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More About Internal Health

We focus on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease





Respiratory issues

Allergies & Autoimmune Diseases 

Allergies & Autoimmune Diseases 


The spleen is in charge of moving and transforming water liquids. If the spleen is vacuous and weak, then it may fail to move and transform water within the body. If this gathers and accumulates, water may transform into dampness. If this dampness endures, it may congeal into phlegm. Thus it is said, "The spleen is the root of phlegm, while the lungs are [only] the place where phlegm is stored." Therefore, everyone with allergic rhinitis does have phlegm dampness, not just lung-spleen qi vacuity. 

The spleen is the latter heaven or postnatal root, while the kidneys are the former heaven or prenatal root. The postnatal and prenatal support and assist one another. When we are young, our kidneys and spleen are both immature, meaning vacuous and weak. Our spleen matures first at around six or seven years of age. It is because the spleen matures and now engenders a superabundance of qi and blood postnatally that acquired essence can bolster the kidneys and hence the kidneys can mature and become exuberant at adolescence. Likewise, it is the spleen that first becomes weak due to aging, and then only secondarily do the kidneys become vacuous and weak after that. Therefore, in clinical practice, one rarely encounters a pure kidney yang vacuity. In almost all cases, what one actually sees is a spleen qi-kidney yang vacuity. Since the lungs, spleen, and kidneys are the three viscera that transform and engender the qi and which move and transform water in the body, when one of these malfunctions, typically at least one other does as well. Therefore, what one really sees as the underlying terrain of allergic rhinitis sufferers is either a lung-spleen qi vacuity with phlegm dampness or a lung-spleen qi vacuity and kidney yang vacuity with phlegm dampness. Then the invasion of external wind-cold evils is superimposed on this habitual bodily constitution. 

In addition, because the clear qi is not being upborne and dampness and phlegm are hindering and obstructing the free flow of qi, most allergic rhinitis patients also exhibit signs and symptoms of liver depression qi stagnation even though no Chinese textbook lists this as one of the patterns of this disease. Yet I have never seen an allergic rhinitis patient who did not have at least some signs and symptoms of liver depression. If the nasal obstruction has endured for a long time, cold evils may have transformed into heat. Because qi moves the blood and if the qi stops, the blood stops, enduring nasal congestion may also have resulted in blood stasis. So besides, lung-spleen qi vacuity, phlegm dampness, and liver depression with possible kidney yang vacuity, there may also be transformative heat, damp heat, and/or blood stasis. And as soon as our patients exhibit a combination of spleen vacuity, liver depression, and some kind of evil heat, we have crossed into the territory of yin fire. 


In fact, most sufferers of allergies, including atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, and so-called food allergies, including allergic colitis, exhibit yin fire patterns with spleen qi vacuity, liver depression, and some kind of heat, usually depressive and/or damp heat. Likewise, most autoimmune sufferers also exhibit the same or similar combination of core patterns. Remember, autoimmune diseases are simply an allergy against oneself. Such autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), dermatomyositis/polymyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis (MS), scleroderma, myasthenia gravis, Sjögren's syndrome, Crohn's disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis (a type of hypothyroidism), and endometriosis (due to autoimmune ovaritis). Most patients with autoimmune diseases do not exhibit a single textbook pattern but rather a cluster of patterns perhaps best described by Li Dong-yuan's yin fire theory. Further, most patients with chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome (CFIDS) and fibromyalgia also exhibit yin-fire patterns. In other words, most patients with these conditions exhibit some combination of spleen qi vacuity, liver depression, and evil heat plus some other patterns as well. 

Take for instance rheumatoid arthritis. The overwhelming majority of patients with rheumatoid arthritis complain of fatigue. Fatigue is the single most obvious and important symptom of a qi vacuity, and the spleen is the latter heaven root of qi engenderment and transformation. Therefore, most patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a spleen qi vacuity. Now, anyone who is chronically ill is going to have liver depression qi stagnation even if that liver depression did not originally cause their disease. After all, if one is diseased, one ipso facto cannot fulfill all one's desires. Either one cannot do what one wants, eat what one wants, look as one wants, or cannot get away from one's pain as one wants. Such unfulfilled desires are the main cause of liver depression. Therefore, everyone who is chronically ill does have liver depression.


