Five agents in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic

During my studies I discovered that I did not know all of the five agent associations. I have decided to share them since it has deepened my understanding of the qualities of each element.

I have grouped the association into categories. A general category and one for each of the elements.

General

Chapter 4

The five depots correspond to the four seasons. Do all of them have something specific that they collect and receive? Yes they do.

What is it they collect and receive. The directions collect things that are the same.

The Great Commentary of the Classic of Changes, The directions of the compass gather things of their ilk, creatures are thereby gathered together and separated out.

Chapter 5

Water is yin, fire is yang, yang is qi, flavor is yin.

Flavor turns to physical appearance. Physical appearance turns to qi. Qi turns to essence. Essence turns to transformation.

Essence is nourished by qi. Physical appearance is nourished by flavor.

Transformation generates essence. Qi generates physical appearance.

Flavor harms physical appearance. Qi harms essence. Essence transforms into qi. Qi is harmed by flavor.

This is a description of how water and fire transform and give birth to the many beings.

Chapter 25

When wood meets metal it is felled

When fire meets water it is extinguished

When soil meets wood it is penetrated

When metal meets fire it is destroyed

When water meets soils it is interrupted in its flow

These five processes apply to the interactions among all the myriad beings, their validity is never exhausted.

Chapter 66

Huang Di asked, Heaven has the five agents, they control the five positions. Thereby the five agents generate cold, dryness, dampness, summer heat, and wind.

Man has the five depots, they transform the five qi, thereby generating joy, anger, pensiveness, anxiety, and fear. How is this linked to the three yin and three yang?

Cold, dryness, fire, dampness, summer heat, and wind. These are the yin and yang of heaven. The three yin and three yang act on their behalf.

Wang Bing explains, Tai yang is cold, yang ming is dryness, shao yang is fire, tai yin is dampness, shao yin is summer heat, and jue yin is wind. They all have their origin in heaven.

The five agents give birth to the three yin and three yang atmospheric influences which are also know as the six conformations.

Chapter 69

Qi Bo, Now, the movements of the qi indicating changes have never been regular.

Virtues, transformations, policies, commands, catastrophes, and changes are the different manifestations of the movements indicating changes.

Hence through investigating their movement, there is virtue and there is transformation, there is policy and there is command, there is change and there is catastrophes to be recognized, and how all things originate from them, and how man corresponds to them.

Chapter 23

Where the five flavors enter

Sour enters the liver

Acrid enters lung

Bitter enters the heart

Salty enters the kidneys

Sweet enters the spleen

There relationships are called the five enterings.

When the qi in the five depots have a disease

In the heart it causes belching

In the lung it causes coughing

In the liver it causes talkativeness

In the spleen it causes swallowing

In the kidneys it causes yawning, and it causes sneezing

In the stomach it causes qi to move contrary, it causes hiccup and fear

In the large intestine and the small intestine it causes outflow,

Wand Bing, The large intestine is the palace representing transmission and the small intestine is the palace of accepting riches.

In the lower burner, if it causes overflow it causes water

In the urinary bladder, if it does not pass freely it causes protuberance illness, if it is unrestrained, it causes involuntary loss of urine. Protuberance indicating closure of  the bladder.

In the gall bladder it causes anger

These are the so-called five diseases

Where the five essences collect

When essence qi collects in the heart joy results

In the lungs, sadness results

In the liver, anxiety results

In the spleen, fright results

In the kidneys, fear results

These are the so-called five accumulations

What the five depots dislike

The heart dislikes heat

The lung dislikes cold

The liver dislikes wind

The spleen dislikes dampness

The kidneys dislike dryness

These are the so-called five dislikes

The fluids transformed by the five depots

The heart generates sweat

The lungs generates snivel

The liver generates tears

The spleen generates spittle

These are the so-called five fluids

What the five depots store, with commentary from Wang Bing

The heart stores the spirit, spirit brightness, shen. The spirit is a transformation product of the essence qi.

The lungs store the po-soul. It assists the essence spirit.

The liver stores the hun-soul. It supports the essence spirit.

The spleen stores the sentiments. They record and do not let one forget.

The kidneys store the will. It focuses the sentiment on one goal and does not let them shift elsewhere.

These are the so-called, what the five depots store.

What the five depots rule

The heart rules the vessels

The lung rules the skin

The liver rules the sinews

The spleen rules the flesh

The kidneys rule the bones

These are the so-called five rulings

Chapter 44

The lungs rule the body’s skin and body hair

The heart rules the body’s blood and vessels

The liver rules the body’s sinews and membranes

The spleen rules the body’s muscles and flesh

The kidneys rule the body’s bones and marrow

Chapter 52

Each depot has an important location where it can be harmed. Commentary from Wang Bing

The liver generates life on the left. The liver reflects the wood, it flourishes in spring. The spring is yang and brings things to life. Hence, it generates on the left. Remember the sage faces south, so the east is where the sun starts to rise, which is on the left.

The lungs store of the right. The lung reflects the metal, it flourishes in autumn. The autumn is yin, it gathers and kills. Hence, it stores on the right. The sage facing south has the setting sun on his right.

The heart commands in the exterior. The yang qi rules the exterior, the heart reflects the fire.

The kidneys govern the interior. The yin qi rules the interior, the kidneys reflect the water.

The spleen serves as their messenger. It transports, without ceasing, the dregs, the water, and the grains.

The stomach serves as their market place. This is where the water and the grains turns to, all five flavors enter here. It resembles the variety of food at the market.

Above the ge-huang, in the middle there are the father and mother. Yang Shangshan, Below the heart and above the diaphragm is the huang. The heart is yang, it is the father. The lung is yin, it is the mother. 

Chapter 57

What are the regular colors of the vessels?

The color associated with the heart is red.

The lung is white

The liver is green-blue

The spleen is yellow

The  kidneys is black

Do the yin and yang sections of the network vessels reflect the colors of these vessels too?

The colors of the yin network vessels reflect those of the respective vessels.

The colors of the yang vessels change. They have no permanence. The colors are activated in accordance with the four seasons.

Chapter 62

How are the five states of surplus and deficiency generated.

Now, the heart stores the spirit

The lung stores the qi

The liver stores the blood

The spleen stores the flesh

The kidneys store the will

And this completes the physical appearance.

Chapter 66

In chen and xu years the tai yang appears above. Center heavenly stems

In mao and you years the yang ming appears above. Wood and metal heavenly stems

In yin and shen years the shao yang appears above. Wood and metal heavenly stems

In chou and wei years the tai yin appears above. Center heavenly stems

In zi and wu years the shao yin appears above. Water and fire heavenly stems

In si and hai years the jue yin appears above.  Fire and water heavenly stems

Zhang Ziebing, Above is to say, governs heaven.

