Simply speaking, typhoid fever in TCM is a disease when cold was not completely eradicated. Usually people will ask: “A cold is caused by a virus. What does it have to do with chill/cold?”
Western Medicine believes that colds are caused by viral infections. Therefore, antibiotics must be used to kill these viruses in order to treat the cold. Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that colds are caused by chill/cold, which does not come off too scientific according to Western Medicine. Therefore, many people think that it is impossible for TCM to cure colds.
Is cold caused by viruses? I think this answer is yes and no. I suggest that everyone do an experiment. If you live in San Francisco, try move your bed next to the window at night,open the window, wear only underwear, don’t put any covering on the body, and last for one night. San Francisco’s nights are usually very cold, and after getting up the next day, you will immediately have running and stuffy nose, or even as severe as a fever; this is the typhoid fever. So now is it only relevant to viruses?
Someone may ask why sometimes one member of the family catches a cold and the others would start getting it too. Isn’t it obviously caused by a virus?
In fact, according to TCM cold can be caused by two factors: 1) It was observed that some colds were caused by viruses in ancient times, which was called “plague”. Most plagues CAN be treated by “Seasonal Febrile Disease Theory” of TCM, and with good results. 2) Some colds, however, are caused by exposure to chilly environment.
Therefore, if an individual simply suffers from a cold caused by chill, it can be treated according to theory of “Treatise on Febrile Diseases”; if a cold is caused by plague (virus infection), and the symptoms are the same as typhoid fever, it can still be treated according to theory of “Treatise on Febrile Diseases”. If the symptoms are different, then treatment based on “Seasonal Febrile Disease Theory” would be effective.
This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.