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Theory of TCM

The foundation principles of Chinese medicine are not necessarily uniform, and are based on several schools of thought. Received TCM are shown to have been influenced by Taoism, Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism.

Since 1200 BC, Chinese academics of various schools have focused on observable natural laws and their implications for the practical characterization of humanity's place. In the I Ching and other Chinese literary and philosophical classics, Chinese writers described general principles and their applications to health and healing.

Porkert, a Western medical doctor, placed Chinese medical theory in context as:

Chinese medicine, like many other Chinese sciences, defines data on the basis of the inductive and synthetic mode of cognition. Inductivity corresponds to a logical link between two effective positions existing at the same time in different places in space. (Conversely, causality is the logical link between two effective positions given at different times at the same place in space.) In other words, effects based on positions that are separate in space yet simultaneous in time are mutually inductive and thus are called inductive effects. In Western science prior to the development of electrodynamics and nuclear physics (which are founded essentially on inductivity), the inductive nexus was limited to subordinate uses in proto-sciences such as astrology. Now Western man, as a consequence of two thousand years of intellectual tradition, persists in the habit of making causal connections first and inductive links, if at all, only as an afterthought. This habit must still be considered the biggest obstacle to an adequate appreciation of Chinese science in general and Chinese medicine in particular. Given such different cognitive bases, many of the apparent similarities between traditional Chinese and European science which attract the attention of positivists turn out to be spurious.

The Shen Nong's Herbal Classic, a 2,000-year old book considered as the oldest book on oriental herbal medicine, classifies 365 species of roots, grass, woods, furs, animals and stones into three categories:

- Superior: Herbs effective for multiple diseases that are mostly responsible for maintaining and restoring the body balance. They have almost no unfavorable side-effects.
- Tonics and boosters: Consumption must not be prolonged.
- Remedies: Taken usually in small doses, for the treatment of specific ailments only.

Lingzhi mushrooms ranked number one of the superior medicines, was therefore the most exalted medicine. The ancient Chinese use of mushrooms for medicine has inspired modern day research into medicinal mushrooms like lingzhi, shiitake, Agaricus blazei, Trametes versicolor and the table mushroom. Highly purified compounds isolated from medicinal mushrooms like lentinan (from Shiitake), and Polysaccharide-K, (from Trametes versicolor), have become incorporated into the health care system of countries such as Japan. The compounds are used to stimulate the immune system and promote health.

 

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