In chen and xu years the tai yang appears above. Center heavenly stems

In chou and wei years the tai yin appears above. Center heavenly stems

In mao and you years the yang ming appears above. Wood and metal heavenly stems

In yin and shen years the shao yang appears above. Wood and metal heavenly stems

In zi and wu years the shao yin appears above. Water and fire heavenly stems

In si and hai years the jue yin appears above.  Fire and water heavenly stems

Tai yang and tai yin correspond with the center.

Yang ming and shao yang correspond with wood and metal.

Shao yin and jue yin correspond with fire and water.

Chapter 70

A year of the wood period with balanced qi is called extended harmony

Fire qi is called ascending brilliance

Soil qi is called perfect transformation

Metal qi is called secured balance

Water qi is called quiet adaptation

Inadequacy qi is

A year of the wood period with inadequate qi is called discarded harmony

Fire is called hidden brilliance

Soil is called inferior supervision

Metal is called accepted change

Water is called dried-up flow

Great excess qi is

A year of the wood period with great excess is called effusive generation

Fire is called fire-red sunlight

Soil is called prominent mound

Metal is called firm completion

Water is called inundating flow

Wood and the East

Chapter 2

The three months of spring, they denote effusion and spreading.

Heaven and earth together generate life, the myriad beings flourish.

Chapter 4

The east, blue green color.

Having entered it communicates with the liver.

It opens an orifice in the eyes.

It stores essence in the liver.

The disease it brings forth is shock.

Its flavor is sour

Its class, herbs and trees

Its domestic animal, chicken

Its grain, wheat

Its correspondence with the four seasons, above it is Juniper.

Hence the qi of spring is in the head.

Its tone, jue.

Its number, eight

Hence one knows that its diseases are located in the sinews.

Its odor, fetid.

Chapter 5

The east generates wind

Wind generates wood

Wood generates sour

Sour generates the liver

The liver generates the sinews

The sinews generates the heart

The liver rules the eyes

Among the depots it is the liver

Among the colors it is greenish

Among the tones it is jue

Among the voice it is shouting

Among the movements indicating changes it is grasping

Among the orifices it is the eyes

Among the flavors it is sour

Among the states of mind it is anger

The east is yang. As for the yang, its essence collects above.

Chapter 12

The fact is, the region of the east, this is where heaven and earth give life first.

This is the land offish and salt, beaches border on the water.

Chapter 19

In spring, the movement in the vessels is a liver movement.

The east is wood, this is whereby the myriad beings come life first.

Hence, when this qi comes, it is soft, weak, light, depleted, and smooth.

It is straight and extended. Hence it is called string like. A movement contrary to this is called disease.

Chapter 22

The liver rules is spring. The jue yin and the shao yang vessels rule its treatments.

Its days are jia and yi. Jia and yi are wood. They are the heavenly stems of the east.

When the liver suffers tensions, quickly consume sweet flavor to relax these tensions.

Chapter 61

In spring, it is said, take the network vessels in the partings of the flesh. Why is that?

In spring, the wood begins to govern. The qi of the liver begins to stimulate generation. The liver qi is tense, the wind of this is swift.

Chapter 64

In spring, the qi of heaven begins to disperse into the open. The qi of the earth begins to flow out. What is frozen breaks open, the ice melts. The water flows and the vessels are passable.

Hence, the human qi is in the vessels.

Chapter 67

The east generates wind

Wind generates wood

Wood generates sour

Sour generates the liver

The liver generates the sinews

The sinews generates the heart

The spirit in heaven it is wind

On earth it it is wood

In man’s body it is the sinews

Among the depots it is the liver

Its nature is warm

Its virtue is harmony

Its operation is movement

Its color is greenish

Its transformation is blossoming

Its creatures are hairy

Its policy is dispersion

Its commands are spreading and effusion

It causing changes is to break and pull things

Its flavor is sour

Its state of mind is anger

Chapter 69

The east generates wind

Wind generates wood

Its virtue is to extend harmony

Its transformation brings about generation and blossoming

Its policy is unfolding and opening up

Its command is wind

Its change to the extreme causes shaking and effusion

Its catastrophe are dispersing and falling down

Chapter 70

A year of the wood period with balanced qi is called extended harmony

A year of the wood period with inadequate qi is called discarded harmony

A year of the wood period with great excess is called effusive generation

In an arrangement of extended harmony

The virtue of wood prevails everywhere

Yang qi unfolds and yin qi spreads

The five transformations are spread widely and balanced

Its qi is uprightness

Its nature is adaptive

Its operation manifests itself in what is curved and straight

Its transformation brings beings to life and makes them flourish

Its class is herbs and wood

Its policy brings about effusion and dispersion

Its climatic manifestation is warmth and harmony

Its seasonal command brings about wind.

Its depot is the liver

As for the liver it fears coolness

It rules the eyes

Its grain is sesame

Its tree fruit is the plum

Its fruit are those with a kernel

Its corresponding season is spring

Its creatures are hairy

Its domestic animal is the dog

Its color is greenish

It nourishes the sinews

Its illness is internal tightness and propping fullness

Its flavor is sour

Its tome is jue

Its material items are firm in the center

Its number is eight

Fire and the South

Chapter 2

The three months of summer, they denote opulence and blossoming.

The qi of heaven and earth interact and the myriad beings bloom and bear fruit.

Chapter 4

The south, red color

Having entered it communicates with the heart

It opens in the ears

It stores essence in the heart

Hence the disease it brings forth is in the five depots

Its flavor, bitter

Its class, fire

Its domestic animal, sheep

Its grain, glutinous millet

Its correspondence with the four seasons, above it is Mars.

Hence one knows that its diseases are located in the vessels.

Its tone, zhi

Its number, seven

Its odor, burned

Chapter 5

The south generates heat

Heat generates fire

Fire generates bitter

Bitter generates the heart

The heart generates the blood

The bold generates the spleen

The heart rules the tongue

Among the zang yin organs or depots, it is the heart

Among the colors it is red

Among the tones it is zhi

Among the voices it is laughing

Among the movements indicating changes it is anxiety

Among the orifices it is the tongue

Among the flavors it is bitter

Among the states it is joy

Chapter 12

The south, this is the region where heaven and earth bestow growth and nourishment, it is the place where yang qi is present in abundance.

Chapter 19

In summer, the movement in the vessels is a heart movement.

The south if fire, this is whereby the myriad beings abound and grow.

Hence, when this qi comes, it is abundant, when it leaves it is weak.

Hence it is called hook like.

A movement contrary to this is called disease.

Chapter 61

In summer, it is said, take the conduit vessels with qi at the interstice structures. Why is that?

