Hua Tuo and The Warlord Cao Cao

華佗 Hua Tuo and The Warlord 曹操 Cao Cao

f華佗 Hua Tuo believed that surgery was only an option for diseases that could not be cured with herbs, exercise, or acupuncture. During that time it was unimaginable for a physician to cut into someone’s body for treatment, so naturally Hua Tuo’s take on surgeries was considered unconventional. To alleviate the pain of the patients he operated on, 華佗Hua Tuo studied ancient methods, searched for herbs far and wide and experimented on anesthetic formulas on his own body. He developed an herbal formula called 麻沸散 Mafeisan, which he served to his patients with wine to strengthen the effects of the anesthetic prescription.

According to the Chinese Western Jin Dynasty’s account “Records of the Three Kingdoms: Biography of Hua Tuo”, in the end, the doctor’s popularity attracted the attention of a warlord named Cao Cao who summoned 華佗 Hua Tuo to help him with the migraines he was suffering from. Unlike other physicians, 華佗 Hua Tuo was successful at alleviating Cao Cao’s pain on most occasions. The doctor suggested a surgical intervention as he believed there was a tumor in Cao Cao’s brain.

The warlord refused to follow the recommendation as he thought 華佗 Hua Tuo was trying to assassinate him. Instead he insisted that 華佗 Hua Tuo became his personal physician and attend to all of his needs whenever necessary. 華佗 Hua Tuo continuously declined Cao Cao’s offer, which was more of a command, and as a result was thrown into prison.

華佗 Hua Tuo's Imprisonment & Death

Before he died in prison, 華佗 Hua Tuo wrote all of his clinical experience down and tried to give it to a prison guard for safe keeping. Out of fear of Cao, the guard refused to accept anything from 華佗 Hua Tuo. As one source sites, “In anger and frustration, 華佗 Hua Tuo burned his manuscripts, turning all of his clinical knowledge to ashes. After Hua Tuo died, he was buried next to a flowing river of clear water – symbolizing that he was cleared from all wrong-doing.”

In the end, Cao Cao learned his lesson the hard way.  His son fell gravely ill shortly after 華佗 Hua Tuo’s death and there was not a physician in the land who could save the young man’s life.

華佗 Hua Tuo died around the age of 100, and it was said that he looked as spry as a young 60 year old.  To this day talented doctors are referred to as “Hua Tuo reincarnated” 華佗再世 Huà Tuó zài shì, a testament to his undeniable contribution to Chinese Medicine.

Hua Tuo: The Father of Surgery and Anesthesia

華佗 Hua Tuo: The Father of Surgery and Anesthesia

Ancient China has had many highly skilled and humble physicians as well as herbalists born onto its land. We honor those who have preceded us in this lineage by highlighting them in our Famous Ancient Physicians Series.

Today we will be talking about 華佗Hua Tuo’s profound story and invaluable contribution not just to the society of his day, but to the entire global posterity.

華佗 Hua Tuo is commonly referred to as ‘The Father of Surgery and Anesthesia.’ He successfully introduced and practiced surgery on his patients during the late Eastern Han Dynasty, more than 1,500 years before Western Civilization even began to experiment with surgery!  He also is credited with being the first person to perform surgery on an anesthetized patient.

華佗 Hua Tuo's Origin Story

Born into a poor family in Qiao County in the State of Pei, records vary and estimate that his birth year was sometime between 108 and 140 A.D. Having lost his father at the age of 7, the young boy was forced to find work and did so at a local herbal pharmacy. Two of the earliest writings of Hua Tuo’s life state that he felt “called to study medicine after witnessing the bloodshed that came with the shattering of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220) into the legendary Three Kingdoms (A.D. 220–280).”  During this time period there was continuous political unrest with constant battles and violence.

華佗 Hua Tuo only wanted to help humanity.  He continuously turned down offers to work in the Imperial court and insisted on being a “physician of the people”.

Treat people equally irrespective of their high or low status, of their poverty or wealth, of their distinction or obscurity. Do not run after riches, fear no hardships and toils, and take it as your first duty to take pity on the old and help the young.

