Traditional Vietnamese Medicine – The Essence of the Vietnamese Nation

Traditional Vietnamese medicine, also known as Vietnamese medicine, is a branch of Oriental medicine with ancient origins, originating in Vietnam. With the theory of Oriental medicine based on ancient philosophy: Yin Yang – Ngu Hanh balance, the body is healthy.

The person who laid the foundation for Vietnamese traditional medicine is Danh y – Zen Master Tue Tinh (the author of the famous saying “Southern medicine treats men” – Southern medicine is used to treat Southern people), he is considered as the The founder of Southern medicine profession, later Hai Thuong Lan Ong was the one who effectively propagated and implemented this ethnic medicine profession.


Through centuries of existence along with Vietnamese culture and society, traditional medicine has been making a significant contribution to modern medicine in repelling many diseases and saving thousands of lives. It has the advantage of effectively treating many dangerous and complex diseases such as rheumatism, digestive and urinary diseases, asthenia, respiratory diseases, gynecology, pediatrics and some diseases. chronic without causing side effects, in which non-drug methods account for 30%, typically acupuncture, massage, nursing… The cure rate is more than 70%. Traditional medicine clinics are attracting more and more people to come for examination and treatment. In Hanoi, up to 1/10 of the population seek oriental medicine. This confirms that traditional medicine also plays a very important role in reducing the burden on hospitals.

Currently, Vietnamese traditional medicine industry is in need of a large human resource, after graduating from school, students can work in traditional medicine clinics, centers, and hospitals, traditional medicine departments of provincial and district hospitals, rooms, medical centers….


Therefore, choosing to study and pursue traditional medicine has a lot of advantages in the current social context because of the traditional oriental medicine industry is being studied and researched by Western countries. This medicine derived from nature according to the healing method of the Eastern people since ancient times. Therefore, the opportunity for you to study in this field is very great.

 Established in 1992, Tue Tinh Intermediate School of Medicine and Pharmacy Hanoi is the first private school in the country to train traditional medicine doctors. The school has a team of leaders and managers, a team of teachers with professional qualifications, with solid pedagogical qualifications, a relatively stable number of teachers who are enthusiastic about training.Therefore, the quality of training of the University over the years has met the needs of medical facilities, and it has always been the belief of students that the school has a lot of prestige with medical facilities throughout the country . Over 25 years of establishment and development, the school has trained and awarded graduation decisions to more than 25,000 health workers operating at medical examination and treatment facilities nationwide.

Vietnam has 4,000 years of civilization from the founding of the country until now, traditional medicine has also developed along the length of the country’s history. In the Van Lang or Dai Viet cultures, the medical and healing arts were based on the combination of Eastern medical theory (Eastern medicine) with the healing experiences of the community of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, along with the traditional medical experience. Experience using the rich medicinal and herbal sources of Vietnam in the tropics to form a traditional medicine also known as “Traditional Medicine” in Vietnam.

Antiquity (from the beginning of the 1st to the 3rd century AD)

The medical background is only recorded in the form of experience, perhaps due to living in the tropical monsoon area, susceptible to malaria, intestinal infections, the ancient Viet people have experience in using use medicine in the form of betel nut, areca, ginger, onion, garlic, chili, galangal, yew, lime, green tea, white tea and know how to prevent tooth decay by the custom of dyeing teeth black.

The Middle Ages (from the 3rd to the 17th century AD)

The Vietnamese people entered the medieval period with the domination of China through the dynasties of Han, Wei, Jin, Song, Qi, Luong, Sui, and Tang (179 BC – 938 AD).

Under these eras, Vietnam was introduced to oriental medicine through doctors from the north such as Dong Phung (187 – 226), Lam Thang (479 – 501).

During this period, a number of Vietnamese medicinal herbs were recorded by China, such as:

Tapioca (Nation Y apart) .

Cardamom (Hainan manuscript  – Tang Dynasty)

History of the Concubine (Manuscript of declarations   – Song Dynasty).

Lemongrass (Manuscript of the Cross Di).

