Of the three friends who volunteered to serve as TCM study guinea pigs, the first has his 4-month blood results after starting Gui Pi Tang. I know, it is an “N of 1” and really means nothing, but it certainly is provocative. His CD4 cell count rose from 350 to 482-- and he was not exactly the perfectly compliant patient, although he did manage to get at least 4 capsules in him pretty much every day. (He never really ever believed in any of this Chinese medicine stuff, and often made fun of my persistence in the power of these herbal formulas.)

Needless to say, he has asked me to get him a few more months’ supply. He also reports feeling less easily fatigued. (Although when he does not take the capsules regularly, they do still give him quite a distinct and sour sort of flatulence. Maybe that is TMI.)

Where to go from here? My Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang guinea pig has been almost wholly uncompliant, so it might be a while before we have any numbers on that one.

I am due to check in with my other Gui Pi Tang experimenter this weekend. He has also run out of capsules, and I do not know if he has has blood work done since we started this but I suspect he has. His chief complaint was forgetfulness/failing memory, and depending on the cause (according to the TCM system of differentiating etiologies) Gui Pi Tang might not be the best formula for him to address that particular piece. But now I am eager to see how he is faring. More “TK” as the Poz editors say!

If I suddenly come into a large inheritance, I will organize proper trials of these formulas.

Mike Barr is a board certified acupuncturist and herbalist and can be reached at Turning Point Acupuncture (just off Columbus Circle across from the Mandarin Oriental hotel) and at Suite 904 in the Flatiron District. His interests and experience include sports acupuncture, pain syndromes, liver health, immunological support, herbal and acupuncture approaches to getting off/putting off prescription medications of unsatisfactory or unclear benefit, and in helping to manage the side-effects of other necessary and life-saving biomedical interventions. He has also been busy exploring the application of Chinese herbal therapies, and specific acupuncture protocols, for all aspects of sexual health and anti-senescence.