A Brief History of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Herbology

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a history of over 5,000 years. It has been recorded as many as 2,000 years ago in classic Chinese texts, such as the Book of Medicine of the Yellow Emperor, the Essence of The Golden Chest, the Shang-Hang Lun, and the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica. TCM has developed and evolved into a complex medical system that has a unique philosophy and treatment modalities. TCM and acupuncture encompass the disciplines of acupuncture, moxibustion, herbology, Chinese nutrition, TCM orthopedics and traumatology, and tuina. We continue the long history through our TCM services.


Chinese herbal therapy began to take shape during the fifth century, but the first Chinese classic that exclusively dealt with herbs was published prior to 25–200 A.D, and was attributed to the Emperor of Agriculture. This classic lists a total of 365 herbs, which are derived from plants, minerals and animal parts. The use of herbal formulas requires an understanding of the individual herbs and foods used, as well as an understanding of their action when combined with the patient's physical condition and a formula or a recipe. Because TCM philosophy is very different from that of Western medicine, it is essential that an experienced practitioner prescribe Chinese herbs. TCM does not simply treat the symptom as many Western pharmaceutical drugs do; it treats the underlying pattern of disharmony.

Philosophy of TCM

In normal conditions in the body, physiological balance is maintained through the mutual opposition of Yin and Yang. If an excess or deficiency of Yin or Yang occurs, the balance of the body is affected and disease will result. Balance or harmony is also dependent on the flow of qi and xue, which are the body's energy and blood. Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to restore a balance in the body that has been disrupted due to illness. A state of equilibrium also exists in the body between the organs of the body and the external environment. The equilibrium is in constant self-adjustment which enables the maintenance of the physiological activities of the body. Disease develops as a result of the body's inability to adjust to a change in, or severe imbalance of, the state of equilibrium.

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