In the 75th chapter of the romance of the Three Kingdoms, “Tuo said: ‘this is injured by a crossbow and arrow, in which there is Aconitum medicine, which goes straight to the bone; if it is not treated early, this arm will be useless.'” after that, Hua Tuo’s eternal masterpiece of scraping bone poison to Guan Gong was staged. Chen Shou’s “annals of the Three Kingdoms” also mentioned scraping bone and treating poison, but it was the doctors in Guan Yu’s army who started it.
Aconitum, a perennial herbal medicine plant, contains highly toxic aconitine, which can kill people as long as a few milligrams. When smeared on an arrow, it becomes a poison arrow. In ancient times, it is usually used for hunting, with the effect of “whoever is in the middle” of the beast.
My guess is that there are probably several reasons why Guan Yu didn’t die in the arrow. Let’s just say it.
First, Guan Yu has a very good physique and strong resistance to poisons. Second, there is a problem with Cao Ren’s arrow. First of all, it may be that Cao Ren’s arrow uses aconite, not aconite. The difference between the two is that the former belongs to cultivation, the latter belongs to wild, and Cao Ren is a regular army. This arrow is used by archers, and the weapons widely used need to be standardized. It is more likely to adopt aconite than aconite. Or we should consider Cao Ren’s combat environment. At that time, Guan Gong flooded the seven armies and besieged Fancheng. Under the heavy rain, Jingzhou warships can directly lean against the city battlements. It is likely that Cao Ren’s arrow was soaked in water, so the toxicity will naturally weaken. Moreover, after the arrow was soaked, Cao Jun may want to make a fire to roast it. Aconitine is easy to decompose when heated, and the effect of shooting it on Guan Yu is worse. Third, it may be that this arrow was shot too coincidentally, and the arrowhead was nailed to Guan Yu’s arm bone. In this way, most of the poison was blocked by the bone and failed to enter the blood vessels and muscles.
Guan Yu’s performance after being hit by an arrow was a little abnormal. “All the generals entered the account and met Guan Gong. The Gong asked, ‘what’s the matter with you'” – – the general was hit by an arrow. It’s normal for everyone to come to greet him. How could they ask “what’s the matter with you?”? It seems that Guan Gong’s thinking is a little confused, and then he “shouted angrily”, indicating that his mood is not stable enough. From the pharmacological effect of Aconitum, it can cause abnormal excitement of the central nervous system. The purpose of scraping bones is to remove the poison left on the bones.
In history, bone scraping and poison treatment were performed by Guan Gong’s military doctor. This is actually more true. At that time, the traffic was inconvenient, and Hua Tuo didn’t have so well-informed news, but he did do research on Aconitum and other drugs, and there was Aconitum in Mapei soup.
Guan Gong’s military doctors should have a technical foundation to operate on Guan Gong. Since ancient times, the level of making and using poisons in southern China has been higher than that in the north. Guan Yu’s military doctors are likely to come from the Western Hunan area where Shu occupied Jingzhou. Later, in the battle sequence of revenge for Guan Yu, there are Wuling barbarians with strong combat power in this area, that is, the ancestors of the Miao nationality.