華佗(Huà Tuó):introduction about his biography and legend,main books and academic thoughts.

TCM Knowledge:Prominent Ancient Herbalists ✵To help clients and TCM fans know better with the common knowledge of ancient TCM and syndrome differentiation, there comes the online knowledge database in classified categories.

 ✵The main content including: the introduction of the most famous and talented Ancient Herbalists and Distinguished Physicians, the most influential and Well-Known Ancient Works, common Diagnostic Methods, the introduction of Common Disease and Syndromes, etc.

華佗(Huà Tuó).

Brief Introduction
漢語名(Chinese Name): 華佗(Huà Tuó)Alias: 元化(Yuán Huā)
Popular name: 華元化(Huà Yuán Huà)English Name: Hua Tuo, Tuo Hua(Given/Sur Name)
Hometown: Pei Guo Qiao(Qiao Jun, Yu Zhou, Wei Kingdom)Dates: about 145~203 A.D.
Main works: 《青囊經》(Qing Nang Jing, or Blue-sac Canon),《枕中灸刺經》(Moxibustion and Acupuncture On Pillow Canon),《中藏經》(Zhong Zang Jing, or Central Treasury Canon)
Representative works: Zhong Zang Jing(the Central Treasury Canon)

Biography and legends:

 Hua Tuo 華佗(Huà Tuó), a famous surgeon and master of all branches of medicine, a famous Taoist Priest at end of the Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdom period, he was also known as 華旉(Huà Fū) or 華元化(Huà YuánHuā)(year ?~203 A.D.), 華(Huà) is his family name, 佗(Tuó) is his surname, 旉(Fū) is his another surname, 元化(Yuán Huā) is his alias or monastic name, he was native to Pei Guo Qiao(ancient toponym, Qiao Jun, Yuzhou of the Wei Kingdom during the three kingdoms period). Hua Tuo had performed many major operations including abdominal anesthesia surgery with herbal anesthesia and recommend therapeutic gymnastic known as Wu Qin Xi(the Frolics of Five Animals). Hua Tuo went deep into the people's lives and his footprints are everywhere all over the Central Plains (comprising the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River) and the Jianghuai Plain(the area at the south of the Huai River and north of the Yangtze River). He is a master in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of internal, surgical, gynecology, and pediatrics, and created many medical miracles. In particular, he was famous for creating Ma Fei San and performing laparotomy.

 The Hua family was originally famous, and one of its descendants lived in the picturesque village known as Xiaohua Zhuang, its location is about 5 kilograms away at the north of the Qiao county(today's Huatuo Town, Qiaocheng District, Bozhou City, Anhui of China), by the time of Hua Tuo's epoch, the Hua family was in decline, but they placed great expectations on him, for his name and character, the name "Tuo" means loading, while the name "Yuanhua" means transformation. Hua Tuo studied hard since he was a child, read and know well of ancient books include Shang Shu(the Book of Documents), Shi Jing(the Book of Songs), Zhou Yi(the I Ching, or the Book of Changes), Li Ji(the Book of Rites), and Chun Qiu(the Spring and Autumn Annals), he gradually acquired a high level of cultural accomplishment. Hua Tuo mainly studied the medical classics of the previous dynasties, constantly studying and making progress in practice. At that epoch, Chinese medicine had made some achievements, the ancient books Huangdi Neijing, Nanjing, Shennong Ben Cao Jing, and other medical classics were published one after another. The four diagnostic principles, acupuncture and moxibustion, medicine, and other diagnostic methods had been basically established and widely applied, the touching story of ancient physicians, who not cared for wealth and prosperity and helped the people with medicine all their life, not only provided the possibility for Hua Tuo to study medicine but also cultivated his sentiment. Hua Tuo was excellent and skilled in the study of medicine. According to the biography of Hua Tuo in the history book Hou Han Shu, he "mastered the classics of several kinds, and learned the art of nature cultivation", especially "adept in prescriptions and formulas". He was called "miracle physician" by people at that epoch. A modern record states that his dates are about 145~203 A.D., but the credibility of this modern records is questionable, simply because the history book Hou Han Shu. Hua Tuo Zhuan(the History of the Later Han Dynasty: the Legend of Hua Tuo) recorded that "his age is over a hundred years, but looks still in the prime of life." Except the book Hou Han Shu, the deeds and legends of Hua Tuo were also recorded in ancient books Zhenjiu Jiayi Jing(the ABC Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), San Guo Zhi(the Records of Three Kingdoms), Tai Ping Guang Ji, San Guo Yan Yi(the Romance of Three Kingdom), but all these books not recorded his exact dates, according to clues of historical data, Hua Tuo was "over a hundred years age", and passed by before year 208 A.D., the real birthdate of Hua Tuo might be around or before year 108 A.D.

 ✧As a herbalist, Hua Tuo was excellent at treatment and a wide range of medical skills, good at internal, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, acupuncture, and moxibustion, especially good at surgery. Proficient in internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, acupuncture, and moxibustion. Ancient records described that "(Hua Tuo) study and travel to the Xu area, he was master of several classics. He knows and good at method skills of nature-cultivation, looks still young appearance when his age is near to 100 years, folks at that time think he was an immortal." Hua Tuo was also a famous alchemist and Taoist at that time.

