4. Methodology of TEN
4.2 Therapy, Prevention and Salutogenesis
4.2.1 Fundamentals of TEN Therapy
Following on the aspects mentioned in 3.1, the TEN therapy is not linearly directed on bringing about relief or an elimination of symptoms by the administration of an active substance, resp., by application of other techniques. Its effective approach lies – independent of the applied method – in the optimization of specific and non-specific therapy stimulations of the self-healing mechanisms, which exist in the „System Human Being“, i.e., to either activate or subdue according to the existing pathophysiological situation, or to modify in its activity patterns. Basis of the TEN therapy is the diagnostic analysis of the humoral situation of the ill person. The effect of a therapeutic intervention does not come about by the application itself but must always be regarded as the reaction of the organism to the therapy-relevant stimulus. Here are two examples:
- A ‘warm’, resp., ‘warming’ plant (like for example Angelica archangelica) does not transport warmth into the organism when applied, but stimulates its heat production. This is meaningful in case of cold diseases.
- A ‘moist’, resp., ‘damped’ oil compress does not transport moisture into the organism but stimulates the development of physiological moisture. This is meaningful for disease conditions due to dryness.
Analogous to the TEN pathology, the effect of a therapeutical application defines itself by the following criteria:
- Elementary, resp., humoral quality (warming / cooling; moisturizing / drying)
- Reference to a cardinal juice
- Reference to a tissue, resp., to an organ system
- Constitutional effect
- Indications (the indication oriented treatment is rather a subordinate partial aspect of TEN and cannot be realized without the previously mentioned aspects.)
Active Principles of Medicines
TEN regards the effect of their medicines not only in the pharmacological processes of the ingredients, but as specific stimuli, which influence defence, reorganisation and regeneration processes on a primarily energetic / informational level.
In case of herbal medicines, this effect does not result from individual ingredients, but from the entire complex of all active principles contained in the plant, which cannot be adequately captured by means of the analysis methods of modern science.
As far as the material is concerned, the uptake of nutrition is necessary in order to guarantee the build-up, the regeneration of the body cells, and their supply with energy. In order to utilize it, however, the organism has to convert the foreign substances into “endogenous” ones; in TEN, this is referred to as Coctio, resp., assimilation. Thus, in dietetics, not only the qualities of the foods themselves were regarded but also their effect on the body, which decisively depends on the constitution and on the individual ability of utilization. This means in concrete terms that there will never be a universal nutrition for all people.
All life processes are based upon a material as well as on an energetic principle. The energetic quality, represented by the heat principle, is considered to be the measurement for vitality. The material proportion of a food is thus “only” potential precondition for the buildup of tissue and for the energy reserves. Each kind of food possesses different qualities with regard to the heat and moisture principle. A raw cucumber is for example more moist and colder (and acts in a more moist and cold way in the body) than a boiled potato.
4.2.3 Traditional Pharmacological Therapy
The pharmacopoeia (Materia medica) of TEN contains substances mainly from animal and mineral sources. Besides, also human substances (nosodes and autonosodes) are employed for healing purposes.
Healing Plant Knowledge
Traditional knowledge of healing plants is not based on the knowledge of the chemical ingredients, but on a sound practical knowledge of the doctrine of signatures, and of humoral and Astro medicine. A synthesis of this knowledge with today’s findings provided an enriching extension.
For the evaluation of the healing plants and their healing effect, the humoral medicinal concept, in which also healing plants and foods are put in relation to the principles of the four humors, is of great significance. Galenic medicine derives the active principles of a healing plant from its perceptible qualities. For example, warming and drying plants can provide relief in cases of cold and moist diseases, – like a mucus formation of the respiratory tract.
The humoral medicinal effect of healing plants is judged by the elementary qualities. These are properties, which result from the reference to the elements and humors of the substances and which are divided into four different degrees of intensity (1° faintly noticeable, 2° clearly noticeable, 3° intensely noticeable, 4° extremely strong, perhaps even harmful).
A healing plant like angelica (Angelica archangelica) is for example described as warm in the 3rd degree and dry in the 2nd degree – w 3 / t 2. The scale division is merely a rough estimation of the impact potential of a healing plant – the effect depends on the one hand on the preparation and application of the remedy as also on the response capacity of the patient.