In summer, the fire begins to govern. The qi of the heart begins to stimulate growth.

Chapter 64

In summer, the vessels are full and the qi overflows. It enters the tertiary network vessels which there by receive blood. The skin is filled and replete.

Chapter 67

The south generates heat

Heat generates fire

Fire generates bitter

Bitter generates the heart

The heart generates the blood

The bold generates the spleen

In heaven it is heat

On earth it is fire

In man’s body it is the vessels

Among the qi it is breath

Among the depots it is the heart

Its nature is summer heat

Its virtue is clarity

Its operation is dryness

Its color is red

Its transformation is lushness

Its creatures are feathered

Its policy is brilliance

Its commands are pressure and steam

Its causing changes is to generate flames and melting

Its causing a calamity is to cause burning heat

Its flavor is bitter

Its state of mind is joy

Chapter 69

The south generates the heat

Heat generates fire

Its virtue is obviousness and clarity

Its transformation brings about opulence and lushness

Its policy is brilliance and luster

Its command is heat

Its change to the extreme causes fusing and melting

Its catastrophe is burning heat

Chapter 70

A year of the fire period with balanced qi is called ascending brilliance.

Fire with inadequacy is called inferior supervision.

Fire with great excess is called fire-red sunlight.

In an arrangement of ascending brilliance

The proper yang governs

The virtue of fire is applied ubiquitously, means, in a way that seems to be everywhere

The five transformations are evenly balanced

Its qi is highness

Its nature is fast

Its operation manifests in burning

Its transformation brings about opulence and lushness

Its class is fire

Its policy brings about brilliance and luster

Its climatic manifestation is flaming summer heat

Its seasonal command brings about heat

Its depot is the heart

As for the heart, it fears cold

It rules the tongue

Its grain is wheat

Its tree fruit is the apricot

Its fruit are those with a network

It corresponding season is summer

Its creatures are feathered

Its domestic animal is the horse

Its color is red

It nourishes the blood

Its illness is twitching flesh and muscle spasms

Its flavor is bitter

Its tone is zhi

Its material items have vessels

Its number is seven

Earth and the Center

Chapter 4

The center, yellow color

Having entered it communicates with the spleen

It opens an orifice in the mouth

It stores essence in the spleen

Hence the disease it brings forth is at the base of the tongue

Its flavor, sweet

Its class, soil

Its domestic animal, ox

Its grain, panicled millet, Proso millet panicles, common millet

Its correspondence with the four seasons, above it is Saturn

Hence one knows that its diseases are in the flesh.

Its tone, gong

Its number, five

Its odor, aromatic

Chapter 5

The center generates dampness

Dampness generates soil

Soil generates sweetness

Sweet flavor generates the spleen

The spleen generates the flesh

The flesh generates the lung

The spleen rules the mouth

Among the depots it is the spleen

Among the colors it is yellow

Among the tones it is gong

Among the voices it is singing

Among the movements indicating change it is hiccup

Among the orifices it is the mouth

Among the flavors it is sweet

Among the states of mind it is pensiveness

Chapter 12

The center, its land is flat and damp. It is here that heaven and earth generate the myriad beings in large numbers.

Chapter 19

The spleen movement in the vessels is associated with the soil. The spleen is a solitary depot serving to pour qi into the four sides.

Chapter 22

The spleen rules in late summer. The tai yin and yang ming vessels rule its treatment. 

Its days are wu and ji. Wu and ji are soil, they are the heavenly stems of the center.

When the spleen suffers from dampness, quickly consume bitter flavor to dry it.

Chapter 64

In late summer, the vessels and the network vessels all abound with the contents which internally overflow into the muscles.

Chapter 67

The center generates dampness

Dampness generates soil

Soil generates sweetness

Sweet flavor generates the spleen

The spleen generates the flesh

The flesh generates the lung

In heaven it is dampness

On earth it is soil

In man’s body it is the flesh

Among the qi it is fullness

Among the depots it is the spleen

Its nature is resting and union

Its virtue is sogginess

Its operation is transformation

Its color is yellow

Its creatures are naked

Its policy is tranquility

Its commands are clouds and rain

Its causing changes is to generate movement and out pour

Its causing a calamity is to generate excessive rain and massive flooding

Its flavor is sweet

Its state of mind is pensiveness

Chapter 69

The center generates dampness

Dampness generates soil

Its virtue is humidity and steam

Its transformation brings about prosperity and perfection

Its policy is peace and resting

Its command is dampness

Its command to the extreme causes floodings because of rainstorms

Its catastrophes are continuing rain and massive flooding

Chapter 70

A year of the soil period with balanced qi is called prefect transformation.

 A year of the soil period with inadequate qi is called inferior supervision

A year of the soil period with excess qi is called prominent mound.

In an arrangement of perfect transformation

The qi is in harmony and heaven is beautiful

The virtue of soil flows into the four policies

The five transformations are equally refined

Its qi is balance

Its nature is adaptive

Its operation manifests itself high and below

Its transformation brings about prosperity and copiousness

Its class is soil

Its policy brings about peace and resting

Its climatic manifestations is humidity and steam

Its seasonal commands bring about dampness

Its depot is the spleen

As for the spleen, it fears wind

It rules the mouth

Its grain is panicled millet

Its fruit-tree is the date

Its fruit are those with flesh

Its corresponding season is late summer

Its creatures are naked

Its domestic animal is the ox

Its color is yellow

It nourishes the flesh

Its illness is blockage

Its flavor is sweet

Its tone is gong

Its material items have a skin

It number is five

Metal and the West

Chapter 2

The three months of autumn, they denote taking in and balance.

The qi of heaven becomes tense, the qi of earth becomes bright.

Chapter 4

The west, color white

Having entered it communicates with the lung

It opens an orifice in the nose

It stores essence in the lungs

Hence the disease it brings forth is in the back.

Its domestic animal, horse

Its grain, rice

Its correspondence with the four seasons, above  it is Venus.

Hence one knows that its diseases are in the skin and body hair.

Its tone, shang

Its number, nine

Its odor, fishy

Chapter 5

The west generates dryness

Dryness generates metal

Metal generates acrid flavor

Acrid generates the lung

The lung generates skin and body hair

Skin and body hair generate the kidneys

The lungs rule the nose

Among the depots it is the lungs

Among the colors it is white

Among the tones it is shang

Among the voices it is weeping

Among the movements indicating change it is coughing

Among the orifices it is the nose

Among the flavors it is acrid

Among the states of mind it is it is anxiety

The west is yin. As for the yin, its essence collects below.

Chapter 12

The west, this is region of gold and jade. It is the location of sand and stone.

It is where heaven and earth contract and pull things together.

