王叔和(Wáng Shūhé):introduction about his biography and legend,main books and academic thoughts.
✵王熙(Wáng Xī), talent herbalist, he is commonly known as 王叔和(Wáng Shūhé). He was native to Gao Ping, a famous herbalist who lived during the years of late Han and West Jin. He was well versed in pulse-taking and was the author of the book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic), the earliest comprehensive book on sphygmology which now is applied extant in China. Herbalist Wang Shuhe also perfected and systemized the art of pulse-taking, yet emphasized the use of all the other methods of diagnosis as well, he rearranged Zhang Zhongjing's Treatise on Cold-induced and Miscellaneous Diseases, and thus contributed much to preserving the important books of medicine. Wang Shuhe was a famous herbalist and master of sphygmology in Ancient China.
Wang Shuhe, or Shuhe Wang(Given/Sur Name)
Gao Ping of Jin Dynasty
about 180~270,177~255,or 177~280 A.D.
《脈經》(Mai Jing, or the Pulse Classic),《傷寒論》(Shang Han Lun, or the Treatise on Febrile Diseases),《脈訣》(Mai Jue, or the pulse formula),《脈賦》(Mai Fu, or the poems of pulse),《脈訣機要》(Mai Jue Ji Yao, or the essential part of pulse formula), and 《小兒脈訣》(Xiao Er Mai Jue, or the pulse formula of baby).
Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic),Shang Han Lun(the Treatise on Febrile Diseases)
Biography and legends:
王熙(Wáng Xī), his surname is 熙(Xī), 叔和(Shūhé) is his alias, talent herbalist, according to an ancient book he was native to Gao Ping of Jin Dynasty(today's Gao Ping county of Shanxi, China), and according to some records he ever been a commissioner of the Imperial Academy of Medicine during the Jin Dynasty, he is commonly known as 王叔和(Wáng Shūhé, date of birth and death are unidentified, possible around 180~270, 177~255, or 210~285, or 177~280 A.D.). He was native to Gao Ping, a famous herbalist who lived during the years of late Han and West Jin. He was well versed in pulse-taking and was the author of the book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic), the earliest comprehensive book on sphygmology which now is applied extant in China. Herbalist Wang Shuhe also perfected and systemized the art of pulse-taking, yet emphasized the use of all the other methods of diagnosis as well. Herbalist Wang rearranged Zhang Zhongjing's Treatise on Cold-induced and Miscellaneous Diseases, and thus contributed much to preserving the important books of medicine. Wang Shuhe was a famous herbalist and master of sphygmology in Ancient China.
The epoch at end of the Eastern Han dynasty and the epoch of warlord is an era of mass impoverishment, frequent natural disasters, epidemic disease are popular, the chaos caused by war, Wang Shuhe passed his childhood in poverty without enough food or clothing, the harsh reality of life made him developed a studious, modest and quiet character since childhood. He was particularly fond of medicine and read many ancient medical books. He gradually learned the art of diagnosing the pulse and treating diseases. When he started practicing medicine at a young age, people looked down upon him because of his poor family and shabby clothes. He had to carry his medicine chest and wander about, often live without board and lodging. Because he has researched on the pulse, gradually he cured many local difficult cases, the number of people who asked him for treatment grows too, his reputation also grows, gradually spread throughout the city Luoyang. At thirty-two years of age, he was elected as the chief physician in the young mansion of the Wei Kingdom. In the young mansion, there were many famous medical books that survived from the past dynasties. Wang Shuhe took advantage of this favorable condition of being an imperial physician to read many medical books, which laid a solid foundation for his later practice.
