Tan Yunxian: Female Physician Spotlight

談允賢 Tan Yunxian: Famous Ming Dynasty Female Physician

Some of the most brilliant physicians in the history of mankind have come from China. Many of these healers were women, which came with its own difficulties and controversies in order to be recognized and even allowed to use their skills to help people. Today we will be discussing one such incredible woman.

談允賢 Tan Yunxian was born in 1461 and lived during the Ming Dynasty where literature, poetry, and painting flourished. The population doubled and medical sciences reached their peak while they experienced a renaissance.

談允賢 Tan Yunxian was born into a family of generational physicians. Both her great grandfather and grandfather were respected doctors. Even her grandmother was very well versed in diagnosing and treating disease thanks to her father. It is said that 談允賢 Tan Yunxian’s grandfather married her grandmother because he sought to learn medicine from her talented and skilled father who was a revered physician. Marrying into the family gave him a chance to learn secret ways and prescriptions of that particular lineage.

It is important to note that females during the Ming Dynasty could not attend a medical school or study under a master and then open their own medical clinic after graduating. China was a patriarchal society at the time, just like many other places in the world, who often looked at women that strove to become more than just a housewife unfavorably. Some of the females had to even defy cultural traditions in order to pursue their dreams.

When Tan was still a little girl she often demonstrated wisdom beyond her years and great potential for learning. Her grandparents decided to teach her medicine and impart their knowledge onto her.

 

The girl is very clever, quite out of the ordinary. When she is grown she will be able to practice my medical arts.

談允賢 Tan Yunxian's Grandfather Tweet

談允賢 Tan Yunxian began studying medicine at the age of 10 and was often seen reading classical medical texts day and night.

The Empathetic Physician

After she got married, Doctor Tan Yunxian faced her own health issues and was unable to get pregnant. As a result this led her on a path to becoming her own physician.

Male doctors at that time did not like treating females, and strict Ming Dynasty practices did not allow them to touch their female patients. They had a difficult time understanding or simply relating to women. Moreover, females themselves did not trust the intimate details of their lives to male physicians.  Therefore, male doctors often delegated diagnosing and treating females to their female assistants or those rare female physicians stepped in and made it their specialty to treat women and children.

That is where 談允賢 Tan Yunxian also found her niche. Having successfully dealt with her own reproductive issues and giving birth to four healthy children, she was able to understand other females, what they were suffering from, relate to their challenges, and empathize with women. By being very effective she quickly gained fame in the entire region. Her specialties were menstrual irregularities, miscarriages, infertility and postpartum fatigue. Women felt safe sharing intimate details of their lives with Doctor Tan Yunxian which assisted both the physician and the patient in effective and fast recovery.

Doctor Tan Yunxian’s strengths were herbal prescriptions which were passed onto her by her grandmother and moxibustion over specified points on the body which stimulates the circulation of Qi. When a list of medical professionals was compiled by the Ming government 談允賢, Tan Yunxian was among the physicians listed.

Miscellaneous Records of a Female Doctor

談允賢 Tan Yunxian was also an author which was a very rare accomplishment for a female of that time. At the age of 50, after she had gained massive experience, Doctor Tan Yunxian decided to write a book called Miscellaneous Records of a Female Doctor. Her work consisted of 31 cases she effectively treated. Her goal was to share her expertise with the future generations. The text includes cases of abortion, menstrual disorders, postpartum ailments and abdominal lumps. When Doctor Tan finished her work, she could not just publish it. No publishing or bookselling shop would agree to deal with a female. But Doctor Tan found a way. She had her son publish her work under his name. Her expertise is still referenced today.

Doctor Tan Yunxian was a revolutionary of her time, however, she was humble, gentle, and simply wanted to be of assistance to her community in the way she loved and knew how.

At 96, I wish I could call forth the stream of patients, women mostly, I have healed these years—the tender virgin girls who came with rashes on their secret parts; women with periods not right or for whom sex caused pain; those who could not conceive a child. Ashamed to open up their treasury of womanhood to a male physician's touch, they flocked to me, some with a reddened part quiet easily cured; some with menstrual trials; others, more seriously, nearly mad in the aftermath of a difficult birth—
the things the men who practice healing arts record as "women's complaints." That I was 
a wife and mother made me empathize with them and their distress; and I could cure
the womb, vagina, breasts. My son will cut the woodblocks for prints of the book I wrote.
The Sayings of a Female Doctor lies a manuscript. The booksellers will not publish a text by a woman, even one who served for years, to whom nobility, the royal court, the wealthy looked for cures. Self-published, it might see the light of day. With no apprenticeship, no study with a master healer (who must be a man), I’m scorned. My voice from eighty years spent in the medicinal arts will cease, will go unheard, and my advice will quietly die, unpublished. Slender chance my own copies will sell. The merchants who run bookshops won't give up space for my title in their stalls. These silences—a woman's voice is stilled not out of death and not from a disease of body, but of body politic. I hope healing will come to this soft plague, this lack of voice, this blockage, this complaint.

