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September 2022

Nippon Ishigaku Zasshi. 1992 Jan; 38(1): 133-63.

[Chinese medicine discovered in "Jing Ping Mei"]

Yoshimoto S.

Using a novel written in the Ming dynasty and dealing with the time of Zong dynasty, I tried to assess the common medical services available in those days. The name of the novel is "Jing Ping Mei". The book contains many descriptions of sexual acts and had long been listed as an erotic novel, but by studying its contents closely we came to see that the life of the people in olden times is vividly and concisely illustrated. When a person became critically ill, first a doctor was called in, and then the so-called "three nuns and six old women" gave herb drugs or moxa treatments. They sometimes worked as midwives, said prayers, or acted as a shaman. They lived closely with the family of Xi Men Qing. If these women were unsuccessful, taoists came to pray and perform rituals. Finally the diviner or fortune-teller (yin-yang master) made preparations to allow free passage to the other world. Then the date of the funeral, position of the tomb, and the fate of the person were told. These steps are all described in the book. The doctor deals with many departments, such Ren, He, Liu. Bogus doctors such as Hu, and Zhao also appear in the stories. They are generally called bell doctors or wandering doctors. They are regarded as second-class doctors, but they were more popular with the common people and were engaged in medical services. In fact, it seems that they were respected by the townspeople. In some ways, they were associated with taoism. ...

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