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Venerating the Root Part 1

Venerating the Root Part 1

Sabine Wilms is devoted to the translation and dissemination of the works of that greatest of Chinese doctors, Sun Simiao. This text formed part of Sun Simiao's monumental Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang (Essential Formulas Worth a Thousand in Gold to Prepare for Emergencies). The Chinese text sits alongside Sabine Wilms' translation and notes. .

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JCM Review

I am thrilled to have this work made accessible for the first time. It is a pleasure to read. What makes the book very special is that although it is a treatise on a wide range of conditions, including many gynaecological ones (in the earlier volumes), it describes illnesses that occur right at the beginning of life. I feel so at home with this approach. In the courses that I give, I always emphasise the importance of the early years, and how problems that occur in the early years may have an effect on health all the way through life. The specific symptoms may go away, but the underlying imbalance may remain, and reappear in another guise later on. Only by studying the first months and years can you understand the appearance of diseases later on.

I am most impressed by Sun Simiao starting his text with ‘Transformations and Steamings’. They are so clearly seen in clinical practice. Every time a child makes a developmental leap, there is a corresponding ‘illness’. When I first started practising, these illnesses were always fevers, corresponding to Sun’s description of ‘steamings’. But now that children are so much energetically colder and weaker, the ‘steamings’ often come out as mucus discharges and coughs.

There is a most interesting discussion of the character shan, which is often translated as ‘hernia’. Sun Simiao says that shan can be caused by nursing when the mother is angry. In clinical practice, of course, it is most unlikely to see a hernia from such a cause. However, shan as described here would seem to refer to colic, and not hernia as we understand it. Babies who nurse when their mother is angry certainly do get the most dreadful colicky pains; moreover, such colic can also involve protrusions from the abdomen caused by pockets of wind, which can look very similar to hernia and are terribly painful. Unlucky the baby that suckles from an angry mother. In my practice I tentatively advise bottle-feeding in such cases (I say tentatively, as I rather fear the blast of anger being turned on me). What a keen observer Sun Simiao must have been. No wonder he was venerated as the Medicine Buddha or the ‘Medicine King’.

My personal sadness is that the book, and particularly the further volumes (of which I have had a sneak preview) are heavily weighted towards herbs rather than acupuncture, and I am unable to use the many prescriptions provided. Nevertheless, the book is laid out very clearly, with the Chinese on one side and the English translation on the other side, interpolated with many commentaries and discussions. This is not for a beginner in paediatrics, but is an absolute must for anyone who takes paediatrics seriously.

