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Traditional Chinese medicine

 The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
LAST UPDATED: 3-16-2018 See Article History

Alternative Title: TCM

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), system of medicine at least 23
centuries old that aims to prevent or heal disease by maintaining or
restoring yinyang balance. China has one of the world’s oldest medical
systems. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies date back at least
2,200 years, although the earliest known written record of Chinese
medicine is the Huangdi neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) from
the 3rd century BCE. That opus provided the theoretical concepts for TCM
that remain the basis of its practice today. In essence, traditional Chinese
healers seek to restore a dynamicbalance between two complementary
forces, yin (passive) and yang (active), which pervade the human body as
they do the universe as a whole. According to TCM, a person is healthy
when harmony exists between these two forces; illness, on the other hand,
results from a breakdown in the equilibrium of yin and yang.

In moxibustion, or moxa treatment, small cones of an herb (typically Artemisia moxa) are burned on
top of needles placed in designated points of the body, generally the same points as those used in
acupuncture.Nir Elias—Reuters/Landov
traditional Chinese medicine: acupunctureDiscussion of traditional Chinese medicine, with a focus
on the use of acupuncture as an anesthetic during surgery. Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Mainz

A visit to a traditional Chinese pharmacy is like a visit to a small natural
history museum. The hundreds of cabinet drawers, glass cases, and jars in
a typical pharmacy hold an enormous variety of
desiccated plant and animal material. In 1578 Li Shizhen published his
famous Bencao gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica), which lists
1,892 drugs and some 11,000 formal prescriptions for specific ailments.
The Practice Of Traditional Medicine
To restore harmony, the Chinese healer may use any of a staggeringly large
array of traditional remedies. The patient may be treated
with acupuncture or acupressure, moxibustion (moxa treatment), or cupping
(in which hot glass cups are placed on the patient to draw blood to
the skin). The Chinese healer may prescribe a brew prepared with one (or
some combination) of thousands of medicinal plants or dried animal parts
(e.g., snakes, scorpions, insects, deer antlers) in the Chinese
pharmaceutical armamentarium.

Generally speaking. In place of needles. In acupuncture thin needles are inserted into specific points along the meridians. Meridians are also related to a variety of phenomena. which flows through invisible meridians (channels) of the body. it can also endow TCM with the ability to change consciousness in those who receive treatment. . Acupuncture is sometimes accompanied by moxibustion.Acupuncture consists of the insertion of one or several small metal needles into the skin and underlying tissues at precise points on the body. atoms. cells. “vital breath”). and consciousness itself. and planetary movements. literally. seasons. the burning of small cones of an herb (typically Artemisia moxa) at acupuncture points. there are 12 major meridians. to create additional invisible networks. each of which connects to one of the 12 major organs in TCM theory. including circadian rhythms.© llhedgehogll/Fotolia The role of qi and meridians An essential aspect of TCM is an understanding of the body’s qi (life force. tissues. massage (acupressure) can also be used to stimulate the acupuncture points. The needles stimulate the meridians and readjust the flow of qi to balance the body’s yin and yang. This energy network connects organs. veins. nerves. Not only can the meridian network be used to alleviate symptoms.

the practitioner can create a healing plan that might contain such components as acupuncture. which shows how the energy of unbalanced emotions can affect proper organ function. ancient healers recognized five basic elements in the world—wood (mu). drawing from a Chinese manuscript. Using the five-element theory. or five phases (wuxing). By observing natural law in action. If an individual always gets a headache at 4 PM. in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. metal (jin). one key correspondence relates to time of day.Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale. herbs. and pulse diagnosis to discover the source of an unbalanced health condition. touch. An understanding of the essence of various herbal . and water (shui)—and found that these elements have myriadcorrespondences. For instance. which organ it is related to. since the Bladder (of the TCM Kidney/Bladder organ pair) is in charge of maintaining the body’s functions at that time. earth (tu). this signals that Bladder qi is unbalanced. both visible and invisible. the practitioner typically makes use of what is known as the five agents. fire (huo). Herbal therapy TCM makes use of herbs and herbal formulas to strengthen organ function and support good health. and which meridians are affected. Paris A TCM practitioner uses smell.acupunctureAcupuncture points. and foods for healing. This framework helps skilled TCM practitioners to identify unbalanced relationships. It might also include Chinese psychology. hearing. voice vibration. In addition. lifestyle changes.

