chinese herbal medicines 2nd ed

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  1. 1. 2010, Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved. 2002, Harcourt Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Permissions may be sought directly from Elseviers Rights Department: phone: (+1) 215 239 3804 (US) or (+44) 1865 843830 (UK); fax: (+44) 1865 853333; e-mail: You may also complete your request on-line via the Elsevier website at http://www. First edition 2002 Second edition 2010 ISBN: 978 07020 3133 5 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress Notice Neither the Publisher nor the Author assumes responsibility for any loss or injury and/or damage to persons or property arising out of or related to any use of the material contained in this book. It is the responsibility of the treating practitioner, relying on independent expertise and knowledge of the patient, to determine the best treatment and method of application for the patient. The Publisher Printed in China Working together to grow libraries in developing countries | | The publishers policy is to use paper manufactured from sustainable forests
  2. 2. xxv The biggest challenge facing any serious practitio- ner, having undergone this lengthy and arduous process, is the understanding of how to modify clas- sical prescriptions into useful and effective formu- las, suitable to the presenting clinical picturehow to judge the synergies of the different herbs when combined in different groups or dosages, how to choose a particular herb over another in any given situation. The answers, after dedicated study of the theoretical essentials, can usually only be gleaned after many years of clinical practice and the observa- tion of thousands of patients. At Chinese hospitals where junior doctors are under the clinical supervi- sion of old and experienced physicians, this type of knowledge is more readily available to those who seek to develop their own style of practice. In the West however, such opportunities can still be extremely hard to come by. Most useful source material is accessible only to those with a solid grasp of the Chinese language, and openings for extensive clinical practice under supervision are limited. It is for this reason that I welcome the re- publication of this delightful work by Dr Yifan Yang. This book offers an extremely useful grid by which to systemize the practitioners understanding of the real life qualities of the medicinal substances, by categorizing them into groups according to their energetic properties, presenting their characteristics and clinical uses and then comparing them through finer analysis of their individual strengths. This is information compiled from many sources, with the unmistakable stamp clinical practice written all over it. It will act as a reference work for serious students and experienced practitioners alike, to deepen their understanding of Chinese medicine in a most productive way, and to apply this under- standing as it links to the principles and fundamental concepts of Chinese medical theory. Mazin Al-Khafaji, 2010 Foreword Chinese herbal medicine is a medical system that has evolved empirically over many thousands of years, with countless millions contributing to its development and systemisation. Its roots reach back to the very dawn of history, when all manner of methods, including trial and error played a roll in the gradual amassment of the myriad facts that have passed down to us today. When first embarking on its study, all but the hardiest of students will pale at the sheer quantity of information that has to be committed to memory. Their excitement at first encountering the wonders of this vast body of knowledge, that ultimately form the backbone of treatment, is soon swamped by the dawning realisation of the efforts required to master it. Knowledge of each and every one of the ingredi- ents many attributes, such as the temperature, flavour, channel association, nature, action, move- ment, toxicity, interaction with other ingredients (both antagonistic and enhancing) and dosage needs to be grasped and assimilated. As study continues, the student soon discovers that even once all this information has been secured, the surface has barely been scratched, for now the hundreds of commonly used formulas have also to be memorised and understood. As this proceeds, it emerges with even greater clarity that it is indeed the combinations of these medicinal substances in precise quantities, which form one of the defining factors to an ultimately successful outcome to treat- ment. Just as in a well-crafted gourmet dish, it is the skillful combining of ingredients, that in turn accentuate and enhance some flavours, whilst sub- duing and downplaying others, that ultimately lead to the pleasing taste we experience when we consume it. So too with a medicinal formula, it is the precise interaction of ingredients in the correct quantity that makes the difference between an effi- cacious formula and one that will ultimately prove ineffective.
  3. 3. xxvii Preface to the first edition When I was a medical student, endeavoring to study traditional Chinese herbal medicine, it was quite challenging to memorize, within the space of one semester, the properties and functions of at least 300 commonly used herbs. As a junior doctor I still hesitated to select herbs to make my own formulae. I was amazed to hear my teachers precise and vivid explanations: Oh, this is a wonderful herb, it is pungent and warm, yet not drying in nature, it moves in a quick, yet gentle way, it can tonify the body without cloying; the perfect choice for chronic diseases. This herb is very hot, so it can quickly spread the warmth to the entire body, dispelling the Damp-Cold just like the sun with the fog and This is the strongest herb among herbs that regulate the Qi. The above way of teaching, to compare the strength and characteristics of herbs, is applied, but unfortunately it is not used regularly. The primary teaching method in books and lectures in the last few decades still simply states the basic functions and provides elementary examples of applications. However, this method lacks precision in quality and quantity, and is not vivid and emphatic in nature, and as a result students have to spend much more time on study and practice to really master the characteristics of herbs and to grasp strategies to make their own formulae skillfully. First as a student, then as a teacher and doctor of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, I have searched for a new way of studying and teaching. In this book, I have aimed to discuss the features of herbs instead of enumerating the common func- tions. Comparison is used as the main tool in explaining the fine differences between herbs that have the same or similar functions. Moreover, 117 figures are provided to show the differences in tem- perature and strength of single herbs that have the same function. The theories and concepts of Chinese herbal medicine are used as principles throughout the analysis and explanation. The clinical applica- tions of single herbs are presented according to the differentiation of syndromes in the traditional Chinese medical way and the diagnosis in Western medicine. The whole book is written in a questions and answers style and it follows the chapter content of most commonly used textbooks in Chinese herbal medicine. Each question and answer form a small unit, so the book can be read all the way through, or each question can be studied individually. This book is written for serious practitioners and students who have already learned the basic functions of the Chinese herbs and want to master Chinese herbal therapy step by step. The information in the discussion of clinical applications can be used to enrich the understanding of the characteristics of the herbs rather than to discuss the treatment of certain diseases both in the sense of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western medicine. For students and junior practitioners, this book offers a method of learning and memorizing the functions of herbs through the approach of compar- ing the characteristics and the strength of herbs with related functions or natures. Each question may be used to stimulate discussion and in reviewing lec- tures. The answers might just clarify confusions and help the student delve deeper. For experienced practitioners, this book offers a comprehensive knowledge of Chinese herbal medi- cine and a deeper understanding of the theories and concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The fine analysis of the characteristics of herbs helps the practitioner to make a formula with better quality and results. The discussion of clinical applications can be used in clinical practice to enlarge the treat- ment range. The knowledge gained of each herb is not solely developed from my own experience. During my work in the Department of Chinese Herbal Formu- las at Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the study of herbs was largely done through discussion and debate with colleagues and from a large number of ancient medical texts. From practicing what I have learned, first on patients in China and now in the West, I have developed a
  4. 4. Preface to the first edition xxviii deeper understanding of the herbs and gained expe- rience and confidence in Chinese herbal therapy. I have tried to bring together my understanding of herbs and a new way of studying in this book, and I hope it can be of benefit both to those who


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