Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text

By Paul U. Unschuld | Go to book overview

then the qi [above the] earth is not clear, the plain fields are dark and the herbs flourish early.

People suffer from shivering and shaking with cold. They tend to stretch and yawn frequently. The heart aches, and the [chest has a feeling of] propping fullness. The two flanks have internal tightness. Beverages and food do not move down. The throat is blocked and impassable. Eating results in vomiting. The abdomen is distended and one tends to belch. If one can [relieve nature] behind and [passes] qi, [this] causes a comfortable feeling as if [that abdominal distension] had diminished. Body and limbs are all heavy. 61

When the ceasing yin [qi] controls heaven, wind encroaches upon what it dominates. As a result, the Great Void is darkened by dust. Cloudy things are disturbed. When the cold generates the qi of spring, flowing waters do not freeze [any longer].

People suffer from pain in the stomach region. {Exactly at the heart} Above, there is propping fullness in the flanks. The diaphragm and the gullet are impassable; [hence] beverages and food do not move downward. The base of the tongue is stiff. What is eaten is thrown up again. [Patients suffer from] cold diarrhea, distended abdomen, semiliquid [stools], conglomerations, and strangury. These diseases originate in the spleen. If the [movement at the] surging yang is interrupted, [the patient] dies and is not treated. 62


4.
THE FIVE PERIODS, THE SIX QI, AND THE CLIMATIC CHANGES

In the preceding sections of this survey of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi as it underlies the seven comprehensive discourses in the Su wen, we have outlined some basic concepts associated with the five periods and six qi. We have distinguished among the five periods the annual period, the host periods, and the visitor periods, and we have distinguished among the six qi the host qi and the visitor qi, with the visitor qi including the qi controlling heaven, the qi at the fountain, and the intervening qi. Together the five periods and the six qi form a theoretical system to explain laws presumably ruling the generation of climate, of living beings, and of illnesses.

-436-

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