Chinese Doctors of Lasting Fame-Brief Introduction

 

In the long course of development of Chinese medicine emerged numerous famous doctors , many of whom wrote medical works .

Bian Que

Bian Que , who lived in Qi State at the start of the Warring States period , learned with diligence and formally became apprentice to Master Chang Sang , an eminent doctor of the day . He had an open mind and acquired a wide scope of the techniques concerned , notably pulse acquired a wide scope of the techniques concerned , notably pulse feeling . He used to travel around the different kingdoms and formulated a set of diagnostic methods (four procedures : observation , hearing , interrogation and pulse feeling) , making a great contribution to Chinese medicine . These methods are still followed by the modern Chinese doctors . He cured his patients quickly so he was very famous . In the Zhao Kingdom someone attributed to him the name of Bian Que , a legendary famous doctor in the reign of the Yellow Emperor . People remembered him by this attributed name , but forgot his real name .

Hua Tuo

Hua Tuo , born in Qiao County (modern Bozhou of Anhui province) of Pei prefecture in the Eastern Han Dynasty . He was good at all aspects of medicine , particularly at surgical operations . He was venerated by the later generations as the “Holy Surgeon” and the “Founder of Surgery” . As a youth he read widely and traveled in places around Xuzhou . So he was versed in various Chinese classic books and learned about hygiene . He refused the recommendation by high officials , but decided to become a doctor to cure the diseases of the common people . He practised medicine in the present Anhui , Jiangsu , Shangdong , and Henan provinces , and was revered by the masses . When Cao Cao , the prime minister of the Eastern Han , suffered from acute headache , he summoned Hua Tuo , who treated him with an acupuncture needle and the pain ceased immediately . Cao asked Hua Tuo to stay with him and serve him exclusively , but he was unwilling to serve him alone . He returned home under a pretext and did not come back to Cao Cao . Outraged , Cao caused Hua Tuo to be killed .

Hua Tuo's greatest achievement was in surgery . He invented the anesthetic herb solution , which was a general anesthetic . The procedure he took was as follows : At first the patient was told to swallow the anesthetic solution along with wine ; when the patient lost his sense as a drunken person , he cut open the patient’s abdomen . If he found a tumor he cut it off . If it was an impaired intestine or stomach , he cut off the impaired part , cleaned the part , sewed up the part and applied on the part an ointment . About a week later it would heal up , and about a month later the patient would recover fully . Hua Tuo invented general anesthesia in the second or third century A.D. , earlier by more than 1,600 years than when the Western surgeons used ether or nitrous oxide to effect general anesthesia . He was not only the first surgeon in China but also the first surgeon in the world to perform an abdomen operation with general anesthesia .

Wang Shuhe

Born of a noble family in Gaoqing County in the Western Jin Dynasty, Wang Shuhe was well educated in his youth . He took interest in medicine under the influence of Wei Xun , a disciple of Zhang Zhongjing (the author of the “Treatment of Typhoid”) . He studied famous medical works and researched on diseases , followed the classics , but not stuck to the classics . He consulted veteran doctors and learned from them . His medical skills improved and he became famous . In 208 A.D. when Cao Cao led an army doctor . Finally he was promoted to the position of the chief doctor . He was versed in classic recipes and in feeling pulse . His best contribution to Chinese medicine was his work , the “Canon of Pulse” , the pioneering work of the kind .

Sun Simiao

The preeminent pharmacist in the Tang Dynasty Sun Simiao was highly gifted . He could read a 1,000-character essay daily at the age of seven , and was versed in all classics at the age of twenty . He was known as a child prodigy . As he was weak and sick in his youth , his family had to spent all the property to pay for doctors and medicines for him .Hence , he made up his mind to study medicine to cure sick people . He was so studious that he was versed in medicine even when he was young , and patients flocked to him from near and far . He studied diligently the ancient classics on medicine , such as “Plain Queries” , “Crux of Medicine” , “Canon of Acupuncture and Moxibustion”, “Canon of Medical Herbs”, “Treatment of Typhoid” , “Canon of Pulse” , etc . He did not “stop studying even when he got old .” He also studied foreign medicine at the time , such as the Indian medicine . Sun Simiao had a high proficiency in medicine . But in “the vast ocean of the classics and recipes” , it was difficult to retrieve a recipe for an acute disease , so he was resolved to compile a medical work to make the retrieval easy . After decades of hard work , he completed in 652 A. D. his masterpiece “essential Recipes in Emergency” . After he died he was honored as “Pharmaceutical King” and Mount Wutai where he stayed was renamed Mount Pharmaceutical King . On the mount , a memorial temple and his statue were built in honor of his great contributions and his lofty personality .

Li Shizhen

Li Shizhen , born in Qi Zhou (modern Qichun county of Hubei province) in the Ming Dynasty , was preeminent pharmacist in China and the world . He wrote the famous pharmaceutical encyclopedia , “Syllabus of Medical Herbs” . Born into a medical family , Li aspired to take up the medical profession a his elders . But at that time medical practitioners had a low social status and the Li family was often bullied by officials .His father decided to let the son be a scholar to take part in the imperial service examination . However , Li failed in the imperial service examinations few times . So, he begged his father to permit him to study medicine exclusively . In his thirties Li was a renowned doctor locally .At the age of thrity five ,he began to compile the “Syllabus of Medical Herbs.” In order to know clearly the shapes , properties and effects of herbs he carried a basket on his back and traveled to different places with his son and a disciple named Pang Kuang . They trekked through countless wild mountains and deep valleys north and south of the Yangtze River . Three times he changed his manuscript . After twenty seven years of painstaking efforts , Li Shizhen finally completed his pharmaceutical masterpiece in 1578 . It was not only a great contribution to Chinese pharmacology , but also had a far-reaching influence on the development of world pharmacology , botany ,zoology , mineralogy and chemistry .

Wang Qingren

Among the many famous doctors in the Qing Dynasty .Wang Qingren was a creative medical practitioner . He attached great importance to human body anatomy . He observed the corpses and drew illustrations himself . He was also excellent clinically . He devised a series of recipes for enriching vital energy and invigorating blood circulation . He wrote the “Corrections in Medicine.” The book contained more than 30,000 words and 25 illustrations and charts , and also included thirty-one recipes of his own device . The book had two volumes . The first volume gave an account of his postmortem observations and corrected certain mistakes of the ancient doctors with regard to anatomy of viscera and physiological functions . He explained his medical viewpoints : “the prerequisite of clinical practice is to understand the viscera ” , and “the key to make a cure is to fine out the conditions of vital energy and blood.” The second volume explained his clinical theories based on his viewpoint and his clinical experiences for applying these theories to treat over fifty diseases such as hemiplegia , facial paralysis , infantile polio ,vomiting, convulsion, chickenpox, sterility , difficult labor , rheumatism , insanity , epilepsy , etc ., recommending his recipes for invigorating blood circulation and eliminating blood stasis . Although titled “Corrections in Medicine” the book was essentially about invigorating blood circulation and the treatment of blood stasis.

Due to the historical circumstances , the records of human viscera anatomy based on his observations had many mistakes . Still he was an outstanding , courageous and creative medical practitioner in the history of Chinese medicine . Particularly , his treatment of blood stasis was a great contribution to medicine both theoretically and practically , and drew attention from doctors home and abroad .

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