Betel nut, areca (To bow manuscript)…

10 KEY PONTS HISTORICAL TIMELINE

  1. The Independence Period Between the Ngo, Dinh, Le, Ly, Tran, and Ho Dynasties (939-1406). In 938, the independence of the feudal state of Vietnam was established, starting with the Ngo dynasty, followed by the Dinh, Le, and Ly dynasties. However, under these dynasties, there was no record of medical organizatiion. Coming to Ly’s house Vietnam had many professional doctors. At the court, there was Ty Thai medicine. Including the royal physician specializing in health care for the king. In 938, King Ly Than Tong fell madly ill and grew long hair. Screaming mouth was cured by Zen Master Minh Khong by bathing in soapy water.
  2. Traditional medicine under the Tran Dynasty (1225-1399). During this period, traditional medicine had the following characteristics: There is a medical institute with the function of taking care of the health of kings and mandarins in the court, and at the same time has the task of managing health throughout the country. Since 1261, the Tran Dynasty has opened exams to recruit physicians to work at the Institute of Thai Medicine. The Institute of Thai Medicine directed the training of doctors and planned to collect and distribute medicinal herbs to serve the treatment of kings and mandarins and the army. The Institute of Thai Medicine regularly organized trips to pick wild medicinal herbs in An Tu mountain, Dong Trieu. At this time, Pham Ngu Lao, was in charge of growing medicine in Pha Lai (Van An and Duoc Son medicinal gardens in Hung Dao commune, Chi Linh today) to self-sufficient in medicine. Thus, the cultivation and collection of medicinal plants grow wild; Vietnamese forefathers also showed early. Since then, there has been a deep sense of growing medicinal plants, sometimes the whole village like Dai Yen (Ba Dinh – Hanoi), Nghia Trai (Van Lam – Hung Yen) which is still traditional today. In parallel with taking drugs; Acupuncture is also more popular. In 1362, King Tran Du Tong distributed rice money and Hong Ngoc dew ring pills to fight epidemics for people in Tam Doi county (Phu Tho) and Thien Truong government (Nam Dinh). Under the Tran dynasty, some typical physicians appeared: Pham Cong Ban (Cam Binh – Hai Duong) held the position of Thai medical order, from 1278 to 1314, in addition to taking care of the health of the people, he also spent his own money to buy medicine to build houses to take care of poor patients with disabilities, or orphaned children. Tue Tinh, also known as Nguyen Ba Tinh, was a famous doctor, monk and physician who proposed Nam Viet medicine to treat the South Vietnamese people. He compiled the book “The Miraculous Southern Medicine” with 499 herbs and remedies to cure 184 male diseases. His book was edited, supplemented and reprinted by the Venerable Master Lai in 1761. The original book Nam Duoc (titled by Lord Trinh 1717) includes two volumes of Nam Duoc Quoc Ngu Phu including 590 medicinal herbs, Truc Explained, medicinal properties rich in 220 flavors. Later, the name was changed to Hong Nghia Giac Tu y Thu. Through some of Tue Tinh’s works, we can see his ethics and medical direction stand out. During this period many drugs were discovered such as Hoang Nan, Hoang Dang, Hoang Luc, Doc Luc, Tan Lang, Red Single Leaf, Pomegranate Peel… At the same time, Tue Tinh initially divided the disease into 10 departments.
  3. Traditional medicine in the Ho and Ming dynasties (1400-1427). During this period, the court had a policy of widely treating diseases for the people. Set up a villa, organize medical treatment facilities in the locality. During this period, there was Nguyen Dai Nang (Hai Duong) holding the position of nurse at the Institute of Thai Medicine, he compiled acupuncturists with the effect of singing, using 120 acupoints to treat many dangerous diseases (malaria, epilepsy) in addition to the treatment of many diseases. In addition, there are Vu Toan Trai (Hai Hung), Ly Cong Tuan (Tien Son, Bac Ninh) who have compiled valuable acupuncture works.
  4. Traditional medicine under the Le dynasty (1428-1788). Under the Le dynasty, Le Nhan Tong focused on developing our country’s traditional medicine. At this time, there was a relationship of exchanging products for Chinese medicine. The Le Dynasty cared about the health of the people.
    Hong Duc Law has set out the medical profession regulations, punishing self-seeking drugs. Deliberately treating diseases that are entangled or contracted, there are regulations on social hygiene, strictly punish those who make and sell toxic drugs. The book “Basics of Life” guides you to keep clean, practice physical activity to increase life expectancy. Regarding the medical organization at the imperial court, there was a Thai medical institute headed by the Ambassador, who helped to avoid giving medical treatment to the king. The chief medical officer to treat the royal family and mandarins, in the six institutes, there were medicine rooms provided by the private pharmacists and the chief pharmacists in charge of storage and distribution. There was also a medical training department at the Institute of Thai Medicine. In the provinces where there are Te Sinh Duong, there are doctors for medical examination and the role of missionary is to take care of the medicine warehouse and dispense medicine. The assistant physicians looked after the health of the generals in the army.
    During this period there were famous physicians such as: Nguyen Truc specializing in treating children’s diseases with massage, acupressure, burning wicks; There were also methods to treat stone disease, smallpox. Chu Doan Van (Thanh Tri) had medical cases for extrasensory treatment and compiled four very concise basic theories. Hoang Don Hoa (Thanh Oai – Ha Tay) had succeeded in using ready-made drugs and locally grown herbs to treat diseases, especially malaria and cholera. As a result of the long-term division of the country (the Trinh – Nguyen dispute) made the people extremely miserable, diseases developed, the Thai medical clinic strengthened the fight against the epidemic in the localities. Established Southern Pharmaceutical Department; invited old doctors to study traditional Chinese medicine, led by physician Nguyen Hoanh (Thanh Hoa) he compiled 500 local herbs and 130 flavors on birds, fish, needles, jelly, soil, water. .
