Translating Ancient Chinese Wisdom into Medicine for Today
tendershootsgrowing.jpg

Q&A Forum

Q&A Forum for Imperial Mentorship members

Name those top five dictionaries!

My response to a request from a university librarian who is a friend, to name my top five choices for best Chinese dictionaries in print to support a program that teaches Chinese medicine students how to read the medical classics (but not modern Chinese) as part of the curriculum (pardon the typos since I just went swimming in the sea, and it’s barely above freezing both in and out of the water)

Read More
Sabine WilmsComment
Menstruation and the Moon

It has long been recognized by cultures all over the world, even including biomedicine, that women’s menstrual cycle is (or should be, in a healthy body) tied to the waxing and waning of the moon. It is also a widely accepted fact that women who live together, whether as mothers and daughters or extended families or even in modern house-sharing situations, will end up adjusting their cycles in such a way that they menstruate and ovulate at the same time, at least as long as they are healthy and balanced enough to have a regular and bountiful monthly flow. As a medical anthropologist, it has always surprised me how little serious academic research has been done on what I consider an extremely important medical question: What do or did women’s natural menstrual cycles look like, in an ideal world free of interference from electric lights, hormonal birth control, and the million other factors that might disrupt the connection of our female bodies to the moon? Do and did women naturally menstruate with the full moon or the new moon? And how might this information be relevant to contemporary clinical practice?

Read More
Sabine Wilms Comments
Translating Measurements Throughout Chinese History

“I was wondering how the unit of weight 两 liang changed from Later Han to Song Dynasty. The English translation of Ming Dynasty' Bencao Gangmu, defines it as 37.8 g but in your translation of Jin Gui Yao Lue: Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Cabinet, Translation & Commentaries, it was defined as less than half of the Ming value. So would be the modern metric equivalent for recipes from Tang or Southern Song Dynasties? I admit I mostly recreate beauty care and incense recipes but the units should be similar.”

Read More
Sabine WilmsComment
Digital editions of Chinese source texts

I am not good with technology but do use digital texts all the time for quick searches and references. But if I do a more formal translation of a quotation from the BCGM, such as for a book footnote or blog, I have a high quality printed edition by Renmin weisheng. The online editions are great for easy checks but can be full of typos and similar errors. For digital versions of historical Chinese medical texts, I start here: http://theqi.com/cmed/oldbook/oldbook_top.html

Read More
Sabine WilmsComment
Conceptual changes in gender as it relates to female medical practitioners

…research the historical conceptual changes in gender as it relates to female medical practitioners or healers. I read your blog article about the alpha and beta males, and it offered some good insights. I still personally find that there is such a disconnect between what the philosophy stated in early history and how misogyny continued to develop, but I still have so much more to learn. I am trying to understand the shift from matriarchal societies in the Neolithic era, to the overall lowly perception of females during the further consolidation of Neo-Confucianism in the Song dynasty. I spoke to a friend who studied philosophy, but who doesn't know about Neo-Confucianism or Chinese history, and he suggested the potential role of colonialism. …

Read More
Sabine WilmsComment
Ling Zhi missing?

Hi, I have “the Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica -3rd edition” book and i was looking for Ling Zhi(ganoderma) in the table of contents but i was unable to find it anywhere. A quick flip through the book i was not able to find it either. is this a typo or was the “Ling Zhi” herb entry purposefully left out of this book and if so why as this herb should be in the Ben Cao Jing as far as i am aware.”

Read More
Sabine Wilms Comment
First question: What is the purpose of this page?

This page is reserved for my answers to direct questions from “Imperial Mentees,” or in other words, from you. I will answer easy questions, where I can just direct you to an article or other resource, only to you directly and reserve this area for questions that do not have the most obvious answers. I would love to also read your comments on my answers and to see you answering each other’s questions. Eventually, maybe we will turn this into a Forum instead. Who knows…..Thanks so much for being part of the team!

Read More
Sabine WilmsComment