Siu Keung, a tall young guy with a thin physique, came to me one day with a cold and also bearing slightly sweaty palms.
He was looking for remedies for an easily-upset stomach that causes frequent diarrhea.
“Every day I have loose and watery stools, and often accompanied by abdominal pain and diarrhea. It is no joke when I say that I sometimes have to rush to a washroom as quickly as a gust of wind,” he said.
What he described was a typical case of the cold-dampness type of diarrhea. As he spoke in a nasal voice, I suspected that he might have a persistent rhinitis, probably the wind-cold type.
“Oh, I thought it is due to my never-ending cold as it is sometimes jammed or runny with clear fluid. But I am surely afraid of the cold weather.”
Meanwhile, he also told me about his itchy throat. It looked red and obviously indicated a mild inflammation.
He was puzzled, so I began to explain why he could be having an inflammation while his body was cold and damp.
“If you always sleep late, or eat too much spicy, hot or fried food, your body would accumulate a lot of heat and the throat is usually the most vulnerable part from which the inflammation begins.
“Though you don’t have a sore throat yet, your dry, itchy throat would soon become one very soon.”
Since his problem of diarrhea was more pressing, I advised him not to eat any raw or cold food. Oily food which can cause excessive bowel movements has to be avoided.
He should have congee, I told him, while adding that he may need to cut down on the consumption of vegetables and fruit slightly if necessary. It is important to keep the stomach warm.
I also wrote him a prescription for boosting his spleen functions and expelling cold from the body.
If the condition persists, I told him that he should consider acupuncture as it could help facilitate the energy flow to revitalize and remove damp and cold from the spleen.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 26.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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