View Full Version : Does anybody know of any good books on chinese medicine?

08-18-2000, 12:52 AM
I think it would help me in my search for finding a good dit da jow and iron palm liniment. Where can I buy a book on this subject?

03-06-2001, 03:25 AM
For chinese medicine knowledge I reccomend anything by giovanni macciocia and Dr van nguyen....

03-06-2001, 09:25 AM

There are many books out there on Chinese medicine but very few that really deal with teaching about hit medicine or TCM as it is applied to martial arts training.

The largest obstacle is that most books are either general books about TCM or books about martial arts. Most martial artists in the US are not trained in TCM or if they are they have yet to write about hit medicine. I am also guilty of this but hopefully my book will be out within the next few years. There is a very simple article on my website with several formulas and that article should be updated within the next couple months (I hope). Feel free to look it over and contact me with any specific questions.

All that being said, there are several books you can try to find that do provide some information. They're not complete but with some guidance they can help direct you towards a better understanding of what you're using and why.

Shaolin Secret Formulas for the Treatment of External Injury, Bob Flaws, Blue Poppy Press - is a complilation of many formulas but doesn't explain the theory of the medicine. Also many of the ingredients are difficult, if not impossible, to buy.

Shaolin and Taoist Training Formulas, James Ramholmz - is also a reasonable book although it deals mainly with internal medicine and very little with external

Between Heaven and Earth, blanking on authors (sorry) is basic intro book to TCM theory. It has some general herbal information but only as it relates the idea of introducing Chinese medicine to the layperson.

Iron Palm, and, Complete Iron Palm, Brian Gray. He's one of the few to publish books about iron palm. The books contain some formulas but very little theory of TCM.

I hope the information helps. This information is regrettably not available in English at this moment and is one more reason access to a qualified teacher is so important. Please be careful with the use of the medicine and your training. It's not worth hurting yourself over... feel free to contact me directly with any specific questions.



Kung Lek
03-06-2001, 06:46 PM
An excellent discourse on TCM theory and practice can be found in the book titled "The Web that has no weaver".


Kung Lek

03-07-2001, 02:04 AM
The best books available on TCM are written by Manfred Porkert. His first books were printed in Germany in the mid seventies. He was the first westerner to write thoroughly on this subject.

The problem is that these books are scientific and that they are mostly out of print. Try antiquarian!

For the serious martial artist the scientific approach should be no problem.

Look for the books:
1. Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine.
2. Essentials of Chinese Diagnosis.
3. Clinical Chinese Pharmacology.

The last book explains the different herbs, etc, that can be used, and how they can be used.
You will have to use a latin dictionary or medical dictionary at the site.
This book is also of special interrest when you have some of the books Justin mentioned available. So you can use it as crossreference.

Otherwise just take the book on Shaolin Formulas and buy your own herbs in China Town.


03-07-2001, 06:03 PM
Although Porkert's books do contain some nice information I must say the information is highly UNaccessable in his format of writing. At this point in time there are plenty of other books out there that contain good information that are just written in a much more user friendly language.

Please don't think I'm knocking what Porkert wrote. I'm just a strong proponent of making material easily accessable to others. I have the same complaint about "The Web That Has No Weaver". Great information but it's just not very user friendly.

If you live in a city that has an acupuncture school. Go visit it and ask them for some good introductory books on TCM. They'll have plenty of option of books with TCM theory and books on herbology.



03-07-2001, 06:39 PM
In acuschool we called that book "The Web That Has No Reader"... ;)

Kung Lek
03-07-2001, 07:57 PM

well, I'm not so certain it is possible to make medical information "user friendly".
take a look at a standard western physiological text and ask yourself, "can a common layman make much sense of this material"?

It is deep information that cannot be approached from a viewpoint of a "quick browsing" to gain any sort of overall view of the information that is available.

Acupuncture and Herbalism in practice are very difficult to gain expert knowledge and application in. (There is so very much to learn)
Many westerners regard the practice from almost a hobbiest standing and ergo the arts suffer obscurity and distrust in the West.

since the seventies, many inroads have been made into TCM wiht those enlightened medical practitioners in France leading the way.

Where I live it is very hard to find a TCM practitioner who has substantial knowledge in the field.
Most practitioners do know quite a bit, but the maladies they are able to treat with their skill and knowledge are astoundingly limited in the face of the TCM treatments and cures that are practiced daily in china where it is the backbone of the entire medical system even with western medical additions.