In the practical application of Galenic medicine, a disease that is for example cold in the 2nd degree is treated with a remedy that is warm in the 2nd degree. For this, however, it has to be known, which heat and moisture situations dominate in the constitution of the patient and in his illness process. According to the principle of opposites, a therapy and / or a remedy is selected, which is able to balance out the qualities.
An inflammation of the tendon caused by excessive strain can for example – as a fierce symptom – be relieved by a cooling / moisturizing quark pack or by an anti-inflammatory healing plant drug like willow bark (Salicis cortex).
In this second group of characteristics one differentiates between nine different flavours, in which the impact of healing plants becomes apparent:
|Taste||Plant Example||Example of Impact|
|sweet||chestnut, honey||calming, slowing down, strengthening, slightly warming, pain-stopping, nourishing and cooking promoting|
|hot||garlic, thyme||strongly warming, activating and accelerating|
|salty||algae, lichen||softening, permeating, cleaning, putrefaction reducing, drying out|
|sour||vinegar, blueberry||adstringent, cooling, firming, heat reducing, flow rejecting|
|bitter||gentian, vermouth||slightly warming, stimulating|
|tart||unripe fruit, blood root||adstringent, roughening, cooling, flow staunching|
|unpleasantly tart (more unpleasant than tart)||oak apple||stronger adstringent, drying out, cooling down, solidifying|
|fatty||linseed, olive||smooth, moisturizing, softening, nourishing|
|without taste||corn starch, mallow||Blocking, sticky, rather cooling, watery|
Furthermore, also tertiary qualities, which can only be derived from the therapeutic application over a certain time, are described – for example, tissue strengthening, promoting milk production.
The different kinds of preparation and administration influence the humoral qualities of a healing plant. An alcoholic extract from a drug is for example by 1-2 degrees warmer than its water extract.
A comparison overview of the qualities of healing plants according to humoral criteria enables a more specific and individual application thereof.
The Healing Plants’ Reference to the Humors (Examples)
Coctio, resp., digestive plants like calamus (Acorus calamus) strengthen the Sanguis principle, just like circulation promoting, warming plants like rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) do. Due to its warming quality, the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) promotes the cooking and thus the formation of Sanguis. Arnica (Arnica montana) acts in a warming and toning way on the blood vessels and the heart. Angelica root (Angelica archangelica) warms the stomach, the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, the liver, and the uterus.
Pain-soothing, anti-inflammatory and cooling healing agents like willow bark (Salicis cortex) curb the excess heat of the Sanguis, just as spasmolytic, styptic, fever-regulating plants do. Moisturizing plants like mallow (Althaea officinalis), however, protect against their harmful impacts and nourish the mucous membranes.
Healing plants like the sour barberry (Berberis vulgaris) lessen choleric tartness by its discharge via the liver-gall system. Acting in a similar way are pain-killing, fever-lowering drugs like the willow (Salix alba) or antipruritic ones like the cleaver (Galium verum). Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) moisturizes and thus relieves the dryness which is created due to the yellow bile heat.
Liver regulating bitter plants like dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) induce a stimulation and relaxation of this organ and therefore make it easy to lead the yellow bile heat into the intestine and to excrete. Metabolism regulating plants like fumitory (Fumaria officinalis) optimize the cooking, prevent the formation of pathological humors and promote their excretion.
Mucous plants like the hollyhock (Malva silvestris) or mallow (Althaea officinalis) act in a protecting and moisturizing way on the mucous membranes, when these are harmed by inflammatory heat, stress, or medicaments (e.g., chemotherapy).
Much more often, however, cold phlegma must be armed by promoting the cookings and by warming up the abdominal organs again, e.g., with fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum), or masterwort (Peucedanum ostruthium). Other warming plant drugs like elderberry blossoms (Sambuci flos) open and drain out cold phlegma or phlegma that was polluted by yellow bile pungencies.
The lack of warmth and moisture due to black bile calls for activating, toning and strengthening healing agents like ginger (Zingiber officinale). Spleen remedies work in the same way, like e.g., fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), borage (Borago officinalis) or hart’s-tongue fern (Scolopendrium vulgare), which in addition stimulate the excretion of melancholera, also elucidative healing plants like melissa (Melissa officinalis).
A diagnostic control of the humoral qualities can for example take place by the change of symptoms (e.g., new and enforced heat symptoms after the intake instead of fading of the already existing ones), or by pulse, tongue or urine diagnosis.
…to be contiued
Source references at the end of the article
Publication of all pictures and graphics with the kind approval of the Bacopa Publishers.