Huangdi Neijing's theory on Shu and the treatment of Shu Pattern*
2021, 44 (5):
The term of Shu (commonly known as summerheat) has multi-faceted connotationsin Huangdi Neijing(Huangdi's Internal Classic).Firstly, from the perspective of yin and yang, Shu is a both opposite and unified concept of cold; that is, Shu and cold are the criteria for the differentiation of yin and yang.Besides, warm, Shu, cool and cold correspond to the spring, summer, autumn and winter respectively.What's more, wind, Shu, dampness, dryness and cold correspond to the liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidney respectively in terms of the five organs, and wood, fire, earth, metal and water in terms of the five elements. In addition, in the three-yin three-yang theory, Shu corresponds to less yin, pertains to shaoyin, and is characterized by steaming. Based on these properties of Shu, correspondingly, disorders of Shu are mainly manifested as sadness.As a cause of disease, Shu is mainly “hidden beneath the skin and outside the stomach and intestines”, causing “profuse sweating with opening of the interstitial spaces”; or “metal (lung) disorder” according to the six-qi theory. The diversified discussion of the concept of Shu in Huangdi Neijing has caused conceptual confusion in later generations, mainly among the concepts of Shu, heat, fire and dampness. Shu and heat are two terms referring to the same concept, which are used alternately in Huangdi Neijing. Fire, as one of the five elements, corresponds to Shu. While Shu and dampness are two separate qi which can be seen together in historical periods and regional environment. In terms of treatment of Shu pattern in Huangdi Neijing, it's mainly through regulating the up-bearing and down-bearing of yin and yang, or by following the generating, restraining, counter-restraining, and transforming rules among the five elements. Such a therapeutic thinking pattern is inherited by Li Dongyuan in Qingshu Yiqi Decoction (Summerheat-resolving and Qi-boosting Decoction). In clinical application of the formula to treat most Shu patterns, modifications can be made in accordance to the patient's basic condition. Besides, the Qingshu Yiqi Decoction (Summerheat-resolving and Qi-boosting Decoction) established by Wang Mengying is based on the Baihu Jia Renshen Decoction (White Tiger Decoction Plus Ginseng) in Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Cold Damage) for the treatment of fluid damage and qi consumption due to Shu.
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