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Introduction to
Traditional Chinese Medicine,
A System With Its Own Rich Tradition

Giving an introduction to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is like explaining the Chinese history itself. It is one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine in medicine history. And a lot of people have misconceptions.


Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine

TCM dates back over 3,000 years and was not developed by any particular individual but rather, it grew out of the necessity of maintaining good health.


The Yellow Emperor

During the reign of the Yellow Emperor (2698 to 2599 B.C.), it is reported that he had composed Huang Di Nei Jing, also known as Neijing Suwen, or Basic Questions of Internal Medicine.

The text is believed to be based on the dialogue between the Yellow Emperor and his minister Ch�i Pai.

Modern historiographers consider it to have been compiled by a scholar living between the Chou and Han dynasties more than 2,000 years later, though some parts of the work may have originated as early as 1000 B.C.

Wild Grain Goodness
Wild Grain Goodness


Compendium of Materia Medica

Later, Li Shizhen (1518 � 1593 C.E., Ming Dynasty), one of the greatest physicians and pharmacologists in Chinese history, compiled the Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica). He classified the herb components and is considered to be the greatest naturalist of China.

The book has details about more than 1,800 drugs, including 1,110 illustrations and 11,000 prescriptions. His Materia Medica has been translated into many different languages, and remains as the premier reference work for herbal medicine till now.


The Evolution

While the ancient Chinese used the traditional Chinese herbs and other methods to combat diseases, they came to see the day to day benefits of

� Consuming herbs (now called Chinese herbology or Chinese herbal medicine),

� Inserting needles in the body (now called Chinese acupuncture),

� Massaging the body (now called Chinese manipulative therapy and Tui Na is one type of massage therapy),

� Eating the right food (now called Chinese food cures),

all which result in cleansing the body of its impurities (detox).






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