華佗Hua Tuo was often called the “miracle working doctor” as he would use a small number of acupuncture points in his treatments as well as only several herbs in his herbal prescriptions for quick and effective relief and healing for his patients.  He could mix herbal ingredients so well that he never needed to measure them.  He was also a master at diagnosis, and incredibly accurate. People said that he bordered on fortune-telling. 華佗Hua Tuo believed that illness was caused in part by a lack of physical activity, and developed the Five Animals Play 氣功 Qigong exercise sequence for clearing the mind and eyes, boosting the cardio-pulmonary functions, strengthening the waist and kidneys and smoothing the joints.  You can read more about that here.

華佗 Hua Tuo and Chen Deng

One day Chen Deng, a Chinese military general and high level official over Dongcheng Commandery, fell ill and could not eat. He summoned 華佗 Hua Tuo to treat him. After checking the official’s pulse, 華佗 Hua Tuo told Cheng Deng:

“You have several sheng (1 sheng is equal to approximately 34-oz) of parasites in your stomach. I assume it happened because you like eating raw fish and meat.”

華佗 Hua Tuo gave the official 2 sheng of an herbal prescription, which caused him to vomit about 3 sheng of small parasites and led to his quick recovery. Before he left, 華佗Hua Tuo warned the official:

The kind of ailment you had will recur three years from now. Make sure you find a skillful physician by then.”

Just as predicted, Chen Deng experienced the same condition exactly 3 years later. He sent for華佗Hua Tuo who was away harvesting herbal medicine in the mountains at the time. Unable to quickly find another skilled doctor, Chen Deng died of his illness at the age of 39.

Prevention, Prevention, PREVENTION!

Although Hua Tuo was considered an exceptional miracle working physician, he always made his patients aware that PREVENTION is the best method to living a balanced life.  Physical activity is key to keeping dis-ease out of the home.

How do you keep you and your family well?  Tell us in the comments below!

Zhang Zhongjing: The Medical Sage

張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing: The Medical Sage

During the Eastern Han dynasty between about 150 and 219 AD lived a famous Chinese Herbologist and Physician named 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing. This legendary man is considered to be one of the finest physicians in history and his written works are considered to be canons.

Even as a young boy, 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing was interested in medical science. After vigorously studying and practicing the healing arts for many years, 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing became an outstanding medical professional with high prestige.

Medical Diagnosis

One of his incredible strengths was the art of medical diagnosis. 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing once met a scholar who he concluded was ill by simply observing the young man’s complexion. He advised the young scholar to seek medical assistance and suggested that he took a specific decoction. Both recommendations were ignored by the young man.

張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing warned the man that if he did not act right away, his eyebrows and beard would fall out when he turned forty years old, and he would die soon after that. Upon their next meeting 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing asked the young man whether he had followed his advice? The young scholar replied, “yes”. The doctor could see in the young man’s complexion that he had not done what was prescribed to him.

“Why do you neglect your own health?!” – Dr. Zhongjing pleaded. The words still had no effect on the young scholar.
Just like 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing warned, the scholar’s eyebrows and beard began to fall out when he turned forty years old and he died six months later.

Febrile Disease & The Shang Han Za Bing Lun

Another prominent achievement attributed to 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing is the recognition and treatment of infectious diseases, specifically febrile disease.

In the last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, a widespread epidemic claimed many lives, most of which were lost to febrile disease. As a result, 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing closely studied the origins and progression of the disease and worked to identify treatment protocols and herbal prescriptions. All of this extensive research lead to the creation of his most monumental work called Shang Han Za Bing Lun (On Cold Damage and Miscellaneous Diseases).

The publication contains over 269 prescriptions. Nearly 25% of the herbal formulas created by 張仲景 Zhang Zhongjing almost two thousand years ago are still taught in herbology courses in Traditional Chinese Medicine schools worldwide today and many are used in everyday clinical practice.

Did you know?

餃子 Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings) are believed to have been invented by Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty.  He would hide the herbal medicine in food!   Po from Kung Fu Panda would have been a very healthy and astute student of Zhang Zhongjing 😉. 