each of its parts had to be identified for a different healing purpose.200 years. traditional Chinese medicineA man measuring ingredients in a traditional Asian apothecary. Modern Developments Various Western scientific disciplines have conducted studies to learn how Chinese medicine works.components gives the TCM practitioner a way to create a healing effect that reaches beyond the chemical composition and physical properties of the herbs. TCM also looks at the healing properties of foods in the same way. some in use for more than 2. For a plant to have been included in the Chinese apothecary. In classical TCM herbal formulas. medications are usually prescribed individually for a specific effect. . but it is difficult to use a Western yardstick to measure Eastern medicine. are composed of ingredients chosen to function in combination with each other. However. or signature energy vibration. The practitioner chooses the herbal formula whose essence. this elementary approach ignores the deeper insight and experience of Chinese medicine that the human body has unlimited healing power and that the complementary energies of health and disease reflect the yinyang principle within the human body. many studies on acupuncture involve research that attempts to prove that this modality can eliminate or reduce pain or alleviate certain conditions. each herb has a different purpose or role to help the body achieve harmony. In Western medicine. © Dragon Images/Shutterstock. Different foods carry different energies that can go directly to specific organs to help them heal. correctly stimulates or adjusts the body’s own energy Chinese herbal formulas. For example.

if either of these genes is activated. martial-arts techniques. which was known in ancient China as “the method to repel illness and prolong life. but a slow growth of medical knowledge and gradual changes in medical practice can be assumed. . Nearly 200 modern medicines have been developed either directly or indirectly from the 7. relaxation training. was the time of the three emperors. For example. somewhere in another part of the genetic code there also exists a gene to fix the action of the cancer gene. For example. and breathing exercises that are intended to cultivate qi and transmit it to all the bodily organs. many people worldwide regularly perform these exercises to promote health and may indeed derive health benefits from the exercise and relaxation.” contains elements of meditation. an alkaloid called huperzine A was isolated from the moss Huperzia serrata. primarily an era of myth and legend with only approximate dating of events.000 years are obscure.Genetics research and drug development The yinyang principle can be applied to a genetic disease such as inherited breast cancer and its associated genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. The first. The events of the next 2. continuous. History Of Chinese Medicine The four major periods Between the 29th century BCE and the 16th century CE Chinese medicine passed through four major periods. According to this principle of natural law. was first isolated from the Chinese herb mahuang. There must be complementary programs running—one for developing the disease and one for healing it. Today. from the 29th to 27th centuries BCE. and rhythmic movements that were originally practiced as a martial art. scientists continue to identify compounds in Chinese herbal remedies that may be useful in the development of new therapeutic agents applicable in Western medicine. an alkaloid used in treating asthma. Tai chi is characterized by deliberately slow. Today.300 species of plants used as medicines in China. which is widely used in China to make the herbal medicine qian ceng ta. Meditation and health The meditation exercises tai chi (taijiquan) and qigong (“discipline of the vital breath”) are examples of other integral features of traditional Chinese healing that have been incorporated into health and fitness programs to complement modern medicine. well-balanced. which are used to treat Alzheimer disease. ephedrine. because there is an opposite energy to the one that produced the disease. Studies suggest that this agent may compare favourably with manufactured anticholinesterase drugs such as donepezil. circular. Qigong.

