5 Elements

Kidney – Water

From Li Zhongzi, A Primer of Medical Objectives (Yizong Bidu), 1637: The Classic states: ‘Whenever we treat a disease, we must approach it at the base.’ Base

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Liver – Wood

From Zhou Xuehai, Reflections Upon Reading the Medical Classics (Du Yi Suibi), ca. 1895: The physician who knows how to harmonize the liver knows how to treat

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Spleen – Earth

From Wang Kentang and Wu Mianxue, The Compendium of Traditional Diagnosis (Gu Jin Yitong Zhengmai Quanshu), 1601: The stomach is called the sea of grain and

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Heart – Fire

From the Daoist classic, Contemplations by the Huainan Masters (Huainanzi) , ca. 110 B.C.: The heart is the ruler of the five organ networks. It commands the

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Lung – Metal

From Shen Jin’ao, Doctor Shen’s Compendium of Honoring Life (Shen Shi Zunsheng Shu), 1773: The lung is the master of qi. Above, it connects to the

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Introduction

One of the central features of traditional Chinese medicine is the analysis of diseases and their treatment in terms of the five zang (often translated as viscera,

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