Chinese medicine has been around much longer than what is documented. It is said that the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon (Huangdi Neijing) has been around more than 2,000 years, and some even say more than 3,000 years.
There are many more books, such as Typhoid Fever and Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing. However, no matter how many books there are, their contents have not deviated from the principles of yin and yang.
Throughout history, over thousands of years, no matter what disease, Chinese medicine has not changed its principles of yin and yang in treating illnesses. Due to the rapid development of modern empirical science, people try to understand the principles of yin, yang, and the five elements as philosophical concepts, but fail to apply them.
Today, the study of Chinese medicine includes only the superficial. For example, what ingredient in a particular formula is effective instead of what the interactions among yin, yang, and the five elements are. Thus, today’s Chinese medicine is not nearly as good as it was in ancient times.
What is the foundation of Chinese medicine? It is the Tao. People in modern times know very little about the Tao, but there are many explanations.
In ancient times, human nature was good. If one just mentioned the word Tao, people knew immediately its inner meanings. People’s daily activities and behavior would follow the principles of the Tao: They did good deeds and accumulated virtue.
Chinese medicine theory originated from the Tao. Therefore, its yin, yang, and the five elements are the foundation of Chinese medicine. If Chinese medicine were to deviate from the principles of the Tao, it would be lost. Similarly, if we use modern science to guide Chinese medicine, the results will not be as good as Western medicine.
Since yin, yang, and the five elements are the manifestation of the Tao’s principles on a certain level, within this level, no matter how things may change, they all originate from yin, yang, and the five elements. As a result, yin, yang, and the five elements can resolve anything on this level.
According to traditional Chinese culture, principles like these are not under the control of human beings but were passed down by divine beings. This is why Chinese medicine has been sustained for thousands of years and is everlasting.