raise domestic animals. Shennong. Shennong. who conceived the future emperor miraculously and carried him in her womb for 12 years. was also known as the Divine Husbandman. the famed Yellow Emperor who ruled in the 27th century BCE. Huangdi. In the second half of the 16th century. He also made known the bagua. the symbolic basis for medical. although legends have grown up around them.300 years. which he first saw written on the back of a “dragon-horse” as it rose from the waters of the Yellow River (Huang He). and Huangdi—were medically oriented. and the character of Chinese medicine began to change. However. The individuals and events were real. The final 1. the Huangdi neijing has been revered for centuries and provides the theoretical concepts for TCM. Fu Xi and the bagua Fu Xi. tenuous communication began with medical representatives from the West. Ancient Chinese emperors and medical texts The three emperors—Fu Xi. Despite this discrepancy. the work was actually composed much later—the 3rd century BCE. reputedly showed his subjects how to fish. produced little that was original. featuring the compilation of encyclopaedic works and the writing of commentaries on earlier authors. He taught them the rules of marriage and the use of picture symbols. the physicians Zhang Zhongjing and Wang Shuhe and the surgeon Hua Tuo. and cook. To accomplish all of these things Fu Xi had to have an unusual beginning and a long reign. called the founder of Chinese medicine. was at one time believed to have written the Huangdi neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic). the legendary founder of the Chinese people. running from about CE 150 to 300. The former was provided by his mother. and astrological thinking. philosophical.The second period was a mixture of legend and fact centred on the career of Bian Qiao (Bian Que)—about whom anecdotal material dates to the first half of the 5th century BCE. Fu Xi discovered the bagua (“eight trigrams”). . The third period was that of the great practitioners.

composed of continuous and broken lines. The inside of the body is yin. active. and to heal diseases. The continuous lines are called yang and basically represent all things male. the ancient Chinese physician strove to bring these two qualities back into balance. bitter substances. the heart and liver are yang. Yang and yin are complementary rather than antagonistic. Yin and yang are present throughout the macrocosm of the world just as they are present in the microcosm of the human body. Medically speaking. moon. dry. and passive. everything could be classed either as yin or yang. among other things. yang when it comes from external causes. day. while yang represents heaven. Taipei The bagua consists of eight trigrams. life. Such is the profundity of meaning contained in these symbols that the Chinese philosopher Confucius once stated that if he could study the bagua for 50 years he might be able to obtain wisdom. lungs. death. The fact that each yin contains a little yang and each yang a little yin is symbolized by the eye of each fish which is of the opposite colour. in the National Palace Museum. Courtesy of the National Palace Museum. painting on silk.Fu Xi. Taipei. while resolvents. the surface or skin is yang. the spleen. pungent substances. Confucius did study the bagua long enough to write a commentary that forms part of the Yijing (Classic of Changes). yin in black and yang in white. one of the books revered throughout the history of China. cold. and cold infusions are yin drugs. and hot decoctions are yang drugs. and so forth. heat. a disease is yin when it results from internal causes. moist. and kidneys are yin. sun. The ideograms for yin and yang first appeared in an appendix to the Yijing. the broken lines are called yin and represent female aspects of life. or three-line symbols. In diagrammatic form yin and yang appear as two fish in a circle. purgatives. Shennong and the Shennong bencaojing . Yin also stands for earth. night.

000 years and has appeared in many editions. Nevertheless.The second legendary emperor. in the collection of the University of Hong Kong. Shennong. Called the Yellow Emperor. . Although most authorities now agree that the Shennong bencaojing was written about the time of Christ. His mother was a princess and his father a heavenly dragon. engraving from Sancai Tuhui (1607–09). medium (having some toxicity based on the dosage and exerting tonic effects). He was long supposed to have written the Huangdi neijing. where he categorized the medicines as superior (nonpoisonous and rejuvenating). is said to have been born in the 28th century BCE and was known as the Red Emperor because his patron element was fire. Shennong reportedly invented the plow. Shennong is generally looked upon as the father of Chinese medicine. Huangdi is the best known of the three early rulers. and found and tested plants that had curative or poisonous qualities. Shennong. or inferior (poisonous but able quickly to reduce fever and cure indigestion). taught his people to be farmers. the Huangdi neijing has been the highest Chinese authority on medical matters for over 2.Courtesy of the University of Hong Kong Huangdi and the Huangdi neijing The third of the three ancient Chinese emperors began his rule in 2697 BCE. because his patron element was earth. although the work is now believed to have been composed in the 3rd century BCE. He supposedly wrote down much of this information in the Shennong bencaojing (Divine Husbandsman’s Classic of Medicine).

