History of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The history of Traditional Chinese Medicine has its first recorded facts dating back over 2,000 years. However, it is said that it originated almost 3,000 years before that time. According to legend, it owes its discovery to three renowned leaders: Fu Xi, Huang Di and Shen Nong.

The Ancient Times

Hung-Di Nei-JingThe very first scribbled document on TCM is called the Hung-Di Nei-Jing, a medical textbook which is considered as the oldest of its kind in the world. It makes use of a question and answer format to lay down a primary foundation on the theories of Chinese medicine by summarizing previous treatments and theories. The textbook is dated between 800 and 200 B.C and is composed of two texts with 81 chapters each.

More specific concepts came from the Zhou dynasty. Examples of these are the foundations of yin and yang, the five elements, and effects of pathogens on the body. Bian Que, who was a famous doctor at the time, also made use of the pulse as a means for diagnosis.

TCM And The People's Republic of China

The Revolution of 1911 initiated the beginning of the People's Republic of China. During this time, China underwent a process of modernization and as a reflection of this citizens began to turn to Western medicinal practices. At the time, the government supported this movement and proposed to abolish Traditional Chinese Medicine. They did this by taking measures to stop its development and practice.

In 1928, the Communist party of China was established. Contrary to the earlier years, there were very little medical services available at the time. As a remedy to this situation, the new communist government supported the practice of TCM since they were highly affordable and used the skills already available in the country.

TCM increased in popularity during the early to mid 1950s. The use of acupuncture and herbal medicine were acceptable in many hospitals. Clinics devoted to the provision, training, and research on Traditional Chinese Medicine were established. The main research institutes were founded in Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing.

TCM Today

Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine has gained in popularity all over the world. In fact, the World Health Organization recognized the practice of acupuncture in 1980 by releasing a list of 43 types of pathologies that can be effectively treated by it. Also, active ingredients used in TCM have helped formulate commercial drugs such as Artemisinin, which is used in malaria.