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Traditional Chinese medicine

Traditional medicine in China / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an alternative medical practice drawn from traditional medicine in China. It has been described as pseudoscientific, with the majority of its treatments having no known mechanism of action.[1][2]

Quick facts: Traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese name, T...
Traditional Chinese medicine
A prescription section of a pharmacy in Nanning, Guangxi, China selling prepackaged Chinese and Western medicine (left) and Chinese medicinal herbs (right)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese中醫
Simplified Chinese中医
Literal meaning"Chinese medicine"
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetY học cổ truyền Trung Quốc
Đông y
thuốc Bắc
thuốc Tàu
Korean name
Japanese name

Medicine in traditional China encompassed a range of sometimes competing health and healing practices, folk beliefs, literati theory and Confucian philosophy, herbal remedies, food, diet, exercise, medical specializations, and schools of thought.[3] In the early twentieth century, Chinese cultural and political modernizers worked to eliminate traditional practices as backward and unscientific. Traditional practitioners then selected elements of philosophy and practice and organized them into what they called "Chinese medicine" (Chinese: 中医 Zhongyi).[4] In the 1950s, the Chinese government sponsored the integration of Chinese and Western medicine,[5] and in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, promoted Chinese medicine as inexpensive and popular.[6] After the opening of relations between the United States and China after 1972, there was great interest in the West for what is now called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).[7]

TCM is said to be based on such texts as Huangdi Neijing (The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor),[8] and Compendium of Materia Medica, a sixteenth-century encyclopedic work, and includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping therapy, gua sha, massage (tui na), bonesetter (die-da), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy. TCM is widely used in the Sinosphere. One of the basic tenets is that the body's qi is circulating through channels called meridians having branches connected to bodily organs and functions.[9] There is no evidence that meridians or vital energy exist. Concepts of the body and of disease used in TCM reflect its ancient origins and its emphasis on dynamic processes over material structure, similar to the humoral theory of ancient Greece and ancient Rome.[10]

The demand for traditional medicines in China has been a major generator of illegal wildlife smuggling, linked to the killing and smuggling of endangered animals.[11]

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