Medicine in China: A History of Ideas, 25th Anniversary Edition

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By Paul U Unschuld
Trade paperback book
ISBN 9780520266131
423 pages

In the first comprehensive and analytical study of concepts underlying therapeutic practice in China, now updated with a new preface, Paul U. Unschuld traces the history of documented health care from its earliest extant records to recent developments.

The central theme of this work is expressed through three distinct elements that comprise the theoretical development and the practical growth of Chinese medicine. The first is “magical” correspondence. The second is empirical, practical medicine-the folk knowledge of herbs and substances that aided in the treatment of disease. The third is the professional knowledge of the pharmacist or acupuncturist, a medicine of systematic correspondences.

Unschuld’s work teaches us that medicine is heavily influenced by the society in which it is practiced. The perspectives he offers, and the models he explains, help the reader to develop a broad understanding of Chinese medicine and recognize the antecedents for “modern” ideas. He provides a means by which we may recognize when we can or cannot call upon the long experience of Chinese medicine to validate our own adaptations. His translational and academic rigor allows the conceptual integrity of Chinese medicine to be preserved, thereby opening up to the reader a gateway to an understanding of a large and illustrious body of classical literature.

About the Author:

Paul U. Unschuld is professor and director of the Horst-Goertz Endowment Institute for the Theory, History, and Ethics of Chinese Life Sciences at Charite – Medical University, Berlin

Praise for Medicine in China: A History of Ideas

“Unschuld has accomplished monumental labours of translation and annotation. He has a fine historical sense… and a colourful and easy style which makes these esoteric subjects more accessible.”

-Robert Temple, Nature

“Successfully weaves the evolution of medical ideas with the prevalent socio-political events of the ast three and one-half millennia… The reward is immense.”

-Peter Kong-Ming New, Medical Anthropology

“Undeniably valuable.”

-Roy Porter, Times Literary Supplement

Additional information

Weight 1.45 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 6 × .75 in


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