Autism

Chinese books on pediatrics do not mention autism, and this subject does not appear in the modern Chinese medical journal literature either.  In the book Clinical Experiences (5), a condition is described as follows: disturbance in mental development, apathy, tardiness of speaking…” which is described as a syndrome of “heart blood” deficiency and the suggested treatment is an herbal formula given as a decoction, consisting of 10 grams each ginseng, ophiopogon, and acorus, 6 grams each of tang-kuei and polygala, 5 grams of frankincense, 3 grams of cnidium, and 1.5 grams of cinnabar.  This formula nourishes the heart qi, yin, and blood, vitalizes the heart blood, removes phlegm obstructing the orifices of the heart, and calms the agitation of the heart spirit (shen).  This prescription might be compared with the formula recommended in the pediatrics volume of the Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicine (6) for treatment of hyperkinetic syndrome in patients who display symptoms of “changeable interests, divided attention, amnesia, dreaminess, stutter, or problems in formation of phrases and sentences….”  The formula is as follows: 12 grams each of pseudostellaria and astragalus, 9 grams each of hoelen, atractylodes, tang-kuei, polygala, acorus, and schizandra, with 15 grams of wheat, 6 grams of licorice, and 10 pieces of jujube.  This is basically a combination of Licorice and Jujube Combination (Gan Mai Da Zao Tang), and Astragalus and Zizyphus Combination (Yang Xin Tang), two traditional formulas used for mental disturbance.  The new formula tonifies the qi and blood, removes phlegm obstruction of the orifices, and calms the spirit.

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