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Bing Ru Gao Huang (Disease Locating between the Heart and Diaphragm)

Bing Ru Gao Huang is a fixed four-character phrase in Chinese language, used to refer to the condition in which a disease develops and goes beyond cure.  It is also used to mean things grow so bad that they cannot be solved.  In ancient Chinese medicine, Gao Huang refers to the place between the heart and the diaphragm.  It was believed that this is the place that cannot be reached by any medication. 

This fixed phrase comes from a story about an ancient practitioner, named Huan.  Once Emperor Jing Gong of the Jin State (a state in the middle of China) fell ill and sought medical help.
 
A  famous practitioner in the Qin state (another state in the west of China) went to help.  Before he arrived, Jing Gong had a strange dream.
 
 
 
Two little boys were chatting.  One said: “Huan is a famous practitioner and he will do harm to us.  Where should we run to?”. The other answered: “Let’s go to the place of Gao Huang, just above the diaphgram and below the heart.  This is the place where none of acupuncture, moxibustion and medication can reach.  He cannot do anything to us.”

 
When Huan reached Jin, he said to Jing Gong after diagnosis: “I am sorry, your disease is now above the diaphragm and below the heart.  It is the location of Gao Huang.  No medication works there.  I am terribly sorry that I could do nothing about it.”
 
Soon after that Jing Gong died of the disease.  Since then any critical disease beyond cure is called Bing Ru Gao Huang.

 

 


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