The joint pain of rheumatoid arthritis is categorized as bi or impediment in Chinese medicine. Either it can be wind-cold damp impediment or wind damp heat impediment. One or the other of these is typically superimposed on a basis of spleen qi vacuity and liver depression. In rheumatoid arthritis in the West, wind damp heat impediment is very common. If the spleen qi is vacuous and weak, then the spleen may not be engendering and transforming blood sufficiently. Therefore, there may be a concomitant liver blood-kidney yin vacuity. Or kidney yin vacuity may be due to enduring heat damaging and consuming yin fluids. It is also possible that enduring disease or aging may result in spleen qi vacuity evolving into kidney yang vacuity, in which case there is still spleen qi vacuity but now there are also some signs and symptoms of kidney yang vacuity as well. If the qi is vacuous and the liver is depressed, the qi may not have either the power or the free flow to move blood and water liquids. In that case, there may be the complications of blood stasis and/or phlegm nodulation. 

RA, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, Crohn's arthritis, fibromylagia, and SLE are all types of impediment conditions due to complicated yin fire scenarios. MS is a wilting condition (wei zheng) due to the same basic disease mechanisms minus the impediment patterns. Most autoimmune sufferers have a history of one or more allergies. They often have histories of antibiotic use, which has damaged the spleen. In China today, a popular topic for Chinese medical journal articles is post-antibiotic spleen qi vacuity or intestinal dysbiosis due to spleen qi vacuity in turn due to antibiotics. In such cases, the spleen qi has been damaged and this results in dampness, while dampness transforms into damp heat. We have discussed some of the most important causes of spleen qi vacuity in a previous essay. In the West, these have to include faulty diet, too much thinking, too much worry and anxiety, not enough exercise, and too much work, and usually there are some or all of these in significant amounts in allergy and autoimmune patients.



In particular, more women than men suffer from autoimmune diseases and the incidence of such autoimmune diseases increases in the mid-30s and through the 40s and 50s. This is no accident and also has to do with the same set of disease mechanisms we have been discussing under the title yin fire. Women lose blood every month. Therefore, they are more prone to spleen vacuity than men, since it is the spleen, which carries the brunt of blood production. Even if a woman does not lose too much blood each month, the fact that during the second half of her menstrual cycle two things happen which account for the cyclic worsening of both spleen qi vacuity and liver depression. If a woman is marginally blood vacuous, when the blood is sent down to accumulate in her uterus during the premenstruum, there may not be enough left over to emolliate and harmonize her liver. Thus her liver becomes depressed and her qi becomes stagnant. Since this also means that the liver is replete, a replete liver may invade the spleen, making it vacuous and weak. All this helps explain why women are more at risk for autoimmune diseases than men. It also explains PMS and why PMS worsens in the mid-30s and 40s. 

The Nei Jing says that the spleen becomes weak due to aging in the mid-30s in women. Thus it is common for the incidence of autoimmune diseases, read yin fire scenarios, to increase after 35 or so. By the 40s, spleen qi vacuity is beginning to affect kidney yang. The yang of the kidneys is also necessary for the liver to do its job of coursing and discharge. Liver function is not just dependent on blood for its nourishment. It also requires kidney yang to "warm and steam" the liver. If kidney yang becomes weak due to aging as a consequence of the spleen qi no longer bolstering and assisting it the way it once had, then this will also aggravate any tendency towards liver depression qi stagnation. 


Thus round and round it goes. But it is Li Dong-yuan's theory of yin fire, which helps one cut through this cycle of one disease mechanism engendering another. When one suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disease, during times of relative remission, one needs to treat all the disease mechanisms associated with the "habitual bodily" or underlying condition all at one go. Then, during acute exacerbations, one needs to treat the underlying "habitual bodily" condition plus any other patterns superimposed upon that basis. 

