"Zang Fu Syndromes:
Differential Diagnosis and Treatment"

By Greg Bantik, L.Ac.
Published in Oriental Medicine (a Pacific College of Oriental Medicine publication)

With the publication of Zang Fu Syndromes: Differential Diagnosis we see another example of the recent maturing process in our textbooks. Authors John McDonald and Joel Penner have written a lengthy text on this important aspect of differential diagnosis in Chinese medicine.

The first chapters give lists of each organ and their major syndromes, along with the most common combined syndromes. Each syndrome is discussed under the headings; etiology, clinical manifestations, complications, associated Western conditions, differential diagnosis, and treatment. These listings provide students with a good foundation on how to recognize each syndrome, their common points of origin, how to distinguish them from others that are similar, what are the common directions through which they develop, and what are some common Western medical diagnoses given for the syndrome. The treatment section includes lists of the common acupuncture points and their indications. Also included are the common herbal formula prescribed for each syndrome.

The later part of the book includes several very detailed indexes that contribute significantly to the book's usefulness as a textbook and clinical reference tool. For example, the herbal formulas listed earlier under the syndrome are further explained. Details are given of doses and functions of each individual herb, and how they act in combination, as well as the overall actions of the formula and the syndromes for which the formula may be useful. Useful indexes of the pin yin and English names of the formulas are included. Each individual herb is indexed in the same way, and all of the formulas in which it is included are listed.

An index of all of the points in the text, their functions and the pages they are listed on follows. The pulse and tongue qualities, and all the syndromes, in which they occur, are also indexed. There is also a comprehensive symptom index, showing all the syndrome's any given symptom may occur in. These indexes provide a valuable research and study feature.……..

I use Zang Fu Syndromes as a classroom text at Pacific College. Students appreciate it and find it very useful. I have known John McDonald as a friend and colleague for many years, and admire greatly his many contributions to our field. The book is a very useful textbook for students learning how to make a differential diagnosis and for practitioners to use as a clinic reference.

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