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Why Classic Herbal Formulas?


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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi. I’m Sharon Weizenbaum and I’m so happy to be there in this first episode of a year long series of short talks. And I want to heartily thank the American Acupuncture Council for hosting me to do this lecture. And let’s go to the slides and I’ll tell you more about myself when we get there.

Okay. So why classic formulas is the title of this lecture. And then we’ll go deeper throughout the whole year. And I personally have a dedication to and fascination with classic formulas, and I hope to inspire practitioners to delve into this more. So why classic formula. So what we’re going to do in this short lecture is first a little bit about me and then answer the question.

What does classical mean in terms of Chinese medicine and what doesn’t it mean? And what’s special about being a classical herbalists. And we’ll look at it as a way of seeing and also the formulas. So first a little bit about me. I live on a farm in Western, Massachusetts with a bunch of horses and dogs and goats and chickens and sheep.

And and I am also the director of the White Pine Institute, which is an educational organization through which I teach the graduate mentorship program a two year herbal training program that has a focus on classical herbal medicine. And I’m also the founder of, and on the advisory board of an organization called the White Pine Circle, which is an educational, a membership organization that develops a lot of community around Chinese medicine, east Asian medicine.

So I’ve been practicing for about 40 years now. I was in my early twenties when I graduated from acupuncture school, which was the New England School of Acupuncture in Massachusetts, long time ago. Okay. And here’s just a, some of my. Influences. And I lived in mainland China for a little while and studied with Joe show me and her main disciple of Dr.

And then these other doctors. All classic formula doctors, there’s a puncture line and all of these I’ve invited to teach here at the white pine Institute. In fact Dr. Foo young laying there with a couple of our dogs is in front of our clinic and Institute. , Dr. Hong Kong has come so.

Study with him. And I’m below some of my other deep influences. Andy Ellis, Eric brand, your onside men. So that’s a little bit of background about my training, my teachers it’s very broad. Okay, so this idea of the classics, I’m going to look at this character DJing a little bit, and that’s the character for.

The word classical. And so let’s look at this character and get an idea of what does classical. Actually mean, what does this character Jim mean? We know there’s the nature being the Nanjing, the eating the Shannon Bonzo soldiering, and it’s all this character that we translate usually as classical.

So this character is made up of the silk radicle and the silk radicle has to do with. Threads. And we have here, these silkworms that are exuding these threads. And so here are some characters below that all have to do with thread, like things. So whenever you see the silk radical, which is in the character DJing, it has to do with lines and threads of things.

And just to mention that the character Jane is also the character for. Channel like in the channels, in our bodies, the meridians. And so these, lines, these threads like patternings. So this character has the silk radicle in it. And the other part of the character is this character Jean and. Jim, he refers to the water rivers that flow beneath the earth.

It is the water that flows in the dark underworld. So that’s a quote from the show in Janesville, which is a hun dynasty dictionary. So you have this idea of these threads that are flowing underground, like the meridians of our body, that that are invisible to us. And yet they also give rise to the life that is visible, so we can think of the channels as under neath the skin, but also invisible.

But the channel, the health of the channels has everything to do. What goes on the surface of the body that we can see, we’ll bring this back to these classical texts here. This gene also has to do with the longitudal longitudinal, which is these vertical lines on the planet. So we have some sense of these lines being vertical.

So we have, the human body and the channels run off. Exclusively vertically, not totally because we have the channel of the diversity, but so we have some sense of this idea of vertical. Also the character DJing, it refers to the warp of a weaving. We want to understand that the war of the weaving is these lines that are there.

That then when we go back and forth, the weft, that’s where again, the visible is and the warp ends up being invisible. So we could say the name aging is this DJing, this war. This invisible, these invisible lines that these, this gene, this classic is connected to this tapestry of Chinese medicine that we understand today.

There’s so much that comes out of the classics and the classics are this underlying wisdom. That perhaps was even received vertically from heaven and this underlying visit, intelligence that is, that informs everything we know about Chinese medicine, so we talk about all kinds of acupuncture techniques and things like that, but it all goes back to the classics.