Julian Scott

Another treasure of Chinese medicine literature has been unearthed and made available to the Western student. In reading Sun Simiao’s medical encyclopedia it is easy to see why he is considered through the ages as one of the most illuminated minds of Chinese medicine, even ascending to the status of demigod or immortal in popular lore. Not only did Sun Simiao systematically record any and all medical knowledge known to him to have clinical relevance, laboriously copying many of the Classics that preceded him as well as recipes used by different lineages and practitioners of his time, but he also in many cases elucidates the mysteries therein by offering commentaries or explanations of theories and formulae. Reading Sun Simiao’s Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang my impression is that of a comprehensive resource, one that provides access to canonical classical texts and to many formulae elaborated from the understanding of these theories, as well as to the voice of old master Sun making sure the student of Chinese medicine understands the subtleties of certain patterns and presentations. He leads our way, taking great care to compare signs and symptoms, formulae and single ingredients, always emphasizing where one might make a mistake and pointing the way to ascertain correct diagnosis. This makes the Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang a priceless resource for any student/practitioner, especially in this modern age where much of classical Chinese medicine has been lost or diluted by the history of the 20th century. Indeed modern western Chinese medicine schools barely teach the Classics, and rarely teach pediatrics. These two aspects of our medicine are therefore not easily accessible to the majority of western students. This present volume on “Nurturing the Root” fills a great part of this significant gap in our education: it presents a comprehensive overview of neonatal and pediatric classical physiology, neonatal care including cord care, grooming and breastfeeding, and diseases that are proper to children. The first pearl of wisdom from Master Sun is in informing us that most pediatric diseases are the same as adult ones, and should be treated according to the same governing principles - except for the ones he delineates in this volume. Sun Simiao begins by describing normal neonatal physiology, describing the phases of development from birth to the early years. Such physiological theory is absolutely fundamental in determining whether and how to treat a child: knowing how to differentiate a steaming related to growth, from a fever from wind or cold damage, is essential in deciding whether to abstain from treatment. Wrong decisions stemming from a lack of knowledge of these developmental stages can harm the vital essence of the child - negating the very purpose of medicine. The chapters on birth and neonatal care are very exciting to me: they are very much in harmony with midwifery practices, even modern, and I was thrilled to find many useful new ideas as well as to recognize many age old techniques that defy time and geography. In my work with local midwives and pregnant, birthing and post-partum women, I often attend births and witness the early life of many babies, monitoring their umbilical cords, breastfeeding, digestion... the advice Sun Simiao gives is so on point that it is undoubtable that he must have been present at many births himself. Some of the resuscitation techniques are very much on parr with some of the techniques we now use, preceding the administration of oxygen. The advice he gives regarding milk production, and digestive upset in newborns is extremely practical, combining immemorial midwifery knowledge about positioning the baby correctly to the nipple, feeding times and amounts etc, with a deep understanding of Jueyin-Yangming physiology. He emphasizes that some diseases of babies are a consequence of maternal deficiency, which is a vastly useful topic in the postpartum period when a practitioner has to care for the mother and the baby as a dyad. Sun Simiao also offers an in-depth discussion of conglomerations - their etiology, their consequences and their treatment. The proper elimination of such infantile aggregations is very important for the future health of the person in his eyes, and here again his perspective sheds a lot of light on this somewhat mysterious pathology, which has been the subject of many discussions through the ages. Finally his chapter on seizures is most remarkable, differentiating many kinds of possible causes and presentations. As the mother of a child with epilepsy, as well as an avid student of the medical classics, I found this chapter most fascinating. In addition to some of the more well-know remedies of the Shang Han Za Bing Lun, other recipes are given which are mind-blowing in their composition. Woven in the architecture of the formulae one can find the thinking of the Nei Jing, of Zhang Zhong Jing, Wang Shuhe and Tao Hong Jing... and furthering and confirming our thoughts Sun Simiao, humble and kind to his posterity despite the stature of his mind, makes sure to explain his understanding of the pathologies and formulae. What a gem in the treasury of medical literature! This volume contains the essential foundations of pediatric medical knowledge upon which a practitioner must root him/herself and grow from. Sun Simiao chose to organize his encyclopedia following the cycle of life, starting with women and continuing with children. In his title for the pediatric volume, “Nurturing the Root”, is the quintessence of medicine. This title contains many layers of the same thought. In order to treat humanity we must start as young as before life is created (with the Mother); in order to have a healthy adult, and therefore healthy future generations, we must take great care of our young; and finally, both in the broadest and in the narrowest sense, our Root, at the cusp of Shaoyin, must be nurtured so that the cycle of life - whether circadian, physiological or cosmological, or all those levels at once - can perpetuate itself. Sun Simiao achieves in his work the masterful feat of imparting his readers with an understanding of the creation and growth of Life, and giving them tools to cultivate it within themselves and others. His work fulfills the lofty daoist ideal of the study of life, while remaining highly practical and relevant to clinical practice. I am deeply grateful to Sabine Wilms for making this inspiring work widely available to the West! Genevieve Le Goff, L.Ac. Woodacre, CA.