Chapter 19

In autumn, the movement in the vessels is a lung movement.

The west is metal, this is whereby the myriad beings are gathered after they have reached maturity.

Hence, when this qi comes, it is light, depleted, and floating.

It comes tense and leaves dispersed. Hence, it is called floating.

A movement contrary to this is called disease.

Chapter 22

The lung rules in autumn, the tai yin and the yang ming vessels rule its treatment.

It days are geng and xin. Geng and xin days are metal. They are the heavenly stems of the west.

When the lung suffers from qi rising contrary to its regular course, quickly consume bitter flavor to drain it.

Chapter 61

In autumn, it is said, take the vessel transporters. Why is that?

In autumn, the metal begins to govern. The lung is about to gather and kill.

Chapter 64

In autumn, the qi of heaven begins to contract things. The interstice structures are obstructed and the skin is pulled together tightly.

Chapter 67

The west generates dryness

Dryness generates metal

Metal generates acrid flavor

Acrid generates the lung

The lung generates skin and body hair

Skin and body hair generate the kidneys

In heaven it is dryness

On earth it is metal

On man’s body it is the skin and its hair

Among the qi it is completion

Among the depots it is the lung

Its nature is coolness

Its virtue is clearness

Its operation is hardening

Its color is white

Its transformation is contraction

Its creatures are armored

Its policy is force

Its commands are fog and dew

Its causing changes is to cause sternness and killing

Its causing a calamity is to cause aging and falling

Its flavor is acrid

Its state of mind is anxiety

Chapter 69

The west generates dryness

Dryness generates metal

Its virtue is clearness and cleanliness

Its transformation brings about tightness and contraction

Its policy is force and cutting

Its command is dryness

Its change to the extreme causes sternness and killing

Its catastrophes are aging and falling down

Chapter 70

A year of the metal period with balanced qi is called secured balance

A year of the metal period with inadequate qi is called accepted change

A year of the metal period with excessive qi is called firm completion

In arrangement of secured balance

There is gathering but no fright

Killing but no invasion

The five transformations are widely promulgated. Announced publicly

Its qi is cleanliness

Its nature is hard

Its operation manifests itself about firmness and contraction

Its class is metal

Its policy is forceful and stern

Its climatic manifestation is clear and cutting

Its seasonal command brings about dryness

Its depot is the lung

As for the lung, it fears heat

It rules the nose

Its grain is rice

Its fruit-tree is the peach

Its fruit are those with a shell

Its corresponding season is autumn

Its creatures are armored

Its domestic animal is the chicken

Its color is white

It nourishes the skin and body hair

Its illness is cough

Its flavor is acrid

Its tone is shang

Its material items are firm on the outside

Its number is nine

Water and the North

Chapter 2

The three months of winter, they denote securing and storing.

The water is frozen and the earth breaks open.

Chapter 4

The north, black color

Having entered it communicates with the kidneys

It opens an orifice in the two yin sites, urethra and anus

It stores essence in the kidneys

Hence the disease it brings forth is in the ravines. This is the location in the flesh where water flows and stagnates.

Its flavor, salty

Its class, water

Its domestic animal, the swine

Its grain, the bean

Its correspondence with the four seasons, above it is Mercury

Hence one knows that is diseases are in the bones.

Its tone, yu

Its number, six

Its odor, foul

Chapter 5

The north generates cold

Cold generates water

Water generates salty

Salty generates the kidneys

The kidneys generate the bones and the marrow

The marrow generates the liver

The kidneys rule the ears

Among the depots it is the kidneys

Among the colors it is black

Among the tones it is yu

Among the voices it is groaning

Among the movements indicating change it is shivering

Among the orifices it is the ear

Among the flavors it is salty

Among the states of mind it is fear

Chapter 12

The north, this is the region where heaven and earth secure and store.

Its land lies at a high elevation, its people live in earthen mounds.

Wind, cold, and piercing frost dominate.

Chapter 19

In winter, the movement in the vessels is a kidney movement.

The north is water, this is whereby the myriad beings are brought together and stored.

Hence, this qi comes in the depth and is beating. Hence, it is called encamped.

A movement contrary to this indicates disease.

Chapter 22

The kidneys rule in winter, the shao yin and the tai yang vessels rule its treatment.

Its days are ren and gui. Ren and gui are the heavenly stems of water of the north. Format?

When the kidneys suffer from desiccation, or dryness, quickly consume pungent to moisten them.

Chapter 61

In winter, it is said, take the well and  brooks. Why is that?

In winter, the water begins to govern. The kidneys are about to stimulate closure.

Chapter 64

In winter, everything is covered and stored away. Blood and qi are in the center. They are attached to the bones and the marrow internally and penetrate the five depots.

Chapter 67

The north generates cold

Cold generates water

Water generates salty

Salty generates the kidneys

The kidneys generate the bones and the marrow

The marrow generates the liver

In heaven it is cold

On earth it is water

In man’s body it is the bones

Among the qi it is hardness

Among the depot it is the kidneys

Its nature is piercing cold

Its virtue is cold

Its operation is storage

Its color is black

Its transformation is sternness

Its creatures are scaly

Its policy is resting

Its commands closure

Its causing changes is to cause piercing frost

Its causing a calamity is to cause ice and hail

Its flavor is salty

Its state of mind is fear

Chapter 69

The north generates cold

Cold generates water

Its virtue is chilling temperatures

Its transformation brings about clarity and tranquility

Its policy is freezing and sternness

Its command is cold

Its change to the extreme causes piercing cold

Its catastrophes are ice, snow, frosts, and hail.

Chapter 70

A year of the water period with balanced qi is called quiet adaptation

A year of the water period with inadequacy is called dried-up flow

A year of the water period in great excess qi is called inundating flow

In arrangement of quiet adaptation

There is storage but no injury

There is order and benevolence extends to those below

Its qi is brilliance

Its nature is to move downward

Its operation manifests itself in pouring and inundation, flooding

Its transformation brings about congealing and firmness

Its class is water

Its policy brings about excessive flow

Its climatic manifestation is freezing and sternness

Its seasonal command brings about cold

Its depots are the kidneys

As for the kidneys, they fear dampness

They rule the two yin openings

Its grain is the bean

Its fruit-tree is the chestnut

Its fruit are those with moisture

Its corresponding season is winter

Its creatures are scaly

Its domestic animal is the swine

Its color is black

It nourishes the bones and marrow

Its illness is recession

Its flavor is salty

Its tone is yu

Its material items have moisture

Its number is six

The blood formulas

Ben tun tang, cools and nourishes blood, calms internal upward rushing wind.

