The History of Traditional Chinese Medicine
The medicinal use of herbs in China is believed to date back to about 2000 B.C.E., when Emperor Chi’en Nung wrote a book called the Pen Tsao, which listed the medicinal properties of over 300 plants. The Chinese word for herbalism, “Ben cao,” dates from about 500 B.C.E. “Ben” means a plant with a rigid stalk, and “cao” means a grass-like plant. Herbalism developed to include the use of mineral and animal ingredients.
Yin and Yang
Chinese medicine is based on the philosophy of yin and yang. These are the dual forces in the universe, seen both within nature and in human beings. They are used to explain the ongoing process of natural changes – yang is more prevalent during the day, while yin forces are more prevalent at night. Everything has a yin and yang aspect. When it comes to breathing, inhalation is yin while exhalation is yang. There is no absolute yin or yang in living things – a cold yin-type illness may have aspect of yang, such as sharp, forceful contractions. Yin and yang both depend on each other and keep each other under control. However, it is when they go seriously out of balance and do not correct themselves that there is disease… C. Norman Shealy M.D., Ph.D.
“The Chinese believe that every living being is sustained by a basic life force, called “qi” (pronounced “chee”). Human beings receive their qi from a mixture of the influences of both Heaven and Earth. Therefore, we do have an element of the divine in us, which separate us from the animals. Chinese Medicine works with the qi that we have to make us better. It may unblock the flow of qi in the body if it is stuck, or it may nourish qi if is deficient.”.. C. Norman Shealy M.D., Ph.D.
How Does Ayurveda Work?
The universe consist of five elements, or pancha-mahbhutas: Ether (space), Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. All five elements exist in all things, including ourselves.
Ether corresponds to the spaces in the body: the mouth, nostrils, thorax, abdomen, respiratory tract, and cells.
Air is the element of movement, pulsation, expansion and contraction of the lungs and intestines, even the movement in every cell.
Fire controls enzymes functioning. It shows itself as intelligence, fuels the digestive system, and regulates metabolism.
Water is the plasma, blood, saliva, digestive juices, mucous membranes, and cytoplasm, the liquid inside cells.
Earth manifest in the solid structure of the body: the bones, nails, teeth, muscles, cartilages, tendons, skin, and hair.
Traditional Home and Folk Remedies
The history of using plants for medicine and healing goes back to the beginning of humankind. In their search for nourishment, primitive humans sampled many kinds of plants. Those that were palatable were used for food, while plants with toxic or unpleasant effects were avoided or used against enemies. Other plants that produced physiological effects such as perspiration, defecation, healing, or hallucinations were saved for medicinal purposes and divination. Over the course of thousands of years, people have leanrt to use a wide variety of plants as medicines for different ailments.
A Return To The Old Ways
With the advent of technology and the growing dependence upon the miracle of modern medicine, most of us have lost the art of looking after ourselves. We have become dependent upon physicians, prescriptions drugs, store-bought preparations, and through that, have lost an understanding of our bodies and how they work. Somewhere along the line we have put not only our faith but our independence in the hands of others. When we have a cold, a rash, even painful joints, we go straight to the medicine cabinet, or ring to arrange an appointment at the physician’s surgery. The use of natural preparations, and the number of people addressing minor complaints in their own homes, hit an all-time low over the past decades, and only now are we experiencing a renaissance of natural healing and home remedies, as it becomes clear that conventional medicine, for all its wonders, is not the answer to everything.
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