Preface Venerate The Root! A mini-version of Sun Simiao’s Qian Jin Fang chapter 5 Venerate the root! says Sun Simiao Women and children first, that’s my kind of dao! Follow the art of yang xiao, nurturing the small Get the beginnings right, so they stand up straight and tall! Yes, ten months have passed since the moment of conception But life’s still fragile at its inception Take good care now! Pay more attention, not less! Nurture the young to avoid untimely death! The Yijing, the Shijing, they all say the same thing! There’s nothing more important than getting off to a good start Treatment of children is an essential part of a doctor’s art! In the small child the force of qi is still feeble But you can help it along with herbs, moxibustion and needles! So I’ve been listening, I’ve been gathering, collecting all the wisdom I can! And I’ve set it all down to share with you Theory, diagnostics, advice, effective treatments too To help that little baby become a healthy woman or healthy man! Normal development unfolds through bian zheng, transformation and steaming That gets the qi and blood growing, flowing, thriving and streaming! This steaming heat and transforming rising qi Come in definite phases, so let them be! Keep the baby calm and rested, not a lot of people crowding around Stay with them and observe them, that’s how the answers can be found! I’ll tell you what’s normal, I’ll tell you what’s not Heat’s OK, but not if the ears and buttocks are hot! Then I’ll give you the treatments you need to use To bring them back to health, so the child you don’t lose! By the newborn’s 288th day Nine transformations and four steamings will have passed their way For unresolved heat and phlegm, remember the Purple Pill, Zi Wan! And in seasonal warmth complications, use the Black Powder, Hei San! But don’t be reckless with acupuncture, moxibustion or medicinals Understand what’s a normal process and what’s pathological! Directly after birth, keep the baby’s mouth and tongue clean Carefully wipe away any muck and blood to be seen Check the newborn’s not silent, take care cutting the cord Cold, wind and dirt getting in, they can ill afford! Take care of their delicate skin, when you’re wrapping and swaddling But expose them to mild, warm weather too! They won’t withstand wind and cold with too much molly-coddling Their future health is down to you! Wrap the umbilicus properly and ensure that it’s healing Follow my advice if it’s infected, swollen or oozing! From bathing to breast feeding, under or overeating The child needs to be nurtured and protected In thrush, connected tongue, sudden neonatal death and abscesses There are treatments if the child’s been affected For diagnosis and prognosis, even its character and how long the baby will live There are numerous tell-tale signs that the body gives! Study jing seizures from fright, wind and food Know when and when not to treat, how to get qi and blood renewed! Avoid causing problems with inappropriate medicines or doses Each have their sign and symptom picture, each have their own process! Differentiate the five organ types, the six animal types, the time of day Use moxibustion or a Gentian Decoction, a Rhubarb Decoction, maybe a Cinnamon Twig Decoction to get health back on its way! Young children are sensitive, even vulnerable on occasion In danger from the qi of strangers, from alien qi invasion This is the pattern of intrusive upset ke wu And it’s important to know just what to do! They get overwhelmed by ‘visiting hostility’ And in this danger from strangers lose their self-protective ability! Guard against exposure, keep them safe from intrusion! Learn the moxibustion points, the spells, the herbal infusions! To treat night crying and demonic possession, use shamanic solutions! Children are the future, the roots that will be fruits Take good care of them, like delicate flowers and shoots! Understand their nature and treat them right And the future that’s unfolding will be strong and clear and bright! Peter Firebrace 8th December 2013 SSM understood the importance of treating children, of setting up a strong constitution for a healthy life ahead. He also writes of not treating, of understanding and respecting the body’s own wisdom to clear and cleanse through its own unfolding processes, such as in the early childhood cycles of transformation and steaming, bian zheng. This refreshing respect for the innate intelligence of emerging life, his constant attention to detail in signs and symptoms, diagnostics, treatment strategies and health advice, his interest in the personality of the child and indications for longevity, his care to protect and at the same time not over-protect, and his awareness of the all too real possibility of harm from crude and inappropriate treatments, all these are aspects we can learn from today. I hope that Sabine’s great work to make SSM’s perspective and teaching accessible to all will encourage and stimulate practitioners to deepen their own practice of pediatrics. For a healthy future, there can be no more important study.


AuthorSabine Wilms
PublisherHappy Goat Productions
Number Of Pages323
Book FormatSoftback


