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3/19/2018 Traditional Chinese Medicine – The basis of disease/disorder (Part Two) | Shards of China

Shards of China ~ Fragments of Expatriate Life

Traditional Chinese Medicine – The basis of

disease/disorder (Part Two)

15 Wednesday Feb 2012

P C ,T :T C M ₍TCM₎


china, chinese, six excesses, TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, typical pa erns

Tonight we’ll be continuing our exploration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the way that
diseases and harmony disorders are diagnosed. So it’s time to look at:

The Six Excesses (Liu Yin)

A yellow tongue is a sign of "heat" in TCM - I don't know about you, but that doesn't make me feel hot
at all...

Sometimes these are also referred to as the six devils or six evils (liu xie) and essentially it boils down to
an a empt to categorise the pa erns of disharmony in a patient. They are blamed on the six qi (liu qi)
which are climatic factors that are supposed to mess with you through your skin and then down into the
interior of your body. (Really.)

There’s a reasonable amount of debate amongst practitioners as to whether or not these climatic factors
are related to the actual climate/weather that someone’s been exposed to recently. Most commonly they
are really referring to a collection of symptoms that allows for categorisation.

The Six Excesses and their Symptoms

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3/19/2018 Traditional Chinese Medicine – The basis of disease/disorder (Part Two) | Shards of China

Wind (feng) – Ge ing sick quickly, symptoms that wander round the body, itchiness, blocked up nose,
tremors, fits, paralysis and “floating pulse”

Cold (han) – Unsurprising feeling cold, wanting to stay away from cold, warmth makes you feel be er,
diarrhoea, serious pain, stomach pain, muscle contractions, a slimy white fur found on the tongue (there
it is again) and a slow or “deep/string like” pulse

Heat (huo) – Wanting to avoid heat, fever, thirst, dark coloured urine, blushing or redness of face, a
rapid pulse, a red tongue with yellow fur

Dampness (shi) – Makes you feel heavy and/or full, greasy fur on the tongue and a “slippery” pulse and
symptoms of a dysfunctional spleen

Dryness (zao) – A dry cough, mouth, throat, skin or lips, regular nosebleeds and umm… dry stools

Summerheat (shu) – Which is where they ran out of ideas, so it’s expressed as heat and mixed damp heat

And to make things even more fun don’t forget that they can add them together to deliver a pa ern, so
you might have problems with cold-wind, or damp-wind for example.

Typical Pa erns

Traditional Chinese Medicine at its finest - "cupping" causes these burn marks which do go away after
a few days.

Each of the entities (qi/xue/zang-fu/etc.) has a typical pa ern that practitioners look for. So in the case of
SPLEEN zang – you’ll find damp/heat as the norm, and in the meridians wind/cold/damp is more usual.

And there’s still more to come, the bright side is that very soon you’ll know everything you really need
to know about Traditional Chinese Medicine before we start exploring the typical treatment
methodologies, and my own experiences with acupuncture. 2/4
3/19/2018 Traditional Chinese Medicine – The basis of disease/disorder (Part Two) | Shards of China

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thoughts on “Traditional Chinese Medicine – The basis of

disease/disorder (Part Two)”

1. said:Emily He

February 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm

What I find really interesting about TCM is that practitioners diagnose and cure illnesses holistically,
from the inside out. Things like “gua sha” (not sure how to translate, but “raking sand”) is literally
scraping the “sha/sand” that is harming your body out. And the medicine they prescribe, “zhong
yao”, are all natural and are meant to “cure” or perhaps a be er word would be “improve” very
specific parts of the illness as well as different parts of your body.

From my understanding, the difference between TCM and western medicine is that TCM treats your
entire being, whereas western medicine just cures the symptoms, or you know, cut it out with a
knife. Forgive me if I’m talking out of my bum here!!

3/19/2018 Traditional Chinese Medicine – The basis of disease/disorder (Part Two) | Shards of China


February 16, 2012 at 12:19 am

I don’t think you’re talking out of your bum, but I’d follow the rest of the series and make up your
own mind with respect to TCM when it’s done. I’m hoping to inform more than anything, though
I will admit a certain amount of bias at the appropriate points. Thanks for dropping by Emily,
it’s much appreciated.


2. said:charuzu

February 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Have you used much TCM while you are in China? If you or your wife got sick, would your first
choice of care by TCM or the more scientific “Western” medicine?

Great blog, but the way! I enjoy reading your articles.



February 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

It’s a great question, but one I don’t want to reveal the answer to yet – it’ll come but at the end of
the series. I hope that’s OK.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Nick.


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