[Herb-students] The thick and thin of it all
fbernall at standingpost.com
Thu Jan 10 16:34:19 EST 2002
Al, this is very interesting. Would you consider Shu Di a thick herb and Sheng di a
thin herb? Or He Shou Wu a thick cloying type of herb?
Al Stone wrote:
> You probably know that herbs come in a variety of temperatures. There
> are herbs that
> are described as very hot, hot, slightly hot, warm, slightly warm,
> neutral, slightly cool,
> cool, slightly cold, cold and very cold.
> But did you know that herbs can also described as thick and thin?
> This isn't in reference to the shape of the cut of the herbs, but has to
> do with their thermal
> A thick cool herb for instance has a cool property, but it is a slow
> sustained action
> whereas a thin cool herb is quick to act, but it doesn't last very long.
> When I learned about this, I couldn't help but think about something I
> learned in a
> meteorology class in college called "thermal capacity" which is the
> capacity of a substance
> to maintain its temperature.
> I think this can be best described by looking at something with a high
> thermal capacity
> (analogous to the thick herbs) and a low thermal capacity (like the thin herbs).
> When you boil water and you turn off the heat beneath it, the water
> remains so hot that if
> you put your finger into it within the first few minutes, you'll burn
> yourself. However if
> you take something wrapped up in aluminum foil out of a hot oven, it
> will be cool
> enough to touch in a few seconds.
> Water has a higher thermal capacity than foil. If water were an herb,
> it would be thick. If
> foil were an herb, it would be thin.
> Clinically, the thin herbs are used for acute conditions that require a
> strong burst of
> medicine that will quickly address the pathogenic influence. External
> conditions of Wind
> Cold and Wind Heat would be examples of acute pathologies that benefit
> from thin
> herbs. Examples of thin herbs would be Ma Huang (Rx. Ephedra) and Bo He (Hb.
> Thick herbs on the other hand are utilized for chronic Deficiencies and
> other long term
> pathologies that benefit from their slow, but steady actions. Gan Jiang
> (Baked Ginger) is
> an herb that provides a constant warming action that is appropriate to a
> long term
> Although most books don't really mention thick and thin in their
> assessments of herbs, it
> is wise to at least be aware that of the importance of lining up the
> needs of the pathology
> with the herbs that are best suited to address those needs. External,
> acute, and Excessive
> pathologies will benefit from the fast though brief acting medicinals
> while Internal,
> chronic and Deficiency type pathologies will benefit from the slower
> acting but sustained
> actions of thick herbs.
> Which herbs are thin, and which are thick? I dunno, what do you think?
> Al Stone L.Ac.
> <AlStone at BeyondWellBeing.com>
> Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
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