夫生民之道﹐莫不以養小為大。若無於小﹐卒不成大。 Among the methods for engendering the people, none fail to nurture the small to constitute the big. Without [care] for the small, death ensues before the big is completed. For this reason, the Yì Jīng (“Classic of Changes”) says: ‘[Enable] that which is small to come together so as to complete that which is big….’ ... 故今斯方﹐先婦人、小兒﹐而後丈夫、耆老者﹐則是崇本之義也。然小兒氣勢微弱﹐醫士欲留心救療﹐立功瘥難。今之學者﹐多不存意﹐良由嬰兒在於襁褓之內﹐乳氣腥臊﹐醫者操行英雄﹐詎肯瞻視。 The present collection of treatments is arranged by placing the treatments for women and children first, and those for men and the elderly afterwards. The significance of this structure is that it venerates the root. Nevertheless, the force of qì is still feeble in small children, and medical gentlemen need to take great care to rescue and cure them and meritoriously offer their services to help them recover from serious conditions. The majority of present-day scholars fail to hold on to this intention. For this reason, when infants in swaddling clothes are concerned, surrounded by the foul stench of breast milk, how dare we look down on those doctors who carry out heroic acts? ... 初出腹,血脈不斂,五臟未成,稍將養失宜,即為病也,時不成人。。。 小兒始生,生氣尚盛。但有微惡,則須下之,必無所損,及其愈病則致深益。若不時下,則成大疾,疾成則難治矣。 When babies first emerge from [the mother's] abdomen, the blood vessels are not drawn in and the five zàng organs are not yet matured. [At this point, even] slightly inappropriate care and nurturance immediately causes disease. Frequently, [such babies] will not reach adulthood… Right after babies are born, their birth qì is still exuberant. Nevertheless, if they do have some minor malignity, you must move it down [and out]. [In the course of this treatment,] you must not injure them in any way, and their recovery from the disease will thereby obtain the deepest benefit. If you fail to move [the illness] downward in time, it will mature into a major illness, and once that illness has matured, it will be difficult to treat indeed! Based on extant medical writings from antiquity in both China and Europe, the proper care of newborns and young children was a topic that received far greater attention in early and medieval China than in Europe. To cite just one example, the Yì Wén Zhì 藝文志, a bibliographic treatise from the first century CE that details the holdings of the imperial library in the early Hàn period already lists a full nineteen volumes of formulas for women and children. By contrast, we find only short comments on individual diseases in Western medical literature by famous authors like Soranus of Ephesus (ca. 100 CE), Galen (ca. 200 CE), or Avicenna (ca. 990 CE), but no separate book-length treatises until Hieronymus published the first book on children’s diseases in 1583. In the following centuries, writings on pediatrics became more common but there is no doubt that compared to other medical fields pediatrics is a very young specialty in the history of Western medicine. One could even argue that this attitude is still reflected in the lack of attention paid to pediatrics in modern TCM education in Western countries, especially when compared to Chinese medicine as practiced historically in China. It may therefore surprise even experienced practitioners of Chinese medicine who are unable to access the Chinese primary sources on their own, to learn of the emphasis placed on the care of women and children in the traditional Chinese medical literature. The text that provides the source for the translation in the present book is a monumental encyclopedia of medicine called Bèi Jí Qiān Jīn Yào Fāng 備 急千金要方 (Essential Formulas Worth a Thousand in Gold to Prepare for Emergencies) that was completed by Sūn Sīmiǎo in 652 CE, in the early Táng dynasty. While certainly a pathbreaking work in the history of Chinese pediatrics, its diagnostic and therapeutic advice did not appear out of nowhere but was firmly rooted in earlier texts, most of which have unfortunately not survived the vicissitudes of time. And the principles and treatments mentioned here were quickly expanded on and deepened in the following centuries, resulting in a whole body of literature on pediatrics when the field was established as a full-fledged medical specialization in the Imperial Bureau of Medicine during the Sòng dynasty. ... The placement of the information on children right after the section on gynecology but ahead of the main part of the book that covers general medicine is highly significant. As Sūn Sīmiǎo himself stated unequivocally, this radical innovation and restructuring of medical information was not coincidental but on purpose. In his own words, he prioritized the health and welfare of women and children over those of other family members in order to “venerate the root.” Of all of Sūn Sīmiǎo’s medical innovations, such as the introduction of Indian drugs and treatment methods, the first mention of the a-shi point (阿是穴 ā shì xué), the protocol of the so-called “thirteen ghost points” (十三鬼穴 shí sān guǐ xué), or his essay on medical ethics, his most important contribution to the history of Chinese medicine may well be this emphasis on gynecology and pediatrics as areas of special concern for any medically-oriented “specialist of nurturing life” (養生之家 yǎng shēng zhī jiā). The effects of this attitude can be seen to this day in the continuing significance