Zhonghua Yi Shi Za Zhi. 2001 Apr; 31(2): 69-74.
[The germination and preliminary formation of science of TCM formula in the pre Qin dynasty]
China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100700.
Shennong tasted hundreds of grasses and found herbs during the legend period. The appearance of prescription should be so early if single drug was regarded as single -- item recipe. However, the explicit records in literature appeared at the end of the Spring and Autumn period and the beginning of the Warring States at the latest, evidenced by the custom of "presenting a recipe" of the Qi states. The medical books of Mawangdui, mainly Wu shi er bing fang (Prescriptions for 52 Kinds of Diseases), recorded the classification of prescriptions based on the sort of diseases, composing, preparation, method of decocting medicinal herbs, contraindication of prescriptions, and the therapeutic methods, compatibility of complex prescriptions and determination of treatment based on the differentiation of syndromes (Zheng), etc. reflected in the recipes, which could represent the primary level of science of TCM formula of the Warring States in China. The classic medical book Nei jing (Internal Canon of Medicine), including denominations, composition, principles of compatibility and rules of clinical application of concrete prescriptions, especially therapies and theories of composed prescription, have great actions on the development of science of TCM formula.