clinical observation and treatment of thousands of people with HIV
and AIDS, clinical evaluation of the tongues of over 600 people with
HIV infection and/or AIDS, and the use of pulse diagnosis, I have come
to understand that HIV infection is triggered by Toxic Heat, and initially
attacks the Spleen and Stomach Organ Systems. They are the central
organs involved in this complex syndrome and must be supported throughout
the entire course of the disease even when the HIV-related disharmonies
expand to involve all the other organ systems as well.
The Impact of Toxic
Toxic Heat creates
the initial flu-like symptoms that for many people accompany initial
exposure to HIV. And as the Toxic Heat moves more deeply into all systems
of the body, it triggers a whole variety of common HIV-related symptoms:
Pruritis (chronic itching), sore throats, increase in body temperature,
feeling like you always have a fever even if one is not present, a
nagging sensation that something toxic is present in the body.
Toxic Heat is also
responsible for the cascade of Organ System disharmonies in the Spleen
and Stomach, Kidney and Liver, which contribute to the major complication
associated with HIV infection, wasting. (For detailed information on
nutritional management and therapy see the Diet Therapy chapter beginning
on page? and the three-part Wasting Program: The Daily Diary; The Cleansing
Diet; the Anti-Wasting Program in The HIV Wellness Sourcebook.)
Role of the Spleen
and Stomach Systems in the Progression from HIV to AIDS
The Spleen and Stomach
Systems govern the digestive process, transforming food energy and
fluid into Qi and Xue (blood). As a result the Spleen and Stomach moisten
and nurture all the other Organ Systems and channels.
When Toxic Heat disrupts
the Spleen and Stomach Systems, it triggers symptoms that are associated
with the very early stages of HIV infection. These symptoms include:
- inability to gain
weight no matter how much is eaten
- bloating, gas and
flatulence and/or dull pain in the abdomen
- needing to take naps
- frequent infections.
In addition, symptoms
of early stage HIV infection, such as dry skin and lips, set in when
the flow of fluids and food essence from the Spleen and Stomach to
the Lungs, is disrupted. Often dryness in one area, triggers dampness
in another: Spleen Qi deficiency with dampness manifests in early neuropathy
(a numbness or tingling sensation often in the hands or feet, lymphadenopathy
(swelling and inflammation of the lymph nodes), vaginal candidiasis
(yeast) infections, more serious loose stools and/or bloating. Spleen-related
diarrhea is prevalent with loose stools and abdominal bloating after
eating. Skin rashes, commonly associated with early-stage HIV infection,
are a result of Spleen Qi deficiency and Lung disharmonies interacting
with the essential substances.
Spleen Qi deficiency
also causes deficient Xue (blood). Once this sets in, the door is opened
to allow Toxic Heat to enter the depleted blood and penetrate ever
deeper into the body. The body them moves into more advanced stages
of HIV/AIDS. If unchecked, an increasing depletion of the fluids of
the Spleen (the Spleen's Yin aspect) leads to overall Yin deficiency,
which in turn can lead to Yang depletion.
Although today the
combination of Western and Chinese therapies can arrest (for some period
of time) the progression of HIV infection to end-stage AIDS for many
people, when the cascade of Spleen-Stomach triggered disorders causes
overall Yin deficiency and Yang depletion, wasting becomes severe.
Diarrhea stops. The skin becomes drier and drier. Thirst is unquenchable.
Fevers spike every afternoon and often in the evenings. The pulse is
rapid, thready and superficial. This is a terminal stage of HIV disease.
(ED: Yes it is called HIV disease.) Acupuncture and herbs are used
to support the Shen (spirit) and the passing over to a new phase of
and Opportunistic Infections
Toxic Heat and the
Spleen-Stomach disharmonies weaken the body's overall resistance to
assault from both internal and external disease factors and allow other
organ systems to become involved. This leads to the development of
HIV-related disorders and opportunistic infections. For example, if
Toxic heat assaults the Lungs, PCP (Pneumocystis Carinii pneumonia)
may develop. Xue disharmonies are associated with Kaposi's sarcoma
(a proliferative, circulatory cell disease that causes skin lesions);
dampness is associated with candidiasis (yeast infections) and fungal
invasions; Yin deficiency and Xue deficiency are associated with MAC
(Mycobacterium Avian Complex) ; dampness and Spleen and Lung disharmonies
may manifest as chronic sinusitis; disturbed Shen that is associated
with mental disturbances that accompany HIV/AIDS; and many more.
Each of these syndromes
is detailed in the individual treatment programs in the last section
of the book. However, I wanted to make the point here that looking
at HIV disease as an assault by Toxic Heat that starts with damage
to the Spleen and Stomach, and moves on to include other organ systems
and Essential Substances, provides a concise method of describing,
diagnosing and treating the whole constellation of HIV-related diseases.