Chinese Herbal Knowledge — Its Origins (17)

THE ORIGINS of Chinese Herbal Knowledge → Where does the ancient herbal knowledge come from in China? It does not come from laboratory testing because none existed then. It does not come from transcendental meditation as suggested by storytellers. It does not come from the scholars whose expertise was literature, not herbs. → How ancient and who were the discoverers? The Chinese herbal knowledge comprises bits and pieces of information accumulated over 4000 years. This knowledge relates to the discoveries of medicinal herbs by ordinary people, mostly illiterate peasants, who were experimenting with the plants in surrounding areas for healing effects. → Who did the documentation? Since the majority of the peasantry was illiterate, the elite scholars took on the task of documenting this herbal knowledge. Some of them were commissioned by the Emperors to do the job. Besides interviewing, investigating, and confirming the peasants’ discoveries, the scholars also tried to explain the empirical evidence using their philosophies about nature, life, health, and disease. Consequently, they have added a body of classical theories on top of a simple folk medicine based only on experimentation with plants. Compared with the folk medicines of other cultures, Chinese medicine is most heavily documented. It is also characterized by highly literary and metaphysical contents. Some examples of classical texts are: “Historical Record”, Si Ma Qian. “史記”司馬遷”Book of Interior” or “Nei
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4 thoughts on “Chinese Herbal Knowledge — Its Origins (17)

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  3. Chinese medicine traditional style is never popular with the young because of its terrible taste and time required to brew.
    The Chinese people have a choice between East and West, most likely, West for emergency, and East for minor inexpensive cases.

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