Monday, April 11, 2016

Green Willow Liniment vs. Dragon's Blood LIniment

In January of 2015 Bob and I were lucky to be invited to Sikkim as companions of one of our Buddhist teachers. It was a really interesting journey and Sikkim is a beautiful, steep, Himalayan landscape with wonderful scenery and a pretty comfortable climate, even in January. Still, travel there is slow and arduous. What looks like it's "right across the valley" can take an entire day of switchbacks down one and up another mountain to get to!

The most difficult challenge for me, however, was that two days into the trip I fell and badly sprained my ankle. Though Bob treated me almost every day for the remainder of the trip, it was at least a minor irritation with all the hiking through relatively mountainous terrain.

Months of treating it with moxa and Green Willow liniment provided very slow improvement; baking it in the sun during the summer helped a little bit more. Still, a year later it was not really healed and I felt very discouraged.

Recently the famous statement from the Nei Jing occurred to me that "new injuries are in the channels and old injuries are in the network vessels." Thus, I decided to switch from using Green Willow, which is for traumatic injuries, including old ones, causing pain due to cold, damp, and blood stasis and to try Dragon's Blood instead. I have usually used this liniment for new injuries with bruising and frank, immediate, visible signs of blood stasis. I had never really used it for OLD blood stasis that will not resolve and, frankly, often shied away from this liniment due to the skin-staining nature of its main ingredients. But no more!

Lo and behold, the ankle has started to improve again and is getting stronger. While it is clear that injuries in an older human being don't heal quickly, I have developed a new respect for this liniment and I'm glad to have discovered another use for it with my patients as well as for myself. Just thought I should share this with any of you who use liniments in your practice. While I expect I'll always love Green Willow, Dragon's Blood is my new fave.

Good luck and best wishes!


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