Six Evils ( Liu Yin )
The key "six evils" (Liu Yin) were defined as:
- Wind (Feng) - associated with spring.
- Cold (Han) - characteristic of winter.
- Heat (Re) - summer heat (Shu), linked to high summer.
- Dampness (Shi), most associated with the rainy season in late summer.
- Dryness (Zao) - typical of autumn.
- Fire (Huo) - like heat, is associated with hot conditions. However, but while heat is a seasonal "evil" occurring only in summer-like weather, fire can occur at ony time.
Symptoms of six eveils
These evils each had their characteristic symptoms. For example, fevers and chills from hot and cold or a shifting pattern of pain related to wind. An attack of dampness was characterized by symptoms like runny catarrh or oedema, while heat was the explanation for summer fevers. A cold spring was regarded by Chinese physicians as likely to herald cold related disorders.
These six evils can also attack in combination. Most common are wind-cold and wind-heat, perhaps with the addition of damp.
Herbs to combat the six evils
The major herbs for exterior conditions ( i.e. to counter the six evils ) are classified into two groups:
- warm / pungent herbs for dispelling wind-cold; and
- cool, pungent herbs for wind-heat.
Among the warm, pungent group are:
Ma Huang, Gui Zhi, Zi Su Ye (perilla leaf, Perilla frutescens), Fang Feng (Ledebouriella sesloides), Qiang Huo [Notopterygium incisium), Gao Ben, Bai Zhi, Sheng Jiang, Xin Yi Hua (Magnolia liliiflora), and Cong Bai (spring onions, Allium fistulosum).
Herbs for clearing wind-heat are:
Bo He, Niu Bang Zi, Sang Ye, Ju Hua, Ge Gen, Chai Hu (Bupleurum falcatum), and Sheng Ma (Cimicifuga foetida).
In TCM, childhood ailments are regarded as simple exterior conditions. Only those herbs suggested for these conditions should be used at home. Give one-quarter of the adult dose for children aged 3-4. Increasing to one-half by age 9-10. For very young children seek professional guidance.
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