the pulse. The Huangdi neijing states this concept clearly with some well- drawn analogies: To administer medicines to diseases which have already developed and to suppress revolts which have already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty. A good administrator. Huangdi was given the formula for the “nine gourd powder” and the “nineteen gold and silver prescriptions. and indeed throughout most of Chinese medical history. The physician who could take action only after the disease had manifested itself for all to see was looked on as an inferior practitioner. a yellow dragon came down from heaven and escorted Huangdi to paradise. is on the preventive rather than the curative. and many other useful tasks. inventing a system of currency. He supposedly taught his people how to print and how to make utensils of wood. Huangdi had a remarkable birth and a long life. one of his own inventions. and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. in the collection of the University of Hong Kong. making the wheel. he delegated to his aides such assignments as building boats. and other medical matters from immortals and goddesses. illustration from Li-tai ku-jen hsiang-tsan (1498 edition). thousands of tigers and leopards came to his home to take turns helping. To keep the fire going in this busy stove. When the last pills had been made. Would these actions not be too late? .” He also acquired the prescription for making the “nine tripod pills.” All of these he prepared on a special stove. and metal.Huangdi. Huangdi himself allegedly obtained information on diagnosis. composing a calendar. Like his predecessors.Courtesy of the University of Hong Kong The major contribution Huangdi made to medicine must certainly be the invention of the nine needles for acupuncture. Physicians were rated on the basis of whether they could keep well people well. The emphasis in the Huangdi neijing. pottery. Seventy of his concubines and most faithful ministers accompanied him on this final flight.

These two principles are each subdivided into three degrees: yin has a great female principle. stomach. winds.000 years after Huangdi. played such an important part in Chinese medicine because the original Chinese people came from the Yellow River area where the winds were usually active and where changes in direction and intensity often foretold difficulties or disasters. substances. large intestine. the individual will be healthy. The winds. The noxious airs were usually thought of as indicating improper living habits. This unfortunate situation was later corrected by the Emperor Renzong (reigned 1021–63) of the following Song Dynasty (960–1279). Wang Bing compiled the most complete edition of the Huangdi neijing in the middle of the 8th century CE during the Tang dynasty (618–907).The elements of anatomy in the Huangdi neijing underlie the discussion of diseases. some commentators believe. Bian Qiao The first outstanding physician after the three emperors was Bian Qiao. water. a female principle proper. The organs (liver. The Herodotus of China. Using volumes that 500 years before had belonged to Zhang Zhongjing. When these principles are balanced. he could expect to suffer for it. Yin and yang are distributed throughout the body in an even balance in a healthy individual. These subdivisions differ from each other primarily in the relative amounts of air and blood contained in them. 145–87 BCE). seasons. The physician strove for a balance among the elements and the items related to them. and a young female principle. and medical problems were one type of penalty. lungs. and many other qualities. spleen. However. concepts. while yang has the male counterparts. especially deviations from the rules of the Dao. and earth—was also important. Bian Qiao’s birth date is uncertain but is thought to be in the early years of the 5th century BCE. and things played a major role in Chinese medicine. and the three burning spaces—unique areas that cannot be specifically identified) were looked on as eliminators. heart. The comprehensive correspondences between these organs. a specific organ or area may have more of one than of the other. who lived more than 2. Bian Qiao is also a somewhat mythical figure. the seasons. viscera. Although some facts are known about his life. and kidneys) were thought to store materials. The doctrine of the five elements—metal. The viscera (gallbladder. fire. bladder. and noxious airs. wood. The decision meant that the Huangdi neijing was delivered into the hands of craftsmen (physicians) rather than into the hands of men of higher education who could appreciate the philosophy behind the medical teachings as well as the governmental and religious aspects. small intestine. The governmental authorities determined that the work should be classed as a medical book. or Way. Sima Qian (c. If an individual strayed from the right way. wrote . Disease can also be caused by winds.

