Trusting the Fundamentals- Using Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Epidemic Disease

With Guest: Heiner Fruehauf

Episode Qi135

For those of us in North America the world changed about three weeks ago as the Covid-19 began to make itself known. And as Chinese medicine practitioners begin to close their in-person practice and open up video visits with patients for herbal consultations there is an increasing interest in how we in the modern world, facing this particular pandemic, can use our medicine to help.

Heiner Fruehauf has been translating some of the writing and communications of his friend and colleague Dr Liu Li Hong who has been in Wu Han treating patients for a couple months now.
In this conversation we touch both on the one size fits all formulas that have shown effect in protecting staff from infection, and the importance of applying our Chinese medicine 辨證理論 bian zheng li lun, principles of differential diagnosis.

Listen into this report from the front lines of China, and how we can help our patients and each other as it is now our turn to confront this epidemic.
In this conversation we discuss:
  • Background on the report from china
  • 合病 He Bing, 並病 Bing Bing, 兩感Liang Gan
  • In the preface of the Shang Han Lun we find that disease will not always follow a neat progression, and is descriptive of what is being seen with Covid-19 patients
  • Ma Xing Shi Tang can be considered for a Tai Yang/Yang Ming complexity syndrome, where there is cold on the outside and heat on the inside
  • Overlaps been Shang Han and Wen Bing perspectives
  • Do you really trust the medicine?
  • Using the prescriptions as a kind of reference tool for your own clinical reasoning
  • Attending to the syndromes that arise as a response of the body in relation to internal or external influences
  • The contradiction between a standardized formula being very effective in protecting doctors in a hospital and the perspective that differential diagnosis is essential for effective treatment
  • The critical distinction between 法fa, method and 方,fang prescription
  • The 五運六氣 wu yun liu qi perspective on why the “regular” flu was also severe this year
  • Being infected on the psycho-social-emotive level
  • Qing Fei Pai Du Tang
  • Some precautions practitioners can take for themselves
  • How it is the that Taiyang Urinary Bladder channel is a pre
Heiner Fruehauf
I have researched Chinese culture and medicine for 40 years, and was originally trained as a sinologist at the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Due to personal health challenges, I engaged in the full-time study of the clinical aspects of Chinese medicine in 1989. After several years of post-doctoral studies in Chengdu, I founded the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

My interest in preserving some of the traditional features of Oriental medicine led me to develop a database dedicated to the archiving of classical knowledge, where a selection of my publications can be accessed at ClassicalChineseMedicine.or). My strong belief in the clinical efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine lead me to establish the Hai Shan Center, a clinic in the Columbia River Gorge specializing in the treatment of difficult and recalcitrant diseases. Out of concern over the rapidly declining quality of medicinals from mainland China, I founded the company Classical Pearls that specializes in the import of wild-crafted and sustainably grown Chinese herbs (
Links and Resources

Visit Heiner's site on Classical Chinese Medicine.

His herb company Classical Pearls has some unique formulations.  

Articles about Covid-19 that Heiner has translated:
Dr Liu Li Hong's Report From Wu Han
The Dampness Epidemic: Exploring the Clinical Characteristics of COVID-19 in Shanghai

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I’ve heard it said that for something to be heard — it takes someone to speak and another to listen.

Michael Max

Acupuncturist, Podcast Host
About me
I've always been more drawn to questions than answers. And the practice of medicine seems to more lively when infused with a sense of curiosity and inquiry. It's been delight and honor to be able to discuss our medicine with so many thoughtful and skilled practitioners.

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