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

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 in discussion
Frog in the Well

May I introduce you, dear reader to my two new friends?  A cedar and a pine tree living in a secluded corner of the thick rain forest, in a magical grove behind my home. On a recent morning walk, I found them in an intimate embrace with such good strong healing qì that they drew me in and convinced me to pause for a moment and listen to their wisdom. It was much-needed balm for my troubled heart and spirit so I decided to share it. I also got the strange sense that they wanted me to pass this on. Here’s what they had to share with me. 

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Ruminating on Suwen 5... Again...

In an escape from current politics and to regain my balance and faith in humanity, I have been burying myself once again in Suwen 5, which may or may not evolve into the next book-length publication by Happy Goat Productions. What follows is probably the nerdiest blog post I have ever written, but it has brought me great satisfaction. Feel free to share constructive criticism, questions, or any other feedback in the Comments section below. I am perfectly aware that I am trying to put something in written words that is ultimately better approached intuitively. The passage below is found about two thirds through the chapter, following directly after the famous passage where Qi Bo explains the associations of the five directions with the dynamic agents, organs, climatic factors, sounds, flavors, etc etc. I am aware that the references of traditional gender roles in my discussion below may strike some readers as offensive, but I ask you to reserve judgment that comes from a modern Western perspective. Yes, I have opened another can of worms there and I promise to address that can in a different blog post in the future.

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Random Thoughts on "Water is Yīn, Fire is Yáng"

水為陰,火為陽;陽為氣,陰為味。

WATER IS YĪN; FIRE IS YÁNG. YÁNG IS QÌ; YĪN IS FLAVOR.

A commentary on this line from the Lèi Jīng:

類經曰:『故天以日月為水火,易以坎離為水火,醫以心腎為水火,丹以精氣為水火。夫腎者水也,水中生氣,即真火也;心者火也,火中生液,即真水也。水火互藏,乃至道之所在,醫家首宜省察。』
“Thus in Heaven, the sun and moon are water and fire; in the Yì Jīng, [the trigrams] kǎn and lí are water and fire; in medicine, the heart and the kidney are water and fire; and in alchemy, essence and qì are water and fire. Now the kidney is water, and the generation of qì inside water is precisely true fire; the heart is fire, and the generation of fluids inside fire is precisely true water. The mutual storage of water and fire within each other, this is where the utmost Dào is located, and this is what any physician should first examine attentively.”
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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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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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Rotem Rakovsky: A Short Glimpse Into the Concept of Anxiety in Ancient Chinese Writings

Guest blog by Rotem Rakovsky.

"Anxiety is a fascinating term in Chinese medicine, although it is hardly ever studied and it appears in only few writings. This term describes a condition in which there is an involvement of the Upper Burner/ Shang Jiao and the Lower Burner/Xia Jiao in the body simultaneously, as the throbbing of the heart is accompanied by fear and a sense of quivering at the sides of the navel....

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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:

故今斯方先婦人、小兒而後丈夫、耆老者則是崇本之義也。

“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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