April 15, 2013

Dr. Hú Xī-Shù- A Case of a Gastrointestinal Common Cold


On July 6, 1967 a thirty-six-year old female presented at the clinic complaining of a cough and diarrhea, which has lasted for over twenty days after contracting a common cold. She has undergone IV injections of streptomycin, and taken various western medications all to no avail. 

Current signs and symptoms: cough with shortness of breath, an aversion to wind and cold, dry mouth with no desire to drink, no desire to eat, loose bowel movements occurring three to four times a day, a white tongue coating, and a thin-wiry and rapid pulse. 

She was administered gé gēn tāng (Kudzu Decoction) with shí gāo (Gypsum fibrosum)

gé gēn (Kudzu Radix) 3 qián
guì zhī (Cinnamomi Ramulus) 3 qián
bái sháo (Paeoniae Radix alba) 3 qián
zhì gān cǎo (Glycyrrhizae Radix preparata) 2 qián
dà zǎo (Jujubae Fructus) 4 pieces
má huáng (Ephedrae Herba) 2 qián
shēng jiāng (Zingiberis Rhizoma recens) 3 qián
shēng shí gāo (Gypsum fibrosum) 1 ½ liǎng

Results: After taking two packages of the above formula, all her symptoms were immediately resolved.

Commentary:  This is diarrhea due to a Tài Yáng Yáng Míng combination disease, for which Dr. Hú commonly used gé gēn tāng (Kudzu Decoction) with shí gāo (Gypsum fibrosum) to treat it. Can shí gāo be used in cases presenting with diarrhea?  This fact is usually faced with skepticism.
In clause 4 of the Shāng hán lùn (傷寒論 Discussion of Cold Damage) it says;

“On the first day of cold damage, Tài Yáng has contracted the disease, (and if) the pulse is tranquil, (this means) there has been no passage. (With) a strong desire to vomit, agitation, vexation, and a rapid and urgent pulse, (this) means passage (has occurred)”.

Here the patient had a cough, aversion to wind and cold, a dry mouth, and a rapid pulse, which suggests a passage from Tài Yáng to Yáng Míng. The major cause of diarrhea is Yáng Míng heat, therefore, gé gēn tāng (Kudzu Decoction) with shēng shí gāo (Gypsum fibrosum) is used to resolve the exterior and clear Yáng Míng heat. Once the exterior is resolved, the diarrhea will cease. In cases like this, one’s who are unfamiliar with classical formulas, will tend to use modified versions of huò xiāng zhèng qì tāng (Patchouli Qì-Regulating Decoction), however, clinically their results are very often never as quick as with this case, so therefore, cases such as these are provided to offer opportunity for further study and contemplation.

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