So everything that I’ve studied, it was connected to the classics, everything we’ve, all studies is connected to the closet. Some way. So there this uniting thread, so we could say that this character Jane is an information pathway that’s coming vertically back and forth from, and back to heaven.

It’s invisible, but it’s the foundation for all that’s visible. So I think that’s very beautiful and here are some other. Uses of the word, like the nature thing, the Tanya eating the, my DJing, the pulse classic, and some other meanings of words that include the character. Jane. We even have the six confirmations, the Leo Jean, the warp of a weaving and.

So I’m going to go on. We don’t have a lot of time, so I’m going to just run through. So here’s some of these classics, what I consider classics. So the is the classic that tells us all about the individual herbs, the mythical Tanya. Is about the formulas potentially that’s booked that doesn’t exist.

So we don’t really know, but it’s the decoction classic, the emerging and the nation are talking about the principles, underlying the message. The principles that underlie the method of acupuncture and the method of acupuncture is expressed in the Nanjing. The method relating to herbs is in the Shanghai sobbing.

And so the being one of course is made up of the and the . And these are all from. Around the Han dynasty or earlier, all of these books are, 1800 years old or more. These, I consider classical texts. And so in general, when we’re talking about classics, we’re talking about things that came from about 2000 years ago as the foundation for what doing.

What is not classical are things that came much later. And, I know when I went to school that the idea of classics, it was very vague. And so you could consider anyone else. School of the spleen and stomach that’s classical, but actually that was so much later the, when being texts weren’t until the 15 hundreds, John Janua is modern compared to the classics and so all of that.

Things came much later and they’re all built off of the classics and all of these texts when being texts that are written by a variety of people judging you age, you done, she leaned on you and they all they all knew the classics very well and they extrapolated from them and even things, that.

That we think of as like using the master a couple points for the teaching, the extraordinary channels of the eight vessels. Even those are, the master couple points weren’t associated with the Bama until about the 15 hundreds, so a lot of these things are talked about as classical and it’s important, I think to recognize.

That a lot of these are not classical, so for me, I don’t consider the wending texts as classical texts. They’re rooted in the classical texts, but they really were not written about until much, much later. So what is it about the classics that I love so much? For me the nature itself, wasn’t very accessible until I started to realize that it’s about being right with sick with time, that the whole idea of the honky nature.

The whole book is telling us how to be right with time, and there’s getting up in the morning and going to sleep, following the movement of the road, the apparent movement of the sun around the earth know this, that it’s talking about, these various expressions of time in relation to space and that health is being right with that.

And what happens when you’re not right with it? You know what happens if. The sun comes up it’s seven in the morning, but I wake up at three o’clock. In other words, my body is going too fast for time, or, I am meant to poop every day, but it takes me three days to book like my body’s going too slow for time.

So health is always seen as what is our relationship to these rhythms in time, everything from the pulse to the breath, to the digestion to waking and sleeping are all. About being right with time. Illness is about not being right with time. So this is a view of the body and unhealth of illness and also of what to do about illness.

And so when you start looking through things from the classical perspective, this is what I really love so much is looking at my patients, looking at the world through this perspective of being right with time. And Here’s a nice picture of this like rotation of union, which is about all of the ways that time is moving inside of our bodies.

And we have this relationship with nature and that health is about being right with those rhythms and that our healing gestures are about helping people align with the natural world around them. If you ha, if you start with this perspective, then you look at the Hong Dean aging, which is our foundational, theoretical texts, all kinds of things.

Start to make sense about that text. What it’s actually talking about. That sounds jibberish, if you don’t have this perspective. So once you have this perspective, it starts to be like, wow, what they’re talking about is so profound. And so time is something we attuned to and aligned with.

It’s always cycling and managing everything. How do we attune to it first by orienting ourselves with time and space within the center of our own bodies, our own beings, all we then can we feel this great turning, how it’s working in our bodies and we can start to see it in other people. This is the perspective that working from the class.