Doctor 談允賢 Tan Yunxian Tweet

Here at Si Jin Bao we honor Doctor 談允賢 Tan Yunxian by sharing her legacy of courage, skill, honor, and truth.

Li Shizhen: Sage of Medicine & Herbs

李时珍 Li Shizhen: Sage of Medicine and Herbs

李时珍 Li Shizhen, a famed doctor from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was a true giant who “gave medicine to everyone in need and brought back lives free of charge”. 李时珍 Li Shizhen’s contribution is still echoing through the lives of ordinary people across the world.

Born into a medical family, Li Shizhen was highly influenced by his grandfather and father, both famed and skilled medical professionals and authors of medical texts since he was a child.

Because physicians received little respect during that period of time, 李时珍 Li Shizhen’s father insisted that his son took a different path in life and entered officialdom. To accomplish that goal, he hired a famous Confucian scholar instructing him to prepare his son for the Royal exams. To both father and son’s dismay 李时珍 Li Shizhen failed three examinations and his road to officialdom reached its end even before it began.

However, deep in his heart 李时珍 Li Shizhen always knew that he wanted to be a healer. After numerous discussions and even composing a poem on the topic, 李时珍 Li Shizhen convinced his father to teach his son everything he knew.

In a short period of time 李时珍Li Shizhen gained his experience and became a famed and highly skilled physician who consistently cured people with incurable cases.

The Pregnant Woman & A Boy

One day 李时珍 Li Shizhen’s path crossed with a funeral procession which peaked his curiosity. He noticed blood dripping from underneath the coffin. He asked to take a look at the deceased. After some convincing, 李时珍 Li Shizhen was allowed to examine the woman who according to the persons present had passed away from difficult labor. 李时珍 Li Shizhen immediately applied an acupuncture treatment to the woman, reviving and assisting the female in giving birth to a healthy son right in the middle of the street.

Another famous story speaks about a child who insisted on eating pieces of burned wick collected off of candles. When he was not allowed to eat it, he fainted. Many physicians examined the child but no one was able to help him or even diagnose his condition. After a short observation, 李时珍 Li Shizhen explained to the boy’s parents that the child had worms in his stomach which needed the substance from the candle wicks to continue to live.

He made an herbal formula for the boy to drink. The child took one dose of the tea and just a couple of hours later, threw up worms. 李时珍 Li Shizhen then gave the boy another herbal formula which assisted the child with his recovery. After this treatment the child never again asked for the pieces of burned wick to eat. Declining a handsome reward, 李时珍 Li Shizhen insisted that it was his duty to help.

李时珍 Li Shizhen’s Legacy

During many years of acting as a physician, 李时珍 Li Shizhen observed that written medical material available to doctors of that time period was not always clear, complete and correct – which he found bothersome.

"Doctor is a sacred profession. If a doctor uses wrong medicine, it will be a matter of life and death"

And so 李时珍 Li Shizhen made a choice to set out on an arduous journey that lasted close to 30 years to test, investigate, collect and organize medicinal herbs and prescriptions. In the late 1570s, the Compendium of Materia Medica was born.

This colossal work is considered the most complete and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of Chinese medicine. The text has almost two million characters and includes information on herbology, biology, chemistry, geography, mineralogy, geology, history, mining and astronomy. Some 1,800 medicinal substances and over 10,000 prescriptions were recorded in the text.

李时珍 Li Shizhen did not live to see his work printed. His sons published the Compendium of Materia Medica several years after their father’s death. The work quickly became what would today be called a best seller and was translated into Latin, Russian, Japanese, English, German and French. It was highly sought after all across the world.

Charles Darwin, a well-known English naturalist, geologist and biologist; considered this work an encyclopedia from ancient China and referenced it often. One of the six remaining original copies of the book is located in the U.S. Library of Congress.

In 1951 the World Peace Council named 李时珍 Li Shizhen one of the legends of the ancient world and Compendium of Materia Medica was added to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

In 2015 Tú Yōuyōu, a physician from China, received a Nobel Prize in Medicine for her research on Artemisinin, a drug used to fight malaria. Artemisinin is extracted Artemisia annua, sweet wormwood, an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a prescription for treating chills and fevers from malaria listed in 李时珍 Li Shizhen’s Compendium of Materia Medica.