In other words, during acute allergic rhinitis episodes, one usually needs to supplement the lung and spleen qi (really the same thing), possibly also supplement kidney yang, rectify the qi and downbear counterflow, transform phlegm and eliminate dampness, and dispel wind and disinhibit the portals (of the nose), while securing the exterior. If damp phlegm has transformed into damp heat and phlegm, then one might also have to clear heat. 

In the case of RA, during remission, one typically has to supplement the spleen qi, possibly supplement liver blood and kidney yin, possibly also supplement kidney yang, course the liver and rectify the qi, possibly clear depressive, damp, or vacuity heat, possibly quicken the blood and dispel stasis and/or transform phlegm and scatter nodulation. During acute attacks, one must do all of this plus dispel either wind, cold, dampness or wind, damp, heat, free the flow of impediment, and stop pain. In SLE, there basically is always wind damp heat impediment, and not wind cold dampness. 

Likewise, in the case of MS, one usually has to supplement the same viscera as in RA, course the liver and rectify the qi, and possibly quicken the blood and dispel stasis. If there is damp heat, one must also clear heat and eliminate dampness, even though this is not damp heat impediment, per se. Usually in MS, there is also some element of either blood vacuity or yin dryness somewhere in the body even if there is spleen vacuity with dampness transforming into damp heat. 



Western Medicine Definition:

Asthma is a lung condition where inflammation (swelling) and tightening of the airways causes difficulty breathing air into and out of the chest.


Different cells, most of them immune cells, produce this inflammation when triggered by contact with irritants. The inflammation blocks the airways, making it difficult to breathe normally.


Recurrent bouts of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing, usually at night or in the morning, are brought on by the inflammation.


The inflammation is reversible, either spontaneously or with treatment but it can leave the airways more likely to overreact to various triggers.


Chinese Medicine Definition: 

Asthma is classified, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as wheezing and/or panting syndromes. It was first described in the 3rd century A.D. in the ancient medical book "Synopsis of the Golden Chamber". Asthma was mentioned as a kind of "cough resulting from the ascending movement of qi(panting)." A narrowed airway caused a whistling sound during breathing, which was described as a "chicken sound in the throat." Another medical book,"General Treatise on the Causes and Symptoms of Disease" (610 AD), also pointed out other asthma characteristics such as its "regular recurrence" in individuals.


Although both of these syndromes are associated with asthma in western medicine, they have distinct differences. The Chinese term for wheezing is "xiao." A wheezing syndrome is characterized by congestion with phlegm (bronchial secretions) and gasping which produces a whistling sound in the "throat." (The word "throat " refers to the whole respiratory tract). It also is associated with rapid breathing and shortness of breath. In severe cases, these symptoms cause difficulty lying down.


The Chinese term for panting is "chuan." A panting syndrome is characterized by rapid breathing, an open mouth, dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and elevated shoulders. Elevated shoulders occur when individuals have persistent difficulty breathing and need to use their shoulder muscles in addition to their chest muscles to support respiration. In western medicine, this is referred to as the use of accessory breathing muscles.


Wheezing and panting syndromes can occur simultaneously or alone. TCM treats asthma according to the classification patterns and symptoms the individual exhibits.



Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is a disorder characterized by acute attacks of nasal itching, congestion, watery nasal discharge, and sneezing. The episodes occur frequently with short intervals, or remission periods, between attacks. Attacks commonly occur in the morning and at night. Affected individuals are completely normal between episodes. The disorder is due to a hypersensitivity reaction to certain substances that affect the mucous membranes of the nose and associated glands. The disease presents in both seasonal and perennial forms. 

In the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) classic Huang Ti Nei Ching (The Yellow Emperor's Medicine Classic), a similarly described disease is referred to as "bi-qiu", or "qiu-ti". "Bi-qiu" means profuse watery nasal discharge; "qiu-ti" means sneezing and profuse watery nasal discharge.