Ben tun tang ge gen 15 sang bai pi 24 huang qin 6 ban xia 12 bai shao 6 chuan xiong 6 dang gui 6 sheng jiang 12 zhi gan cao 6

Da huang zhe chong tang, drying out of blood, softens blood while nourishing.

Da huang zhe chong wan da huang 12 sheng di huang 12 tao ren 9 xing ren 9 mang chong 9 shui zhi 9 qi cao 9 zhe chong 6 bai shao 3 huang qin 3 zhi gan cao 3

Dang gui jian zhong tang, warming and nourishing blood while supporting the center

Dang gui jian zhong tang also known as Nie bu xiang gui jian zhong tang, which Sun Si Mao made famous. dang gui 9 gui zhi 9 bai shao 18 sheng jiang 9 da zao 9 zhi gan cao 6 yi tang 30

Dang gui san, blood nourishing and damp heat clearing.

Dang gui san dang gui 12 bai shao 12 chuan xiong 12 huang qin 12 bai zhu 6

Dang gui shao yao san, blood and fluid moving.

Dang gui shao yao san dang gui 9 bai shao 48 chuan xiong 24 bai zhu 12 fu ling 12 ze xie 24

Dang gui si ni tang, blood warming and nourishing, while warming the interior.

Dang gui si ni tang dang gui 9 gui zhi 9 bai shao 9 da zao 15 zhi gan cao 6 xi xin 9 tong cao 6

Dang gui sini jia wu zhu yu sheng jiang tang, super blood warming and moving, while warming the interior.

Dang gui si ni jia wu zhu yu sheng jiang tang dang gui 9 gui zhi 9 bai shao 9 sheng jiang 24 da zao 15 zhi gan cao 6 xi xin 9 tong cao 6 wu zhu yu 18

Di dang tang, blood breaking and moving.

Di dang tang jiu da huang 9 tao ren 3 shui zhi 9 di bie chong 9

Gui zhi fu ling wan, gentle blood moving.

Gui zhi fu ling wan gui zhi 9 bai shao 9 fu ling 9 tao ren 9 mu dan pi 9

Jiao ai tang, blood warming and nourishing.

Jiao ai tang also known as Xiong gui jiao ai tang also known as Jiao ai si wu tang sheng di huang 18 dang gui 9 bai shao 12 chuan xiong 6 gan cao 6 ejiao 9 ai ye 9

Wen jiang tang, blood warming especially for jue yin liver blood.

Wen jing tang wu zhu yu 9 mai men dong 24 ban xia 12 gui zhi 6 bai shao 6 chuan xiong 6 dang gui 6 ejiao 6 ren shen 6 mu dan pi 6 sheng jiang 6 zhi gan cao 6

Xiao jiang zhong tang, blood nourishing while supporting the center.

Xiao jian zhong tang gui zhi 9 bai shao 18 sheng jiang 9 da zao 6 zhi gan cao 6 yi tang 30 ml

Zhi gan cao tang, blood nourishing and heart yang tonifying.

Zhi gan cao tang sheng di huang 48 mai men dong 12 ejiao 6 ren shen 6 hou ma ren 12 gui zhi 9 sheng jiang 9 da zao 18 zhi gan cao 12

Gui zhi tang

Gui zhi tang

gui zhi 9 bai shao 9 sheng jiang 9 da zao 9 zhi gan cao 6

Line 12 In tai yang wind strike with floating yang and weak yin, floating yang is spontaneous heat effusion and weak yin is spontaneous issue of sweat. If there is huddled aversion to cold, wetted aversion to wind, feather warm heat effusion, noisy nose, and a dry retching, gui zhi tang governs.

Line 13 For tai yang disease with headache, heat effusion, sweating, and aversion to wind, gui zhi tang governs.

This has to be the most famous formula in Chinese Herbal Medicine. It is always included in the list of formulas that clear the surface. What does it clear?

When the outer layers of the body cool off this gives rise to chills. The cold can also give rise to function loss of the pores and sweating occurs. All of the yang qi in the body comes together at one point, du mai 14, and is simply called tai yang.

The nature of tai yang is to open and rise. We see this in spring and summer. A disease of tai yang is a failure to open.

Gui zhi opens the yang qi to warm the surface and interior. Sheng jiang is working together with gui zhi to warm the surface and the interior, especially the tai yin spleen.

Bai shao is replacing the lost fluids by nourishing yin and blood. It calms excessive outward movement and collects and descends yang qi. This cooling and descending nature of bai shao corresponds with the nature of metal and yang ming. The nourishing nature of bai shao corresponds with jue yin liver and pericardium blood storage.

Da zao tonifies the earth and nourishes the jue yin liver blood along with the bai shao. The tai yin raising nature of sheng jiang brings the da zao up to the 100 vessels.

Zhi gan cao tonifies the earth while moistening yin fluids. It ensures a smooth transformation of qi.

There are different types of tai yang wind patterns. There is tai yang wind cold. Which means that surface is closed and there is no sweating. There is tai yang wind strike. Which means there is sweating. Tai yang wind cold is called an excess pattern since the accumulation of excess cold prevents normal functioning. Tai yang wind strike is called a deficiency pattern since yang qi is deficient and there is a loss of fluids such as sweat. There is also a combination pattern where the surface is partially closed and partially open.

Ma huang tang is a closed surface formula. Ma huang tang contains ma huang and gui zhi.

Gui zhi tang is an open surface pattern. Gui zhi tang contains gui zhi and bai shao.

Ge gen tang is a half open and half closed pattern. Ge gen tang contains ma huang, gui zhi, and bai shao.

The images of Trigrams

Yin and yang are symbolically represented by lines.

A solid line represents a yang quality. A broken line represents a yin quality.

Using one line to graphically illustrate the different qualities falls short when trying to describe different types of natural phenomena. That’s where the trigrams and hexagrams come in.

By adding another line to the existing yin and yang lines gives birth to four different combinations. These correspond with the directions of the compass.

Utmost yin corresponds with the north, utmost yang corresponds with the south, yin within yang corresponds with the east, and yang within yin corresponds with the west.

Adding another line gives birth to the eight trigrams. The eight trigrams symbolize the eight natural phenomena: sky, earth, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountain and lake.

To learn the different trigrams the Three Character song can be used. It goes like this.

Qian heaven’s continuous three

Kun earth’s broken six

Zhen thunder’s wide-mouthed jar

Gen mountain’s bowl overturned

Li flame’s center is empty

Kan water’s center is full

Dui lake’s top is lacking

Sun wind’s bottom is broken

Each trigram has a meaning that is useful for Chinese Medicine.