indeed. Bian Qiao was to take the herbs in a special liquid for 30 days. but this time the physician said nothing and backed out of the room. Bian Qiao was given 6. What he heard led Bian Qiao to say that he could bring the prince back to life. what . when in the stomach and intestines by alcoholic extracts. who immediately sent a messenger to get an explanation for this strange behaviour. Once when he was traveling through Guo. One of the older residents of the inn.a long biography of him. when in the blood system by puncturing. While dining with the Marquis. Chang Sangjun told Bian Qiao that he could have his medical secrets if he would vow not to divulge them to others. But when it had penetrated the bone-marrow. When Bian Qiao agreed.500 acres of land as a reward. Bian Qiao ran an inn when he was a young man. Going immediately to the palace gate. and at the end of the 30 days he discovered that he not only understood the secrets of nature but also could see through the human body. Chang Sangjun handed over a book and some herbs. and received the plaudits of the assembled throng when. Chang Sangjun vanished. Many miraculous cures and predictions were credited to Bian Qiao. He diagnosed him with catalepsy. Bian Qiao sought detailed information. The Marquis responded by saying that he was not only well but was also becoming rather annoyed. the prince’s life was restored. but he received the same response. Bian Qiao told him that he had a latent disease that should be treated immediately. Chang Sangjun. According to one story. recognized Bian Qiao’s sterling qualities and decided to make the younger man his medical heir. His action upset the Marquis. Bian Qiao followed the instructions carefully. who accurately predicted that Zhao would recover within three days. Bian Qiao replied with devastating logic: When a disease was only skin deep it may be reached by concoctions and applications. The Marquis replied that he certainly was not ill. Bian Qiao’s handling of the Marquis Qi Huan of the ancient state of Qi serves as a cautionary tale. the officials sent for Bian Qiao. Wisely he kept this ability to himself and publicly derived his information about the patient’s inner workings by carefully attending to the pulse. and he would then be able to understand all the secrets of nature. Bian Qiao told the Marquis that the disease was in the stomach and intestines. and several books are assumed to have been written by him. Bian Qiao heard that the prince had died. contemporary authors wrote about his cures. Five days later Bian Qiao saw the Marquis again and informed him that the disease had entered the blood. Immediately after giving his instructions. After five more days. When the great Zhao Jianzi had been unconscious for five days. When this occurred. Bian Qiao again came into the Marquis’s presence. had his assistant apply moxa and acupuncture to several points. After another five days.

flourished toward the end of the 2nd century CE. .700 years until Scottish physician James Currie promoted it in his famous treatise on fever therapy. an idea that remained unused for 1. Zhang described typhoid clearly and recommended the use of only a few potent drugs in treating it. the highest compliment one could pay to a Chinese physician was to call him a “living Bian Qiao. This story is a beautiful example of the Chinese emphasis on preventive or early treatment rather than on attempts to cure a disease in its advanced stages. One of his most frequently quoted aphorisms was.could a doctor do? Now that the disease has lodged in His Excellency’s bone- marrow. Whatever may be the confusion over myth and fact in this great physician’s life. as Bian Qiao had predicted. a considerable advance from the shotgun prescriptions then common. He wrote an important book on dietetics. it is useless for me to make further comments. The Marquis became ill five days later. He also included the measurements and weights of various organs taken from cadavers. is generally accepted as the chief authority on this peculiarly Chinese medical subject. Bian Qiao wrote the popular Nanjing (Difficult Classic). although Wang Shuhe.” Bian Qiao was looked upon by many as the most knowledgeable user of pulse lore. Zhang Zhongjing. “A case is incurable if one believes in sorcerers instead of in doctors. who lived 750 years later. a work highly regarded in the East for as long a time as Galen of Pergamum’s works were popular in the West. One of Bian Qiao’s major struggles was against superstition.” The great practitioners Zhang Zhongjing The Chinese Hippocrates. but he achieved his greatest fame for a treatise on typhoid and other fevers. The drugs were to be used one at a time. and died shortly thereafter. He endeavoured to instruct medical men and laity alike wherever he went. from which information on diagnostic methods was later incorporated into the Huangdi neijing. Zhang stated that cool baths were also an important part of the treatment.

