徐大椿Xú Dàchūn:introduction about his biography and legends,main books and academic thoughts.

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徐大椿(Xú Dàchūn).

  
Brief Introduction
漢語名(Chinese Name): 徐大椿(Xú Dàchūn)Alias: 靈胎(Líng Tāi),洄溪(Huí Xī)
Popular name: 徐大椿(Xú Dàchūn)English Name: Xu Dachun, Dachun Xu(Given/Family).
Hometown: Wujiang of JiangsuDates: about 1693~1771 AD.
Main works: 《論傷寒類方》(Lun Shang Han Lei Fang),《蘭臺軌範》(Lan Tai Gui Fan),《醫學源流論》(Yi Xue Yuan Liu Lun).
Representative works: 《論傷寒類方》(Lun Shang Han Lei Fang).

Biography and legends:


 a portrait of 徐大椿Xú Dàchūn 徐大椿(Xú Dàchūn), formerly known as 大業(Dà Yè), alias 靈胎(Líng Tāi), self-title 洄溪老人(Huí Xī Lǎo Rén) when he was old. A native of Songling Town, Wujiang, Jiangsu, he was born in the Kangxi 32nd year(the year 1693 AD) and died in the Qianlong 36th year(the year 1771 AD). He was born into a family of readers. However, Xu Dachun had little interest in fame and fortune, and disdained stereotyped writing; on the contrary, he became interested in the study of Confucian classics and medicine. Later, he chose the path of studying medicine. Xu Dachun has been learning Confucianism since he was a child and read various schools too, and he is very clever at a young age. Nearly 30 years old, due to his family's illness, he devoted himself to medicine, studying the books of famous herbalists in the past, and quickly became profound. Then started to save patients, knowing the properties of the medicine, for the case of serious disease, he often treated it with a positive effect.

 When Xu Dachun was fourteen years old, he was bored with essay writing. Enlightened by his teacher, he said: "Essays has a limit, only the study of classics is endless." So he devoted himself to the study of classics, among which he favored most is the "I Ching", and other various ancient schools. Concentrated on exploring various practical knowledge, he finally made outstanding achievements in poetry, literature, calligraphy, painting, astronomy, calendar calculation, rhythm, stab, algorithm, water conservancy, and especially medicine.

 Many family members of Xu Dachun suffered illness, and his third younger brother was suffering from riffles, his father asked famous herbalists for diagnosis and treatment, famous herbalist Xu Lingtai ever treated him and prepared medications himself, the medical theory was somewhat familiar. However, his fourth and fifth brothers died one after another. Because of this, his father got sick with grief and continued to take medicine all year-round. He deeply felt the importance of medicine and was also angry at the poor medical skills of quack physicians at that time, so he felt angry and turned his wills to study medicine. He took dozens of medical books in his family to read, and study them day and night, and gradually understood their meanings over time. In the fifty years since he started to study medicine, he has read over and gave remarks more than a thousand volumes of books, and more than 10,000 volumes have been reviewed. According to the records of 《蘇州府誌》(SuzhouFu Chronicles), he explored the I Ching(the Book of Changes) in-depth, and was good at reading books from Huang Di, Lao Zi. Xu Dachun believes that reading should go from source to stream, trace the root of the Su Wen and Ling Shu, and to those branches of the Han and Tang dynasties. First, he read the ancient medical classics such as Nei Jing(the Internal Classic), Ben Cao(Shen Nong's Materia Medica), Shang Han Lun(the Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases), Jin Kui Yao Lue(the Synopsis of the Golden Chamber), and then read the following books such as Qian Jin Yao Fang(the Invaluable Prescriptions), and Wai Tai Mi Yao(the Medical Secrets of an Official), learned from each other's strengths, and broadened his knowledge, and conduct clinical examinations, link knowledge with clinical practice, will not fall into the pitfalls and step into prejudice.

 Xu Dachun has cured many patients in his lifetime, and there is an endless stream of people seeking treatment from far and near. The emperor Qianlong at that time also called him to the capital city for treatment many times. The last time he was called was the year when he was seventy-nine years old. When he was ill and lying in bed, his resignation was in vain. He had to ask his son to accompany him and brought a coffin with him, and he was going to die on the way. Sure enough, he died of illness on the third day of arriving in the capital city. A pair of self-made tomb couplets read: "mountains with many kinds of grass and fairy medicine, a path to the grave of pine wind."

Main books and academic thoughts:


 a second portrait of 徐大椿Xú Dàchūn Xu Dachun is diligent in learning, and has a wealth of writings in his life, all of which are commented on and explained, such as 《醫學源流論》(Yi Xue Yuan Liu Lun,1757),《醫貫砭》(Yi Guan Bian,1767)、《蘭臺軌範》(Lan Tai Gui Fan,1764)《慎疾芻言》(Shen Ji Chu Yan,1767), and so on. He also wrote 《難經經釋》(Nan Jing Jing Shi, or the Interpretation of the Difficult Classics,1727),《神農本草經百種錄》(Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing Bai Zhong Lu,1736)、《傷寒類方》(Shang Han Lei Fang, or the Classified Prescriptions from the Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases,1759), etc., as well as 《洄溪醫案》(Hui Xi Yi An, or the Huixi Medical Cases) and 《樂府傳聲》(Yue Fu Chuan Sheng) compiled by later generations. Although it is said to be an interpretation of the classics, there are quite a few insights into it. Later generations compiled his works into 《徐氏醫學全書六種》(Xu Shi Yi Xue Quan Shu Liu Zhong, or the Complete Six Kinds of Medical Books of Xu Shi) and other publications, which were widely spread and had a great influence. He also had works of songs named 《洄溪道情》(Hui Xi Dao Qing, or the Emotional Songs of Tao at the Hui Xi river.).