 ✦Hua Tuo traveled to different areas and help local folks, was well known at the area of Central Plains(comprising the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River) and the Jianghuai Plain(the area at the south of the Huai River and north of the Yangtze River) at that epoch, the epoch Hua Tuo lived, was the end years of the Eastern Han and beginning years of Three-Kingdom period, an epoch of warlords, except wars, folks also suffered from natural calamities, drought, floods, and pestilence. As famous poet 王粲(Wang Cui, year 177~217 A.D.) described the scene in his poem Qi Ai Shi(the Seven Mourning Poem): "there is no other scenes, white bones of the dead are scattering in the fields.". Hua Tuo seems to know well about the book from herbalist Zhang Zhongjing, He once compiled his rich medical experience into a medical book, its name was known as Qing Nang Jing(the Blue-sac Canon), but unfortunately, this book did not survive till today and was lost. The ancient book Zhong Zang Jing(the Central Treasury Canon) was once ascribed to him. His medical experience was not entirely lost, because many of his successful students, herbalist Hua Tuo has several disciples, they were known as 樊阿(Fan A), who was good at acupuncture and moxibustion, 吳普(Wu Pu), who wrote a herbal classic named Wu Pu Ben Cao(Wu Pu's Herbal Book), and 李當之(Li Dangzhi), the author of Ben Cao Jing(the Classics of Materia Medica), they inherited part of Hua Tuo's experiences.

 Hua Tuo✧As one of the ancient herbalists during the Jian An period(196~220 A.D., reign title of Emperor Xian of Han), Hua Tuo is an outstanding herbalist who lived during the late period of the Eastern Han Dynasty and early period of the three kingdom period, his biographies and stories are both recorded in ancient history books Hou Han Shu(the Book of the Later Han, or the History of the Later Han Dynasty) and San Guo Zhi(the Records of the Three Kingdoms). The book Hou Han Shu recorded that Hua Tuo was especially good at herbal recipes, recorded some stories about his treatment skills and cases, that Hua Tuo's excellent skills of acupuncture, the case of Du You Xu Yi, case of a scorpion bite, case of a parasite, case of Cao Cao's headache(a kind of intermittent headache), Tuo's invention of Wu Qin Xi, or the Frolics of Five Animals, an exercise to mime tiger, deer, bear, ape, and bird for health preservation. The legend said his disciple Wu Pu practiced Wu Qin Xi regularly, and his eyesight and hearing are still very good, teeth are complete and strong when he is 90 years old.

 Hua Tuo✦ In his later years, herbalist Hua Tuo was suspected by Cao Cao and was tortured to death in prison. Cao Cao, is a warlord of the Wei Kingdom during the Three-Kingdom period, history books recorded that Cao Cao caught Tou Feng(a serious headache, a kind of intermittent headache), it is a difficult disease, after treatment by Hua Tuo with acupuncture and moxibustion, the symptoms are relieved but not recovered thoroughly, so Cao Cao wants to let Hua Tuo stay with him. But Hua Tuo thinks to be a physician servant is some shameful career, thus left Cao's palace with the cause of his wife disease and never came back, later Cao Cao knew the true reason that Hua Tuo would not like to be a physician servant, so seized him and put him into prison, tortured and killed him later. Ancient historical book Hou Han Shu recorded that, "Hua Tuo left Cao Cao with the cause that his wife caught a disease and never returned. Cao Cao sent him several letters to call him back, and also command the county lord invite him again with gifts, but Tuo still would not like to come back. Cao became angry, sent someone to investigate, and found Hua Tuo's wife actually is not sick, so put him into prison, and tortured him. Xun Yu(a famous counselor of Cao Cao) beg for Hua Tuo and said:'Hua Tuo is really good at skills, which related to folk's life, should better release him.' but Cao Cao never listened to him, finally killed Hua Tuo."

 ✧The related story was also recorded by San Guo Zhi, which was written by historian Chen Shou, it recorded that: "Xun Yu (a very important counselor of Cao Cao) beg for Hua Tuo and said:'Hua Tuo is really good at skills, which related to folk's life, should better release him.' but Tai Zu(the reign title of Cao Cao) said:'no worry, there should be many such kinds of mouse creatures?'. So tortured Tuo and killed him..., later when his son Cang Shu(Cao Cao's son) caught a troublesome disease, Tai Zu lament a misfortune and said:'I regret killed Hua Tuo, it causes my son died in vain today.'"

 Hua Tuo Tomb✦ Hua Tuo invented a new method of anesthesia named Ma Fei San. This new method of anesthesia helped Hua Tuo a lot for his surgical treatment, and more patients got cured. Hua Tuo was able to perform surgical intervention such as tumor extirpation and gastrointestinal suture. As Hua Tuo traveled to many countrysides, he paid attention to collect effective recipes from different areas, learned a lot of herbal knowledge from local folks too, and used these recipes to help patients. Some story recorded a case of parasite treatment, it recorded that Hua Tuo met a folk suffered from laryngeal obstruction, who could not eat anything, and on the way to see a doctor. The patient suffered and groaning which sounded very painful. Hua Tuo checked him with care, then told him that: "You can ask to buy 2 to 3 liangs of Píng Jī(Powdered duckweed) from pancake seller, add a half-bow of Suan Cu(vinegar), mixed together and eat it, then your suffering will be relieved later." The patient eats Ping Ji and vinegar, then vomits out a parasite that looks like a snake, then the problem was really settled. When he visited Hua Tuo with this parasite, he saw there were many parasites hanged on the wall of Hua Tuo's house, Tuo treated many patients with this recipe. An ancient herbal classic recorded many blends under the title of Hua Tuo to treat parasite problems, such as the recipe for the anal parasite, for nine parasites, ascarid, taenia, pinworm, etc.

  • 1.華佗(Huà Tuó):introduction about his biography and legend,main books and academic thoughts.

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