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Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 23 (3): 2003


Acute Lymphangitis Treated by Moxibustion with Garlic in 118 Cases

Zhou Wei
TCM Hospital of Qiyang County, Hunan Province 421600
In recent years, the author has treated 118 cases of acute
lymphangitis (usually called red-thread furuncle in
TCM) by moxibustion with garlic and achieved good
therapeutic results. It is briefly introduced as follows.

about 10 minutes following the moxibustion with garlic,

and disappeared 30 minutes later. When the treatment
was terminated, the symptom alleviated and signs

General Data


All the 118 cases were outpatients, of whom 98 cases

were male and 20 female, ranging from 15 to 68 years
in age, and from 1 to 3 days in course of disease.

TCM holds that acute lymphangitis is pathogenically

caused by the accumulated internal fire and toxicity, and
the external skin injury-induced infection, leading to
toxicity going upward along the meridians. The
treatment should be given to clear away heat and toxin.
Blood letting by a three-edged needle may promote qi
and blood circulation and remove the toxic heat. Garlic
has the function of antagonizing Staphylococcus aureus,
Bacillus dysenteriae and various kinds of bacteria. Since
the volatile oil in moxa is antagonistic to bacteria, the
burning moxa can also promote the local flow of qi and
blood, and enhance the antagonistic effect of garlic on
bacteria. Therefore, satisfactory curative results can be
achieved by the therapy.

Methods of Treatment
A three-edged needle was used to let out blood at both
ends of the red-thread furuncle. Then, a slice of garlic
about 0.5 cm thick (a large single clove of garlic is
desirable) was put on the pricking area of both ends of
the red-thread furuncle with ignited moxa cone above.
During the moxibustion, the red-thread furuncle was
found to become shorter. The moxibustion was not
terminated until the remaining red-thread furuncle
stopped shrinking. If the case was not cured after one
treatment, the 2nd treatment was given the next day.
Usually, the disorder could be cured after 2 3
Therapeutic Results
Alleviation of symptoms and disappearance of signs
were taken as cure. Of the total 118 cases, 12 cases were
cured after 1 treatment, 88 cases cured after 2 treatments,
and 18 cases cured after 3 treatments.
Typical Case
Mr. Zhou, 48 years old, came to our clinic for treatment
on June 6, 1998. He had red-thread furuncle found from
the right wrist to the middle of the forearm with slight
tenderness and soreness and numbness in the right upper
limb, which was caused by injury in the right wrist one
day before. The therapeutic method as mentioned above
was adopted. The red-thread furuncle began to shrink

(Translated by Chen Zhengqiu )