Tag Archives: classical chinese medicine

The Concept of Fertility in Chinese Medicine: Tian Gui 天癸

Fertility, the natural ability to give birth to offspring, is expressed in Chinese Medicine by the concept of Tian Gui 天癸. Tian 天, meaning ‘heaven’, has two aspects: the pre-heaven and the post-heaven. That which is given at birth is … Continue reading

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Ginseng the Star Root

Ginseng 人參 ranks at the top of a group of longevity herbs that have anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing 神農本草經, The Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica, honors it as a superior herb with profound … Continue reading

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靈芝 Lingzhi (ganoderma lucidum), the Spiritual Herb

The Su Wen identifies mushrooms as ‘spiritual herbs’ 芝, 神草也.* 神農本草經 Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, The Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica, describes lingzhi this way: 赤芝,  味苦,平。主胸中結,益心氣,補中,增智慧,不忘。久食,輕身、不老、延年、神仙。 一名丹芝。 ‘Red mushroom: Bitter in taste, neutral in temperature, red … Continue reading

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The Quest for Immortality

Few things are as certain in life as death. The Elixir of Immortality, or Elixir of Life, is a substance that confers eternal life or eternal youth. All ancient cultures have some myths about it; the search for lasting youth, … Continue reading

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Heaven Above, Earth Below

How is the story of Pangu 盤古 separating the yang from the yin to create heaven and earth important? Humans, unlike most animals,  are blessed with a vertically oriented spine, rooted in earth, but reaching up to heaven. In establishing order, … Continue reading

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Time & Timing in Acupuncture: Zi Wu Liu Zhu Fa 子午流注法

Zi Wu Liu Zhu Fa 子午流注法 is a method of prescribing and needling the five Shu points based on the date and time of treatment. Some of the ideas involved are well-known: for instance, the circadian flow of qi and … Continue reading

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The Five Changes 五變 and the Five Shu Points 五輸

Ling Shu Ch. 44 黃帝曰:願聞五變。歧伯曰:肝為牡藏,其色青,其時春,其音角,其味酸,其日甲乙;心為牡藏,其色赤,其時夏,其日丙丁,其音徵,其味苦;脾為牝藏,其色黃,其時長夏,其日戊己,其音宮,其味甘;肺為牝藏,其色白,其音商,其時?,其日庚辛,其味辛;腎為牝藏,其色黑,其時冬,其日壬癸,其音羽,其味鹹。是為五變。 Huang Di: I would like to learn about the five changes. Qi Bo: Pathological changes may occur in in the organ, and in color, time, tone, and flavor. The Liver is yang in nature. Its … Continue reading

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‘Obtaining the qi’ 得氣 and ‘Arrival of the qi’ 氣至

Two Chinese terms are involved here: 得氣 ‘de qi‘, obtaining the qi, and 氣至 ‘qi zhi‘, arrival of the qi. In current Chinese TCM practice, no differentiation is made between the two. ‘De qi‘ is generally regarded as essential to effective acupuncture. Qi is … Continue reading

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How long do the needles stay in?

Ling Shu Ch 15 delineates the warp and woof of heaven, earth, and humanity: The 28 constellations correspond to the 28 primary meridians. The total length of the 28 meridians is 1,620 cun. Ying qi travels 6 cun in the meridians … Continue reading

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Dietary Prohibitions

Continuing translation of chapter 24 of Essentials from the Golden Cabinet (Jin gui yao lue) by Zhang Zhong-Jing, a 1,700 year old text. Liver organ meat, especially if it’s from an animal that died on it’s own, should not be eaten … Continue reading

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