Today 李时珍 Li Shizhen’s image appears at every traditional medical college in China and in any illustrated book about the history of Chinese medicine. The icon’s image is even engraved on a granite wall at the Moscow State University of Russia next to other world famous scientists like Newton and Darwin.

"The universe is my mind, and my mind is the universe."

Qian Yi: Sage of Pediatrics

钱乙 Qian Yi: Sage of Pediatrics

The Song Empire (960 to 1279 A.D.) of ancient China is considered to be one of the most advanced time periods and flourished in economics, science, culture, technology, mathematics, engineering, and military strength.

This dynasty birthed a great number of outstanding scholars, poets, architects, generals and physicians during its Golden Age.

The legendary physician 钱乙 Qian Yi, also known as The Sage of Pediatrics, has had an incomparable contribution to Chinese Medicine that has spanned across centuries.

钱乙 Qian Yi's Origin Story

钱乙 Qian Yi was related to the King of Wuyue, a kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period of Chinese history.
He was born around 1032 in Qiantang, Zhejiang province and later moved to Yunzhou (known as Shandong province today).

钱乙 Qian Yi lost his mother at the age of three. Driven by his addiction to alcohol and travel, the boy’s father, a physician by trade, abandoned his family not long after. 钱乙 Qian Yi was raised by his aunt and uncle, also a medical doctor, who agreed to teach and train his nephew in the art and science of medicine.

钱乙 Qian Yi showed himself as a hardworking and avid learner. He immersed himself in study, did long-term clinical practice, accumulated a wealth of experience and quickly became a renowned pediatrician. He was one of the earliest and most famous Chinese pediatric specialists, though he treated people of all ages in his practice.

His father’s disappearance haunted him for many years. One day he chose to stop everything and go look for him. After years of searching 钱乙 Qian Yi finally tracked down his father and convinced him to return home. 钱乙 Qian Yi treated his father with tenderness and care until the day he passed away, inspiring scholars who have heard of this story and marveled at such filial piety to compose poetry about it.

The Emperor's Son

钱乙 Qian Yi was revered for his immense knowledge, incredible medical skills, sincerity and integrity. He was even awarded “Scholar of the Imperial Academy” by the Emperor and promoted as an Imperial Medical Officer. Members of the imperial family, high officials, nobility, and common people all competed for 钱乙 Qian Yi’s expertise.

When the Emperor’s son suffered from convulsions and after imperial physicians failed to cure his condition, 钱乙 Qian Yi was called. He quickly and successfully healed the patient with a special herbal decoction. After the Emperor praised 钱乙 Qian Yi, he asked him how he managed to cure his son. 钱乙 Qian Yi’s answer was: “If earth dominates water, water will be calmed; liver wood can be balanced and symptoms of wind syndrome will be naturally stopped. Moreover, I just happened to treat the disease when it was almost going to heal because of the previous treatments by the other doctors.”

Pediatrics is one of the oldest specialties in Chinese medicine and dates back approximately two thousand years. However, physicians did not always like to work with children and used to say: “I would rather treat ten men than one woman.” and “I would rather treat ten women than one child.”
钱乙 Qian Yi was the first physician to write books and articles solely devoted to pediatrics.

The Chinese Classic 小儿药证直诀 Xiao Er Yao Zheng Zhi Jue

The Chinese Classic 小儿药证直诀 Xiao Er Yao Zheng Zhi Jue (Key To Therapeutics of Children’s Diseases) was written by 钱乙 Qian Yi and put together by a student of his and published in 1119 after his death.  It covers syndrome identification and treatment of diseases in infants and young children and consists of three parts.  

“Part I is about diagnosis of children’s diseases and their recommended treatments. There are 81 articles covering a wide range of clinical patterns. Part II reports 23 case studies and provides an invaluable record of the clinical practices at that time. Part III contains over one hundred medicinal formulas for use in various treatment plans.”

六味地黃湯 Liu Wei Di Huang (Six Ingredient Decoction with Rehmannian), an herbal decoction created by 钱乙 Qian Yi, is one of the most famous and important Chinese patent medicines and is widely used in Eastern Asia today.

In 1113 at the age of 81 钱乙 Qian Yi passed away. Stories circulated in the community how the medical practice of a revered physician 钱乙 Qian Yi who cured many cases in his life was eulogized and cherished by the people.

