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The Yellow Emperor and Other Early Chinese Healers

One of my great influences is traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Much of the teachings in traditional Chinese herbal medicine are based on the teachings of The Yellow Emperor. But who was this person?

The Yellow Emperor reigned over the northern part of China in the year 3000 B.C. (essentially 5,000 years ago). Reportedly, he was so interested in health that he lived to be 111 years old. His contributions to health had an enormous impact on Chinese culture and traditions.

The Yellow Emperor had two very important advisors. The advisors taught him the science of breathing, diet, regulated sex, herbal medicine and reportedly, the secrets of immortality as well.

One of his two advisors was Qi Bo, a famous Taoist who is considered the father of traditional Chinese herbal medicine much in the same way that Hippocrates is considered the father of modern medicine. Ultimately, the discussions between the Yellow Emperor and Qi Bo that led to the creation of the Yellow Emperor's Book.

Qi Bo, in addition to being a doctor and advisor, was also the father of massage therapy in China. Qi Bo went on to write 10 books on this subject and claimed that the right pressure in the right location on the body can promote health, prevent disease and even cure health problems. Essentially, Qi Bo developed acupressure massage.

The second friend of the Yellow Emperor was a lady known as the Plain Girl. The Plain Girl was one of the Yellow Emperor's sexual partners who went on to teach the Yellow Emperor the secrets of regulated sex. The Classic of the Plain Girl was the book in which their discussions were recorded.

In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, prevention is first and foremost. The significance of prevention was clearly stated by the Yellow Emperor in the book The Yellow Emperor's Classics of Internal Medicine:

To apply medicine to disease after it is already developed, or to suppress a revolt which is well expanded, is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty, or to forge weapons when a war has already started. Don't you think it is too late?

Much of the knowledge that the Yellow Emperor had was kept secret and only used by the Emperor and the Royal Family. But at this same time, Confucius, the great Chinese sage, was born and he began promoting that education should know no social or ethnic bounds. Confucius went on to be greatly involved in natural health care. In fact, Confucius had a major influence on the creation of Shandong Cuisine, the most strict form of Chinese cuisine from which other Chinese cuisines are based upon. Confucius was also the first to suggest the therapeutic effects of music.

Towards the end of the second century A.D., another famous Chinese doctor named Hua Tuo created a series of exercises that became known as five animal play. This series of exercise was a major advancement in exercise as therapy. Five animal play is a series of exercises that imitate the movements of tigers, deer, bears, monkeys and birds. As with many forms of natural health, the natural environment and the natural world was the teacher of how to maintain good health. Hua Tuo said the following about the exercises to his students:

Running water never gets stagnant, and a door hinge never gets worm eaten. For the same reason, by regularly exercising ourselves, we can maintain health and keep disease at bay. Regular exercise promotes blood and qi circulation, and thus keeps the body in high alert.

Hua Tuo went on to realize the therapeutic effect of human urine on many kinds of disease. Hua Tu discovered that urine is ultimately a healthy substance that contains beneficial and nourishing compounds that are also compatible with the human body. By drinking one's own urine, which is a function of the bladder, which is controlled and affected by the kidneys, the first benefit of drinking one's own urine was said to nourish the kidneys yang energy. Now, in China, there is actually a doctrine called Urine Therapy based upon Hua Tuo teachings.

It is not suggested that you drink your own urine because that can also lead to renal failure. The reason why is because you are returning the same toxins to the body that the kidneys originally excreted. Urine Therapy should only be done in combination with the consultation of a Chinese herbalist.

Hua Tuo also made great contributions to acupressure and acupuncture. He discovered how fingers could have powerful effects on the body. Unfortunately, Cao Cao, a dictator, killed Hua Tuo in the year 220 A.D.. Hua Tuo was almost 100 years old when he was murdered. The reason why Cao Cao killed Hua Tuo is because he was the personal doctor for Cao Cao. But Hua Tuo wanted to help everyone, the general public included, which Cao Cao did not like. But this is not why Hua Tuo was killed. The reason why is because Cao Cao suffered from really bad headaches and to treat this problem, Hua Tuo wanted to insert acupuncture needles into Cao Cao's head which was considered murderous. Therefore, Cao Cao killed Hua Tuo.

As time went on, there were more great doctors in China who had a major influence on traditional Chinese herbal medicine. One of them was Dr. Sun Shimiao (590 — 692 A.D.) who was the leading doctor of the Tang dynasty. Dr. Sun was a huge advocate of nutrition and diet for therapeutic reasons, which I call trophotherapy, which means food cure.

Dr. Sun said:

A truly good doctor first finds out of the cause of the disease, and based on such finding, he first tries to treat it with foods. Only when foods fail to produce the desired results does he resort to medication. In terms of nourishment, medication interferes with food, food is inferior to essence, essence is inferior to spirit.

Dr. Sun eventually wrote the classic book, The Priceless Recipes. It was Dr. Sun who discovered that iodine was important for a healthy thyroid. Dr. Sun went on to live to the age of 102.

Chinese herbal medicine along with traditional teachings from China, such as Tai Chi, can really help us improve our own life. We can take the principles of good health and apply them to our pets — and that's why, I promote a wholesome raw meat diet as the most important thing we can do for our pets — diet is the foundation which health is built upon. A good diet leads to good health, a bad diet leads to poor health — it's really that simple.

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