symptoms. Chinese doctors in the early periods felt that surgery was a matter of last resort. and course of a disease. make it easy to understand why he has become known by the name of his Greek medical ancestor. he was able to make his patients insensitive to pain. He probably first became interested in medicine while trying to help the countless soldiers who had been wounded in the many wars of that violent period. and this attitude. However. Zhang forthrightly stood for the dignity and responsibility of the medical profession. Hua Tuo was thus the discoverer of anesthetics.Zhang ZhongjingZhang Zhongjing. using only a few prescriptions and a few points for acupuncture. kind. around the beginning of the 3rd century CE a surgeon named Hua Tuo began to change Chinese surgery. Hua Tuo traveled and read widely. and he carefully recorded the results obtained from any drugs that he prescribed. What surgery was done was usually carried out by a lower grade of medical worker. Hua Tuo Huangdi’s Huangdi neijing devotes only a minute amount of space to surgery. In the 16th and 17th centuries there was a strong revival of his teachings and practices. coupled with his close powers of observation. Zhang paid close attention to the physical signs. and little time was spent teaching or describing surgical techniques. although some say that Bian . Using a preparation of hemp and wine. As a young surgeon Hua Tuo believed in simplicity. known as the Chinese Hippocrates. As a young man.

in the Religionskundliche Sammlung der Philipps-Universität. removal of diseased tissues. came to Hua Tuo because of an arrow wound in his arm that had become badly infected. Guandi and one of his military companions proceeded calmly with their game. although his main interest. Of the stories told of Hua Tuo. His series of exercises known as the frolics of the five animals. To treat gastrointestinal diseases Hua Tuo’s favourite procedure was to resect the viscera and wash the inside. He probably even performed end- to-end anastomoses (connections) of the intestines. but General Guandi laughed scornfully and called for a board and stones for a game of go. Ger. was only one of Hua Tuo’s pursuits. bear. Foto Marburg/Art Resource. He pioneered in hydrotherapy. While Hua Tuo scraped the flesh and bone free of infection and repaired the wound. Marburg. . New York Surgery.Qiao had used them. Guandi with (left) his son Guan Ping and (right) his squire Zhou Cang. one—possibly apocryphal—is that General Guandi. ape. in which the patient imitated movements of the tiger. was well known and widely adopted. one of the great military heroes of the time who eventually became the God of War. and he did innovative work in physiotherapy. and even a partial splenectomy (removal of the spleen). and bird. although it is not known what substance he used for the sutures. He engaged in a wide variety of surgical procedures including laparotomy (incision into the abdominal cavity). deer. painting on paper. The surgeon prepared to give his patient the usual anesthetic drink.

Veja abaixo alguns extraordinários médicos e suas habilidades. Hua Tuo (140-208 d. dois grandes médicos chineses da Dinastia Han.C) .Médicos chineses usavam poderes sobrenaturais para examinar pacientes 13/01/2014 Zhang Zhongjing e Hua Os mais renomados antigos médicos chineses são conhecidos por possuírem capacidades sobrenaturais. incluindo ser capaz de olhar o interior do corpo de uma pessoa para ver a causa de uma doença. eram conhecidos por possuírem habilidades sobrenaturais (KanZongGuo. 1.

