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

VR2 Introduction

Venerating the Root, Part Two

Prefatory Matters


It is with great pride and joy,-- and at the same time full recognition that no book can ever be perfect,-- that Happy Goat Productions offers you this translation of the second half of Sunsimiao&’s writings on pediatrics, as recorded in volume 5 of his Bèi Jí Qiān Jīn Yào Fāng 備急千金要方 (Essential Prescriptions Worth a Thousand in Gold for Every Emergency, completed in 652 CE).

Rather than repeating important introductory information that I have already stated in Venerating the Root, Part One (published by Happy Goat Productions in 2013), I refer the reader to pp. xvii-xxxviii of that book for a brief historical introduction to early Chinese pediatrics, to Sun Simiao’s life and work, and to the significance of pediatrics in his thinking (also accessible in electronic format at 

We have maintained the layout and design of Venerating the Root, Part One by placing the original Chinese text side-by-side with my literal English translation, supplemented by my explanatory footnotes and by clinical commentary that is set off in boxes with a grey background. For this volume, I am delighted to share with you some clinical pearls by Dr. Julian Scott, the foremost practitioner of TCM pediatrics in the West and author of Natural Medicine for Children and Herbs in the Treatment of Children, which he composed in direct response to an earlier draft of this book. Throughout the book, I have also added my own commentary where needed, especially on the classical meaning of disease terms that may either not be familiar to or understood differently by practitioners of modern TCM. Last but definitely not least, as in Part One, I have  translated the full clinical commentary on this material by the famous physician Zhāng Lù 張璐 (1617 to ca. 1700), found in his book Qiān Jīn Fāng Yǎn Yì 千金方衍義 (“Expanded Meaning of the Thousand Gold Prescriptions”). For more information on that text, as well as on my choice of medical terminology, critical source editions used to create the Chinese text and base my translation on, and other details, please consult Venerating the Root, Part One.

As a rule of thumb that applies to both volumes of Venerating the Root, the format, style, lay-out, and ultimate shape of this translation are the result of our efforts to achieve balance between two poles: On the one hand, the need for academic integrity and clarity, standard of translation, and faithfulness to the historical source, and on the other hand our desire to make this material available to a larger audience of readers who are actively involved in the clinical application of Chinese medicine in contemporary practice. Bridging the gulf between academia and clinic is never an easy task, and one that is in this case further complicated by chasms of time and space. I consider this literal translation of Sun Simiao’s writings only a stepping stone in the gradual development and growth of pediatrics as an established field of specialization for practitioners of Chinese medicine over the next few decades. Given the challenges and complexities involved in the medical treatment of children in our current culture, this book aims to offer inspiration and a glimpse of the possibilities, options, and rewards for practicing classical Chinese pediatrics to seasoned practitioners, whether of contemporary biomedicine or of Chinese medicine. We encourage you to explore the potential of this powerful specialty of Chinese medicine further in your own clinical training and practice. We furthermore hope that others will use the information from this book to eventually create practice-oriented textbooks and classes on classical Chinese pediatrics that offer concrete instructions for diagnosis and treatment.

It is my deep conviction that the perspectives on pediatrics offered by Sun Simiao in the present text are an important contribution to our current approach to the medical care of children, with profound consequences for the rest of their lives. Manifesting the ideal of “treating disease before it arises,” Master Sun emphasizes the importance of “venerating the root” by lavishing special care on women pre-conception, during pregnancy and birth, and postpartum and while breast-feeding, and then on children, especially in the tender beginning of their lives. This is an insight that is just as pertinent today as it was in classical China 1500 years ago. It is also a truth that makes economic sense, as insurance providers and public health advocates have learned. It is worth pondering Sun’s message especially in light of our modern lifestyle with its increasingly toxic environment, growing school and performance stress for children at younger and younger ages, and ever-shrinking access to healthy whole-body activity and play, sunshine, natural foods, the outdoors, and the rhythms of nature in general. May this book inspire each of us to work collectively and individually to restore harmony between Heaven, Earth, and Humanity, for the sake of all children.

Please note that the information in this book is designed to provide historical information on the subjects discussed. For obvious reasons, it is not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition. As with any literal translation of a classical text but in particular with the subject of pediatrics, reading this book can never prepare you for clinical practice. The tender health of newborns and young children demands extensive and specialized medical training and clinical experience. The publisher and author are not responsible for any specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision, and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this book. 



Wishing you peace, love, and good health,

Sabine Wilms