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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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Trapped in the Cage of Tradition

Trapped in the Cage of Tradition

59 Trapped in the Cage of Tradition
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

Chinese tradition was significantly influenced by doctrines of yin-yang and the five agents. Some observers of nature and physicians also introduced demons to the tradition. Experts has different views on demons such as some argued that everything was imagined and others claimed that it was a reality of environment. In the middle of the sixteenth century, Li Shizhen, wrote his summary of the study of Chinese pharmaceutical drugs, the Bencao gang mu. It contains knowledge of botany, hygiene, and other areas that Europe only developed very much later. Some observers looked downward in the search for reality. Printed texts were the foundation of medical theory and practice. But only the theory and practice of a small minority was actually based on these texts. Ninety percent of the population of China knew nothing about these texts and followed entirely different thoughts in response to illness. Hardly anyone paid attention to this knowledge and no one wanted to learn anything from the common people.

Keywords:   doctrines of yin-yang, Chinese pharmaceutical drugs, medical theory, therapeutics, medications

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