[Perspectives of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine]Changes in environment and living habits with age…

[Perspectives of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine]Changes in environment and living habits with age…


Text ◆ Su Ziqian (clinical oncology specialist/TCM physician)

(Hong Kong News) The so-called cold or hot is just a common saying. Does it mean whether a person is cold or hot? Of course, this dichotomy is not accurate, and it also mistakenly simplifies Chinese medicine to the level of a TV show.

So, according to Chinese medicine, cold and heat are divided into cold and heat. What exactly are cold and heat? What is the so-called heat? Generally speaking, heat will be generated in places with strong Qi. For example, teenagers, children, or healthy adults who often eat hot food such as fried or chocolate will really develop mouth and tongue sores (prickly heat), sore throats, or Acne on the face.

Stomach deficiency caused by long-term drinking of cold drinks

This is because after eating these hot foods, the energy is indeed too high. These “heat energy” will burst out through some places, which will affect the skin or mouth and throat. So where is the hot place? The answer is stomach heat.

In fact, sores on the face, sore throat, and sores on the mouth and tongue are all closely related to the meridians of the stomach.

After eating hot food, excessive heat energy accumulates in the stomach and is dissipated through the meridians of the stomach.

This will be the symptom of heat in this area.

The heat that the general public usually refers to is stomach heat to a large extent.

Young and strong people generally have strong yang energy in their bodies. This is a normal physiological factor. Therefore, after eating hot food, it becomes hot. What has been discussed above is what Chinese medicine calls heat. In fact, it includes a little bit of what Western medicine talks about, thermal energy calories and physical heat. For example, if you use some heat energy to detect sores on the surface of a sore throat, the temperature of these places will indeed be slightly higher than that of other body parts. This is because the inflamed blood vessels dilate and the blood flow increases, resulting in high local temperatures.

In the past, Korean research found that using a human body heat energy detector, it was actually found that different meridians and internal organs have slightly different heat energy distribution in different people.

Therefore, the heat mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine can actually be detected using modern science.

In addition, some people may be born with a weak constitution, or the bodies of vegetarians who do not eat meat generally have less heat, or patients who eat ice cream and drink cold drinks for a long time may have a weak and cold stomach. If you eat more raw and cold food, symptoms such as cold hands and feet and stomach pain may occur.

One person can have three types of cold and heat

In addition to the stomach, different internal organs can also express different symptoms of cold and heat. Note that cold and heat can occur in the same person at the same time.

For example, I recently treated a patient who was suffering from cold and dampness in the intestines and stomach, and was prone to symptoms of swollen face, swollen hands and feet, and gastrointestinal diarrhea. But later, after getting coronavirus, I developed very serious throat inflammation and ulcers. This situation can be said to be a deficiency of cold in the middle and lower parts, or a deficiency and cold in nature, but there is heat in the upper parts and lungs.

In the treatment of this situation, we need to take into account both the heat in the lungs and the throat, but also the deficiency and coldness of the stomach and intestines. The natural constitution is also weak and the kidney qi is also deficient and cold. Therefore, when taking medicine, the heat-clearing medicine should not be too strong, or the heat-clearing medicine should be used some medicine that is more likely to go into the throat and lungs rather than into the stomach and intestines.

Therefore, even though the heat-clearing and detoxifying drugs that everyone usually hears about, such as Forsythia honeysuckle, Prunella vulgaris, and Huanglian, their action points are different. This is what traditional Chinese medicine teaches that medication should be administered according to the meridians and targeted.

In addition, there was a patient with gynecological cancer. After surgery, he developed fever and abdominal pain (local heat) due to an infected cyst in his lower abdomen. However, the patient was thin and his hands and feet were cold, indicating insufficient kidney yang. In addition, because of daily stress at work and little sleep, he suffered from insufficient liver blood and weak heat. Therefore, in this situation, the intersection of three types of cold and heat appears at the same time, and the treatment must also take into consideration.

Recurrent eczema and itchy scalp

In addition, there is an elderly man in his 80s who has suffered from eczema repeatedly in the past two years, especially on his scalp, which is so itchy that he can hardly sleep. During the consultation, it was found that there were many rashes on the scalp, as well as hydration and bleeding. But the tongue itself is dark and cracked, which is due to cold and qi deficiency.

This kind of patients are different from young patients with eczema who use heat-clearing and detoxification. The elderly use heat-inducing downwards, which leads the heat of the scalp back to the middle and lower parts. They need to reduce foods that can cause heat to the skin from their diet. After three weeks of treatment, they have improved. If this kind of patient relies heavily on heat-clearing methods, his body will become more tired and his hands and feet will become cold.

It is recommended to eat less garlic if your skin is itchy

Many people think that if they have a stomachache after eating cold ice cream, they can just eat two packs of chili potato chips to neutralize it, but this is not the case. The balance of yin and yang in traditional Chinese medicine is not that simple.

Beyond the scope of medicine

For example, for patients with itchy skin, I generally recommend eating less garlic until the skin condition is cured. But the patient asked why? There is no problem with using ginger for cooking or drinking ginger tea. In fact, garlic and ginger are both hot foods. The heat of minced garlic travels through the epidermis, and many people will feel itchy skin after eating too much. The heat of ginger travels through the stomach, and the points of action are different.

In addition, a person’s tendency to be cold or hot will vary with age and living habits (for example, people who sleep less for a long time will have lung yin deficiency and liver blood deficiency, resulting in yin deficiency and heat), the weather of the place where they live, and Or due to the influence of disease, the hotness and coldness of various parts of the body may change.

Due to space limitations, we cannot elaborate on the complexity of cold and heat in traditional Chinese medicine. But from the above examples, you can see that it would be too naive to simply classify cold bottom and hot bottom.

Some readers hope that in addition to cold bottom and hot bottom, I will explain what “dry bottom”, “confused bottom” and “exposed bottom” are. I am afraid that these are beyond the scope of medicine. Please ask relevant experts for advice.



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