Main books and academic thoughts:
Wang Shuhe is a very learned herbalist, he made 2 big important devotions in the development of TCM in history, one is editing the survival classics copies left by herbalist Zhang Zhongjing, another is compiled Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic). Herbalist Wang Shuhe was a friend of famous litterateur 王粲(Wáng Cui), also friend with 衛汛(Wèi Xùn). Herbalist Wang Shuhe hold a broad hobby when young, and truly learned, thoroughly understood different schools of philosophy in ancient. For the frequent wars in the north area, the situation turned very chaotic, to avoid the war, he migrated to the Jinzhou area with his family. When he lived in the Jinzhou area, chances got known with Wei Xun, a disciple of herbalist Zhang Zhongjing, and ever got chances learn from herbalist Zhang Zhongjing and was deeply influenced, showed a strong interest in studying the classical prescriptions, and knew thoroughly with it later and disease sources, herbalist Wang Shuhe learned widely from others' strong points and his healing art became perfection day by day. At Jian An-13 years (year 208 A.D.), Wang Shuhe and Wang Cui followed with Cáo Cāo, at Jian An-18 years (year 213 A.D.), Cao Cao was crowned as the King of Wei, Wang Cui was appointed as Privy Counselor, Wang Shuhe was appointed as the commissioner of the Imperial Academy of Medicine of Wei.
✦The epoch of herbalist Wang Shuhe was the end of the East Han and Three Kingdom Period, after years of war, many bamboo slips(there was no paper inventions and books are written on slips) are scattered and lost or mutilated, and even the book of herbalist Zhang Zhongjing which was completed a few decades ago bears the same fate. As the court physician of the Wei Kingdom and Jin Dynasty, herbalist Wang Shuhe knew the value of this book, great bear in mind, and he's determined to make these masterpieces restored to its original state. So he started to gather the survived slips of the book by herbalist Zhang Zhongjing, and looked around the original copy of the book as he could, and finally got some copy of the book, then he tried to edit them and finally the book was known as Shang Han Lun(the Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases).
✧Herbalist Wang Shuhe, in view of the pulse subjected literature and materials in history scattered and in disorder, contents are extremely inconsistent and not easy to learn and use, he tried systematized those pieces of literature about pulse in previous generations and finally compiled the book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic). The book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic) is composed of 10 volumes and 98 pieces, over 100,000 words, it gave records of the sections and methods of pulse taking. This book collected those study results before Jin Dynasty, most of them comes from and extracted from those books include Nei Jing(the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor), Nan Jing(the Classic of Difficult Issues), Shang Han Za Bing Lun(the Treatise on Cold Pathogenic and Miscellaneous Diseases), and those pulse studies from ancient herbalists 扁鵲(Biǎn Què), 淳於意(Chún Yúyì), 華佗(Huà Tuó), widely combined experiences from different schools, and also combined his own clinical experiences, added new and additional contents, with his own special way to assemble and compile. He classified various pulse manifestations to 24 kinds:floating pulse, gaseous pulse, surging pulse, slippery pulse, rapid pulse, abrupt pulse, taut pulse, rordy pulse, deep pulse, deep-sited pulse, leather pulse, forceful pulse, faint pulse, hesitant pulse, thready pulse, soft pulse, weak pulse, feeble pulse, scattered pulse, moderate pulse, retarded pulse, knotted pulse, intermittent pulse, stirred pulse, and listed them one by one with simple and clear notes, although later generation herbalists ever developed the pulse manifestations to 26, 27, 28, 30, 32 kinds, but those common and basic pulse conditions, all not going beyond the scope of this classical book. Herbalist Wang Shuhe gave detailed descriptions about the characteristics and representative diseases of every type pulse manifestations, and also gave detailed descriptions about the pathological changes according to five viscera and six entrails, Yin Yang, Ying Qi and Wei Qi, with vivid language and appropriate descriptions, very practicable, he also made comparations with a normal pulse(or the pulse of a healthy person). The ancient pulse-taking method processed with nine readings of three sections, which known as Renying(common carotid artery), Cunkou(wrist pulse), Dieyang(the anterior tibial artery), take the pulse three times of one section, total nine readings, the procedure is complicated, and patients need to take off clothes and pull off stockings, not convenient for diagnosis, herbalist Wang Shuhe summed up and sorted out those ancient pulse-taking methods, and made his own innovations, changed the ancient method to wrist pulse-taking method, which means only by taking the wrist pulses on both sides, the general health condition of the patient could be known exactly. After clinical practice by generations of herbalists for almost 2000 years, this method is still used, and has been proved effective since ever, passed the test of time, this new pulse-taking method which was invented by herbalist Wang Shuhe is a big success composed of both his great knowledge and his great courage insight. The classical book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic) is a big achievement in the history of ancient Chinese Medicine, herbalist Wang Shuhe was publicly worshiped as the pulse-ancestor.
