Pharmaceutics without Medicine

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI:
Pharmaceutics without Medicine

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According to the opponents of the state idea, drugs formed a central mode of therapy. The opponents of the state idea published their own political manifestos. They attributed different levels of meaning to various drugs, and they designated individual substances “ruler,” “minister,” “servant,” and “messenger” to clarify their roles. The opponents praised as “ruler” substances those substances that were in the position to free the body from its mortal constraints and to extend the lifespan of the organism. The opponents of the state idea and of new medicine classified drugs used for the therapy of illness at the lowest “rank,” intentionally or unintentionally using the term that also denoted the ranks of the bureaucracy. The lowest rank was comparable to the bailiffs who carried out executions of criminals. Among these delinquents were, as always, the demons and microorganisms. Both had their place in the natural environment of man. In the worldview of the healers who continued to use medical drugs, there was no reason to exclude the demons and microorganisms.

Keywords: therapy of illness; microorganisms; natural environment; medical drugs; Chinese culture

Chapter.  830 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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