrid, cool herbs to treat the initial stage of wind-warmth disorders, as in Yin Qiao San, where the addition of Jing Jie enhances the formula’s function of dispersing wind and dissipating heat.
1.2 Clear the head and disinhibit the throat
Jing Jie is very light which facilitates the ascending action, enhancing its affect on the head and clear orifices, as well as its affect on disinhibiting the throat. When pathogenic wind harasses the head and the five orifices, the result can be vertigo, nasal blockage, or blurry vision. By dispersing wind, Jing Jie can restore the normal function of the five orifices.
1.3 Disperse wind and overcome dampness to treat bi syndrome with pain.
It is a known fact that jing jie is effective in dispersing wind which can overcome dampness. Jing jie can be indicated or athogenic wind obstructing the collaterals or pathogenic damp obstructing the low of qi can result in generalised body aches and pains, stiffness of the neck and back, joint pain, or numbness. For joint pain characterised by redness, swelling and pain, Jing Jie can be combined with herbs which cool and invigorate blood in order to counter the potential for cold herbs to cause congelation.
1.4 Skin rash with itching due to wind heat
If the ying aspect is harassed by pathogenic damp-warmth, with constrained heat causing severe, intolerable itching of the skin which worsens at night, the treatment principle is to disperse wind, eliminate dampness, invigorate blood and transform stasis. There is an ancient saying: “In treating wind one must treat the blood first; once the blood is invigorated, the wind will spontaneously be extinguished.” Wind herbs assist in the treatment of skin itch by clearing obstruction in the collaterals and moving stagnation, and also overcome dampness.
1.5 Treatment of facial paralysis with a deviated eye
The pathogenesis of facial paralysis is associated with the Yang Ming channels as the Yang Ming channels traverse the face. If the disorder is due to pathogenic wind attacking the Yang Ming network vessels, then jing jie is effective in dispersing the wind. If the pattern is a Yang Ming bowel excess pattern with constipation, then herbs to reduce food stagnation should be additionally incorporated.
1.6 To assist the spleen in reducing food stagnation
Jing Jie is acrid, warm and aromatic hence it can stimulate the spleen in improving the appetite. Jing Jie is incorporated for damp obstruction in the middle with impaired spleen function characterised by chest oppression and non-diffusing of lung qi with distension in the middle and counterflow of qi.
1.7 To stop haemorrhage
Jing jie tan, or charred jing jie, enters the blood aspect and can stop haemorrhage:
(1) Intestinal wind with blood in the stool: Charred jing jie can seek out the pathogenic wind within the intestinal network vessels hence it is indicated for blood in the stool. Combined with huang bai and shan zhi zi it can eliminate damp-heat in the lower jiao.
(2) Jing jie tan can be used to treat excessive menstrual flow disorders such as Beng Lou. For women suffering from excessive menstrual flow due to constrained heat harassing the uterus and network vessels, jing jie should be added to the formula in addition to blood cooling herbs.
Jing Jie combinations
Jing Jie is acrid, bitter, warm, and aromatic and these properties can enhance the effect of other herbs. The acrid nature has a tendency to move and invigorate qi, and when charred, it enters the blood to stop bleeding. Jing jie’s acrid nature relieves constraint and free yang obstruction, and its aromatic flavour can disperse, ascend and stimulate. Therefore it can be used to treat both exterior and interior diseases and for both qi and blood aspects.
2.1 Jing Jie + Huang Qi: Augment qi, secure the exterior, disperse and regulate qi and blood. Jing jie enhances huang qi’s ability to tonify the middle and transform damp-constraint.
2.2 Jing Jie + Fang Feng: Fang feng is acrid, sweet and slightly warm. It releases the exterior, disperses qi and dredges the liver. The combined effect of these two herbs can dispel wind and is indicated for prolonged liver heat or lung heat bind with such manifestations as headache, vertigo or blood shot eyes.
2.3 Jing Jie + Qiang Huo: Qiang huo is acrid, bitter and warm. It has a strong dissipating action. When combined with Jing Jie it can dispel wind and free the joints of wind-damp obstruction causing arthritic pain.
2.4 Jing Jie + Huang Qin: Huang qin is bitter and purges excess fire in the middle jiao. When fried in wine it tends to ascend to the lung to disperse constrained heat in the upper jiao. Where there is wind-damp obstruction of both the middle and upper jiao, jing jie combined with huang qin will produce the optimum effect. Jing jie not only disperses wind, but through its dispersing action is able to eliminate pathogenic fire, clear heat and dry damp; hence it can be used to relieve both the exterior and the interior simultaneously, and, together with huang qin, is able to purge fire constraint in the upper and middle jiao which has been transformed from wind heat.
2.5 Jing Jie + Mu Zei: Mu zei is light, bitter and slightly warm. It can promote sweat and this combination is indicated for wind heat harassing the Jue Yin liver or Shao Yang gallbladder.
2.6 Jing Jie Tan + Di Yu: Di Yu is bitter, sour and slightly cold. It enters the lower jiao and is effective in treating blood in the stool such as found in dysentery. Apart from clearing constrained heat in the blood aspect, jing jie tan can assist the action of di yu by regulating the qi dynamic in the blood aspect.
2.7 Jing Jie + Da Huang: Da Huang is bitter and cold. As well as purging intestinal heat it also addresses the blood aspect. When combined with jing jie, the purging effect is magnified because jing jie’s warm properties balance the cold properties of da huang, and can warm and transform blood stasis without being too potent. This combination has a dual effect of regulating qi and blood.
Professor Zhao Shao Qin is highly adept at using wind herbs in various applications. Wind herbs are light and acrid, and Professor Zhao’s prescriptions are generally light, rarely exceeding seven or eight herbs. Frequently used herbs are the those in the category of “release the exterior”, such as jing jie, fang feng, su ye, mang jing zi, su geng, bai zhi, du huo, chan tui, chai hu, sheng ma, ge gen, niu bang zi, qiang huo, , bo he, dou chi etc. However his application of wind herbs far transcends the narrow use to release the exterior. The principles of his applications include:
- Dispersing and relieving the lung wei to vent the pathogen outwards
- Regulating the qi dynamic to relieve liver constraint
- Ascending the yang qi to stop diarrhoea
- Dissipating fire constraint
- Overcoming dampness to reduce swelling
- Diffusing lung qi to disinhibit water
- Venting heat via the qi aspect
- Freeing collateral obstruction to stop skin itch.
In conclusion, wind herbs can be used to diffuse and free qi dynamic obstruction, vent the pathogen outwards to provide exit for pathogen as well as regulating the triple burner.
We hope to publish a sequel to Zhao Shao Qin’s clinical approach in the use of herbs for the treatment of contemporary diseases. Please stay tuned for the next article.
About Professor Zhao Shao Qin
Zhao Shao Qin 赵绍琴 (1918-2001) was a prolific modern day Wen Bing specialist, Zhao Shao Qin was born in Beijing, into a family which boasted three generations of imperial physicians who served the emperors. He studied under the renowned physician Wang F… Read more »