Wang, male, age: 54
The patient had suffered from a pain in the upper area of the abdomen along with a sensation of fullness after meals, associated with a dull pain, anorexia, emaciation and lassitude. A hard tender mass as big as a fist was palpated in the upper right area of the abdomen. Fascicular, inactive and sluggish waves were seen on the ultrasonic examination. On May 20, 1967 the patient consulted Dr. Shi Lanling at the Shandong Tumor Prophylactico-Therapeutic Institute. An examination found that the patient had an enlarged liver, 4.5cm beyond the right 11th and 12th ribs, 8cm below the xiphoid process. It was felt hard with an uneven surface and tenderness. Hepatic scanning revealed a space occupying lesion of the left lobe. Also, he had concentrated urine.
Primary liver cancer
Symptoms of the patient included a sallow complexion, a reddened and dark tongue with grey and yellow dry coating, a bitter taste in the mouth, a dry throat, emaciation, and a taut, rapid and forceful pulse. These symptoms were caused by stagnation of liver-qi, retention of dampness and deficiency of the spleen.
Ingredients of the administered medicine were as follows:
thorowax root 9g
green tangerine peel 9g
turmeric root 12g
corydalis tuber 12g
Hangzhou white peony root 15g
finger citron 9g
costis root 6g
ground beetle 9g
red peony root 9g
pangolin scales 9g
Dahuang Zhechong Wan ( Rhubarb
and Ground Beetle Pill ) 3g
To relieve abdominal distension, areca peel (9g) and radish seed (9g) were added.
For oliguria, agaric (10g), water-plantain tuber (10g) and plantain seed (10g) were added.
For jaundice oriental, wormwood (30g) and climbing fern spores (15g) were added.
These ingredients were made into a herbal decoction and taken orally for six months continuously. Then the decoction was taken for alternative two-week periods during the next two months. When he paid a second visit to the hospital on May 24, 1968 the 3cm x 6cm mass had become soft with slight tenderness. The patient returned to his job to work part-time. When he paid a third visit to the hospital on September 24, 1969 he was found in good spirits and he had a good appetite. His body weight had increased. He started to work full-time. The following check-ups until December 1979 showed the patient to be still healthy.
According to theory of the Five Elements* in traditional Chinese medicine, the liver belongs to wood. It prefers a smooth flow of liver-qi, which helps regulate meridian-qi. Success in treatment of the present case was achieved then by regulating liver-qi and activating blood circulation to remove blood stasis. Among the ingredients, thorowax root, green tangerine peel, turmeric root, finger citron and costus root were prescribed to regulate liver-qi; Hangzhou white peony root to sooth the liver; red peony root and corydalis tuber to promote blood circulation and kill pain; and ground beetle, leech, pangolin scales and
Dahuang Zhechong Wan to activate blood circulation and remove blood stasis. Even though no anticancer herbs confirmed by modern pharmaceutical studies were administered, the patient was still able to be cured.
Ground beetle, salty in flavor and cold in property, works to activate blood circulation, remove blood stasis, promote menstrual flow and stop pain. It can suppress leukemia cells in vitro and is usually used clinically to treat leukemia, liver cancer, cervical cancer, osteosarcoma and multiple myeloma; leech, salty, bitter in flavor and mild in property, works to remove blood stasis, promote menstrual flow and eliminate masses. Pharmaceutical study has confirmed its antitumor action in suppressing the growth of tumors and aiding in their destruction. Hypercoagulability of blood is usually detected in cancer patients. The fibrin net is formed owing to sedimentation of massive fibrinogen in the lesion and its surrounding tissues. This prevents the anticancer drugs or immunologically competent cells from permeating the cancerous tissues. Leech has an effect of aiding antihypercoagulation and helps the anticancer drugs and immunological competent cells permeate the cancerous tissues to destroy cancer cells.
Pangolin scales, salty in flavor and slightly cold in property, serves to dissolve blood stasis and masses, promote menstrual flow and lactation, and eliminate carbuncles and aid the drainage of pus. Experiments have shown that pangolin alkali, the active principle of pangolin scales, has the effect of antileukomia. Pangolin scales may elevate the function of white blood cells.
Dahuang Zhechong Wan, originated from Jin Kui Yao Lue (Synopsis of Prescriptions of the Golden Chamber), is composed of rhubarb, skullcaproot, licorice root, peach seed, bitter apricot seed, tubanus, grub peony root, dry rehmannia root, dried lacquer, leech and ground beetle. It works to remove blood stasis, and masses, promote menstrual flow and tonify blood. It is used to treat five kinds of strain, emaciation, abdominal distension, loss of appetite, indigestion, sexual strain, traumatic injury, disturbance in meridians, squamous and dry skin, and blackened eye orbit. Clinically, it is an important drug in treating cirrhosis. Grub, the larva of scarab, is salty in flavor and has a warm and poisonous property. It works on the Liver Meridian, promotes blood circulation, removes blood stasis and counteracts toxins. It is used in treating masses and blood stasis. Dried lacquer, pungent in flavor and warm and poisonous in property, works on the Liver and Spleen meridians, and removes blood stasis, indigestion and parasites. Clinically, it is used to treat amenorrhea, masses, blood stasis, pain, malnutrition, and pain due to parasitic infestation.
* The Five Elements (Waxing): wood, fire, earth, metal and water with their characteristic properties - an ancient philosophical concept to explain the composition and phenomena of the physical universe and later used in traditional Chinese medicine to expound the unity of the human body and the natural world, and the physiological and pathological relationship between the internal organs.