In order to understand how Chinese medicine views immunity, specifically autoimmune disorders and epidemic diseases, we need to understand the central role of the phenomenon of xiang huo/ministerial fire and how it was defined in several schools of thought, including the Shang Han Lun, Wen Bing Xue, Fire Spirit School, Li Dongyuan’s Spleen/Stomach current and in the medical classics such as the Su Wen and Nan Jing. 

Each of these systems maintained that ministerial fire or mingmen/lifegate had a central role which could be expressed in different ways through different systems and phenomena. Specifically the Shang Han Lun and Wen Bing schools developed immunological maps for understanding progressions of epidemic evils and chronic complex disorders.