  5. Traditional medicine under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1905). The Nguyen Dynasty relied on the French to set up sacrifices in the provinces and changed it to Ty physician. The poor and disabled were brought up in nursing homes in the provinces. The Institute of Thai Medicine in Vietnam had specific regulations on positions such as preparation, inspection, packaging, decoction… 1856 Tu Duc opened a medicine school in Hue. The Nguyen Dynasty had its own regulations on the medical profession, punishing physicians who mistreated causing death or intentionally endangering patients. Gia Long Law stipulated punishment for illegal medical treatment that causes death.
  6. After taking over Vietnam, the French organized Vietnamese health in the way of Western medicine. There were hospitals in the city, infirmaries in the provincial capitals, and at first they were all in charge of military doctors. From 1905, hospitals and infirmaries were led by medical directors of three periods under the medical inspectorate of Indochina. The medical units in the Southern Dynasty were disbanded. Traditional medicine was no longer part of the state health system. However, poor people, mostly in rural and mountainous areas, still had to treat diseases with traditional medicine. Traditional medicine was suppressed by the French colonialists. France restricted the number of practitioners of traditional medicine, and in the South, the number of license cards did not exceed 500 practitioners. Even so, traditional medicine still tried to find a way to work to preserve the precious capital of Vietnamese ancestors. For example, the Central American Medical Association, founded on September 14, 1936 published 46 issues of medical journals.
  7. Vietnamese traditional medicine from 1945 to present. After taking power, Uncle Ho was interested in traditional medicine. In a letter to medical staff dated February 27, 1955, Uncle Ho wrote: “Medicine must be based on scientific, national and popular principles. My ancestors in the past had a lot of valuable experience in how to cure diseases with Chinese and Thai medicines. In order to expand the scope of medicine, you should also focus on researching and combining Eastern and Western medicine.”
    Directives 101 TTg dated 15/3/1961, 21CP dated 19/2/1967 and 26CP dated 19/10/1978 stipulated that “On the basis of science of inheriting and promoting the good experiences of traditional medicine  and concluded cooperate with western medicine to strengthen the ability to prevent and cure diseases, and to move towards building Vietnamese medicine”
    Article 49, chapter III, of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam states, “Develop and perfect the people’s health protection system on the basis of combining modern medicine and pharmacy with traditional medicine.”
    On November 4, 1955, the Ministry of Health issued Official Letter 9126 YD/PBCB guiding localities to exploit and use herbal medicine.
    On April 12, 1956, the Ministry of Health organized a Department of Oriental Medicine in the Department of Diseases to specialize in oriental medicine research.
    According to Decree No. 339 NV/DC dated June 3, 1957 of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Vietnam Oriental Medicine Association, later transformed into the Vietnam Traditional Medicine Association, now the Vietnam Traditional Medicine Association, was allowed to establish with the purpose of unite practitioners and researchers of traditional medicine and traditional medicine and coordinate with the Ministry of Health in leading the oriental medicine community on professional ideology.
    The Department of Oriental Medicine was established to assist the Ministry of Health in leading oriental medicine work in the entire health sector. At the same time, according to Decree No. 238/TTg of the same day of the Prime Minister’s Palace, the Institute of Oriental Medicine, later transformed into the Institute of Traditional Medicine of Vietnam, now the Central Hospital of Traditional Medicine was established with the task of research and clinical application of methods of disease diagnosis, treatment with drugs and non-drugs, manipulation of fractures by oriental medicine methods, using modern scientific methods to prove and compare. Later, a series of other research institutes of Vietnamese traditional medicine were established: the Institute of Acupuncture, the Military Institute of Traditional Medicine.
  8. Until 2005, all provinces and cities had Ethnic Medicine Hospitals, 259 ethnic medicine departments in general hospitals across the country, up to now, the country has more than 10,000 rooms and teams for traditional medicine treatment, and 257 traditional medicine production facilities with domestic and foreign herbal ingredients. Particularly, Hanoi University of Pharmacy has trained more than 200 pharmacists specializing in herbal medicine, and intermediate schools have trained more than 4000 traditional medicine doctors. Currently continuing to re-train and post-graduate training in traditional pharmacology such as graduate programs, graduate students, specialties 1 and 2 in traditional pharmacology. In order to delve into traditional medicine research, in 2005 the state established the Institute of Traditional Medicine.
  9. Currently, in order to have enough traditional medicines to serve the treatment of diseases at all levels, especially at grassroots level, the Ministry of Health advocates that the cultivation of medicinal plants proceed in the following directions: both growing medicinal plants and combining them with edible plants. fruits, ornamental plants, vegetables, and necessarily bring economic benefits to the people, this is also the direction to bring jobs to people, improve people’s lives, contribute to poverty alleviation for the people.
  10. On the basis of inheriting the precious long-standing traditional medicine in Vietnam with a skillful combination of modern medical achievements of the world, people have a truly unique, real Vietnamese healthcare. Especially in the current period, the State has a national policy on traditional medicine and a strategy to modernize Vietnam’s traditional medicine. These are the conditions that fuel the development of Vietnamese traditional medicine in the 21st century.

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