Offers us for me. And here’s a picture of this is the yellow emperor in the middle, and you can see that the yellow emperor is facing south as cheapo, instructs us. He says the siege faces south. And what that means is that if you want to be a C. You should pay self and once you face self, you can see here’s.

How long do you facing south? And that means he’s facing the red Phoenix here. And look at what’s on Hong D’s right? Is the white time. And so if you’re facing south, you might notice that the white tiger is going to be the west direction. And the green dragon is going to be in the Eastern direction. And what is going to be behind you is the north, which is the black turtle.

Now you might notice. These white tiger and green dragon are the names of herbal formulas. And so if you take this perspective and start reading the Shanghai lawn through this perspective, you start seeing that these formulas are designed to establish right relationship with the directions, so I’ll give you an example.

We have this blue, green dragon decoction, shouting long term. And what is the direction of the east? The direction of the east is too. It’s Ty young, the great young it’s supposed to bring the young up and out. So what if you don’t have a good relationship with the Eastern direction? You’re not going to go up and out and bring all this warmth up and out in your mind.

So your relationship would be Eastern direction is your body is actually going to slow. And what do you get? You get cold because that young isn’t rising in you. So what do you do about it? You bring in the punch in heart. Ingredients of the minor blue-green dragon decoction and that pungent warmth. It’s not just that it expels cold from your body, which it does, but it also reestablishes your right relationship with the movement of the east.

So that’s just an example then you can, for me, when I discovered this cyclical relationship, With the Shanghai online, it was like a domino effect. Like all of the ideas about the confirmation started to fall into place like boom. Now I understand what these formulas are doing.

I want to really offer this beautiful perspective and that when we start seeing in this way, we’re using formulas to reestablish the person’s right relationship with nature. So this is the world view of the classics. Later texts do not have this worldview very much at all. What happened was we started to be very separate from the university.

We started to have the inside and the outside, like where pathogens are outside of me and they can get in me and I have to get them out of me. That view took much more precedence over time. So from a classical perspective, we don’t exactly get rid of pathogens. It’s our body’s job to get rid of pathogens and what we do with.

Herbs and the classical formulas express this beautifully is we re-establish the person’s body function. So when I give shouting tongue I’m reestablishing a function, and the result of that is that the cold pathogen is resolved. So from a classical perspective, we’re never going around and trying to.

Get rid of, or kill any pathogens. We’re reestablishing the body’s function to do that for itself. And it’s very powerful. So another aspect, I’m not sure where we are in time. I think we’re just coming towards the end and I’m open to any questions, but the other reason for why classical formulas, I hope I’ve inspired you a little bit with my enthusiasm for it.

But another Another reason for it is that all of the formulas, the architecture of the formulas are designed to reestablish this body function. And there they work in a sort of lock and key kind of way. So what you find when you start looking at the body through this perspective and seeing the formulas is when you get it right.

When you see it correctly and you reestablish the function with the formula, that all kinds of things start to resolve automatically, and I’m going to stop my sharing here. And so rather than just going into build G or. Move cheesy or supplement the kidney. Your. Going a step deeper into this invisible realm and reestablishing the function so that those organs started functioning well on their own.

So there’s often a rather miraculous untiring or resolving of issues beyond just going directly for the organ or directly going through. What I hope to do in this series is go into some of these formulas and how they work. And and each time discussing this particular worldview and how the formulas fit in with that.

And this is also, I want to mention the White Pine Circle or membership organization, because there are many practitioners there that are teaching. Once you’re a member, you so many wonderful. Little resources and workshops that also elaborate on some of these ideas. So I want to invite you guys to check that out.

All so that’s it for my talk. And if there’s anybody who would like to ask a question, I’m really happy to answer.

Okay. I don’t see any questions, but I will be back in a month and we’ll probably be looking at that one of my favorite formulas, which is great. Your tongue in that. Okay, thank you.