Ge Hong: The Ancestor of First Aid

葛洪 Ge Hong: The Ancestor of First Aid

葛洪 Ge Hong was a famous Daoist master, author, scholar, alchemist, and physician. Born in the Eastern Jin Period (317-420 AD), he is famously the first scholar to write about the practice of alchemy and is the father/ancestor of First Aid in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

葛洪 Ge Hong came from an aristocratic family in Jiangsu, and was the great grandson of the Three Kingdoms Period Daoist master 葛玄 Ge Xuan. As such he was commonly called Taiji Ge Xianweng, which translates as ‘Old Immortal Ge of the Utmost Extreme.’

As the youngest of three brothers, there was little chance for Ge to obtain official office. At thirteen years old his father died. This brought about great financial instability for his family. He began to sell firewood and work the fields to help support his family.

At the age of 16, 葛洪 Ge Hong began studying many of the Chinese Classics such as 孝經 XiaoJing and 詩經 ShiJing. His main interest was on how to obtain immortality through nourishing the body. He was commonly laughed at by friends and family for having such “outlandish” goals and dreams.

葛洪 Ge Hong became a student of Master 鄭隱 Zheng Yin, a master of alchemy for fifteen years. After a brief military appointment, he gave up worldly life to become a Daoist immortal in the South. He adhered to a strict diet and cultivated his character and tranquility under the tutelage of 鮑靚 Bao Jing.

葛洪 Ge Hong and Mt. Luofu

In 316 he moved back to the North and was recommended for several high offices, but ultimately refused to accept them. When 葛洪 Ge Hong heard about the cultivation of dansha 丹砂 (cinnabar) in Jiaozhi, now Northern Vietnam, he asked to be appointed to Magistrate of Guanxi, which he was ultimately given. He traveled to the South yet again and settled on top of 羅浮 Mt. Luofu where he studied herbs and alchemy.

Mount Luofu is considered to be the sacred treasure of Chinese medicinal herbs as it hosts some 3,000 varieties of plants.

After years of collecting and distinguishing herbs on the mountain, 葛洪 Ge Hong developed numerous herbal formulas and wrote them down in the Handbook of Prescriptions for Aid First. The pamphlet was so small that it could be carried in a sleeve of someone’s clothing. The work included symptoms and treatment protocols for more than seventy acute diseases.

In China there is a saying that references 葛洪 Ge Hong’s handbook:

“With this handbook at home, one needs no doctor.”

Chinese Quote on Ge Hong's Handbook Tweet

The Handbook of Prescriptions for Aid First is considered the first clinical First Aid book in the history of Chinese Medicine. And as for 葛洪 Ge Hong himself, many call him the Ancestor of First Aid.

葛洪 Ge Hong's Contribution to Humanity

As an author, 葛洪 Ge Hong wrote about Daoist theories that reflected on unity and meditations as well as books on alchemy. He also brought many ancient herbal formulas forward and described precise methods for extracting herbs. His famous book 抱朴子 Baopuzi, includes information on both pharmacology and medicine.

Daoists during this period of time were philosophers, physicians, and herbalists. They healed the masses and gave of themselves to obtain true immortality. 葛洪 Ge Hong wrote more than 60 books, many of which have since been lost.

“Where the Mystery is present, joy is infinite; where the Mystery has departed, efficacy is exhausted and the spirit disappears.”

Si Jin Bao brings Ancient Traditions Forward

Just like the treatment protocols developed by 葛洪 Ge Hong, Si Jin Bao products are also powerful and simple to take.

To help you understand how to use Si Jin Bao Herbaceuticals in your own home, our Chief Herbaceutical Engineer has developed a FREE Home Medic Course Series (Jia de Yisheng). Sign up below to gain access today!

“I’ve used Si Jin Bao for myself and my kids for as long as I can remember. The oldest is 21, then 15, then 9 year old twins and these are the ONLY therapies we keep in our home continuously. I used it for our oldest when he was younger and now our younger children are now familiar with what decoction is to be used with a particular symptom. As a conscious mother, wellness, balance, and healthy healing is a priority to me. Thank you for being that.”

China’s King of Medicine

孫思邈 Sun Simiao, China's King of Medicine

孫思邈 Sun Simiao was a famous Doctor and author who lived during the Sui and Tang dynasties.  He wrote two major works on medical practice and one on Daoist longevity prescriptions.  Born in 581 A.D., his contribution to Chinese Medicine was so significant that he was honored with the title “China’s King of Medicine.”

