“Conquering the One Hundred Diseases”


in Hygienic Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240018
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930605 | DOI:
“Conquering the One Hundred Diseases”

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This chapter explores the occurrences of weisheng in Chinese texts published before the twentieth century. It also explains the translation of premodern weisheng as “guarding life.” It is noted that curing sickness before it happens requires an ability to discern the underlying patterns of the universe. The initial perceptible qualities and the most fundamental divisions within Chinese cosmology are yin and yang. An understanding of the properties of food and their proper combination was essential to guarding life. The potent ability of food to affect the human organism is clearly demonstrated by the inclusion of foodstuffs in many materia medica or medical texts. “Guarding life” is an appropriate phrase to describe the preservation of health in a system where the primary vitalities are so susceptible to injury, depletion, and exhaustion. The way of weisheng promises to guard life against depletion caused by the inevitable injuries of living itself.

Keywords: weisheng; guarding life; twentieth century; sickness; Chinese cosmology; human organism; health

Chapter.  10894 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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