Test Your Knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with Our Quiz!

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Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Summary

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an alternative medical practice drawn from traditional medicine in China, encompassing a range of health and healing practices, folk beliefs, literati theory and Confucian philosophy, herbal remedies, food, diet, exercise, medical specialization, and schools of thought.

  • TCM is said to be based on texts such as Huangdi Neijing (The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor) and Compendium of Materia Medica, and includes herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping therapy, gua sha, massage (tui na), bonesetter (die-da), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.

  • TCM is widely used in the Sinosphere, with one of the basic tenets being that the body's vital energy (ch'i or qi) is circulating through channels called meridians having branches connected to bodily organs and functions.

  • The concept of vital energy is pseudoscientific, and concepts of the body and of disease used in TCM reflect its ancient origins and its emphasis on dynamic processes over material structure, similar to the humoral theory of ancient Greece and ancient Rome.

  • The demand for traditional medicines in China has been a major generator of illegal wildlife smuggling, linked to the killing and smuggling of endangered animals.

  • Scholars in the history of medicine in China distinguish its doctrines and practice from those of present-day TCM, and there were 2,000 years of "medical system in turmoil."

  • Prominent medical scholars of the post-Han period included Tao Hongjing, Sun Simiao of the Sui and Tang dynasties, Zhang Jiegu, and Li Shizhen.

  • In 1950, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chairman Mao Zedong announced support of TCM, but he did not personally believe in and did not use it.

  • During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), the CCP and the government emphasized modernity, cultural identity, and China's social and economic reconstruction and contrasted them to the colonial and feudal past.

  • In the second decade of the twenty-first century, Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping strongly supported TCM, calling it a "gem."

  • As of May 2011, in order to promote TCM worldwide, China had signed TCM partnership agreements with over 70 countries.

  • Government censors have removed Internet posts that question TCM.

  • Historians have noted two key aspects of Chinese medical history: understanding conceptual differences when translating the term 身, and observing the history from the perspective of cosmology rather than biology.Traditional Chinese Medicine: History, Concepts, and Critiques

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a range of medical practices based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise, and dietary therapy.

  • TCM is based on the principles of Yinyangism, which combines Five Phases theory with Yin-Yang theory, and was later absorbed by Daoism.

  • Yin and Yang are two abstract and complementary aspects that every phenomenon in the universe can be divided into, and they are also applicable to the human body and disease symptoms.

  • Qi is the vital energy or energy of life in TCM, which circulates through channels called meridians that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions.

  • Xuě or xiě (blood) is correlated with a physical form, the red liquid running in the blood vessels, and its concept is defined by functions such as nourishing all parts and tissues of the body.

  • Jīnyè (body fluids) are closely related to xuě, and they are considered to be yin in nature, defined by the functions of nurturing and moisturizing the different structures of the body.

  • The zàng-fǔ (organs) constitute the centerpiece of TCM's systematization of bodily functions, bearing the names of organs, but only secondarily tied to anatomical assumptions.

  • TCM case studies record the illness of a particular person and the healing techniques used, as well as their effectiveness, with no two illnesses alike and the healing strategies of the practitioner unique every time.

  • Historians of science distinguish "medicine in traditional China" from the recent Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) constructed using selected traditional terms, some of which have been taken out of context, some badly misunderstood.

  • TCM has been criticized for having no basis in modern science, with most of its treatments having no logical mechanism of action, and its theories being nebulous.

  • TCM has been controversial within China, with some arguing that TCM should be abolished in public healthcare and academia due to its pseudoscientific nature.

  • There are concerns over a number of potentially toxic plants, animal parts, and mineral Chinese compounds, as well as the facilitation of disease, and the welfare of trafficked and farm-raised animals used in TCM.

  • Concepts of the body and of disease used in TCM are pseudoscientific, similar to Classical humoral theory, and scientific investigation has not found any histological or physiological evidence for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points.Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Overview

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consists of various practices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and massage to treat and prevent illness.

  • TCM is based on the concept of qi (vital energy) and the balance of yin and yang energies in the body.

  • TCM identifies five zàng (organs) and six fǔ (viscera) that regulate digestion, breathing, water metabolism, the musculoskeletal system, the skin, the sense organs, aging, emotional processes, and mental activity.

  • Each zàng-fǔ pair is assigned to one of five elemental qualities, and each is connected to the twelve standard meridians.

  • Women's medicine (Fuke) in TCM has fewer ancient works, and women were often silent about their issues with doctors due to the societal expectation of female modesty when a male figure was in the room.

  • Yin and yang concepts were applied to the feminine and masculine aspects of all bodies, implying that the differences between men and women begin at the level of this energy flow.

  • Traditional Chinese medicine did not recognize the womb as the place of reproduction, and the "master system" governing reproductive functions was the kidney visceral system.

  • Traditional Chinese medicine's dealings with pregnancy are documented from at least the seventeenth century, and the diagnosis of pregnancy often came late in the term.

  • The process of birthing was thought to deplete a woman's blood level and qi, and the most common treatments for postpartum were food, medicine, and rest.

  • Infertility, not very well understood, posed serious social and cultural repercussions, and according to traditional Chinese medical texts, infertility can be summarized into different syndrome types.

  • TCM perceives disease as a disharmony (or imbalance) in the functions or interactions of yin, yang, qi, xuĕ, zàng-fǔ, meridians, etc., and therapy is based on which "pattern of disharmony" can be identified.

  • In TCM, a disease has two aspects: "bìng" and "zhèng". The former is often translated as "disease entity", "disease category", "illness", or simply "diagnosis". The latter, and more important one, is usually translated as "pattern" (or sometimes also as "syndrome").Traditional Chinese Medicine: Patterns, Six Excesses, Eight Principles, Diagnostics, and Herbal Medicine

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses patterns of disharmony or functional disturbance within the functional entities of the body.

  • There are six excesses, which are allegorical terms used to describe disharmony patterns displaying certain typical symptoms.

  • Six excesses can consist of only one or a combination of excesses and can transform from one into another.

  • Typical disharmony patterns are recognized for each of the functional entities, such as qi, xuĕ, zàng-fǔ, and meridians.

  • TCM uses the eight principles of diagnosis, which refer to four pairs of fundamental qualities of a disease: exterior/interior, heat/cold, vacuity/repletion, and yin/yang.

  • There are three special pattern diagnosis systems used in case of febrile and infectious diseases only.

  • TCM recognizes three fundamental categories of disease causes: external, internal, and miscellaneous.

  • TCM uses five major diagnostic methods: inspection, auscultation, olfaction, inquiry, and palpation.

  • Examination of the tongue and pulse are among the principal diagnostic methods in TCM.

  • TCM uses plant elements, animal, human, fungi, and mineral products as medicinal substances.

  • TCM uses roughly 13,000 compounds, with plant elements and extracts being the most common.

  • The use of animal substances in TCM includes animal bile, animal parts such as cow gallstones, hornet nests, leeches, and scorpion, and parts of endangered species.

  • Traditional Chinese medicine also includes some human parts, including bones, fingernail, hairs, dandruff, earwax, impurities on the teeth, feces, urine, sweat, and organs, but most are no longer in use.

  • The efficacy of TCM remains controversial, and there is no scientific evidence that any of these compounds have medicinal effects.


Think you know everything about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? Test your knowledge with our quiz! From the basic principles of TCM to its history, controversies, and diagnostic methods, this quiz covers it all. Challenge yourself and see how much you know about TCM's use of acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and more. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about this ancient practice and its impact on modern medicine.

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