 《難經經釋》(Nan Jing Jing Shi, or the Interpretation of the Difficult Classics), a book on medical classics, in two volumes, it was compiled by Xu Dachun and finished in the year 1727 AD. Xu's commentary on Nan Jing(The Difficult Classics) is based on the theory of Nei Jing(the Inner Canon), expounding the rationale and academic origin of the Nan Jing(The Difficult Classics), it has some reference value. However, the author's view that Nan Jing(The Difficult Classics) must not violate the Nei Jing(the Inner Canon) is some extreme.

 《神農本草經百種錄》(Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing Bai Zhong Lu, or the Shen Nong's Materia Medica Hundred Species Records) is a pharmacy book compiled by Xu Dachun, the book was published in the year 1736 AD, it collected 100 kinds of main herbs in the book Ben Jing(Shen Nong's Materia Medica), added his brief annotations with clinical notes.

 《醫學源流論》(Yi Xue Yuan Liu Lun, or On the Origin of Medicine) is a collection of medical essays and compiled by Xu Dachun, the book was finished in the year 1757 AD. A total of 99 review articles were collected. The first volume contains meridians, Zang and Fu-viscera, pulses, diseases, prescriptions, and medicines, and the second volume contains treatment methods, book discussions(and various subjects), ancient and that epoch. Vertically and horizontally, wherever he touches, whenever there is a new view, he often raises new views what the predecessor dared not to say, especially when there are many disadvantages, and the reasoning is profound.

 《傷寒類方》(Shang Han Lei Fang, or the Classified Prescriptions from the Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases), four volumes, it is a treatise on febrile diseases compiled and interpreted by Xu Dachun, the book was published in the Qianlong 24th year(the year 1759 AD). Xu categorized the prescriptions of Shang Han Lun(Treatise on cold-induced diseases) according to the names of the prescriptions and arranged them in order. The composition and administration of the prescriptions were listed first, and the main treatments were discussed later, with additional notes. The first three volumes list Guizhi Decoction, Mahuang Decoction, Gegen Decoction, Chaihu Decoction, Zhizi Decoction, Chengqi Decoction, Xiexin Decoction, Baihu Decoction, Wulingsan, Sini Decoction, etc., a total of 91 prescriptions; The fourth volume is about "miscellaneous method", total 22 prescriptions are collected, 113 prescriptions in total. Xu's study on Shang Han Lun(Treatise on cold-induced diseases) is not classified into the six channels. He believed and stated that: "The prescriptions have a fixed indication, but the changes of the disease are uncertain." Then the 113 prescriptions in Shang Han Lun(Treatise on cold-induced diseases) were divided into categories of Guizhi Decoction, Mahuang Decoction, Gegen Decoction, Chaihu Decoction, Zhizi Decoction, Chengqi Decoction, Xiexin Decoction, Baihu Decoction, Wulingsan, Sini Decoction, Lizhong Decoction and Miscellaneous Prescriptions, total 12 categories. The entries of the main prescription are discussed first, the entries of the same kind of prescriptions are attached later, and then followed by the annotations and changes of the prescriptions. The pulse syndromes of the six channels and developed syndromes, different syndromes are listed at the end part, in a clearer order.

 《醫貫砭》(Yi Guan Bian) is a work on medical theory, it was compiled by Dachun Xu and finished in the year 1764. This book is a book review of Zhao Xianke's 《醫貫》(Yi Guan, or the Key Link of Medicine). It adopts quotations or excerpts from the original text and adds his comments paragraph by paragraph, raised his very different opinions about the author's theory and principles of warming therapy, and avoids purgation proposals. The author pointed out that in the medical profession at that time, there might be the disadvantages of sticking to the one or two warming and nourishing prescriptions to treat diseases. He advocated should follow syndrome differentiation and treatment, which was influential. Therefore, this book has a certain reference value. However, he held a negative attitude towards Zhao's theory, it is one-sided and arbitrary. There are more than ten kinds of block editions from the Qing dynasty survived till today.

 《蘭臺軌範》(Lan Tai Gui Fan), the book was compiled and finished in the year 1764 AD. The 1st volume is about general prescription; the 2nd to 8th volumes are about Internal Medicine Miscellaneous Diseases, seasonal diseases, Five Senses, Gynecology, Pediatric Diseases and Syndrome Treatment. The diseases and syndromes are classified according to the departments, the dialectical treatment is based on the theoretical basis and basic treatment of classical medical books such as Nei Jing(the Inner Canon), Nan Jing(the Difficult Classics), and Shang Han Lun(the Treatise on cold-induced diseases), and he held a view that "the meanings can be understood from those mostly effective" on prescriptions after the Song dynasty. The book is relatively rigorous, and the analysis of the disease names, syndrome and symptoms, prescriptions and main functions, indications, combinations is concise and methodical, clear in orders. In terms of syndrome differentiation and treatment, Xu advocates “first know the origin of the disease, and then identify the origin and the symptoms. The treatment must have a main method, the method must have the main prescription, and the prescription must have a main herb", which is praised by herbalists.

 《慎疾芻言》(Shen Ji Chu Yan) is a book on medicine, it was compiled by Xu Dachun and was finished in the year 1767 AD. This book focuses on analyzing the corrupt practices(prevailing abuses) in the medical profession, hoping that herbalists can treat the illness with care and caution. The content of this book includes the misuse of supplements and the mistreatment of miscellaneous diseases. There are also discussions on the treatment of different patients (such as the elderly, women, and children) and should follow different principles, as well as the treatment of external diseases. Its contents are concise and essential, and there is no overstatement.

References:
  • 1.徐大椿Xú Dàchūn:introduction about his biography and legends,main books and academic thoughts.

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