The Sage of Tea and the Inherited Metabolic Diseases
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Lu Yu (733 -804 AD, Tang Dynasty), was an orphan brought up and educated in a monastery. Because of his deep knowledge of tea, he was also called "the Sage of Tea". From the historical records, we conclude that Lu Yu maybe a patient of IMDs.
Keywords: Lu Yu, The Sage of Tea, Inherited metabolic diseases (IMDs), Traditional Chinese Medicine
Lu Yu (733 -804 AD, Tang Dynasty), was an orphan brought up and educated in a monastery. Because of his deep knowledge of tea, he was also called "the Sage of Tea" .
Inherited metabolic diseases (IMDs) are a heterogeneous group of rare diseases with a collective incidence of 1 in 500 to 4,000 live births, representing a substantial public health burden [2-4]. The clinical disorders that arise from a single gene defect and develop as a consequence of a blockage of the metabolic pathways are accepted as inherited metabolic diseases , such as phenylketonuria (PKU), maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) and diabetes. Diabetes is a kind of metabolic disease. The cases of diabetes were definitely documented in Traditional Chinese medicine, just as Sima Xiangru (Chinese: 司马相如), Du Fu (Chinese: 杜甫), Ouyang Xiu (Chinese: 欧阳修).
IMDs have recently become an important part of medicine . They are usually classified into 3 main groups:
- Intoxication diseases (i.e., amino-acidopathies, organic aciduria, fructose intolerance and galactosaemia, iron and copper overload, porphyria) [7-9]
- Diseases linked to energy deficiency (i.e., glycogenolysis, mitochondrial diseases, disorders of fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis, congenital lactic acidosis) [10,11]
- Diseases due to degradation or synthesis defect of complex molecules (i.e., lysosomal or peroxisomal diseases, and congenital disorders of glycosylation) 
Over the past decade, a newborn screening (NBS) program was introduced to detect presymptomatic newborns with IMDs, tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) has been a major technological breakthrough for the NBS program by providing a way to detect multiple metabolites simultaneously [3,13].
As physicians of maternal and child health hospital of Hubei province, from the historical records, we conclude that Lu Yu maybe a patient of IMDs.
The first, from his origins. Lu Yu was an orphan; he did not know who his parents were. Maybe he was a patient of IMDs, his parents abandoned him because of the specific smell produced by the patients of IMDs .
The second, from his autobiography . The autobiography of Lu Yu recorded that Lu Yu was ugly in appearance and had a terrible stutter. He was famous for his bad temper and strange character. Ugliness, stuttering, bad temper and strange character are clinical manifestations of IMDs .
The third, from his life experience in monastery. In buddhist temple, Lu Yu didn't eat fish and meat, only eat vegetables and congee. Meat and fish contain a lot of protein, by contrast, vegetables and congee contain less protein. Low protein diet is one of the important methods to treat IMDs (just as PKU) .
The fourth, from his name. Lu Yu had the second name Ji (Chinese: 疾 and the third name Ji Ci (Chinese: 疵). 疾 means disease in Chinese, 疵 means disease related to eat some kinds of food in Chinese.
From these reasons, we can conclude that Lu Yu was a patient of IMDs, especially a patient of PKU. He also knew that low-protein diet was good for his disease and treated his disease in some way of traditional Chinese medicine.
This work was supported by Hubei Provincial Health and Family Planning Scientific Research Project [Grant # WJ2018H0137].
CONFLICT OF INTERESTS
The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article.
- The Sage of Tea - Lu Yu, from Chinese Government Network. Available online at: http://en.hubei.gov.cn/photo_gallery/people/201511/t20151102_742334.shtml
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