usando o pretexto de ter que realizar uma cirurgia cerebral. sem interesse em fama e ganho pessoal. Ele também é conhecido por ter desenvolvido um tipo de exercício de qigong. Quando Hua Tuo disse ao imperador Cao Cao que ele tinha um tumor em seu cérebro. Hua Tuo era um homem humilde. Hua Tuo era chamado de o “Médico Divino”. 2. e assim identificar a causa de uma doença. Ele também é conhecido por ter utilizado habilidades sobrenaturais para ver tumores e outros problemas internos.C) . ele normalmente trabalhava com pessoas comuns. Retrato de Hua Tuo feito por uma edição do Romance dos Três Reinos na Dinastia Qing (Wikimedia Commons) Hua Tuo é conhecido como o primeiro cirurgião da medicina chinesa. Cao Cao morreu devido à sua doença. O imperador mandou prender Hua Tuo. Ele foi forçado a diagnosticar o imperador. Depois de alguns anos. e no final o médico morreu na prisão. Suas habilidades sobrenaturais só podiam chegar a eles dessa forma. ou “Shenyi” em chinês. depois de ter recusado a oferta de se tornar o médico oficial do mesmo. Embora ele tenha examinado o imperador. Sem qualquer método de escanear o interior do corpo. as cirurgias que Hua Tuo realizava eram conhecidas por serem guiadas por uma visão divina. Cao Cao pensou que Hua Tuo queria matá-lo. Bian Que (500 a. Muitos médicos da antiga China davam muita importância ao cultivo espiritual e se esforçavam para manter um elevado caráter moral.

Zhang Zhongjin (150 a 219 d. Anos mais tarde. 3. Ele disse: “Parece que você não tomou. e depois que o mesmo foi tratado com acupuntura. um dos mais antigos livros clínicos do mundo. Um mês depois. . ele realmente morreu dentro de meio ano. quando Wang tinha 40 anos. Zhang deu a Wang uma receita para evitar esta ocorrência. Bian Que conheceu um homem com poderes sobrenaturais que lhe deu um misterioso remédio. dizendo que tinha. ele descobriu que o príncipe estava em coma. O homem instruiu Bian Que a ingerir o remédio com água que “não tenha tocado o chão”. e Wang mentiu. Quando Bian Que estava na procissão funerária de um príncipe. ficou bom novamente. Bian Que adquiriu visão raio-X. como o orvalho.C) “O Tratado sobre a gripe”. Wang aceitou o remédio. Na verdade. Zhang não se deixou enganar. mas não o tomou. Por que você não se preocupa com sua vida?”. Zhang contou a Wang que suas sobrancelhas iriam cair quando chegasse a 40 anos de idade. Wang iria morreu dentro de meio ano. viu que o príncipe ainda podia ser revivido. Como previsto. e quando isso acontecesse. porque ele se sentiu ofendido e não acreditou em Zhang. ele conheceu um funcionário chamado Wang Zhongxuan. compilado por Zhang Zhongjing (Wikimedia Commons) Quando Zhang Zhongjing tinha 20 anos. suas sobrancelhas caíram. Zhang perguntou a Wang se ele tinha tomado o medicamento.Um relato da vida de Bian Que foi feito no livro “Registros do Grande Historiador” feito pelo famoso historiador Sima Qian. Dias depois.

either by the jailer who wanted to remove all traces of the prisoner or by the surgeon’s wife acting in accordance with Hua Tuo’s wishes expressed before he was jailed. the destruction of his writings and the Confucian dogma against mutilation of the human body combined to prevent the growth of surgery that might have been expected to follow the life of such a remarkable pioneer. When the king asked him to do something to remove this annoyance permanently. A likely set of these has him late in life becoming court physician to Cao Cao. Hua Tuo said he would have to cut into the royal skull. king of Wei. diagnosis was of considerable significance. portrait by an unknown artist. the king had the surgeon thrown into jail and executed. Qingnang shu (Book of the Blue Bag) was burned. Unfortunately. Hua Tuo’s major book. but the king became suspicious that his enemies had bribed Hua Tuo to kill him. Although the early . Cao CaoCao Cao. In a fit of rage. Hua Tuo earned his place as the greatest surgeon in Chinese history. The surgeon temporarily relieved the ruler of his giddiness by acupuncture. perhaps triggered by these very headaches. Cao Cao’s wife was in favour of surgery as a desperate hope. Wang Shuhe and the pulse Since medicine was far more important than surgery in Chinese history.The end of Hua Tuo’s life is hidden in a mist of conflicting and doubtful stories.

