Book by Book History of Chinese Medicine
It began in China over four thousand years ago. But its methods have no geographic bounds. Today, it's practiced the world over. Chinese herbs don't only come from China, they come from everywhere,. Cinnamon from Vietnam, cardamom from India, and even American ginseng from Wisconsin are now Chinese herbs.
In a sense, Chinese medicine is much more like modern Western medicine, than it is a folk medicine. This, because folk medicines have a largely oral tradition of communication. Chinese medicine, like Western medicine, has a dynamic written history, with libraries filled with documentation of experience, experimentation, commentary and controversy. You can tell a lot about the history of Chinese medicine by its principal texts.
The earliest medical text, The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic, was also known as Plain Questions and the Canon of Acupuncture is over 2,500 year old. The book, summarizes and systematizes the previous millennia of medical experience and deals with the anatomy and physiology of the human body. This work lays the foundation for TCM.
Today, Chinese Medicine has expanded far beyond the Inner Classic. Countless variations and innovations have appeared. But some principles are unchanging. These root principles, such as yin and yang, describe natural laws, the laws your body must ultimately obey. These root principles endow Chinese Medicine with a unique knowledge making it, in some ways, far more evolved than modern technological medicine.
Later important books also represent milestones in the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They include:
The Herbal is the earliest classic on herbs. This materia medica was handed down from the QIN and HAN dynasties (221 B.C--220 A.D.). It is the summary of pharmaceutical knowledge known before the HAN. It discuss 365 kinds of drugs and offers the pharmacological theory of "JUN, CHEN, ZUO, SHI " (monarch, minister, assistant and guide) indicating the actions of drugs in a prescription,"
Treatise on Febrile Diseases and Miscellaneous Diseases Zhang ZhongJING, (300 A.D) Differentiates febrile diseases according to the theory of six channels, miscellaneous diseases according to pathological changes of viscera and. Establishes diagnosis based on overall analysis of signs and symptoms. Its 269 prescriptions make up the basis for modern clinical practice.
Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Huang Fumi (215--282 A.D.), 12 volumes, 128 chapters. The earliest classic specific to acupuncture and moxibustion in China. It summarizes information on the channels and collaterals, acupuncture points, needle manipulation, and contraindication. It lists the total number of the acupuncture points as 349, and discusses the therapeutic properties of each point.
General Treatise on the Causes and Symptoms of Disease 610 A.D., CHAO YUANFANG, together with others. The earliest classic on etiology and syndrome. 50 volumes, divided into 67 categories, and list 1,700 syndromes. It expounds on the pathology, signs and symptoms of various diseases, surgery, gynecology, and pediatrics .
Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold for Emergencies, SUN SIMIAO 581--682 A.D 30 volumes and 5,300 prescriptions. Also deals with acupuncture, moxibustion, diet therapy, prevention, and health preservation. Outstanding treatment of deficiency diseases.
The Medical Secrets of An Official, WANG TAO 752 A.D. 40 volumes, introduces 6,000 prescriptions. A master's compendium of prescriptions available before the Tang dynasty.