From the TCM viewpoint, the nose has both respiratory and olfactory (smell) functions. It works closely with the lungs, kidneys, spleen, and meridians. The lungs open into the nose and nasal function is mainly dependent on the action of the lung energy, qi. The free movement of the lung qi keeps the nasal passages clear and maintains an accurate sense of smell. The governing meridian (Du Mai), a channel system of the midline controlled by the kidneys, passes through the nose. The kidneys thus communicate with the nose. The spleen is the primary organ of digestion and its main function is to transform food into essence (jing) . This is then transported to the lungs and heart where it is used to create qi and blood. Normal spleen function therefore facilitates proper functioning of the lungs; when the spleen is impaired, phlegm-related disorders may develop. 

A systematic review and meta-analysis of Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis has supported its safety and efficacy as a treatment towards this disease.

Cardiovascular disease

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease, also know as ischemic heart disease, is commonly caused by atheromatous lesions of the coronary artery. Its major clinical manifestations are angina pectoris and myocardial infarction. 

Although the terms angina pectoris and acute myocardial infarction were not used in ancient times, descriptions of the clinical manifestations of coronary heart disease are contained in the ancient texts of traditional Chinese medicine.   

Etiology and Pathogenesis 

Precordial pain is the most prominent feature of coronary heart disease. According to traditional medical theory, obstruction in the heart vessels usually causes this pain. The vessels may be blocked by phlegm accumulation in the chest, which obstructs the yang qi, and /or by blood stasis either due to qi deficiency or due to qi stagnation. 


Differential Diagnosis of Syndromes 

1. Obstruction of yang qi in the chest due to accumulation of phlegm 

Primary manifestations: A feeling of oppression over the chest or chest pain radiating to the back, accompanied by shortness of breath, white, thick, greasy coating of the tongue and smooth pulse. (This condition is of the cold phlegm type; when the tongue coating turns yellow and greasy, it becomes a phlegm-heat type.) 


2. Blood stasis caused by qi deficiency 

Primary manifestations: Fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations accompanied by localized pain, dark purplish tongue with a thin coating and uneven pulse. (In cases with cold extremities, intolerance of cold, pale and tender tongue and slow pulse, the blood stasis is due to yang deficiency; in cases with profuse sweating, deadly cold limbs, listlessness and fading pulse or even coma, the yang is exhausted and shock ensues. Some patients experience yin and qi deficiencies together, manifested by a hot sensation in the palms and soles, dry mouth, desire for cold drinks, reddened tongue with little or no coating and thin, rapid pulse.) 


3.Blood stasis caused by qi stagnation 

Primary manifestations: A fullness sensation or pain in the chest, dark purplish tongue with thin coating, but no symptoms of qi deficiency, such as shortness of breath and fatigue. 



1. Obstruction of yang-qi in the chest due to accumulation of phlegm 

Principle of treatment: Relieve the obstruction of the yang qi in the chest. 

Formula for choice: Trichosanthes, Chinese Chive, and White Liquor Decoction; in this prescription, trichosanthes fruit eliminates phlegm and reverse the adverse ascending of the qi; Chinese chive warms and activates the yang qi in the chest and relieves pain; and white liquor acts as a guide drug. 

2. Blood stasis caused by qi deficiency 

Principle of treatment: Invigorate the qi and promote blood circulation. 

Formula of choice: Yang-Invigorating and Recuperation Decoction; in this recipe, astragalus root (huang qi) invigorates the qi to promote blood circulation and strengthens the effect of the other ingredients in removing blood stasis. Other ingredients are tangkuei (dang gui), red peony root (chi shao), earth worm (di long), ligusticum root (chuan xiong), peach kernel (tao ren), carthamus flower (hong hua). 

In cases with yang deficiency, add cuscuta seed (tu si zi), prepared lateral root of aconite (fu zi), and psoralea seed (bu gu zhi) to warm and replenish the yang qi. 

If there is collapse, use Ginseng and Aconite Decoction combining with Aconite Decoction (including prepared lateral root of aconite, poria,  ginseng, ovate atractylodes rhizome, white peony root); in these prescriptions, prepared lateral root of aconite and ginseng recuperate the depleted yang and replenish the qi. 

In cases of qi and yin deficiencies, add scrophularia root (xuan shen), ophiopogon root (mai dong), schisandra berry (wu wei zi), and fresh rehmannia root (sheng di ) to the above prescriptions. 