the Chinese physician trained in pulse lore could achieve some remarkable diagnoses. The bar lightly pressed indicated the state of the gallbladder. The right wrist had its own relationships to the body organs. the physician had three places on each wrist at which he must ascertain the quality and quantity of the pulse. the kidneys. the middle position was the guan (“bar”). Hua Tuo. in a handbook of prescriptions for emergencies. Supposedly. the great Persian physician generally given credit for the first description of this deadly disease. The actual pulses were further divided into seven biao (“superficial”) and eight li (“sunken”) pulses. (3) belching and vomiting. when heavily pressed. and when heavily pressed. (4) insufferable heat within the thorax. The physician not only read three different pulses on each wrist but also read each pulse at two levels. Zhang Zhongjing. but his labours over the pulse are what raised him to the highest rank of Chinese physician. Although to Western minds these varieties and relationships may appear complex or ridiculous.Chinese physician examined with care the colour of the patient’s skin at various key points and noted any other external signs.” Basically. (2) accumulation of blood in the chest. the heart. which was written by Wang Shuhe. and Wang Shuhe. In the Huangdi neijing itself may be found the assertion “Nothing surpasses the examination of the pulse. and (7) heat in the chest. the seven superficial pulses on the inch position could indicate. (6) headaches. a woman’s right pulse indicated disorder and her left pulse order. Wang also wrote an important commentary on the Huangdi neijing. the practice of inoculation against smallpox grew out of a rather hazy background. gave a clear and detailed description of smallpox. The classic work in the field was the Maijing (The Pulse Classics). (5) severe thoracic pains. as well as physicians such as Bian Qiao. on the left wrist. About 700 years after Ge Hong. The place closest to the hand was known as the cun (“inch”). inoculation was brought to China by . What could these pulses indicate? To take just one example. among other things: (1) pains and heat in the middle region of the body and in the head. For example. Ge Hong (3rd century CE). he drew mainly on the pulse for diagnosis. the study of the pulse was one of the major occupations of the physician. the liver. and the one farthest from the hand was called the chi (“cubit”). heavily pressed. who listened for an almost endless variety of sounds and rhythms. when the inch was lightly pressed the pulse indicated the state of the small intestines. other individuals made single contributions of substantial importance to Chinese medicine. Final period In addition to the three emperors. and the cubit lightly pressed indicated the state of the urinary bladder. Indeed. Yin representing right and yang left. Ge Hong’s achievement came almost six centuries before al-Rāzī (Rhazes). the opposite held for a man.

This individual lived on a mountain and began the practice by using scabs that had been dried. and inserted into the nostrils. as the ruler of the country. in the early 20th century interest in TCM was renewed. From the time of Wang Shuhe in the 3rd century to the middle of the 16th century CE. ground into a powder. The method spread and cut the mortality rate substantially. However. some Chinese people began to believe that everything in Western medicine was scientific and good.either a spiritual old woman or a holy physician. TCM was practiced not only in China but also in countries worldwide. this faith in Western medicine continued to grow at the expense of native medicine. These rites were celebrated in the spring and fall for many years. Despite the appearance once again of a physician. Sun Yat-sen. tentative medical communication began between East and West. When Portuguese Bishop Belchior Carneiro established Saint Raphael’s Hospital in the 16th century near Guangzhou (Canton). and therefore better than the traditional medicine practiced in China. and by the late 20th and early 21st centuries. . As Western medicine gradually made deeper inroads in the country. In 1644 official rites for worshipping the ancient physicians were instituted at the Qing Hui Palace near the College of Imperial Physicians in Peking (Beijing). Chinese medical men devoted much of their efforts to the compilation of massive encyclopaedias and the writing of commentaries on the classical works.