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 herbs
The Divine Farmer on Thunder in the Body

A recent inquiry from an attentive reader whose opinion I value highly caused me to revisit my translation of the Shennong Bencao Jing 神農本草經 (“Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica”), which I published a few years back. … They (correctly) noticed that in my rendition of the entry on xìnghérén (a.k.a. xingren, apricot seed, Prunus Armeniaca kernel), I present this list of symptoms as…

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The Therapeutic Use of Water in the Bencao gangmu, Part One: Introduction to the Text

This post is written in preparation for a lecture I will be giving while soaking in the hot springs at Ojo Caliente in New Mexico, in the framework of a retreat on Chinese herbs and the Chinese medicine classics taught by Z’ev Rosenberg and myself in Taos on August 19-23, 2018. For more information on that retreat, see here. My interest in water is obviously also inspired by my current life on the Puget Sound on Whidbey Island where I go wade, swim, and play in the blue stuff almost every day.

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Why I Treasure the "Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica"

It is not just because I am also a farmer with dirt under my nails that the “Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica” (Shén Nóng Běncǎo Jīng 神農本草經) has always been one of my favorite books. As a critical historian and teacher of classical Chinese medicine, I firmly believe this little book to be one of the most important, foundational texts of this medicine that I love so dearly and have dedicated my life to. For this reason, I produced a bilingual literal translation of this text last year and continue to promote this text and its teachings to anybody who will listen. Whether you are a practicing physician or pharmacist, a fellow “herb head” and plant lover, a historian of early Chinese culture and natural science, or just curious about one of the most ancient texts from early Chinese literature, you may enjoy listening to what the Divine Farmer has to say.

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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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Impressions of the Shén Nóng Běncǎo Jīng 神農本草經 by Z'ev Rosenberg

...this text should be on every herbalist’s desk, and would also serve as an excellent introduction to herbal medicine for acupuncture/ ’moxabustionists’ as well.  I’m looking forward to taking the Shen nong ben cao jing into the forests, as I commune with the plants and minerals in the fields.  Or as Zhuangzi once said, ‘cloud hidden, whereabouts unknown’.

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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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