3. Blood stasis caused by qi stagnation 

Principle of treatment: Activate qi and remove blood stasis. 

Formula of choice: Blood House Stasis-Expelling Decoction; in this recipe, bitter orange (zhi ke) and bupleurum root (chai hu) activate the stagnated qi; platycodon root (jie geng) acts as a guide drug; and the other ingredients promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis, including tangkuei (dang gui), fresh rehmannia root (sheng di huang), peach kernel (tao ren), carthamus flower (hong hua), red peony root (chi shao), licorice root (gan cao), ligusticum root (chuan xiong), achyranthes root (niu xi).   

From [1] Beijing Xueyuan Press. All Rights Reserved. taken from Dr Ming , TCM Medical Centre Hunan, China, From



Hypertension refers to elevated systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure. As such, hypertension is a synonym for high blood pressure.

Etiology and Pathogenesis 

Although the etiology of essential hypertension is unknown according to Western medicine, there are a number of factors which are associated with or lead to this condition. The main cause seems to be a diet high in animal fat and sodium chloride, especially if sodium chloride is high in relation to potassium and magnesium. Recent studies in remote areas of China, New Guinea, Panama, Brazil, and Africa (where low fat and low sodium diets are the norm) show virtually no evidence of hypertension, even with advanced age. However, when individuals in these groups 


migrated to more industrialized areas and changed their diet to include more animal fat and salt, the incidence of hypertension increased proportionately to increases in body mass and fat. Lifestyle choices also seem to playa role in the development of hypertension, including smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol and coffee. Even moderate alcohol consumption can produce hypertension in certain individuals, and chronic alcohol intake is one of the strongest predictors of high blood pressure. Smoking is a contributing factor to hypertension due to the fact that smokers may be more prone to increased sugar, alcohol, and caffeine consumption. In addition, environmental factors, such as lead contamination from drinking water as well as residues of cadmium, have been shown to promote hypertension. People whose hypertension has been left untreated have been shown to have blood cadmium levels 3-4 times higher than those with normal blood pressure. Other suspected antecedent conditions that favor the eventual development of hypertension include high birth weight, hypercoagulability, insulin resistance, and cardiac diastolic dysfunction. 

Just as the etiology of essential hypertension is unknown, there is still much uncertainty in Western biomedical science about its pathophysiology. A small number of patients with  secondary hypertension (between 2-5%) have an underlying renal or adrenal disease as the cause of their condition. In the remainder, however, no clear single identifiable cause is found and, as stated above, their condition is labelled "essential hypertension." A number of physiological mechanisms are involved in the maintenance of normal blood pressure, and their derangement may involve the eventual development of essential hypertension. These include: 

Cardiac output 

Peripheral resistance 

Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system Autonomic nervous system 

Other factors: bradykinin, endothelin, ED RF (endothelial derived relaxing factor) or nitric oxide, ANP (atrial natriuretic peptide), ouabain 

Signs, Symptoms & Diagnosis of Syndromes 

Until complications develop, primary hypertension is asymptomatic. When signs and symptoms do arise, they include dizziness, facial flushing, headache, fatigue, epistaxis, and nervousness. However, none of these are pathognomonic for hypertension and all are due to some complication involving one or more target organs.


The Western medical diagnosis of hypertension is based on measuring systolic and diastolic blood pressure using a blood pressure cuff Since blood pressure may fluctuate, at least two blood pressure readings should be taken on separate days, and care should be taken to insure the proper sized cuff for the size of the arm. For instance, using too small a cuff on a larger than normal arm will tend to read hypertensive. The upper limit of normal blood pressure in adults is 140/90mm/Hg. 


Skin conditions



In Chinese Medicine, Eczema is known by different names depending on where the symptomatic rash is!  Eczema all over the body with excessive weeping is known as Jin Yin Chuang.  


