对症下药：Dui Zheng Xia Yao
Translation: Different symptoms require different medicines
Definition: Even though a problem may appear to be the same, you must first understand the core issues in order to prescribe correct medicine; What appears at first sight as a similar issue can have different core elements, therefore the solution must combat these deeper issues and not the surface problems in order to be effective.
One evening the famed doctor Hua Tuo was busy carrying out preparation in his pharmacy when two villagers suddenly entered both complaining about severe headaches and fever. These two villagers were quite influential in the village as one was a successful merchant and the other a village official.
After hearing there complaints, Dr. Hua Tuo didn’t utter one word and simply proceeded to prescribe medication in order to treat them. To the village official he said, “ You must use this medicine in order to flush your intestines in order to remove the build-up of toxins,” and to the merchant he said,” you must take this medicine in order to sweat the unneeded heat from your body.” Both villagers were perplexed and asked the doctor,” Our symptoms are so similar, Why is it that you have prescribed different medicine for us?” Dr. Hua Tuo simply responded,” Official, your external body has not been injured, but there has been a mild build-up of toxins in your body as a result of food poisioning, while the Merchant’s internal system is healthy, but the surface of his body… his external body has been exposed to extreme cold and hot air. Although your symptoms are the same, the reasons behind them are not. This is called (Dui Zheng Xia Yao) pinpointing the reason for the symptoms in order to give the most accurate prescription.
The Merchant and the Official both returned home that evening and by the next morning, their symptoms had both completely disappeared.