Nurturing life through the body, heart, and spirit with the wisdom of Chinese medicine


A collection of notes on the topics of classical Chinese, medicine, and traditional culture.

This blog is a collection of ruminations, translations, and personal opinions by Sabine and some guest authors. Reflecting my own personality, some posts are academic, some clinical, and some personal, some are excerpts from existing books and some may become part of future books. Please leave comments with feedback, questions, constructive criticism, and differences of opinion as long as you argue your reasons for disagreement logically. Any personal attacks, uncivil remarks, or self-promoting comments will be deleted.

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Hundred Questions on Gynecology 女科百問

Question Fourteen 第十四問 

What are the Three Diseases of Women Who Have Not Yet Left the Inner Chambers? 未出閨門女有三病,何也? 


答曰 Answer:






1) Women who have not yet left the inner chambers is precisely a reference to unmarried maidens.

2) As for the first disease, when the menstrual fluids first begin to descend, there is heat within yin.[1] Either she was exposed to [external] wind, or wind was fanned.[2]

3) As for the second disease, when the Taichong[3] vessel became exuberant, qi consequently became hot inside, and yet she washed herself with cold water.

3) As for the third disease, possibly she saw [vaginal? menstrual? her own?] bleeding and responded with panic and terror.

4) If [a young girl] contracts even a single one among these three conditions, afterwards she will invariably generate the disease of vaginal discharge.


Shenxian Ju Bao Dan 神仙聚寶丹 (Immortals Gathering Treasures Pill)





1) A treatment for women suffering from vacuity cold in the Sea of Blood, which is exploited externally by wind and cold. These struggle and bind [with the blood] and fail to disperse, instead collecting and gathering to form lumps, or possibly to form hardenings and conglomerations. [It is also indicated] for blood and qi pouring out aggressively, with soreness and pain in the abdomen and rib-sides, tightness and distention in the lesser abdomen, possibly intermittent vacuity rumbling, retching and vomiting of phlegm and foam, spinning head and flowery vision, heaviness and pain in the thighs and knees, a withered yellow facial complexion, swollen and heavy limbs, when the menstrual period is about to start flowing a feeling as if she were critically ill, possibly excessive, possibly scant [menstrual flow], red or white vaginal discharge, unstoppable [vaginal] flooding and leaking, panic palpitations with forgetfulness, frequent urination, possibly descent of white fluid, intermittent eruption of vacuity heat, night sweats, and marked emaciation.

2) This medicine is appropriate to administer, regardless of whether [the woman is] before a pregnancy or after childbirth, or [whether she is] an unmarried maiden.

3) Taking it constantly will quiet the heart shen, get rid of evil qi, expel decaying blood, nurture new blood, allow for pregnancy,[4] as well as being able to eliminate the various diseases.


木香(研令末) muxiang (ground into a powder)

琥珀(別研)hupo (ground separately)

當歸 danggui

沒藥(別研,各一兩)moyao (ground separately), 1 liang each

滴乳(一分,別研)diru[5] (ground separately), 1 fen

麝香(一錢,別研) shexiang (ground separately), 1 qian

辰砂(一錢,別研) chensha (ground separately), 1 qian







1) Finely grind the above ingredients. Combine with drops of cooled boiled water and pound, to make pills. Out of each 1 liang, make 15 pills. Take 1 pill per dose, downing it after dissolving it in warm liquor.

2) If the fetus is not breathing smoothly and there is soreness and pain inside the abdomen, and for all the difficulties in childbirth, down it by dissolving it in a mixture of warm liquor and little boy’s urine. Do not set any limits [on when to take this formula].

3) For blood dizziness after childbirth, decaying blood rushing up against the heart, and a clenched jaw and rigid tongue, or for incomplete elimination of “malign dew”[6] [manifesting] with thirst and a puffy face, down it by dissolving it in a mixture of brewed Ume Plum Decoction and little boy’s urine.

4) For vacuity of qi strength and marked emaciation after childbirth, when the various other medicines are ineffective, down it by dissolving it in little boy’s urine.

5) For un-attuned menstrual periods in unmarried maidens, down it by dissolving half a pill per dose in warm liquor.


[1] Whether this refers to a pathological state or to normal physiology is unclear to me. The beginning of the menstrual flow is generally a time in the menstrual cycle that is marked by a lower body temperature, so my best guess is that this line describes a pathological state of heat during the most yin aspect of the girl’s menstrual cycle, complicated by external or internal wind. On the other hand, though, menarche, or the first descent of the menses, requires heat during this yin stage of the menstrual cycle, for the blood to flow smoothly instead of binding and coagulating. In that case, the line should be read as “When the menstrual fluids first begin to descend, there MUST BE heat within yin.” The next line on the second condition related to washing with cold water also seems to support this argument. I have tried to translate in a way that retains the ambiguity of the source text.

[2] I am not sure whether this refers to somebody fanning her with a physical fan, thus creating artificial “wind,” the equivalent perhaps of modern exposure to air conditioning, or whether this could refer to a fanning of wind internally.

[3] Now known more commonly as the Chongmai or Thoroughfare Vessel.

[4] I.e., promote fertility.

[5] An alternate name for maweixiang 馬尾香 (frankincense).

[6] Elu 惡露, i.e., lochia.