Gu syndrome in Chinese medicine loosely translates to difficult or recalcitrant diseases, hidden or stealth pathogenic infections, including chronic parasite, viral, fungal or bacterial infections, super bugs, and environmental toxins that can lead to chronic and systemic inflammatory conditions.
Various symptoms and western diagnoses can be associated with Gu syndrome including many degenerative chronic conditions such as HIV, mould illness, Epstein Barr virus, Ross River virus, Parvo virus, IBS, chronic fatigue disorder, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, candida, complex pain disorders, tick borne illnesses, malaria, and neuro-inflammatory symptoms resulting in emotional and cognitive disturbances.
When the immune and digestive systems are weakened either constitutionally or due to long term lifestyle or nutritional factors, opportunistic pathogens can take hold in a person’s body. Genetic variations or sensitivities can also contribute and predispose someone to the possible development of chronic inflammatory type illnesses after exposure to a pathogen or environmental toxin also creating the right conditions for chronic illness to set in.
These types of pathogens can not only have systemic and chronic effects on someone’s physical symptoms but can also result in mental health disturbances. Symptoms of neurological inflammation such as brain fog, unclear and scattered thinking, insomnia, hallucinations, negative thoughts, depression, hyper-sensitivity to sounds and smell, anxiety, irritability and emotional dysregulation can be classified as Brain Gu syndrome where-as symptoms with an emphasis on digestive dysbiosis and inflammation are typical of Digestive Gu Syndrome caused by pathogens that are primarily present in the gut, like certain types of worms, protozoan parasites, or fungi, all of which happily coexist and promote each other.
Both Brain and digestive Gu syndrome can present simultaneously but generally there is an emphasis on one type more than the other. Differentiation between the two assists a Chinese medicine practitioner in deciding which types of herbs and formulas to use. Often herbal medicine is required for a time frame of 18 months up to 5 years depending on the severity of the case. Formulas are required to be modified every 4-6 weeks to combat pathogens adapting and become resistant to the herbs. These herbal combinations are based on classical Gu formulations that focus on strengthening the immune system using immune boosting herbs that also have anti-parasitic functions combined with herbs that clear toxins and infections targeting pathogens and breaking down biofilm. The herbal combinations strengthen ‘Zheng Qi’ ( Qi associated with the ability to fight external pathogens) and clear the pathogen at the same time.
Chronic inflammatory conditions related to Gu Syndrome can take time to treat, these types of pathogens are very good at going undetected for long periods of time due to the complex nature of their actions and the systemic effects that can take place in the body. However, this is not to say that over time a patient can- not make a full recovery with help from the ancient Gu syndrome Chinese herbal formulas.