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 gynecology
A Lactation Consultant's Perspective on Placenta Encapsulation

Guest blog by Sarah Hollister, RN, PHN, IBCLC: As a nurse and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), I have the opportunity to work with nearly every pregnant woman and new mom and baby at a group of four primary care health centers in Northern California. I would like to share my experience, concerns and request for collaboration to closely examine the new practice of placenta encapsulation, as it has grown to become a component of the postpartum experience for the new moms who I work with and throughout the United States. I have encountered assumptions that placenta consumption increases milk production, is a prevention for postpartum depression, and has existed in history as an ancient human practice. I will provide a summary here of the work I do and what I have found with my clients involving this practice.

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Placentophagy and Chinese Medicine

Disclaimer: The following blog is merely a collection of notes and not a serious scientific research paper. There is obviously a pressing need for more research. My intention with this blog post is not to make any conclusive statements about the practice of placenta encapsulation or placentophagy, which I am not qualified to do anyway, but merely to offer the classical Chinese perspective as an urgently-needed correction to some misinformation promoted in popular and Chinese medicine circles. 

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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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No Coincidence

While I was really hoping to announce the release of my forthcoming (and over-due) translation of the Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica, we are still fine-tuning it. It is a precious text that needs to be treated with reverence and presented correctly. So please be patient and accept my apologies for the delay. Any day now though....literally!

In the meantime, I have a sweet little story to share with you: A friend recommended that I check out the work of Jane English, translator, publisher, shaman, nature photographer, and apparently just somebody whose work I would really relate to. 

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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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A Response From a Classical Chinese Medicine Perspective to a Lecture on Early Greek Gynecology

Last night, I was fortunate to enjoy a highly entertaining and informative lecture by Dr. Helen King, Professor of Classical Studies at the Open University in the UK, presented at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. As the leading authority on medicine for (and by) women in ancient Greece and early Europe, she managed to provide a survey of early gynecology that was impressive in its comprehensiveness in spite of the unfortunate time limitations of her presentation. I was elated to have her touch on many subjects that I often discuss in the context of classical Chinese gynecology...

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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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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? 

Shénxiān Jù Bǎo Dān 神仙聚寶丹 (Immortals Gathering Treasures Pill)



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 qì 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.

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