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Medical Texts in China

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The texts of Chinese medicine are extremely voluminous. They have a continuous history of more than 2,000 years, of which little is known in the West. Standard works up to AD 1900 number around 190, and if popular writings are included this rises to at least 1,500. There has been great activity since the 1949 establishment of the New China, and a modern dictionary of traditional Chinese medicine written in Shanghai in 1988 refers to over 4,000 individuals and 8,000 works. And yet there are barely a dozen translations of these texts. The whole corpus also includes works on massage, diet therapy, and therapeutic exercise similar to the contemporary popular Taiji Quan (Supreme Ultimate Boxing) and Qi Gong (Breathing Therapy). These have been largely omitted from the following entry, which describes, in chronological order, the most important texts on medical theory, acupuncture and moxibustion, and herbal medicine.

The earliest extant systematic writings, which formed the cornerstone for...

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References

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  • ‐‐‐. Concise Chinese–English Dictionary of Medicine. Beijing: People's Medical Publishing House, 1982.

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  • ‐‐‐. The Vital Meridian. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1992.

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  • Lu, Gweidjen and Joseph Needham. Celestial Lancets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980.

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  • ‐‐‐. Zhongyi Renwu Cidian (A Dictionary of Personages in Traditional Chinese Medicine). Shanghai: Shanghai Book Publishing Company, 1988.

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© 2008 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York

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Bertschinger, R. (2008). Medical Texts in China. In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9032

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