THE FIRST LECTURE ON SHANG HAN LUN
Updated: Feb 6
Most ancient texts and writings are in the form of the stanza. This is so because writing material was scarce, and writing and copying the books was tedious. Stanza, which is in the form of a poem, is called a Gatha. You will find most ancient writings in the form of a Gatha because these are easy to read and memorize. Similarly, Zhang Zhong Jin wrote down his teachings in short articles that consist of only a few lines. There are a total of 398 articles, and we are going to cover every single one of those, one by one.
Let’s start the first article!
1. The exogenous section's symptoms are floating pulse, headache, stiff neck, and aversion to cold.
This article explains the main symptoms to define the exogenous problem. When you see any of these symptoms, know that this is an exogenous condition. There are three main observations to make; depth, strength, and rate.
For checking the depth of the pulse, you have to see if it’s a floating pulse or a deep pulse. Having a deep pulse is a good result but what you have to look for is the floating pulse. Place your thumb softly on the pulse, then press it firmly. If the pulse gets weaker, then it is a floating pulse. The blood vessel that carries the blood is a complicated membrane. When the Exo section suffers from an infection, the blood will flow more towards the body's surface; the blood vessel's membrane becomes more firm. So when you sense the pulse, the blood which is at the surface floats to the touch.
While checking the pulse's strength, we have to see if the vibration is soft or firm. A faint pulse indicates weak metabolism, and a strong pulse indicates excessive metabolism. This is more like sensing a rubber water tube. When you press the tube, the touch feels soft if the flow through the tube is weak, and if the flow is strong, the tube becomes firm and hard for touch. If the pulse is firm, the patient is normal. If the pulse is soft, it means that the patient is suffering from fever. Checking the pulse is essential to determine whether the ailment is exogenous or endogenous. Once the person is suffering from Exogenous ailments, fevers do occur. In Exo-fever, the patient feels chills and aversions too cold and wind.
The second article.
2. Exo-symptoms of fever are sweating, aversion to the wind, headache, and stiff neck.
When the metabolism is weak, we call it a Yin symptom. If the metabolism is excessive or over the normal, we call it a Yang symptom. So how do we conclude whether the exogenous is a Yin or a Yang? We can differentiate by checking the strength of the pulse and fluid osmosis. If the pulse is soft and weak, it is a Yin. And if it is firm and stable, it is a Yang. Now talking about osmosis; If the metabolism is weak, the fluid osmosis control is weekend; this leads to external and internal sweating. External sweating causes no trouble, but the inner sweat is discharged into the gastrointestinal system, which causes nausea, vomiting, and loose motions. To determine whether the problem is exogenous or endogenous, we will have to check the patient's tongue and pulse. If the pulse is floating and the tongue does not change much in texture and color, then the problem is exogenous. If the color of the tongue changes to red or dark or the coating turns into various colors like yellow, dark, etc., the problem is Endogenous.
Summarizing this, a weak pulse and wet skin or voluntary sweating indicate inefficient metabolism and are classified into Yin symptoms.
The third article.
3. Exo-symptoms: Whether the fever is developed or not, as long as the patient feels an aversion to cold, headache, stiff neck, body pains, and nausea, it is an Exo-yang symptom.
If the skin is dry and not sweating and the pulse is tensed, then the symptom is a yang symptom; this indicates excessive metabolism. This is an important observation that you should always remember to differentiate between Yin and Yang exo-symptoms. For exo-yang, sometimes the ailments do affect the lung lining and stomach lining, causing asthma or nausea and vomiting. Similar symptoms exist in exo-yin, so you have to check the pulse and the tongue carefully; the soft pulse is Yin, and the firm pulse is Yang.
The fourth article.
4. On the first day of Exo-symptoms, the illness symptoms are exogenous.
When the exo-symptoms are present, we should be careful so that the symptoms do not get worse. If the patient's emotion turns restless, agitated, and illogical, it is a bad sign because it means that the disease is developing inward. To prevent diseases from turning bad is an essential therapeutic skill, which I’ll teach in the future sections.
The fifth article.
5. On the second or third day, the exo-symptoms will turn into endo-symptoms.
If the problem is inner yang or inner yin, the treatment cannot be purely exogenous. We can conclude whether a condition is serious by checking for exogenous and endogenous symptoms. If the sign is exogenous, then nothing to worry about. But if the symptoms are endogenous, it becomes a matter of concern.
Now we have reached the end of this blog. If you have any doubts, read the above article repeatedly until you understand it. Because revision of learned subjects many times leads to discovery and new learning.