Traditional Chinese Medicine
A rich treaure house created hy ancient Chinese people in their long years of struggle against disease, traditional Chinese medicine and pharmacology has formed an independent school within the healing arts. It has made outstanding achievetnents over its 2000-year histoy and it has improved coninuously to remain widely practiced today.
TraditionaI Chinese medicine and pharmacology incorporates the
yin (negative) and yang (positive) theory and the theory of the
five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth), both containing
primifive dialectical ideas of ancient China. The former theory
holds that everything has a yin and a yang side and that the struggle
and interaction between the two sides is the source of the ceaseless
emergence and change of all things in the universe. The latter
theory believes that things in the universe are composed of the
five indispensable elements of daily life, which move and change
constantly to promte and restrain each other.
Beyond theory, the physiological and pathological branches of traditional Chinese medicine focus on the internal organs, main and collateral "channels", "vital energy" ("qi" ) and blood, excre-tion and the development of medicine and pharmacology. Acupuncture and moxibustion treatment (which will be fully dealt with later), for example, is a unique Chinese method remarkably effective in curing many kinds of ailments.
The experience of traditional doctors in understanding, observing, analyxing and treating discase has been handed down mainly through medical literature. According to an incomplete estimation, there are about 8 000 pieces of such literature extant today, most of them dealing with clinical medicine.
The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (Huang Di Nei Jing), On Typhoid and Other Diseases (Shang Han Za Bing Lun) and The Herbal Canon of Shen Nong (Shen Nong Ben
Cho Jing ) are three repmentative medical works written before the third century B.C. The yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, the earliest existing Chinese medical masterpiece, was
completed during the Warring States Period (475B.C.- 22l B.C.) and consists of 18 volumes and l62 chapters. It provided the theoretical basis for Chinese medicine by giving fairly scientific explanations of the physiological functions of the human body, symptoms of diseases and the principles of diagnosis and treatment. The other two books were written in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220 A.D.). On Typhoid and Other Diseases deals mainly with the dialectical method of diagnosis, methods of treatment and prescriptions, while The Herbal Canon of Shen Nong, the earliest extant works of pharmacology listing 365 drugs, laid the ground work for Chinese pharmacology.
Altogether more than 5 000 types of Chinese medicinal herbs are in use now. According to traditional Chinese pharmacology, the tions, tablets, solvents, and sprays. Among the many nationally famous Chinese pharmaceutical works are Tong Ren Tang in Beijing, Da Ren Tang in Tianjin, Hu Qingyu Tang in Hangzhou and Lei Yunshang Tang in Suzhou.
Though Chinese medicine has its own system of theories, therapeutic principles and methods of treatment, the Chinese medical workers have been called on to investigate the whys and hows of traditional Chinese medicine from a moderm scientific point of view and develop a new Chinese medicine which is combined with Western medicine. The result is the present coexistence and simultaneous development of the three branches of medicine in China: Chinese, Western and Chinese-Western.