Chinese medicine

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China has had organized civilized societies since at least the 4th millennium BCE, and some aspects of its medical beliefs and practices date to that distant time. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture both originated in the 3rd millennium BCE with several beliefs about causes and control of disease based at least partly on the concepts of yin (dark, moist, soft, female) and yang (light, dry, hard, and male), i.e., beliefs about the quality and character of people and the diseases they experienced. Herbal remedies had the additional advantage of a basis in empirical observations and some, e.g., gossypol for male contraception and the rauwolfia alkaloids for high blood pressure, have withstood modern pharmacological scrutiny that identified active ingredients and found a rational basis for their efficacy.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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