The Gilbert Clinic

Medicine of the Han – Part 4 – The Secrets Inside the Golden Chamber

November 2014 | by Jonathon Gilbert

A patient with arthritis is a patient with a condition that didn’t appear overnight. Their joints are in pain and they are tired from a lifetime of work. Their body’s own systems of regulation have become incapable of dealing with the day to day activity of keeping everything in check.

Arthritis can happen from overuse of a joint, it can be caused by incorrect diet, or it can occur from years of plain hard work. Whatever the cause or causes, what can be said is that arthritis is not the result of a bacteria or a virus. It is not the result of being shot or blown up. It is not caused by bad drinking water. In fact, it is not the result of something that requires an immediate response. And our reductionist, symptom treating healthcare system is completely bamboozled trying to effectively manage it.

Modern medicine does get close to a solution, only to realize much later that the medication has terrible side effects. The harder we try, the less able we are to find a solution that is effective and safe. This is the situation the Han Chinese physicians found themselves in all those years ago, when as a result of wealth or excess, they began to encounter patients with autoimmune conditions.

Chronic, debilitating, progressive conditions, like arthritis, left those ancient doctors perplexed. So perplexed were they that it wasn’t until the end of the Han Era that the solution was found. What follows is a sample of that solution.

Zhang Zhongjing

Zhang Zhongjing
Author of the
Shanghan Zabing Lun
Wikimedia Commons
/ Public Domain

Chinese physicians created an analogy that an autoimmune (or chronically) compromised immune system, could be regarded as ‘cold.’ When the patient was in this state, it was said that the body suffered from ‘interior cold.’ Now in many autoimmune conditions, there are many symptoms of pain and inflammation. These were regarded as manifestations of heat. A person suffering from these was said to have ‘exterior heat.’ And therefore, a person who had a disease where the symptoms were raging but the body could no longer respond meaningfully was said to have ‘a febrile (heat) disease caused by interior cold.’ Hence the first part of the third classic of Chinese medicine was called The Treatise of Febrile Disease Caused by Interior Cold.

Now we can answer the question of why the ancient Han dynasty physicians were so adamant about the learning and practicing of the 3rd Classic. When understood, the Shanghan Zabing Lun is nothing short of the methodology, the herbal formulations, and a step by step guide to treating autoimmune and nervous system disorders. Contained in its pages are the secrets of the Golden Chamber, they are the answers to the questions that are concerning and confounding us in American healthcare today. Pretty cool stuff; pretty hot stuff.

Coming up, I’ll be reporting from the weather desk about the gifts of Autumn. Until then, be well. ♥

About the Author Acupuncturist

Certified in both acupuncture and Chinese herbology, Jonathan Gilbert is a recognized expert in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He completed extensive post graduate training as well as a traditional apprenticeship. Read more of Mr. Gilbert’s credentials and written works.

Copyrights and Credits

Blog text is Copyright ©The Gilbert Clinic, Inc., 2014. Excerpts and links are allowed with credit and direction to original content. For full text reprint permission or a medical consultation with Jonathan Gilbert, contact us at (301) 215-4177 or Image credit: ancient Chinese medicine book with herbs image ©ft2010 / Adobe Stock.

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