By Paul Unschuld
This text is a collection of important theoretical statements concerning the application of pharmaceutics in different periods of Chinese history. The sources selected are the works that introduced, extended, or developed primary theories, patterns, and methods in Chinese medicine.
Drug therapies have been at least as central to Chinese medicine as has been acupuncture, and at times more important. Many of the principal methods by which practitioners now understand Chinese medicine evolved from materia medica and pharmaceutics. Practitioner understanding of natural drug actions has often changed. Some of the pharmacopoeia emphasized the five-phase approach, others multiple yin-yang dualities. What the reader will note is that it is change that has been constant.