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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Posts tagged Sun Simiao
Sun Simiao's Fertility Treatments

The following is an excerpt from the 75-page historical introduction to my newest publication Channeling the Moon, a translation and discussion of the first fourteen questions of Qí Zhòngfǔ’s 齊仲甫 Nǚ Kē Bǎi Wèn 女科百問 (“Hundred Questions of Gynecology,” published in 1220 CE). This excerpt includes a brief introduction to the Bèi Jí Qiān Jīn Yào Fāng 備急千金要方 (composed by Sūn Sīmiǎo 孫思邈 in 652) and a survey of Sūn Sīmiǎo’s ideas on fertility. For more on early Chinese gynecology and fertility, see the information page for my book Channeling the Moon in my ONLINE BOOKSTORE HERE. The photographs below, most of which have also made it into the book, are from around my home on Whidbey Island, but here you get the colored version.

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Postpartum Recovery from Birthing a Book

Perhaps because I am teaching a gynecology class right now while dealing with the very final last-minute revisions and the release drama of my new book, the "Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica," it has struck me lately how similar the production of a book is to the conception, pregnancy, labor, and birth of a real child, and then the postpartum recovery.

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Love Letter to the Universe

Yesterday afternoon, I had the honor of attending the lineage ceremony for the 2015 graduating class from the School of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine. The students expressed some beautiful sentiments towards us teachers, most notably this sentence: “As students, we may just be your love letters to the universe.” This sentence will stick with me forever because there is such truth, hope, and life-affirming beauty in it. 

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Fertility and Gynecology - Biomedicine, Chinese Medicine, and Common Sense

Let me start  by quoting the obvious (from Sun Simiao’s  Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang, vol. 5 on Pediatrics:


“Now the present collection of treatments is arranged by placing the treatments for women and children first, and those for husbands and the elderly afterwards. The significance of [this structure] is that it venerates the root.”

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How to Map the Classical Chinese "Ten Months of Pregnancy" onto the Biomedical System of Counting Gestational Age

In conclusion, the simple answer to the seemingly simple question on how to map modern gestational age to the ancient Chinese way of counting pregnancy in ten months is therefore anything but simple and frustratingly vague: While modern biomedicine begins counting the gestational age of the embryo or fetus from the ONSET of the last menstrual period, classical Chinese texts begin counting roughly a week later, ideally one or two days after the CONCLUSION of the last menstrual period. In other words, the first month of pregnancy in traditional China would start from what we count as the second week of gestational age, or a week before biomedicine would consider ovulation to have taken place. How exactly you translate this information into your clinical practice shall be left to your discretion.

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Julian Scott's Review of "Venerating the Root, Part One"

Julian Scott's review, for the Journal of Chinese Medicine: I am thrilled to have this work made accessible for the first time. It is a pleasure to read. What makes the book very special is that although it is a treatise on a wide range of conditions, including many gynaecological ones (in the earlier volumes), it describes illnesses that occur right at the beginning of life. I feel so at home with this approach. In the courses that I give, I always emphasise the importance of the early years: and how problems that occur in the early years may have an effect on health all the way through life. The specific symptoms may go away, but the underlying imbalance may remain, and reappear in another guise later on. Only by studying the first months and years can you understand the appearance of disease later on....

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Peter Firebrace's Poem on Sun Simiao and Pediatrics

The following is a poem that my dear friend, master poet and musician, and Chinese medicine practitioner and teacher Peter Firebrace wrote as a preface for my translation of the first part of Sun Simiao's writings on pediatrics (Vol. 5, part 1, published by Happy Goat Productions as "Venerating the Root, Part One"). If you are curious about the content of that book and don't want to buy it, here is a brief summary.

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Sun Simiao's ghost points

(From: Bèi Jí Qīan Jīn Yào Fāng 備急千金要方, Volume 14 on the Small Intestine, section 5 on"Wind Insanity" 風癲 fēng dīan. It is identified there as a quotation by Biǎn Què 扁鵲.)

Intro to this section: “Withdrawal disease can manifest as deep silence or excessive reckless speaking, laughing, crying,singing, falling asleep while sitting, wanting to eat filth or excrement,running around naked or at night, manic yelling, chaotic gesturing.... For this kind of patient with withdrawal and mania, use both acupuncture and moxibustion and formulas in your treatment. Specialists in wind divination can also discern the ghost based on the wind. When the hundred evils cause illness, there are thirteen points you can needle.”

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Sun Simiao on Horse-Related Pediatric Conditions

Some excerpts on horse-related conditions from my recently published translation of Volume 5 of the Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang, Venerating the Root 1, in honor of the Year of the Wood Horse.

Note that these are just excerpts out of context, given here just for kicks. For explanatory notes and the Chinese, see my book. And if you try the horse manure bath treatment on yourself, make sure the horse has been fed on organic pasture (not GM-corn) and not been treated with Ivermectin. (-:

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