I’ve come to realize that most all herbs, and western medicine contain a certain amount of “toxicity” or “毒“ in them. Especially, those herbs that are in the 下品 (lower order) according to 神农本草经
such as Fu Zhi. Many highly respected TCM practitioners see these lower order ones as the most effective, but also the most likely to produce side effects(Dr. Ni Hai Xia, ). Some are able to effectively give limited doses of highly “toxic” herbs over long periods of time (one year) to cure difficult illnesses such as gouty arthritis. So, does the “toxicity” of these herbs begin to accumulate and wear down on the liver/ kidneys over time? Or does it balance out, because the patient has so much excess damp, cold, heat, etc?
Also, what causes side effects in most western medicines anyways? Is it because most pills are extremely cold/寒？
From my read of this I think you are overlaying multiple concepts under the header of toxicity so I’m not quite sure what you are looking for. Toxicity can be a property of some herbs, a quality issue, or it can mean improper treatment i.e. side effects.
Most anything improperly used or used in the wrong amounts will not be useful to the body - this is true for foods, weather, anything. Now with herbs, most with any type of technical toxicity are used in formulas for this very reason - that is to user other herbs to counterbalance the toxicity while still offering the results you want for the patient.
For herbal medicine, then, generally speaking improper diagnosis, overtreatment and/or improper formulations are what will lead to issues.
In western medicine the side effects are from the over control or over-riding of the natural functions of the body. This causes disruptions in the feedback loops throughout the body and/or outright damage (for example thyroid medicines) to the very organ/function they are trying to help. Western medicine has it’s place because of the strength it provides, but used all the time instead of dietary changes, etc. is part of the global health epidemics we have now.
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