Bian Que, one of ancient China’s most esteemed medical doctors, once shared a profound insight into what truly effective medicine looks like.
Bian Que lived from 407 –310 B.C. and became famous during the Warring States Period. His two brothers were also famous doctors. The emperor of the Yuan Dynasty once asked which of the three brothers was the best doctor. Bian Que said he treats patients suffering from illness, but his older brother knows a serious illness is coming down on the patient and removes the cause before the patient gets sick. Though the patient did not even know that his older brother treated him, he was the most effective. The treatment of serious diseases is important, but this ancient anecdote emphasizes the importance of preventing disease to ensure quick treatment.
Dr. Seo Hyo-seok, clinical director of Pyunkang Korean Medicine Hospital, says preventing disease and strengthening immunity are what can truly overcome the “era of viruses.” Specifically, the key is to strengthen the tonsils, the gate leading to the heart and lungs, and the front-line defender of our body.
Amid the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus, Seo Hyo-Seok, clinical director of Pyunkang Korean Medicine Hospital, has drawn attention to tonsils and lung health in preventing disease.
Coincidentally, the name of Bian Que is the combination of “tonsils” and “magpie.”
Reporter: With the Corona19 virus outbreak, there’s a huge interest in lung health.
Dr. Seo Hyo-Seok: Living means you’re breathing. In the course of breathing, all kinds of viruses get in. The respiratory tract is the primary path for invading germs. Tonsils are like a military unit that protects the throat and helps the immune system filters out harmful invaders. Weakened tonsils can’t resist external viruses and this can allow many diseases to develop. When the lungs are clean, the tonsils become stronger, and healthy white blood cells protect our body from external pathogens. This also keeps our immune system in fighting form. In Chinese medicine, there is a term called the pulmonary cycle. It means the lung is the organ that controls the body’s strength.
Reporter: One of the reasons I’m afraid of the coronavirus19 is that it can lead to lung damage, such as pulmonary fibrosis, even after a full recovery.
Dr. Seo: Because it is a new virus, I can’t say for sure, but it will damage your lungs to some extent. Lung damage can lead to severe lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and COPD. Modern medicine often gives people with lung fibrosis just two to three years to live, but it can actually be cured. But I recommend prevention. Any disease can be prevented in an easy and relatively short period of time, but treatment takes a long time and is difficult to cure. For example, if prevention takes about a year, complete recovery takes five to six years. It is the philosophy of Pyunkang Korean Medicine Hospital to eliminate the causes by focusing on the fundamental improvement of immunity. It is my belief that eventually “my body cures me.”
Reporter: In the end, you focus on the importance of immunity.
Dr. Seo: There have been repeated outbreaks of SARS, swine influenza, MERS and coronavirus 19. And even if we get through this now, we don’t know what the virus is going to look like in five years. If the body’s immune system and self-healing capacity are undermined, there’s no way to stop bacteria from attacking our body. There are two stages of body immunity. The first is that in a healthy way, the white blood cells with bright eyes prevent germs and viruses. The second is that the intestinal microbes fight and win against harmful bacteria. So we support these functions.
Reporter: Atopic dermatitis, rhinitis, and asthma are typical chronic diseases that degrade the quality of life for modern people. Can they be treated?
Dr. Seo: There are no drugs to cure rhinitis, asthma or atopy. There is no way to just get rid of the fog, but as the sun rises, it is bound to disappear. Likewise, when your lungs get better, you get stronger, you get healthy lymphocytes, and your body can overcome rhinitis, asthma, and atopy. It is not a temporary relief, it is a body that can find the cause and overcome it. To be honest, I was surprised to get over my atopy. But when you look at atopic patients, they often don’t sweat and have clogged hair follicles. In Chinese medicine, there is a saying that the lungs control the skin and hair. If it is good for the lungs, the pores and hair follicles open, and the waste hidden under the skin can escape.
Reporter: What’s the most difficult thing about treating patients?
Dr. Seo: Western medicine works quickly. Patients would say, ‘I am used to it’ and often ask for immediate effects. But it takes time to save the broken lung cells and clean them up with medicinal herbs. If you clean up your lungs for about a year, your lung cells will come alive like a bud in an old tree.
Reporter: Tell us about the idea of medical food.
Dr. Seo: Medical food is a term that contrasts with medical medicine. Synthetic drugs are usually divided into antibiotics, painkillers, sedatives, and so on. Antibiotics are used to kill bad germs, but the problem is that good germs, like our intestinal microbes, die with the bad germs. If you take antibiotics for a long time, you can lose your immunity. One of the best anti-inflammatory drugs is steroids, which also have significant side effects. Painkillers and sedatives are also far from being cures. They alleviate the symptoms but over time you develop side effects and drug resistance, sometimes requiring additional drugs. But medical food helps the body overcome illness. They strengthen the body’s ability to fight disease and heal. These are all-natural foods that strengthen your immune system. This is especially true of root vegetables.
Reporter: Some people say that Oriental medicine is not scientific.
Dr. Seo: That is why I have made a lot of effort to objectively prove the ingredients and efficacy of herbal treatments. The thesis and research results were published in JTCM, an SCI-class international journal of international studies, saying, “Pyunkang-Tang & Pyunkang-Hwan extracts improve respiratory inflammatory bulimia and philomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis caused by air pollutants.” It was recognized as a non-toxic food product through analysis by a research institute registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Seo Hyo-Seok is the clinical director of Pyunkang Korean Medicine Hospital Seocho head office, he is a professor of Oriental medicine at Kyung Hee University, vice president of Korea Global Healthcare Association, and director of the Korea AIDS Prevention Association. He is a former chairman of both the Dongdaemun-gu (Seoul) branch of Association of Korean Medicine and the Association of Korean Medicine’s drug screening committee. For more information contact email@example.com