Eczema with millet type rash - Su Chuang

Eczema localized to the Ears – Xuan Er Chuang, 

Eczema localized to naval or umbilical region – Qi Chuang

Eczema localized to scrotum – Yin Nang Feng

Eczema localized to the back of the knees and elbows – Si Wan Feng


Traditional Chinese Medicine generally looks at eczema as the result of obstructions in the channels within the skin due to wind, heat or dampness.  Acute eczema is usually caused by dampness mixed with heat while chronic eczema is more closely related to prolonged illness and blood deficiency giving rise to wind dryness.  



* keep the colon clean. Use fiber supplements such as flaxseed, psyllium husk. 

* Vitamin A – needed to produce a smooth skin and prevents skin dryness. 

* Vitamin B Complex – aids healthy skin development and circulation

* Vitamin E – helps relieve itching and promotes healing by lubricating dry skin

* Biotin – closely links with Dermatitis when in deficiency 

* Zinc – helps bodies natural healing processes, and enhances the immune system

* Essential Fatty Acids – {i.e lubricates the skin


Foods to Avoid

* Do not eat foods containing raw eggs, which contain avidin, a protein that binds biotin (B group vitamin) & prevents it from being absorbed. Biotin is needed for the skin. 


* Foods containing gluten

Avoid - barley, oats, rye, or wheat. Rice & corn can be eaten. Substitute rice potato, cornmeal, and soy flour for wheat flour. Read labels carefully. Watch for hidden sources of gluten such as "hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, and all derivatives of wheat, rye, oats, and barley, including malt, modified starch, grain vinegar, binders, fillers, and natural flavoring. Do not consume hot dogs, gravies, luncheon meats, beer, mustard, catsup, nondairy creamer, white vinegar, curry powder, or seasonings.

If you're interested in learning more, be sure to check out our article on Eczema.




Psoriasis is a chronic relapsing skin disease, known to the practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine some 1600 years ago. The three stages of Psoriasis are the Active Stage, Resting Stage, and Regression Stage.


Active stage: 

The scales on erythemata appear continuously, expand, coalesce, and spread throughout the skin

The patient feels serious itching.


Resting Stage:

Skin lesion stops extending

Condition is fairly stable

Itching weakens gradually & disappears


Regression Stage:

The scales on erythema reduce gradually and then disappear completely

The pigmentation will be left & itching will be milder and then disappear completely



Pathogenic Causes of Psoriasis in TCM:


Blood Heat is considered the most important pathogenic factor for psoriasis When Blood Heat is blocked in the superficial skin layers, xerosis develops


According to the color of psoriatic lesions, four syndromes are differentiated:


Fire Toxin Heat 

* Lesions are red plaques, covered with thick yellow or yellowish-brown scales.

* There is a tendency of forming tiny pustules.

* Appearance of punctate bleeding spots when psoriasis scales are scraped off.

* Nails are severely affected.

* Therapeutic approach: elimination of toxins and cleaning the body fire.


Blood & Wind-Heat

* Mostly affects young people, under the age of 40.

* Lesions are numerous, punctiform or oval, intensively red, with plenty of thin silver squames and tiny bleeding points.

* New lesions continue to appear.

* Itching is severe.

* Therapeutic approach: to clear the Heat and cold the Blood by activating


Blood Stasis

* It corresponds to a chronic relapsing form of nummular, geographic or gyrates psoriasis.

* The course is usually prolonged.

* Some lesions may resolve gradually.

* Lesions are dark-red, thick, indurative, scaly and dry, not itchy.

* Most important symptom is xerostomia.

* Therapeutic approach: elimination of Stasis and activation of Blood.


Blood Deficiency Dryness

* This is the classical chronic- relapsing form of psoriasis.

* Lesions are pale-red, thin, with no tendency to extend or resolve.

* They are usually covered with silver squames. Itching could be severe.

* Therapeutic approach: enriching the Blood (and Yin) and moistening the Dryness.



Internal Factors of Psoriasis

causal basis of psoriasis: pre-existing deficiency at the nutritive and blood levels

wind and dryness

provoked nourishment in skin lost



External Factors of Psoriasis 

seasonal changes



improper diet


mechanical trauma.



TCM Treatments:


Herbal decoction

* flexible in use, highly effective, and safe

* proven to be beneficial in many complexes, chronic inflammatory skin disease

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