Although the book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic) is famous for its treatise on the pulse, it also devotes a lot of space to the exposition of acupuncture and moxibustion. The book also covers syndromes and symptoms of the meridian, theory of acupoint, syndrome differentiation, and acupuncture-moxibustion methods. It also supplements some theories of acupuncture and moxibustion, promotes the development of acupuncture and moxibustion, for examples: (1). He advocated that should take the pulse before applying the acupuncture and moxibustion, before acupuncture treatment, a diagnosis must be made, and an important part of the diagnosis is the pulse-taking. The diagnosis and treatment in the Mai Jing(The Pulse Classic) are characterized by the close combination of pulse taking and syndrome differentiation of Zang-Fu viscera and meridians, etc., with pulse manifestation as the guide, then the syndrome or symptoms are discussed, and finally, the principles and methods of acupuncture and moxibustion are determined; (2). Advocate the combination of acupuncture, moxibustion and medicine in practice, in Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic), there are often discussions on acupuncture, moxibustion and prescription comprehensive treatment, and it can be seen that Wang's treatment of acupuncture, moxibustion and prescription is not biased; (3). Supplemented the theory about the back Shu points and the front Mu points, in the ancient book Nei Jing(the Inner Canon) and Nan Jing(the Difficult Classic), the names of "Shu" and "Mu" points already appeared. However, in Nei Jing(the Inner Canon), only the name and position of five Zang's back Shu points are given, and for the Shu points of six Fu viscera, only "the shu points of six Fu viscera" is put forward, without listing the names and positions of the points. The book Nan Jing(the Difficult Classic) also only mentioned that "the five Zang's Mu points are in Yin and Shu points are in Yang". In the book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic), the names and positions of the ten Mu points and the ten Shu points of the five Zang and Six Fu viscera were clearly defined, which greatly enriched the content of Shu and Mu points, and made the theory of Shu and Mu points develop towards a systematic direction, and very close to the complete theory of the six Zang six Fu twelve Shu and Mu points; (4). Explained the synergistic effect of Five Shu Points(Five Streaming Points) and Shu Mu Points(the back Shu points and the front Mu points), in the application of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of diseases, the Mai Jing(The Pulse Classic) advocates the combined use of Five-Shu points and Shu Mu points, to give full play to the synergistic effect of Wu-shu points and Shu Mu points. For example, in the sixth volume of the Mai Jing(The Pulse Classic), herbalist Wang Shuhe used Wu Shu point and Shu Mu point together to treat mental illness, which is indeed a relatively rare unique method and broadens the thinking of matching points.
To make the later generations better understand the relevant contents of Mai Jing, he also wrote other four books, known as Mai Jue(the pulse formula), Mai Fu(the poems of pulse), Mai Jue Ji Yao(the essential part of pulse formula) and Xiao Er Mai Jue(the pulse formula of a baby), which were of great significance to the circulation of the medical Canon. Wang Shuhe is a rigorous herbalist and author. It is precise because he concentrated on sorting out that many theories of famous herbalists before him can be preserved and handed down from generation to generation. Otherwise, in that era of war and chaos, those books lost then all the efforts of its author would be lost forever. According to history literature Gao Ping Xian Zhi(Gao Ping county annals), herbalist Wang Shuhe left these works: “Wang Shuhe of Jin, Jin Kui Yu Han 8 volumes, Mai Jing(Pulse Classics) 10 volumes, Mai Jue(Pulse Formulas) 4 volumes, Mai Fu(Pulse Poems) 3 volumes, Hai Zi Mai Lun(the pulse formula of a baby) 1 volume, Mai Jue Ji Yao(the essential part of pulse formula) 3 volumes, Zhang Zhongjing Yao Fang(Prescriptions of Zhang Zhongjing) 15 volumes, Shang Han Lun Zu Bing Lun 10 volumes, Jin Kui Yao Lue Fang 3 volumes.”. According to modern biographer and TCM researchers, herbalist Wang Shuhe ever wrote other works: Mai Jue Tu Yao(the essential graphs of pulse formulas) 6 volumes, Mai Fu(the poems of pulse) 1 volume, Mai Jue Fa Meng(Enlightenment of Pulse Formulas) 3 volumes, Lun Bing(Thesis on Diseases) 6 volumes, these four kinds of works all lost.