Heaven, the Creative

Creativity, Heaven, Light, Warmth, Sun, Drying, Male, Utmost Yang

Earth, the Receptive

Receptive, Earth, Dark, Cold, Female, Utmost Yin, Source of Myriad things

Thunder, the Arousing

Arousing, Shaking, Triggers Change, Destruction and Construction, Earth on top of Heaven. Earth affecting Heaven

Mountain, Keeping Still

Stillness, Earth towering towards Heaven, Forever

Fire, the Clinging

Consuming energy, Clinging, Radiance, Breaking Free, Departing

Water, the Abysmal

Abysmal, Gorge, Downward, Yang moves yin

Lake, the Joyous

Joyous, Open, Creation below Change

Wind, the Gentle

Gentle, Obedient, Ground, Heaven affects Earth

Richard Wilhelm has this to say about the trigrams.

From, The I Ching on Early-heaven Xiantian

Heaven and earth determine the directions. The forces of mountain and lake are united. Thunder and wind arouse each other. Water and fire do not combat each other. Thus are the eight trigrams intermingled.

He describes the trigrams in pairs.

Qian heaven Creativity is paired with Kun earth Receptive

Zhen thunder Arousing is paired with Gen mountain Stillness

Li flame Consuming is paired with Kan water Abysmal

Dui lake Open is paired with Xun wind Gentle

Zhen and Gen have two yin lines combined with one yang line, Dui and Sun have two yang lines combined with one yin line.

Zhen thunder

Gen mountain

Dui lake

Sun wind

Utmost yin and utmost yang are paired with mixed yin and yang. Li flame has yin in yang, and Kan water has yang in yin.

Qian heaven

Kun earth

Li flame

Kan water

The trigrams can also be organized by their yin and yang qualities.

From the Classic, True Transmission of Medical Principals, Of Qian and Kun’s six children, the youngest and the oldest are all imbued with biases of Qian and Kun. Only the middle male and female have received their natural disposition from Qian and Kun. People receive the cardinal qi of their original nature from heaven and earth and thereby come to life. Kan and Li therefore act as the root of establishing life.

Heaven and earth give birth to six children.

The three male offspring, Zhen thunder, Kan water, Gen mountain.

The three female offspring, Sun wind, Li flame, Dui lake.

Kan and Li are the most important because they act as the root of establishing life.

Kan water is a yang child of heaven and earth. Its original nature is yang. It is the yang nature of water that brings it to life.

Li flame is a yin child of heaven and earth. Its original nature is yin. It is the yin nature of fire that allows the flame to burn.  

Taxation

A taxation pattern indicates that yang and yin are both deficient. Yang fails to warm, move, and transform, while yin fails to nourish, anchor, contain, and moisten the yang.

In chapter 6 there are three different patterns and formulas described.

Each contains abdominal urgency or tightness as one of the key symptoms. Yet each pattern is slightly different.

Chapter 6 Line 13 For deficiency taxation with abdominal urgency, palpitations, nosebleed, abdominal pain, dream emission, soreness and pain of the four limbs, vexing heat of the extremities, and dryness of the mouth and throat, xiao jian zhong tang is indicated.

Xiao jian zhong tang treats a pattern where the yin fails to contain the yang which becomes excessive and starts to float up and out.

The weak yang fails to control the heart yang which leads to palpitations. The rising heat causes nose bleed, vexing heat in the extremities. The rising heat damages the yin and fluids even more. The yang fails to transform the yin fluids which causes dryness of the mouth and throat. The demise of yin and fluids causes dryness, which leads to abdominal urgency and pain, soreness and pain of the extremities, and dryness of the mouth and throat.

Chapter 6 Line 14 For deficiency taxation, abdominal urgency, and the various kinds of insufficiency, huang qi jian zhong tang is indicated.

By looking at the nature of huang qi we can understand this formula. Huang qi is a both a yang and yin herb. It is yang in that it raises the tai yin spleen clear qi to the 100 vessels. Which is a way of saying it tonifies and nourishes the whole body. It is also a yin herb in that it nourishes the clear qi needed to nourish the whole body.

Chapter 6 Line 15 For deficiency taxation manifesting with lumbar pain, lesser abdominal hypertonicity, and inhibited urination, ba wei shen qi wan is indicated.

In this line urination is mentioned and not in the other lines giving the impression that this is a key symptom. Weak yang is failing to transform yin fluids and cold has closed the bladder. Excessive yin dryness is causing back pain and tightness in the abdomen.

Shen qi wan also treats excessive urination due to cold failing to transform fluid which drop out the lower burner as excessive urination.

Chapter 13 Line 3 For men with dispersion-thirst yet with profuse urination who drink one dou of water and urinate one dou, shen qi wan is indicated.

Why is it impossible to know the essential nature of Dao?

How does it move and what is the connection to the five agents.

Hat tip to L. Jarret for a clear explanation.

Humans are the Dao.

So when humans talk to explain about the Dao, they are the Dao explaining itself. The process of humans speaking about the nature of existence is the Dao judging itself, which then loses its chaotic nature.

The act of naming changes pre-heaven to post-heaven which changes the Dao from eternal to short lived.

To give anything a personal name is to give it a destiny and life. By naming the myriad things they become illuminated and thus drawn out of the void of chaos.   

The eternal Dao is unchanging, yet it does have an understandable movement. This is reflected in the statement from the Dao De Jing.

I do not know its proper name but will call it Dao. If forced to give it a name I shall call it great. Great means moving away, moving away means far away, and far away means ultimately to return.

The movement of the Dao is described by Laozi as ziran, which means self- becoming. At every moment the Dao spontaneously becomes itself, forever leaving from and then returning to its original nature.

In the Dao’s primordial journey, the fourth stage is always a returning to itself.

Dao gives birth to one, one gives birth to two, two gives birth to three, which gives birth to the myriad things.

The basic numbering of the universe is described in Chapter 42 of the Dao De Jing in four stages. It is moving from the unity of non-being Dao to being the myriad things.

The fifth stage is the axis around which the Dao’s movement occurs. The movements of the Dao are the cosmological basis for the five agents.

1 is water which is great

2 is fire which is moving away

3 is wood which is far away

4 is metal which is return

5 is earth which is the axis

The first stage of Dao corresponds to water which represents the potential basis for all manifestations in life.

The generation of fire from water corresponds to moving away from its original nature.

These two poles generate a third stage which corresponds to wood. The function of wood is to blend water and fire back into one by harmonizing.

The fourth stage signifies a return from the duality of fire and water back into the original nature of Dao as unity.

This cycle is the cycle we see in the seasons and a day. It is broken down into twelve earthly branches.

Every day and every year the Dao moves away, and returns to itself.

Putting the Emperor back on his throne

Putting the Emperor back on his throne expresses the treatment strategy of connecting the person to the heavens, great void and spirit brilliance.