of gynecology and pediatrics in Chinese medicine as practiced in contemporary China. Because of a lack of translations, however, this is an emphasis that has unfortunately not been recognized and utilized to its fullest potential in the application of Chinese medicine in non-Asian environments. It is my hope that the publication of this translation may serve as the beginning of a greater recognition of the potential role that traditional Chinese pediatrics can play in providing the best possible care for our children today. By making this ancient text accessible in English, I hope that practitioners worldwide will feel empowered and inspired to explore a field of Chinese medicine that is woefully neglected and underutilized at the moment by most practitioners of Chinese medicine in a non-Asian context. ... Nevertheless, the extent of Sūn Sīmiǎo’s emphasis on the care of women and children over any other aspect of medicine suggests that his interest was peeked by more than just the political value and cosmological significance of promoting the feminine, yīn, or the giver of life in the case of women, and the small, vulnerable, stage of inception, birth, at its most yáng stage, in the case of newborn children. For a more complete answer, let us look at Sūn Sīmiǎo’s actual writings. There is no doubt that the Qiān Jīn Fāng is a central text in the history of Chinese medicine. A gigantic encyclopedia, its thirty volumes contain over five thousand entries in the form of 方 fāng (“formulas,” “recipes,” or “prescriptions” in the largest sense of that word, but literally meaning “directions”) and occasional short essays. These fāng cover a large range of therapeutic approaches, representative of all that was considered medicine (醫 yī) in medieval China: internal medications (medicinal decoctions, powders, pills, pastes, jellies, or liquors), external treatments (ointments, plasters, hot compresses and suppositories, fumigations, baths, beauty treatments, physical manipulations, and acupuncture and moxibustion), religious methods (talismans, exorcistic rituals, spells, and incantations) and what we might call lifestyle advice (exercise, diet, sexual intercourse, avoidance of stress and overwork, etc.). Even a cursory look at the outline of the Qiān Jīn Fāng reveals that Sūn Sīmiǎo organized his information in a way that differs dramatically from contemporaneous medical texts: The famous formula collection Jīn Guì Yào Lüè 金匱要略 (“Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Cabinet,” Eastern Hàn period) covers women’s conditions at the very end of the general section, followed only by a brief section on “miscellaneous formulas” and dietetics that most scholars believe to have been added to the original text in the Sòng period, and has nothing at all to say about pediatrics. Another text, composed only decades before the Qiān Jīn Fāng but clearly influential for Sūn Sīmiǎo’s thinking, the Zhū Bìng Yuán Hòu Lùn 諸病源候論 (“On the Origins and Signs of the Various Diseases,” 610) covers pediatrics in the very end, following right after the information on gynecology in the last six of fifty volumes. What is significant in this context, however, is not that pediatrics is placed at the very end of the text but that over a tenth of the total text is devoted to this topic. Its author, Cháo Yuánfāng, served as officially-appointed imperial physician and erudite in the Suí dynasty court. Following a similar structure and weight, the Wài Tái Mì Yào 外臺祕要 (“Classified Secrets From the Palace Library,” 752), another formula collection that was published slightly later than the Qiān Jīn Fāng, covers the prevention and treatment of pediatric diseases in volumes 35 and 36 out of 40, right after volumes 33-34 on gynecology, recording about 400 formulas in 86 chapters. We can therefore presume that pediatrics was a topic near and dear to the heart of not just Sūn Sīmiǎo as an individual but of medically-inclined writers and practitioners during the early Táng period in general. The important role pediatrics played in medieval Chinese medicine is further confirmed a few centuries later by its official recognition in terms of publications and institutional structures in the imperial medical bureau of the Sòng dynasty. This initial stage of pediatrics culminated in 1119 with the publication of the Xiǎo Ér Yào Zhèng Zhí Jué 小兒藥証直訣 ("Straight Tricks on Medicinals and Signs in Pediatrics") in three volumes, composed by the famous pediatrician Qián Yǐ 錢乙 after more than 40 years of gathering clinical experience and academic research. The first volume, titled “Pulses, Signs, and Treatment Methods,” discusses information on physiology, pathology, five-zàng organ-based disease differentiation, and 80 disease patterns. Volume two, titled “Case Histories,” presents Qián Yǐ’s personal clinical experience in 23 case histories; volume three, on “Various Formulas,” contains essential pediatric formulas and introduces 122 of Qián Yǐ’s own most effective formulas. As the preface to his book states (my paraphrase), medicine is already a difficult art, but pediatrics is particularly difficult for the following reasons: First, not much information is recorded in the classics. Second, children’s pulses are difficult to read and small children (here defined as