You don't see anesthesiologists using acupuncture for exploratory surgery here in the west and yet it is common to use it in china for those purposes.
Western science doesn't "trust" it because they have no devices to measure effects and because of this they discard the "tale of the tape" so to speak.

Ah well, such is life. I still liked the book "The web that has no weaver".


Kung Lek

03-07-2001, 09:23 PM
I agree with Kung Lek and have some problem with the way Justin looks at this item.

In a way it is just like this that not all sifu, chinese and western alike, do have extensive knowledge of the medicine that is used in their martial arts. They only have some prescriptions, handed down by their respective sifu, that they can use for different types of martial injuries. In this way the book on Shaolin Secret Formulas for the Treatment of External Injury can be of great help because it gives those prescriptions. (It only fails to give the Chinese characters)

Also some knowledge is needed of dealing with these injuries. In most cases you are not allowed to treat your students without a medical degree.
We are only allowed to give a kind of First Aid. We can only deal with bruises that occur during the practice of training in the arts.

Anyway I do hope that Justin or someone else will make available a more readable work on the treatment of martial injuries. Also warning the reader about some of the herbs that can be used. Some are quite powerfull. For example Mo Yao (Commiphora Myrrha) and Ju Hsiang (Mastix) are commonly used in the treatment of martial injuries. But they are not to be used by pregnant women.


03-09-2001, 02:12 AM
Kung Lek,

I agree completely with your comment that a layperson could not read a "standard" book of any field. What I was hinting at is that there are some books out there that are designed for the layperson and not for professionals. "Between Heaven and Earth," and "The Web" are both books designed to introduce TCM concepts to someone who has zero background in TCM. These are the books I reccomend to family and friends instead of books like "The Foundations of Chinese Medicine." These books use terms like Kidney and Liver tonics versus renal or hepato tonics(porkert). Same information one just uses a more common language.

As far as the amount of information there is to learn about this stuff I could not agree with you more. Anyone who thinks they could learn all of a field with at least 2000 years of written history in one lifetime is seriously kidding themselves.

Until recent years practitioners in the West have had very little access to good written sources of TCM. Most translations of classical material were sloppy at best. In recent years we are seeing more and more solid information being published in the English language. A positive step for those who cannot read Chinese and sign of the growth in the field.

Yes, there are many people who practice this medicine as a hobby and that is definitely a problem that will be faced in the coming years. Because Chinese medicine has not been accepted here there has been less government involvment and regulation of the field. That is changing now - in some good and bad ways.

My guess is that you will see acupuncture in many hospitals in the next 5-10 years. This publicization (is that a word???) of Chinese medicine is changing the nature of education in the States. Most programs now are four years and cover 70% TCM 30% Western medicine (same as in China). As practitioners we're going to be put in professional settings and the historical New Age/Hippy pracitioner idea will be less acceptable.

In San Diego I know of many practitioners who treat many serious illnesses, sometimes alone and sometimes in conjunction with Western therapies. However, I suppose you would find less practitioners in Winnepeg.

Anyhow, thanks for the post. It's nice to see there are practitioners of martial arts out there that recognize the role of traditional medicines in their training.



03-09-2001, 02:25 AM
Hi Ling,

I'm not exactly sure what your first statement means???
I agree with Kung Lek and have some problem
with the way Justin looks at this item.

However I do agree it is very important people understand the nature of the medicine we use as martial artists. Many traditional formulas contain very toxic herbs. Ru Xiang (Frankincense) and Mo Yao (Myrrha) are very mild when compaired to something like Cao Wu (Aconite) or Ma Qian Zi (Strychnine). Most Chinese herbal pharmacies won't sell these to caucasians but it is still important to understand the medicine you practice or use on yourself or students.

That is my point behind my comment about texts which provide formulas without relevant theory. As someone who studies and practices this medicine these books are great for reference but they lack more than just Chinese characters. For me, safety is a very big issue, and I do think an author should cover issues of what to use or not to use, how to use it, etc. However, this is just my personal view on being responsible.

Anyhow, thanks for the comments.



Tit Sa
03-09-2001, 06:20 AM

I am not too sure about acupuncture or any of the TCM modalities making it into the Hospital setting anytime soon.

Unfortuantely, if it does find its way into the hospital it will probably be those quacky MD's with their 100-300hr. crash course in what they call "Medical Acupuncture."

And don't forget the Chiropractors who are also trying to get their 100hr. "Certificate in Acupuncture."