The book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic) by herbalist Wang Shuhe was widely known since its birth, the version handed down was supplemented and revised by Lin Yi and other herbalists of the Jiao Zheng Yi Shu Ju(the Bureau for Revising Medical Books) during the Song Dynasty, arranged in orders in 10 volumes and 97 articles, and was published at the first year of Xi Ning(Xi Ning is the reign title of Emperor Shen Zong, Song, the year 1068 A.D.), it was known as the large type edition carving copy of Song, the ancestor copy of all later printed versions. The main contents are introduced breifly:the 1st volume is about methods of taking pulse and pulse manifestations of the twenty-four types of pulses; the 2nd volume explained the pulse manifestations of the different parts where the pulse is usually taken, Guan Qian, Guan Hou, Cunkou, Ren Ying, Shen Men, etc, explained related property of Yin and Yang, changes of deficiency or excess, and pathological changes of related Zang and Fu viscera, the main disease of the Cun-Guan-Chi Pulses, and the main diseases of the eight extraordinary meridians; the 3rd volume explained the normal pulse, abnormal pulse, dead pulse of Zang and Fu viscera; the 4th volume explained the nine readings of three sections, pulse manifestations of miscellaneous diseases, and the main abnormal pulse of the Cunkou three sections; the 5th volume recorded literatures of pulses from ancient herbalist Zhang Zhongjing, Hua Tuo and Bian Que; the 6th volume recorded and explained pulse syndrome of the twelve meridians; the 7th volume recorded and explained the contraindication and adaptation disease of various treatment methods include diaphoresis, emesis, purgative, warm, acupuncture and moxibustion; the 8th volume recorded and explained the pulse syndrome of miscellaneous diseases; the 9th volume recorded pulse syndrome of pregnancy, postpartum and pediatrics; the 10th volume recorded content under title "Shou Jian Tu Er Shi Yi Bu", discussion about appearance and syndromes of twelve meridians, eight extraordinary meridians, three sections and twenty-four pulses. The main contents of the Pulse Classic are from the literature of pulses and diagnosis before Wei and Jin period, some parts are articles from herbalist Wang Shuhe, the references are mainly from ancient books Nei Jing(the Inner Canon), Nan Jing(the Difficult Classic), Shang Han Lun(the Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases), Mai Fa Zan(the Comments on Pulse methods), Si Shi Jing(the Classics of Four Seasons), and some remained discussions about pulse methods from Bian Que, Hua Tuo, and Zhang Zhongjing. The book Mai Jing(the Pulse Classic) from Wang Shuhe made the abstruse knowledge easier for learning and grasping, appropriate for practice, it is an epoch-making monograph and a great devotion in the TCM history.
✦Herbalist Wang Shuhe also hold some very incisive opinion about health maintenance, his theory of health maintenance is the earliest system addresses about diet in China, as he proposed that, to gain longevity, one should pay attention to four tips in daily life: one should avoid too complicated diet, should avoid polyphagia and polydipsia; avoidance of certain foods, and differentiate for diet in 4 seasons; diet choice should vary according to different persons, diet choices should be made before eating; diet rule better screen out bad and kept good, could not eat over proper volume even for delicious food; from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox, should eat less greasy food, if not control, the climate change will induce a variety of diseases, even death.
✧In his late, Wang Shuhe resignated and turned back to Xiangyang, habitat and built his house in a beautiful small village, and saving local people. For his respectable medical ethics and high skills, he was respected and called as a miracle-physician by local folks. At around year 270 A.D., herbalist Wang Shuhe passed away, his offsprings buried him at the cemetery Medicine King Mountain, other folks who ever was cared and saved by him also built a cenotaph to memory him at the foot of the Xianshan Mountain, after 1800 years off his epoch and until today, his cemetery is still standing there and is worshiped by generations of Chinese folks!
1.王叔和(Wáng Shūhé):introduction about his biography and legend,main books and academic thoughts.