Zhang Ji's Belated Honors

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:
Zhang Ji's Belated Honors

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The Chinese government opened state apothecaries and published prescription books in the eleventh century. These were set up so that the educated patient could find his symptoms indexed in a table with the indications for the prescriptions. He could then go to an apothecary and buy the medicine. Confucians concerned about morality believed that the profession of the physician was burdensome. Zhang Ji, who in 200 ad had taken steps to create a scientific pharmacology and was then largely ignored for a thousand years, now arrived at unhoped-for honors. Zhang Ji was the ancient authority whose ideas could be continued from where he had left off. Many authors created all kinds of models of how to integrate pharmacy into the doctrines of yin-yang and the five agents. The new insights into the processes in the organism offered new possibilities to explain better the effects of pharmaceutics in this same organism.

Keywords: scientific pharmacology; pharmacy; doctrines of yin-yang; pharmaceutics; medical philosophy; political philosophy

Chapter.  668 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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