孫思邈 Sun Simiao grew up in the countryside of Jingzhao Huayuan, now Sunjiayuan in Shaanxi Province.  At the age of seven years old he began consuming as much information on the Chinese Classics as he could get his hands on.  By twenty years old he had mastered them. 

Growing up, 孫思邈 Sun Simiao was interested in the practice of medicine, and as a young adult he began with healing himself while also treating relatives and neighbors.  Word of his healing abilities and ethics spread throughout the land.  孫思邈 Sun Simiao considered himself a man of the people, and would treat anyone.  It is said that his father commanded that he treat patients as they were his own family, no matter social class or age.

“Whenever eminent physicians treat an illness, they must quiet the spirit and settle the will, they must be free of wants and desires, and they must first develop a heart full of great compassion and empathy. They must pledge to devote themselves completely to relieving the suffering of all sentient beings.”

— Sun Simiao, Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang I.2

Emperor Taizong of Tang & Empress Zhangsun

Emperor Taizong of Tang called upon one of his ministers to help with a serious issue.  His wife, the Empress Zhangsun, had been pregnant for over ten months, and still had not given birth to their baby.  The Imperial Physicians had no solution.  He asked for guidance from his trusted minister. 

Minister Xu Maogong looked at the melancholy Emperor and said, “I heard that there is a famous doctor named Sun Simiao among the people. He can cure intractable diseases. In my opinion, you should summon him to the palace to treat Her Majesty.”

孫思邈 Sun Simiao was immediately ordered to the Imperial Palace.  The Imperial Physicians were worried that if Sun Simiao cured the Empress, the Emperor would put him in a position of power which would threaten their status.

To prevent Sun Simiao from treating the Empress, they told the Emperor that he was of an inferior class, and as such could not get close to the Empress.  Sun Simiao quickly spoke up and said “I can Pulse Diagnosis with a String.悬丝诊脉.”

The Emperor agreed and a court maid gave Sun Simiao a long red string.  He held one end of the line, and had the court maid tie the other end to the Empress’ wrist.  Sitting outside of the window with only a string in his hand, Sun Simiao diagnosed the Empress’ condition. 

Sun Simiao reported back to the Emperor, “I only need to stick a needle on Her Majesty’s left hand, and she can give birth to the baby. After taking several decoctions, she will recover gradually.”

The Empress quickly gave birth to a healthy baby.  Emperor Taizong of Tang was so happy that he asked Sun Simiao to stay on and run the Palace Hospital.  Sun Simiao refused.  He did not serve the ruling class, nor did he pursue wealth or fame.

Emperor Taizong respected Sun Simiao, and allowed him to decline the post.

Sun Simiao went on to collect many methods used for processing, classifying, and storing herbs.  He advocated for prevention and stressed cultivating mental poise and balance.

A Tale of Two Physicians

Thousands of years ago during the 戰國時代 Warring States Period (475-221 BC), a young man named 秦越人Qin Yueren lived in the land of 秦 Qin, now known as China.
One day a guest at the inn in which 秦越人 Qin Yueren worked fell gravely ill. 秦 Qin ran to find a physician who was also staying at the inn to ask for help. After the doctor examined the sick guest, he prescribed a simple herbal formula. The guest recovered and the interaction changed the entire scope of young 秦 Qin’s life.
He became an apprentice to the physician, and closely watched how the old master treated his patients. At night he would write down everything he had seen, as well as his own observations.
When 秦越人Qin Yueren eventually became a physician himself, because of his dedication and acquired skill set he quickly earned him the name ‘扁䳍 Bian Que’, the highest honor for a doctor in ancient times.
Our founder and Chief Herbaceutical Engineer Kamal Polite, A.P., DOM for over two decades has endeavered to continue the legacy of 扁䳍 Bian Que by providing premium Chinese Herbaceuticals across the globe.  Here at Si Jin Bao we focus on combining Ancient Asian Traditions with Modern Technology, bringing forward the dedication and skill that earned Bian Que his name.

Above image By Gan Bozong (Tang period, 618-907) - (hi-res image)Gallery: Collection gallery (2018-03-28): CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0,