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Medicine in the mirror of history

The emergence of medicine in Ancient China in the middle of the III Millennium BC tell the legends and Chronicles. Methods of treatment developed by Chinese doctors, have influenced medicine Japan and Korea, Tibet and India. Teaching about life channels and active points on the surface of the human body is one of the foundations of reflexology is a modern method of diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The art of healing in Ancient China, as in other countries included knowledge about the many medicines of plant and animal origin.


One of the first Chinese doctors who lived about five thousand years ago, is considered the mythical Emperor Shen Nong, who used to treat all kinds of herbs. According to legend, it was the description of about 70 poisons and antidotes, died at the age of 140 years and was after the death of the deity pharmacists. He is considered the author of one of the world’s oldest “Canon on roots and herbs” containing a description of 365 medicinal plants. Medicine prepared from plants and inhabitant of the forests, God of longevity Shou-xing, sending long years of life, marred by disease. His decent companion was a deer, bestowing high offices and big salaries. For the treatment of diseases primenyaetsya numerous substances of animal origin and minerals.

As evidenced by the ancient literary monuments of the past three thousand years ago in Chinese medicine there were four section of internal medicine, surgery, dietetics and veterinary medicine. In the tenth century much earlier than in other countries of East and West, Chinese monks and Taoists who lived as hermits in mountain caves, have learned to be vaccinated against smallpox. The source of the inoculum were smallpox scabs, taken from the nose of the person had been ill. To prevent the disease was introduced into the nostrils on a cotton swab. Much later came the method of application of smallpox material to scratch.

The appearance of vaccination against smallpox tells the ancient legend. During the song dynasty (at the end of X century) died of smallpox and all the sons of Wang Dan, the first Minister of the Emperor. When he grew old, he gave birth to another son, who was named WAN-su. Fearing that the boy will die of smallpox, Wang Dan was invited to the court of the best doctors and told them that when his son will get small pox, they will have to come to him and cure child together. “There is only one doctor able to defeat smallpox. replied the doctors, Is a woman-a nun. She lives in a hut on top of a mountain. Local residents bring to her smallpox children, and they all recover.” Immediately sent for the nun. Seeing little Wang-su, she put her hand on his head and said: “This child can be vaccinated smallpox: his air and blood is good, and the folks had the undeniable virtue”. The nun took dried smallpox crusts, pre-powdered, put them on moist cotton swabs, tied with red thread, and put them in the baby’s nose so that the string hung on the outside. It is easily possible to remove the tampons and prevent them from getting too far by inhaling air. About an hour later, the swabs were removed.

After 7 days the child has had a fever, and then showed signs of smallpox, which lasted 12 days and ended in complete recovery. Van-Dan rejoiced in such happiness and wanted to generously reward a nun. However, she refused the gold and instead asked to provide deeds filed and assist the Emperor in governing the state, then returned to his mountain cabin.

Historical Parallels: In Europe, vaccination against smallpox became known much later. Their appearance is related to the work of the English physician E. Jenner ( 1749-1823). He developed the smallpox vaccine in 1796 first smallpox inoculated eight-year-old boy. Attempts to infect the boy with smallpox first half, then five months after inoculation gave no results. Inoculation made the boy immune to the disease.

Chinese doctors were able to save smallpox scabs thus, to decrease the risk of infection without loss of effectiveness of vaccination. Here as described this ancient art in 1741 the famous Chinese physician Zhang-Yan in his work “About the grafting of pox”: “Method of storage. Carefully wrap the smallpox crusts into the paper and put it in a small bottle. Tightly caulk it so that the crust has not lost its activity. It is impossible to keep the bottle in the sun or heat it. Better some time to wear it to the crust dried up in a natural way. On the bottle should clearly mark the date of taking material from the patient.

In winter, the material has the strength of Yang, so it remains active for 30-40 days. Jan summer action persists for approximately for 20 days.”

What kind of “force of Yang” says Zhang Yang? Will focus on those aspects of Chinese medicine, the roots of which — in the natural philosophy of Ancient China.

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