Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical system that is
originated and developed in China for more
than two thousands of years.
It is commonly agreed that the principle medical concept
is summarized well in a medical bible called <<Huang Di Nei Jing>>,
a book, published two thousands of year ago. Many later famous
TCM doctors in Chinese history admitted that their achievement
entirely contributed to the idea in that book. It is still a big
mystery that such a great book can be written in that years of
history when the physical condition of
human life in
was so simple at that time.
Main points in the medical bible, for example, could be the
(1). Human body is part of the nature. It
follows the change in the nature physically and emotionally.
Health is the harmony of the human body with the nature.
Disease is a condition that human body fails to match the
nature. The nature means the season, the weather, the time of
the day, the diet, the geographic location of the living, etc.
(2). The diseased condition in the body can be explained
by the disorder of the nature, and it can also be corrected
referring to change in the nature. For example, in
summer season, we need cold material (drink cold water, have
cold water bath, etc.) to reduce temperature. So in our body,
whenever we have fever,
we can use herbs to reduce it, if the herbs have cooling
effect and belong to cooling herbs.
In fall, the weather becomes colder since the Yang Qi
starts to be store in the nature, so in our body, we can also
promote the storage of the Yang Qi in the body. Many times, we
may feel thirsty and dry in mouth, and it is so dry that
drinking more water doesn’t help at all to calm down the
thirsty. So in TCM,
we may use herbs that belong to warm group of the herbs, to
solve this problem, since in nature, water could evaporate water
into vapour to wet the mouth. Without warm (Yang Qi), the water
(belongs to Yin) is dead water.
(3). It is possible that a diseased condition can be
cured in a very simple way, and it could be so simple that it
may sound as a mysterious, no matter how long time the disease
has been, and how complex it is. What the doctor should
do is to correct the diseased condition following the nature law
in diagnosis and in treatment.
(4). The most important principle in maintaining health
is to follow the nature, for diet, exercise, sexual life,
personal relationship, and even for the business planning and
No anything should be the more the better and no any diet is
good for everyone.
For example, in TCM, not everyone should take garlic, nor it
should be taken in every season of the year. The garlic belongs
to “Fire” in TCM herbology and it creates hot in the body. So,
if one has “fire” in stomach and intestine, and feels heart
burning, gurgling or burping, constipation or bleeding from
hermoriod, he/she should not take the garlic or garlic product.
Also, it should not be taken too much in winter, since according
to TCM understanding, our body is cold in the body surface in
winter, but warm in winter. More garlic may burn the inside of
the body to cause the above problem. This is the same principle
to take ginger: it should be taken mostly in summer when the
body surface is warm but the inside is cold.
Similarly, not every season of the year is suitable for heavy
physical exersize, nor physical exercize is good at any stage of
a disease. We, human being, are still a kind of animal on the
earth. Almost all of the animals on the earth turn quiet,
silent, or even into winter sleeping. They match the nature to
absorb the warm, the Yang, the Qi, or the vital energy from the
nature into their body, and keep it inside of the body for the
use in next year. We, therefore accordingly, should keep less
heavy physical exercise in winter. We should move around, of
course, but not too much to create heavy sweating in winter.
Winter belongs to water, links to kidney in the body. One of the
functions of the kidney system in the body is to hold vital
energy, to maintain health of the bone, hair, hearing, memory
and sexual ability. Too much physical activity in winter
disturbs the nature course in the body for the above function,
so damages the kidney system. It could be strongly suspected
that the high incidence rate of osteoporosis, reduced hearing
ability, sexual ability, early loss of hair, poor memory ability
in people in the modern
life, might be due to the heavy physical and emotional
activities in winter. Therefore, it is recommended that, from
spring to summer, the exercise could be more and more, while
from summer to fall, less and less. See, everything alive in the
spring is “out”, and in the fall, starts to be “in”. We have to
follow the same way.
(5). TCM doctor could be classified into three groups:
the extremely excellent, excellent, and the ordinary doctor.
The extremely excellent doctor could find the disease far more
before it shows up to cause sufferings, therefore he could solve
the problem with much simple ways.
They focus on the prevention of a disease: to prevent the
disease show up clinically and to prevent it develop into next
step. The role of the doctor, just as the meaning of the
“doctor” in English, a teacher. He teaches his patient how to
The ordinary doctor could find the disease when the disease is
typical as described in textbook, have to use more physical
instrument to make the diagnosis, and have to use much complex
therapy to solve it. He or she may have lots of patients waiting
for him/her to treat, but it means that he/she could not help
his/her patients in early stage of the disease (this does not
refer to the patients who did not come them before). He/she
works in a “go and see” manner and works more like a technician
to repair the damaged body, rather than a doctor.
The role of an excellent doctor is just between the above
extremely excellent and the ordinary doctor.
(6). The philosophy in the TCM dealing with the health
and wellness in human body is the same as the one that Chinese
believes what a society, a country and a universe should be: in
order and in harmony in every aspect. Chinese believes
that Yin and Yang, the two major factors that constitute the
nature and govern the movement of nature, should be balanced in
human body as in a country. In human body, every organ, or organ
system, should work together, in a manner of organized way, but
not in a competition, or not in a way that one organ takes role
of the others.
For example, Heart or Heart system is the main controller of the
body function. Its role of governing circulation, to sense pain,
to host our spirit, should not, or could not be shared by other
organs in the body. Damage to the function of the Heart is
therefore most life threatening.
In an herbal formula,
there must be one herb, that is the main ingredient of the herb
formula, to determine the major function of the herbal formula.
Reducing its content while increasing the amount of other herb
ingredient, or adding a new ingredient, could largely change the
main function of the herbal formula. (unfortunately this has
been largely omitted by current TCM practitioners).
In a country, the king should be wise in his position, to
balance relationship among the main officers, and give the order
to run the country. If not so, the stability of the country is
Therefore, a doctor treat the human body to keep health is the
same manner as the governor control a country.