Here at Si Jin Bao we honor 钱乙 Qian Yi by sharing his story and carrying on the legacy of his famous decoctions such as 六味地黃湯 Liu Wei Di Huang Tang in our own Herbacy.

謝謝你們分享你的智慧錢毅。Thank you for sharing your wisdom 钱乙 Qian Yi 🙏🏽.

 

Huangfu Mi: A Scholar and Physician

皇甫谧 Huangfu Mi: A Scholar and Physician

皇甫谧 Huangfu Mi was a scholar, physician, and master of Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Famous for his medical canon entitled 針灸甲乙經 Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing (Classics of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), Huangfu Mi lived through the late Eastern Han Dynasty, Three Kingdoms Period, and early Western Jin Dynasty.  His classic is considered to be one of the earliest, oldest surviving, and most influential systematic materials on acupuncture and moxibustion to this day.

皇甫谧 Huangfu Mi's Origin Story

Born on a poor farm in Anding Chaona (now Lingtai in Gansu Province) in the year 215 A.D., 皇甫谧 Huangfu Mi was a descendant of the famous general Huangfu Song.  As a young boy he was taught by the famous philosopher Xi Tan, and became a well-known scholar due to his broad and devoted studies.  He was also known as a skilled and talented writer, editor, poet and historian.

At the age of forty 皇甫谧Huangfu Mi became gravely ill with wind-damp syndrome. The condition progressed into hemianesthesia or loss of sensation in his right leg and poor hearing. In an attempt to cure himself, he suffered serious drug poisoning followed by worsening of his symptoms.

While he was at his lowest, 皇甫谧 Huangfu Mi’s will to live took over and directed him to the Ancient Medical Classics. He experienced miraculous healing from the treatments, which triggered his curiosity about acupuncture and moxibustion.  He dedicated himself to studying the classics and became a master in his field.

針灸甲乙經 Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing (Classics of Acupuncture and Moxibustion)

As 皇甫谧 Huangfu Mi studied the art and science of acupuncture and moxibustion using the medical classics, he observed that the information was at times confusing and too dispersed.

From 260-265 A.D., he organized and completed a comparative study of the classical texts 針經 Huangdi Zhenjing (Yellow Emperor’s Canon on Acupuncture)Suwen 素問 (Inner Book of the Yellow Emperor: Simple Questions) and 明堂孔穴針灸治要 Mingtang Kongxue Zhenjiu Zhiyao (Mingtang’s Essentials of Acupuncture Points).  He arranged the information  into  12 volumes, 128 chapters, and described 349 acupuncture points (300 bilateral, 49 single), all organized into zhenjiu (moxibustion) contraindications, meridians, acupuncture points, indications, methods of manipulation, and clinical experience.  He also described the shape and making of needles.  Titled 針灸甲乙經 Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing (Classics of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), it is noted as one of the most influential texts in the history of Chinese Medicine.

The earliest surviving specimen of Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing is a print by Wu Mianxue 吳勉學 in his collection Gujin Yitong Zhengmai Quanshu 古今醫統正脈全書 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644).  According to Min Li and Yongxuan Liang from the School of Basic Medical Science, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, in Beijing,

"Wang Tao, a great physician of the Tang Dynasty said, “Physicians have to study his (Huangfu Mi's) precious book and observe his instructions.”  During the Tang Dynasty, the Imperial Academy of Medical Sciences took his book as a compulsory textbook for the medical students.  It was soon used as a textbook in Korea and Japan too."

Other publications written by Huangfu Mi include SanDuFuXu (Preface of the Praiseworthy Three Cities), Di Wang Shi Ji (Imperial Century),Gao Shi Zhuan (Biography of Great Scholars), Lie Nv Zhuan (Biography of Virtuous Women in Ancient China), Xuan Yan Chun Qiu (Spring and Autumn by Xuan Yan).

The Virtue of A Legend

Just like other legendary physicians of Ancient China, 皇甫谧 Huangfu Mi declined various honorary titles and multiple offers to serve the Royal court during his professional life.

“Only if you give up the pursuit for fame and wealth, you will do no damage to your life. Only when you give up the pursuit for riches and honor, you will cultivate great virtues.”

It is because of the passion for life, dedication to humanity, sense of responsibility, humility and courage possessed by giants like Huangfu Mi that we in the modern world are able to enjoy the incredible restorative power, efficacy, and unsurpassed value of Ancient, Classical, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Let’s not take it for granted!

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) - https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/f6/01/8696804baac0c699593e99ff2521.jpg (hi-res image)Gallery: https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0039317.htmlWellcome Collection gallery (2018-03-28): https://wellcomecollection.org/works/am6daq96 CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33926719