The Six Evils & Etiology

Chinese herbalogy shows a uniquely relationship between the zang-fu organism and mechanism of the human body, as important as between the human body and the natural environment. All energies within our body are in a relatively balanced state in order to maintain the body's normal regular physiological function. When this balance device failures disease occur . Through long term life practice, the ancient Chinese realized that there are many factors which may bring about imbalances in the human body and thus disease; climate abnormalities, pestilence, emotional exudation, injury by improper diet or overload, , insect-poisoning, etc. All of these factor contribute to a imbalances within the human system.

Instead of to exam a sick tissue or cells , The etiology of Chinese herbology used clinical manifestations as evidence, through the analysis of symptoms and signs of a disease, one can find its causative factors. For our study of Chinese etiology, we pay more attention to ourselves with the properties of pathogenic factors and the characteristics of how and why they cause disease. Chinese herboligy holds that the occurrence of a disease not only depends on exogenous factors, but more importantly is decided by body resistance. Chinese medicine terms all exogenous pathogenic factors as "evil", while the body's is relatively weak, "evil" will have an opening to attack "good " energy. Therefore the invasion of evil energy is due to the insufficiency of good energy, this is the root of Chinese herbal etiology.. The evil is a fundamental element for the occurrence of a disease. The development, transformation, and prognosis of a disease depend on the forced balance of good energy and evil energy.

From the long time of clinical practice, Chinese Herbology Summarizes all different kind of evil energy into six kinds. Those Six Evils are regarded as the primary external causes of diseases. As a old encyclopedia of Chinese Medicine explains, "When the six environmental energies of Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, Dryness, and Fire grow extreme or occur out of season, they become cause of disease and are known as the Six Evils."

With the Chinese herbal views, exposure to the Six Evils of extreme environmental conditions knocks the human energy system off balance, on other hand, impairing resistance and immunity and opening the door to attack by all sorts of debilitation external factors, not only to the germs. To the modern medicine: to isolate a germ that "causes" the disease is center of the discussion. According to the herbal philosophy, what the disease's relations to the fundamental energy factor, is more important, because a same germ can cause a different disease within a different environmental energy system. To find out what is the unbalance within human energy and environmental energy has more clinical value than identifying the germ. A germ may sicken some people with a certain disease, but may not make others sick, who take preventive measures to avoid or counteract exposure to aberrant external energies, maintain balance, and harmony among the vital energies that regulate their internal defense systems.

In traditional times, the Six Evils were associated mainly with various extremes of weather and unseasonable climatic conditions, such as intense heat spells, excessive humidity, sudden cold, wild winds, and so forth. Today, modern technology and urban lifestyles have introduced even more virulent forms of the Six Evils into our living environments: including air-conditioning, central heating, fluorescent lights, microwave radiation, artificial electromagnetic fields, polluted air and water, and so forth. These factors constitute an intensive, nonstop assault on the balance and complete unity of human energies, the first casualty of which is invariably the immune system. Conventional modern lifestyles cause even more cumulative damage to human resistance and immunity than natural forces do, paving the way for all sorts of pathogens and poisons to enter and corrupt the human body.

Wind: The first of the Six Evils is wind. It is the fundamental environmental energy of spring, when the wind usually comes across as a mild and refreshing breeze. In other seasons, however, wind can become the carrier of peculiar energies associated with those seasons. Summer has its hot winds, winter is associated with its cold winds (which blows open the gates to influenza), and autumn, which has its dry winds. Symptoms of wind injury include fever and chills, profuse sweating, coughs, and sinus congestion. Wind also carries dust, germs, smoke, and other pollutants and pathogens. Due to its swift and sudden nature, wind is regarded as the Chief of the Six Evils. In addition to external wind, Chinese medicine also recognizes internal wind appearing from severe imbalances in the vital energies of the internal organs. For example, inflammation of the liver can cause excess liver wind, which ascends to the head and then causes such symptoms as headache, blurry vision, insomnia, and dizziness. Because wind's is carrier of all evils, chasing wind factor is common use in clinical practice. For example, when treat a cold, it is always important to put some herbs (sliverů) to cut off the evil source -- wind.

Cold: Cold evil is associated with winter and water. Sudden exposure to cold when resistance is low can cause chills and fever, cessation of sweating, and bodily pains. If it settles in the abdomen, it causes diarrhea, cramps, and flatulence. Internal cold arises from deficient yang energy in the vital organs and can cause cold hands and feet, diarrhea, and loss of sexual vitality. The most established modern form of external cold evil is air-conditioning, while the primary modern sources of internal cold are excessive consumption of ice-cold beverages and cold yin foods, and synthetic drugs that suppress various vital functions, such as barbiturates and antibiotics.

Heat: Heat injury results from exposure to excessively hot air temperatures for extended periods and usually occurs in summer. Symptoms include headache, chronic thirst, hot spells, profuse sweating, and irritability. In other seasons, heat can combine with other environmental energies and give rise to damp heat, dry heat, or wind heat. Today, central heating is the main artificial source of heat evil and usually takes form as dry heat.

Dampness: Damp evil is traditionally associated with the humidity of late summer, when it takes form as summer rains, humid weather, morning mists, damp ground, and mildew. The human system is particularly to damp injury during sleep, and its symptoms include fatigue, lethargy, cold sweat, rheumatic pains, and bloating. Internal dampness arise mainly from excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea, sugary soft drinks, in-cold fruits, and sweets, all for which damage the internal organs and suppress vital functions, particularly in the pancreas, spleen, and adrenal glands. Today, the most pervasive source of internal damp evil is diet, especially junk foods made with refined white sugar and starches, which are some major contributing factors is in diabetes, blood toxemia, and immune deficiency.

Dryness: Dry evil is associated with autumn, results from insufficient moisture in the air, and is particularly injurious to the lungs. In combines readily with other aberrant energies to form dry cold, dry heat, and dry wind, all of which can cause various respiratory disorders. Since the lungs (yin) are paired with the large intestine (yang), dry injury can also cause hard stools and constipation. Insufficient bodily fluids give rise to internal dryness, causing such symptoms as constant thirst, dry throat, chapped lips, dry skin, and nausea. Smoking and air pollution are the most damaging modern forms of internal dry evil, while air-conditioning and central heating are major artificial sources for cold dryness and hot dryness.

Fire: Fire injury results from prolonged unguarded exposure to extremes of any one or more of the other five seasonal energies. Thus fire evil refers to any extremely abnormal environmental energy that causes injury beyond the usual symptoms associated with the original condition and starts causing permanent problems such as emphysema or cancer, then it is regarded as having become Fire evil. Symptoms of internal Fire are caused by over stimulation or abuse of the internal organs, such as ulcers from the stomach Fire of over consumption of rich foods, cirrhosis from the liver Fire of alcohol abuse, cancer from the lung Fire of smoking, and so on. The antidote to evil energy is pure energy, and medicinal herbs can be used both creatively and preventively to suffuse the human system and all its vital organs with pure energy, which drives evil energies out of the system and establishes a strong defense against their return. The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine states, "Where evil energy gathers, weakness occurs. When pure energy collects internally evil energy cannot cause damage to the organs. When pure energy flourishes, evil energy flees. When evil energy is driven out of the system, pure energy grows."