In Chapter 66 of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic states, The ruler fire relies on being honored, the minister fire relies on its position.

The ruler fire is referring to the Emperor. The emperor is associated with the heart. Yet, the heart is the only organ without the flesh radical, all the other organs have one, suggesting that the heart is something without form.

The heart also has form and this form is the yin aspect of storing jing which is its ming men aspect.

So the heart has form and no form at the same time. The ruler fire connects us to the changes of the five elements or five aspects and to yin and yang. Without this connection there would be no transformation and changes.

This ruler fire is an aspect of yang qi called spirit brightness and its location is the great void.

Now, the five periods and yin and yang, they are the way of heaven and earth, the fundamental principals governing the myriad things, father and mother to change and transformation, basis and beginning of generating and killing, they are the palace of spirit brilliance.

The palace brilliance is the five elements and yang and yin. The palace brilliance is the starting place of change and transformation. We need to be connected to this brightness because it is what keeps us healthy.

Wang Bing, That union and dispersion of qi are immeasurable, that generation and transformation of the myriad beings is inexhaustible, all this is possible only because of the movement of the spirit brightness.

The spirit brightness resides in the heavens.

Now, as for the operation of change and transformation, in heaven it is darkness, the darkness generates the spirit.

Wang Bing, Darkness is distance, is hidden and deep, hence it generates the spirit.

The great void spreads the true magic power of qi. The myriad beings depend on the great void to come into existence.

Wang Bing, The true qi of the great void reaches everywhere. The true qi supports generation and existence. Hence anything that depends on qi and contains magic power embraces true qi to be alive.

The great void is to say, the region of emptiness and darkness, that which is filled by the true qi, the palace of spirit brightness. The true qi is infinitesimal, nothing is to far for it to reach.

Cold, dryness, fire, dampness, heat, and wind, these are the yin and yang of heaven. The three yang and three yin act on their behalf.

Tai yang cold, yang ming dryness, shao yang fire, tai yin dampness, shao yin heat, and jue yin wind act on the behalf on the six qi in heaven.

It is the formless heart that connects us to the heavens, and the great void where the spirit palace resides.

We must honor the ruler fire when we treat for this is the source of all change and transformation. When we treat we restore the function of yang qi and nourish the yin qi. This is putting the Emperor back on his throne.

This connects us the great mystery of the Dao stated in Chapter 1 Dao De Ching.

The Way that can be walked is not the eternal Way. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth.

The named is the mother of all things. Therefore: Free from desire you see the mystery.

Full of desire you see the manifestations. These two have the same origin but differ in name.

That is the secret, The secret of secrets, The gate to all mysteries.

Chapter 74 Wang Bing, The ruler fire does not rule a period.

Lin Yi, The ruler fire exists by name, the minister fire exists by position. That is to say the ruler fire does not rule a period.

Zhang Jiebing, The difference between the five periods, or elements, or agents, and the six qi, is that the periods are based on the heavenly stems, and the six qi are based on the earthly branches.

Five elements are based on the 10 heavenly stems.

The six qi are based on the 12 earthly branches.

Ruler fire is found in the six qi on earth, in the shao yin heart. The minister fire is found in the shao yin heart. The ruler fire rules in name only. We give respect to it by calling its name. It is the connection to the Dao and nature. 

In the great void is the grand qi. The grand qi is the qi of creation, it sustains the great void.

Zhang Jiebing, The grand qi is the principal qi of the great void. All the myriad things depend on it. Hence the earth is located in the middle of the great void because it is supported by the principal qi.

The six qi are the transformations of the grand qi. That is, the activities of the six qi between heaven and earth.

Zhang Zhicong, That is to say how the six qi move between heaven above and earth below. Cold, dryness, fire, dampness, heat, and wind are qi without physical appearance in heaven. Hardening, drying, warming, moistening, steaming, and moving are their corporal manifestations on the earth.

The six qi enter the earth. Hence they let the corporal qi receive non-corporal qi of the great void and thereby generate and transform the myriad things.

Every time we treat we make sure our patients are connected to this ability to transform and change. That is putting the Emperor back on his throne.

Chapter 49 Explanation of the vessels

Chapter 49 Explanation of the vessels

The channels are being described with the hexagrams and 12 branches. Fabulous!

Using the Hexagrams from the I Ching gives us a visual image of the relationship between yang and yin. The six divisions used in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic each has its own unique image.  

Tai yang

 Tai hexagram, Yin branch, the first month

The first month is tai yang, is yin. In the first month the yang qi comes out above while the yin qi abounds. The yang has not reached its own turn of domination yet.

Wang Bing, During the first month, the third yang qi is generated. It is responsible for setting up the yin as the first month of the year. The third yang qi is called tai yang. Hence the text states, Yin is major yang.

The first month occurs in the winter which is a yin time period. Yang qi is rising and there is a balance between yang and yin. Three yang lines and three yin broken lines. Notice yang ming contains more yang lines than tai yang. Yang ming is seen as a combining and closing of yang qi.

Shao yang  

Bo Hexagram, Xu branch, the ninth month

In the ninth month the yang qi is exhausted and the yin qi abounds.

The shao yang abounds. As for abounds, that is an external sign of the condition of the heart.

In shao yang the yang qi is being born again after it has been in storage for recovery in the winter. It is exhausted and goes into storage and it is reborn in spring.

Yang ming  

Gou Hexagram, Wu branch, the fifth month

The yang ming is wu. The fifth month is the yin of the abounding yang. When the yang weakens in the fifth month and when the first yin qi rises it starts to struggle with the yang. At this time the yang abounds and yin qi is added to it.

Yang Shangshan, The yang ming is the head of the three yang. Wu is the fifth month, that is the time when the yang abounds and when it is extensive and brilliant.

Wang Bing, The yang qi descends and the yin qi rises. Hence, the text states, the yang abounds and the yin qi is added to it.

Tai yang represents all the yang in the body. The yang channels come together on the surface in the upper back. Tai yang ensures that yang qi opens which supports function on the surface and in the interior. Yang ming represents this yang qi in the interior.

Tai yin  

Fu Hexagram, Zi branch, the eleventh month

The major yin is zi. In the eleventh month the qi of the myriad beings is all stored in the center.

Wu kun, In the eleventh month, the yin qi greatly abounds. Hence the text states tai yin.

Tai yin opens to receive the descending yang qi. It represents earth, and earth is a combination of soil and water. Remember the trigram of water contains a yang line which symbolizes that the original nature of water is yang. Trigram 6 - Water. 

Shao yin  

Kun Hexagram, Hai branch, the tenth month

The shao yin, that is the kidneys. In the tenth month all the yang qi of the myriad beings is harmed.

