This is part thirteen of a series about the use of the Yijing in clinical practice of Chinese medicine.
Last time we started applying the language of the Yijing to Chinese Medicine. The crucial skill is ability to translate back and forth between hexagrams and Chinese medicine concepts—diseases, formulas, treatment strategies, you name it. To that end I presented a list of such concepts and promised some answers this time. They are listed below, along with explanations.
First, though, I’d like to share a recent experience I had with the Yi in a health context.
I was up late, then found that I couldn’t fall asleep. After a while I stopped tossing and turning and got up. I decided to consult the Yi on how best to handle the sleepless spell.
It’s response: Hexagrams 6 Song and 14 Da You. This, I realized, was a diagnosis: I was experiencing counterflow (6) which prevented the fire from descending (In 14, with Li above Qian, the spirit is flying high).
In fact I was aware of a stuck/stagnant feeling in my stomach area. Banxia Xiexin Tang works great for this kind of digestive-related insomnia, but unfortunately I didn’t have any on hand (how I miss having a bulk herb pharmacy at home!).
So instead, I asked the Yi “what is the mediicne for this kind of stomach counter flow?” Much to my surprise, it returned Hexagram 27, alone. 27 Yi depicts a mouth, and implies nourishment (more broadly, anything that goes into the mouth or comes out of it).
The Yi seemed to be suggesting a midnight snack.
I wouldn’t have thought this would help, but I obliged. Sure enough, after a small meal, the qi started to descend and I slept like a babe.
Onto the answers from last time
No doubt there are other ways these ideas could be expressed in hexagram form—in fact I’d love to see what you’ve come up with! Just comment at the end of this post, or visit us and chat on Facebook.
- Taiyang – Hexagrams 12 Pi and 33 Dun. These hexagrams correspond to the two Taiyang organs, the Bladder and Small Intestine. Pretty straightforward.
- Phlegm – Hexagrams 2 Kun and 30 Li. 2 Kun is earth, implying dampness. 30 Li is fire. When fire “bakes” dampness down, it congeals into phlegm.
- Blood – Hexagrams 44 Gou and 29 Kan. 44 Gou corresponds to the Heart. 29 Kan means water: thus the “water of the heart.” Another possibility: Hexagrams 37 Jia Ren and 30 Li, suggesting “home of the spirit” (since the blood contains the shen).
- Guizhi Tang – Hexagrams 63 and 12. 63 Jiji suggests harmony, while 12 Pi corresponds to the Taiyang bladder fu and channel. Together they can suggest “harmonize the surface”—though 63 and 33 Dun would be equally appropriate.
- Jing – At least two possibilities. Hexagram 29 Kan is water, deep, dark, condensed and full of hidden yang, much like Jing. Or, Hexagram 61 Zhongfu suggests ‘center’, ‘core’ or ‘essence.’
- Qi – Hexagram 1 Qian or Hexagram 11 Tai. 1 Qian suggests pre-natal qi, while 11 Tai suggests post-natal qi via the Lung connection.
- Shen – Hexagram 30 Li corresponds to fire and spirit, so is an obvious choice. however, Hexagram 44 Gou resonates with the Heart and so also makes sense here.
- Spleen 2 (acupoint) – A Fire point on a (yin) Earth channel, hence Hexagram 36 Mingyi, composed of Fire within Earth.
- Renshen – Hexagrams 1 Qian and 61 Zhongfu. 1 Qian dials up Spleen qi, while 61 Zhongfu suggests the center. In the Tangye Jing, Renshen is classified as an ‘earth herb of the earth class,” which places it at the very center of the mandala. Moreso than any other single herb, it represents the hub (61) of the wheel, the central axis through which we connect to heaven (1) and earth.
- Mahuang Tang – Hexagrams 58 Dui and 12 Pi, i.e. “open the surface”
- Banxia Houpo Tang – One possibility is Hexagrams 62 Xiao Guo and 11 Tai. 62 Xiao Guo contains the phrase “down, not up” and therefore the idea of descent, while 11 Tai corresponds to the Lung, qi, and harmonization. A plausible pair for a qi-level formula that harmonizes and descends or disperses stagnation in the throat (governed by the Lung).
- Wind-Damp Bi Syndrome – I haven’t figured out how to capture this one with fewer than three hexagrams—for example 57 Xun (wind), 2 Kun (damp), and 47 Kun (stagnation, implying pain according to the dictum “where there is lack of flow, there is pain”).