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An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine?

TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine is medical practices originating in China that has been is use for a very long time. The methods range from eating the correct things and herbal remedies to masage like shitatsu and Tui na and acupuncture. Meditation and certain forms of excercise such as the martial art Thai chi chuan are stongly linked to Chinese traditional Medicine.


Importnat parts and believes in Traditional Chinese medicine includes, the Zang fu organ hypothesis, Ying and Yang, Wu Xing (AKa the five phases in English) and the meridians. Traditional Chinese medicine derives a lot of its basic philosophy from the same general ideas that inform Taoist and Buddhist thought.


One of the most important sources of about traditional Chinese medicine is a 2000 year old book calledShen Nong’s Herbal Classic“. It is the worlds oldest book on the topic of Chinese herbal remedies and is divided into three different categories or chapters and contain information on how to use 365 species of animals and plants


  • The three chapters all deals with different aspects of medicine and the first one contains information about herbs that can help the body maintain balance and thereby stay healthy. If you belive what is written in the book will these herbal supplements be effective against a long row of different illnesses and have few if any side effects.
  • The second chapter of the book contains recipies for different boosters and tonics which can have negative side effects if used during prolonged periods.
  • The third chapter contains info on disease specific treatments. The herb used in the third chapter should only be used in small doses and can have severe side effects.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is today, more than 2000 years after the book waas written still the primary type of internal medicine used by a large part of the Chinese people. Single herbs are often combined with each other to form mixtures consisting of anything from two to over 25 herbs.


While some part of traditional Chinese medicine is very well known to westerners such as thai chi and acupuncture thre are other practices that are still rather unknown outside China such as the Zang Fu organ. To put it simple, the Zang Fu organ theory describes the functions of the organs in the human body and the interactions that occur between them. It is strongly linked to the belief in Yin and Yang, with the term Zang referring to the yin organs and the term Fu referring to the yang ones.


Kidneys, spleen, lungs, heart, pericardium and liver are all considered zang (i.e. yin) organs, while the large and small intestine, gall bladder, stomach, urinary bladder and gall bladder are considered fu (i.e. yang) organs. The San Jiao organ is also on the fu list, but this is said to be a primarily energetic organ and does not have a physical component.


Each of the organs mentioned above have a corresponding organ, except the pericardium and san jiao. In this practice the fu and zang organs are paired up with eachother and assigned on of the WU Xing phases. The lung and large intestine to metal, heart and the small intestine is assigned to fire,liver and gallbladder to wood, spleen and stomach to earth,and kidney and urinary bladder to water.

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