below the age of seven) easily wail from fright, forcing the physician to rely on outside signs. Third, their bones, qì, body shape, and voice are not yet fully developed and they often behave abnormally, whether crying in sadness or laughing in joy. Small children cannot speak yet or their words are unreliable, so it is impossible to gain information by questioning them. Children’s internal organs are weak and thus susceptible to vacuity or repletion or heat or cold. In addition, ordinary physicians carelessly prescribe substances like xījiǎo (rhinoceros horn), zhēnzhū (pearl), lónggǔ, and shèxiāng, complicating the condition. For this reason, ordinary physician kill four out of ten patients by mistreatment. ... How did this way of thinking, these views on medicine, ethics, and self-cultivation, affect Sūn Sīmiǎo’s attitude towards pediatrics? The most logical explanation in my mind, though never spelled out by Sūn Sīmiǎo or his contemporaries, hinges on the meaning of the term yǎng shēng, referenced consistently throughout the Qiān Jīn Fāng. Usually translated literally and quite adequately as “nurturing life,” the etymology of the two separate characters that make up the term might shed some light on what the early Chinese had in mind when they used the term. The character 生 shēng is fairly straight-forward: It is an image of a plant emerging from the ground, a sprout in the early stage of growth. Hence it means “life,” “birth,” “generation” in addition to its narrowest meaning of “sprouting.” As such, it is used twice, for example, in a classic line from Sù Wèn 素問 5, first to refer to the first of the four stages of development in nature throughout the four seasons and second to the verb “produce” or “engender”: 天有四時五行,以生長收藏,以生寒暑燥濕風。 “Heaven has four seasons and five movements, whereby it causes birth, growth, gathering, and storing, and whereby it engenders cold, summer-heat, dryness, dampness, and wind.” We can see how in both contexts the metaphor of “sprouting” fits quite well. The first character in the compound yǎng shēng is perhaps even more evocative: 養 yǎng is a combination of 羊, the image of a sheep, the quintessential sacrificial animal, hence here conveying the notion of sacrifice to the spirits or one’s ancestors, and 食, a character denoting “food” or “feeding.” As a combination of these two components, the character 養 yǎng hence referred originally to the concept of offering food in sacrifice to one’s ancestral spirits. From there, it came to mean “nourishing,” “nurturing,” “supporting,” “cultivating,” or even “rearing” in the context of animal husbandry. On the most general level, perhaps “providing for” or “offering sustenance” are good renditions. So how might we use the concept of yǎng shēng to explain Sūn Sīmiǎo’s unusual emphasis on the care of women and children and radical break with literary tradition? As he himself stated, after all, “The diseases of small children are no different from those of adults. The only difference lies in the quantity of medicinals that are used. The eight or nine chapters on fright seizures, intrusive upset, separated skull, failure to walk, etc. are here combined into the present volume. Other treatments for conditions like diarrhea etc. are scattered throughout the various other volumes and can be found there.” Viewed at from this angle, it surely would make more sense to follow tradition and explain the care of the human body in general, regardless of gender or age differences, first, before delving into specialized conditions. Nevertheless, as soon as we translate the term yǎng shēng literally as “providing for sprouting,” and recall the centrality of this notion in Sūn Sīmiǎo’s life and work, the answer is clear. I therefore propose that Sūn Sīmiǎo consciously broke with literary tradition and placed the formulas for women and children in front of the general section to emphasize the importance of “venerating the root,” of truly and literally supporting the process of life in its entirety by beginning with generation and sprouting. The extent of Sūn Sīmiǎo’s clinical experience may always remain a mystery, at least to critical historians like myself, but the more I study Master Sūn’s writings, the more that question becomes a mute point. More important to me is Sūn Sīmiǎo’s very real and explicit sensitivity to the fragility of life at its inception, yet another expression of his sagely insights into the transformations of qì in the natural cycles of life, in the macrocosm of heaven and earth as much as in the microcosm of the human body. Motivated by this recognition of the importance of “nurturing the small,” Sūn Sīmiǎo then proceeded to provide all the relevant information he was able to find on the proper care of neonates, infants and young children. The information in these pages strikes a useful balance between his repeatedly stated preference for “treating disease before it arises” (治未病 zhì wèi bìng) and his desire to address the real practical needs of his readers to “prepare for critical situations” (備急 bèi jí), as the full title of the his book (Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang) proclaims, or in other words, between preventative care and the treatment of existing disease.

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