A Description of the Therapeutic Uses of Aconite
by the Ming Dynasty Scholar-Physician
Zhang Jingyue (1583-1640)

The flavor of Fuzi is pungent and sweet, and becomes extremely salty if immersed in brine. Its qi is very hot. This herb, therefore, carries within the energy of yang within yang. It is described as toxic. Its (toxic) effect is controlled by Renshen (ginseng), Huangqi (astragalus), Gancao (licorice), Heidou (black beans), Lüxijiao (green rhinozerus horn), Tongbian (human urine), Wujiu (Herba Stenolomae), and Fangfeng (siler). While stimulating movement, which generally tends to rise toward the surface, it is the nature of Fuzi to draw energy downward. It has the ability to Translated by
enter all channel networks, and is therefore often likened to the effect of alcohol. Both can dispel Heiner Fruehauf
deep-seated cold at the surface and the interior, serious counterflow problems, and severe shivers. Fuzi warms the center, strengthens reproductive function, vitalizes the five zang organs, and draws escaping yang-qi back into the body. It can rid the body of a wide variety of symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, severe gastrointestinal disorders characterized by relentless diarrhea, regurgitation of food, inability to swallow food, pain and bloating in the abdomen or epigastric region, loose stools, cramping of the extremities, eczema caused by cold pathogens, coldness in the stomach, roundworms, cold phlegm, abdominal pain radiating into the testicular region induced by cold, numbness caused by wind-damp, carbuncles and toxic lesions of a yin-cold nature, chronically weeping sores that are due to internal cold, separation of yin and yang, throat closure, yang deficiency, obstructed bowel movements and/or urination, irregular menstruation due to cold influences, and infantile convulsions. Fuzi can draw upflaring fire downward in a major a description of the therapeutic uses of aconite by the ming dynasty scholar-physician zhang jingyue (1583-1640) way, and thus subdue symptoms of deficiency has reached an extreme and yang is completely heat. It is a prime herb to help Renshen (ginseng) exhausted—when they use it then it is already and Huangqi (astragalus) accomplish their goal, to late! Moreover, if Fuzi is not prescribed in a and makes an excellent companion to Baizhu shanghan situation with pre-existing internal (white atractylodes) and Dihuang (rehmannia). cold, where the patient is cold inside and out, No matter whether the disease is at the surface or how can this kind of patient ever be rescued in the interior—as long as the pulse is feeble and later? I commend to you that the words of these has no spirit, and there are signs of qi deficiency two masters represent the ultimate truth—you with the absence of real heat, this herb should be absolutely must heed them.
used urgently and immediately. The only situation where extreme caution should Therefore Yu Bo (1438-1517) once said: “Fuzi has be exercised is in pregnant women. Fuzi can have the capacity to bestow a fundamental quality of a very strong abortive effect. When combined invigorating vitality, and an effect that can break with the juice of chives and inserted into the ears, through all engrained blockages. It can draw it can cure deafness.
all qi tonic herbs deep into the twelve channel networks, and thus restore severely dissipated original yang. It can draw blood tonic herbs deep into the blood layer, and thereby moisten And how is it avoidable for any type of medicine and nourish depleted original yin. It can draw to not have some kind of toxicity? Although many diaphoretic herbs into the region of the pores, and a materia medica’s jargon implies that “such and thus drive out wind cold chronically lodged at such an herb is toxic,” and “such and such an the surface. It can, finally, entice warming herbs herb is non-toxic,” I am of the opinion that this is into the lower burner in order to eliminate deeply entirely not true, and that there is no medicine that entrenched cold damp.” is entirely without toxicity. Namely, hot materials contain heat toxins, and cold materials contain Wu Shou (fl. 15th century), moreover, stated: cold toxins. If any of them is used inappropriately, “Fuzi is the most important herb for all types they will manifest a toxic effect in the body of the of disorders characterized by yin (cold). It must patient. This is the same with common food items be used in all epidemic shanghan disorders that used in everyday life: originally they represent have progressed into one of the three yin stages something that can nourish the body, but when (taiyin, shaoyin, jueyin), as well as all situations a particular one is used in excess or at the wrong of internal cold, including patients with intense time, they can also poison a person.This is all the fevers—as long as the pulse is deep, Fuzi should more true for medicinal items, which by their very be prescribed. It is especially pertinent that Fuzi is nature are not neutral in their flavor and effect. administered without fail to patients exhibiting a However, the degree of their toxicity varies, and combination of cold extremities and feeble pulses. their use is only temporary. Consider this point This herb has the power to push out yin and bring carefully!back yang, and thereby revive the forces of life and bring people back from the brink of death.” In recent times the use of Fuzi in epidemic shanghan conditions of a yin nature may come to mind, but most doctors in the end don’t dare to prescribe it. Thus they wait until yin pathology


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