Traditional Japanese Medicine. The Roots of Healing

What is Traditional Japanese medicine?

In mainland China, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been used to cure illnesses. A book called “Shanghan Lun” was written around 200 AD, which is the oldest known book by a doctor named Zhang Zhongjing, who wrote down his treatment experience in detail. is. A lot of Chinese medicine is written, and occasionally acupuncture and moxibustion are also mentioned. It is also used heavily in modern times.


In Japan, these medicines have been transmitted from time to time in exchanging information with China, including envoys to Sui and Tang. This continued until the isolation policy was adopted in the Edo period, so it is inferred that traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Japanese medicine had almost the same content.


However, when it became a secluded country, information from China was cut off. Therefore, Japan’s unique medicine has begun to sprout. Various schools (old school, etc.) have been created, but these various schools are collectively called “Japanese Kampo”. This trend has continued from the rise of Ranpo (Western medicine) in the late Edo period to the present day, through the headwinds of the Meiji era. 

This is the mainstream of traditional Japanese medicine. On the other hand, what happened to traditional Chinese medicine? Traditional Chinese medicine, which had been practiced all over China, was forcibly put together by the Chinese government. This is modern “Chinese medicine”. Therefore, it seems that something a little different from traditional Chinese medicine has been created, but it was epoch-making that the standard recognized by the country was finally established. Nowadays, there is a lot of medicine that is coupled with Western medicine, such as “Nakanishi Medical Combination”, which is very helpful.


In Japan today, in addition to Japanese Kampo and Chinese medicine, there is also Japanese-Chinese medicine (Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University). In addition, there are some, such as Kampo medicine, that reexamine the theory of wounds and cold, which is the origin of Kampo medicine, and then propose a new human anatomy related to the flow of qi to enhance the effectiveness of Kampo medicine. (Kyoto Takao Hospital).

週刊「中国からの留学生便り」ドラマ「老中医」を見る前に | 日本中医学会│Japan Traditional Chinese Medicine  Association

What is Chinese herbal medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine is a medicine that extracts medicinal ingredients by mixing crude drugs (plant roots, stems, etc., which are rich in medicinal ingredients) and minerals and simmering them.


There are two main types of Chinese herbs, one called “decoction” and the other called “extract”. If you compare it to coffee, the decoction is equivalent to coffee ground from beans, and the extract is equivalent to instant coffee. In other words, decoction takes time and effort, but it has a strong pharmacological effect including its scent. On the other hand, extracts are easy to take and convenient to carry, but they are not as effective as decoctions. 

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