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December 2019

Nippon Ishigaku Zasshi. 1993 Jun; 39(2): 157-68.

[Reconsideration of the concepts of the large intestine and the small intestine in Chinese traditional medicine]

Endo J, Nakamura T.

It is the common view in Chinese traditional medicine that the small intestine is in the abdomen above the umbilicus and that the large intestine is in the abdomen below the umbilicus. However, our precise investigation clarified the following points. The first one is that the above view is found only in such anatomical descriptions as in the paragraphs of "Chang Wei" in the Ling Shu. The second one is that the opposite view is mentioned in the Su Wen, the Ling Shu, the Nan Ching, and the Chin Kuei Yao Lueh. According to this literature, the large intestine is in the abdomen above the umbilicus and the small intestine is in the abdomen below the umbilicus. We inferred the following points: 1) The former view results from the fact that biologically the organs connect in the order of the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine. 2) The latter is based on the fact that the large intestine acutually occupies a great part of the upper part of the abdomen, and the small intestine occupies the lower part of the abdomen. In interpreting the literature of Chinese traditional medicine, it is necessary to consider these two different views of the intestines.


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