A 34-year old expectant mother of Asian decent told me she felt dizzy frequently but she was having no other symptom; she thought it was a matter of weakness. She came in for a consultation, and after taking her pulse I told her that she had flu. She almost yelled, “How come I don’t have flu symptoms?” I responded to her, “In TCM, we say that before you become physically ill, your pulse is ill first.” She almost yelled, “I have no body aches, no sore throat, no fever.” I said, “Because your body’s defensive power has been able to handle the virus. Now after fighting fiercely, the virus and defensive cells are dead, and they are filling up your blood system, just as in a field of war, where many fighters have died by a river, their bodies can stop the water’s flow. Your body is continuously dispatching cells like soldiers to defend your body, that’s why your pulse is rapid and floating (about running from 88 – 100/p/m). The body’s defensive power did not let the enemy go deeper; the fighting was concentrated on the exterior part of the body.
So, I comforted her, and I was ready to prescribe some herbs for her when she stopped me and asked a question, “Will the herb have side effects for my baby?” I said, “No, don’t worry!” Then she said, “You told me I have a virus. Are you going to kill the virus for me? And will it affect my body?” I replied, “’Killing the virus’ is how modern medical language speaks about it. In the language of TCM, however, I tell you that I need to clear up the heat for you and detoxify you. The herb I will prescribe is very common, and it has been proven to be safe for pregnant women since the Ching Dynasty. What year is it now?” She said, “2001!” But she still had to ask one more time, “The thing is, the herb is common, so how come it can get rid of my problem?” I said, “When patients get sick, I can help them get better. This is the value of TCM ~ if you know the cause of problem, you can get better.”