Ma Shi, The shao yin is the beginning yin. The tenth month is the second month of winter, it too, is shao yin.  

Yang qi has gone completely into storage in the winter. This is represented by all yin broken lines.

Plain Questions, The kidneys rule hibernation. They are the root of sealing and concealing, the dwelling place of essence.

The kidneys rule storage and concealment, thus they are the root of sealing up and concealing. They seal up and conceal the yang qi. They seal up and conceal the essence.

Plain Questions, Yin stores essence and is compounded into being, yang defends the exterior and acts to consolidate.

Jing is neither yin nor yang. Essence is yang qi in stored form. Or in other words, the stored form of energy is essence.

Jue yin  

Guai Hexagram, Chen branch, the third month

Ceasing yin is chen, the third month is the yin in the yang.

Zhong Zhicong, The third month is a time when yang abounds while jue yin rules the qi. Hence, this is yin in the yang.

Plain Questions, The liver is the root of dismissal of the ultimate, baiji, and the domain of the hun soul.

Jue yin is the root of the baiji, dismissal of the ultimate, and the bai ji brings about the transition from a state of storage to a state of rebirth. It re-initiates the entire cycle of birth, growth, harvesting, and storage.

Ba, means to cease or to end. Ji, means ultimate or extreme. The ultimate, ji, is the maximum or farthest point. The end of a traditional Chinese year, coinciding with the end of winter, is the most extreme point in that year, and corresponds with the chou period.

Plain Questions, The liver holds the office of general, planning and deliberation originate from it.

By getting rid of polarities, the liver also does away with conflicts and chaos. The general and the root of dismissal of the ultimate are referring to the same thing.

Bai hu tang

Bai hu tang

shi gao 48 zhi mu 18 geng mi 18 zhi gan cao 6

When in cold damage the pulse is floating and slippery, this means there is heat in the exterior and cold in interior, bai hu tang governs.

Bai hu jia ren shen tang

shi gao 48 zhi mu 18 geng mi 12 zhi gan cao 6 ren shen 9

When after taking gui zhi tang a great sweat has issued, there is great vexation and thirst, and the disease is unresolved and the pulse is surging and large, bai hu jia ren shen tang governs.

When tai yang is struck by heat, it is summer heat. When there is sweating and aversion to cold, with body heat and thirst, bai hu jia ren shen tang governs.

For thirst with a desire to drink, with a dry mouth and tongue, bai hu jia ren shen tang governs.

Bai hu tang and bai hu jia ren shen tang correspond with the west, autumn, yang ming and earth.

Yang ming represents dryness in the body. When pathological heat and dryness cause yang qi to rise the closing mechanism of yang ming fails. When yang ming fails to descend a separation of yang and yin can lead to death.

This line from the Shang Han Lun describes the start of the separation of yin and yang.

When in cold damage the pulse is floating and slippery, this means there is heat in the exterior and cold in interior, bai hu tang governs.

The heat in the exterior and cold in the interior is the separation and disease. Yang qi must be present on the surface to support function but not excessively. The interior must be warm for normal function, not cold.

The formula bai hu tang and bai hu jia ren shen tang are both used to treat a yang ming channel pattern and a summer heat pattern.

Yet there is a difference between a yang ming channel pattern and summer heat.

How can one formula treat two different patterns of disease?

By looking at the associated lines in the Shang Han Lun and Jin Gui Yao Lue we see the difference between the key symptoms clearly.

182 Question: What are the outward signs of yang ming disease? Answer: there is generalized heat effusion, spontaneous sweating and no aversion to cold, but aversion to heat.

In a yang ming channel pattern there is aversion to heat.

Chapter 2 Line 26 Tai yang disease with heat stroke is known as summer heat stroke. For sweating, aversion to cold, generalized heat, and thirst, bai hu jia ren shen tang is indicated.

In a summer heat pattern there is aversion to cold. 

This illustrates the difference between the two patterns.

In a summer heat pattern tai yang is damaged and yang fails to warm the surface giving rise to an aversion to cold.

In a yang ming channel pattern the heat effusion causes sweating. The excessive loss of fluids causes dryness, which gives rise to more heat. The dryness and heat prevent yang ming from making its physiological descent into the interior. This is dangerous and a high fever can cause death.

One formula to treat them both.

Cooling the heat and replacing the fluids is the key to treatment. Shi gao is pungent cold dispersing of heat. Zhi mu is cool nourishing of fluids. Geng mi replaces fluids of earth. Zhi gan cao is tonifying and nourishing of fluids in earth. The use of ren shen replaces fluids while raising the original qi and gathering qi.

In summer heat patterns earth becomes damp and cold. Which is why there are so many modern formulas that treat summer heat and the pivot of earth.

Harmonizing

In herbal medicine we often talk about herbs that harmonize. Harmonize what? The key herb that harmonizes is zhi gan cao. You know, stir fried with honey Glycyrrhizae radix.

Zhi gan cao is often paired with other herbs like, da huang, gan jiang, gui zhi, or bai shao. Why is that?

Zhi gan cao is a sweet, mildly warm herb that nourishes and tonifies. It is an earth herb that nourishes fluids and tonifies function of the stomach and spleen. It tonifies the center.

Plain Questions, The Center generates Dampness, Dampness generates Earth, Earth generates Sweet, Sweet generates the spleen, the spleen generates the flesh.

It transforms, Earth corresponds with transformation and the sweet taste.

The last eighteen days of each season belongs to earth. This implies that without the earth to give birth to the myriad of things there would be death. This also implies that without earth the seasons could not transform from one to the next.  

Plain Questions, The spleen, does not have a season that it governs.

Plain Questions, The spleen is earth, it rules the central region, it holds fast to the four seasons, and extends to the four viscera. Eighteen days from each season are entrusted to it, but it does not have a season all its own.

Dong Zhongshu called the spleen, The lord of the five elements. It is the ruler because all the other elements cannot come into being without earth.

The spleen and earth makes the transition of yang and yin qi possible from season to season.

Because it is the ruler it corresponds to the element earth, and it is used for the same reason in herbal medicine.  

Sweet warm zhi gan cao is the herb that is the most representative for tonifying the earth. The sweet taste tonifies but also nourishes, it allows for the smooth transformation of qi.

Did you ever wonder why there is no zhi gan cao in the formula da chai hu tang?

Da chai hu tang

chai hu 24 huang qin 9 ban xia 12 sheng jiang 15 da zao 9 bai shao 9 zhi shi 6 da huang 6

It would hold back the needed descending action of the yang ming stomach family. After the stool has started to move and there is no more heat and vexation, naturally put it back in and remove the zhi zhi, and or the da huang.