TCM Chronology
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has undergone a long course of development; it encompasses a complete array of medical theories, practical experiences and unique therapeutic techniques. Its original foundation was established over two thousand years ago, but was shaped by accumulative and consolidated knowledge gathered from accomplished medical practitioners of different medical approaches who had the foresight to document their findings in medical literature. Additionally, the developmental process of TCM was also influenced by various medical and cultural practices of different geographic locations and medical philosophies, which sometimes did not agree with one another.

To sum it up, the modern practice of TCM is largely shaped by the annotation of authors on classic texts, which are considered the foundation of TCM practice. In time, it has become integrated with Western medicine practice in China. Understanding TCM's stages of development enables us to better realize its contributions as well as limitations in health maintenance.



The Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic) has been translated into English and French.

The chronological timeline is divided into the following stages:

I.   Orgin of Chinese Medicine
II.  The Early Medical Activities
III. The Rise and Development of the Theoretical Chinese Medicine System
IV. All-round Development in Mediciine
V. Great Innovation and Achievement in Medicine
VI. Further Development in the Medical Theory & Practice
VII. Revolutions in the Recent Hundred-year

I. Origin of Chinese Medicine
Antiquity - ( ~ 2000 BC ):

Important People / Authors Texts / Events
- Ancient Chinese gradually discovered medicinal herbs when collecting food.
- During the period of clan commune, discovery of fire gradually led to the invention of hot compresses and moxibustion.
- The practice of medicine was very much intermixed with witchcraft to cure illness.
Yellow Emperor &
They are said to be the founders of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

II.The Early Medical Activities
Shang (1700-1100 BC):

Important People / Authors Texts / Events
Inscriptions on oracle bones describe the use of wine and hot water as medicine and the use of needles and bronze knives as surgical instruments. The oracles also talked about a number of diseases and illnesses.

Yi Yin

He was credited with improving decoction methods and extending their applications.

III. The Rise and Development of the Theoretical Chinese Medicine System
Zhou Dynasty (1100 - 221 BC):

Important People / Authors Texts / Events
- According to the book Rites of Zhou, this period had an organized medical system in which court officials of the emperor had different specialties such as dietitians, disease and surgical doctors and veterinarians. The book also recorded seasonal epidemics and relevant treatment drugs.
Yi He He used the imbalance of six factors (yin, yang, wind, rain, night and day) to explain the cause of various diseases.
Bian Que The first recorded physician who established Chinese medicine diagnostic procedures.


It was around this time period that the yin/yang and the five element philosophies were applied to Chinese Medicine.

Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic)
The book is comprised of two parts: the Suwen (The Book of Plain Questions) & the Lingshu (The Spiritual Pivot). The book summarizes previous medical experiences and deals with the anatomy and physiology of the human body. It lays the foundation for TCM.

Qin & Han Dynasties (221 BC - 220 AD):

Important People / Authors Texts / Events
- An influx of philosophical thinking in the practice of Chinese medicine was due to a vast adoption of different beliefs.
- Wushier Bingfang (The Fifty-two Prescriptions)
It is the earliest written reference of Chinese pharmacology. The book documents herbal combinations which were applied at the time.
- Apprenticeships were a common means of educating new physicians during this time. Examinations to recruit qualified physicians were introduced.

Shennong Bencaojing (Shen Nong's Classic of Herbal Medicine)
This is the earliest completed Chinese pharmacopoeia reference. The book lists a total of 365 Chinese medicines and outlines some principles of herbal combinations (prescriptions.)

Hua Tuo He pioneered the use of an anesthetic drug and devised gymnastic exercises known as "the play of the five animals" to help Chinese keep fit and healthy.
Zhang Zhongjing

Shanghan Zabinglun (Treatise on Cold-induced and Miscellaneous Diseases)
This book establishes diagnosis based on overall analysis of signs and symptoms. Its 269 prescriptions make up the basis for modern clinical practice. It was rewritten and divided into two parts called Shanghanlun (Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases) and Jinkui Yaolue (Synopsis of the Golden Chamber).

IV. All-round Development in Medicine
The Chinese Middle Ages ( 220 - 581 AD ):

Important People / Authors Texts / Events
Wang Shuhe

Maijing (Pulse Classic)
This is a compilation of all the knowledge on pulse diagnosis up to this point in history. It establishes the standard for pulse diagnosis and is the earliest text for pulse study.

Huang Fumi

Zhenjiu Jiayijing (Systemic Classic of Acupuncture and
This text is considered to be the earliest complete reference guide to acupuncture and moxibustion. It summarizes information on the meridians, acupuncture points, needle manipulation and their contraindications. It lists a total number of 349 acu-points and discusses the therapeutic properties of each point.

Ge Hong

Zhouhou Jiuzufang (Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies)
This first clinical emergency guide contains information about common diseases, emergency cases and abstracts on related therapies.

Lei Xiao

Leigong Paozhilun (Lei's Treatise on Medicinal Processing)
This is the first treatise on preparation and processing of drugs; it became the practice of the time.

Gong Qingxuan

Liuquanzi Guiyifang (Liu's Remedies Bequeathed by a GImportant People / Authors)
The earliest known treatise on Chinese surgery.

Tao Honjing

Bencaojing Jizhu (Annotations to the Classic of Materia Medica)
The number of listed herbal medicines in this reference book has increased to 730. It furthered information about herbs by adding herbs' nature, location, and time of harvesting. This book dominated the pharmaceutical literature until the middle of the 7th century.

Sui & Tang Dynasties ( 618-907 AD ):

Time Important People / Authors Texts / Events
  Chao Yuanfang

Zhubing Yuanhoulun (Treatise on Causes and Symptoms of Diseases)
The earliest record in China that categorizes the causes, symptoms and pathology of 1739 kinds of disease in a systematic manner.

624 Tang government Imperial Medical Academy was established, which set up institutions for education in various fields of medicine. Meanwhile some local medical schools were established.
659 Su Jing

Xinxiu Bencao (Newly Revised Materia Medica)
The first official pharmacopoeia in China and in the world, which listed 844 kinds of Chinese medicine. It was the first to include diagrams and illustrations of the herbs in the text.

581-682 Sun Simiao

Qianjin Yaofang (Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold for Emergencies) & Qianjin Yifang (Supplement to the Precious Prescriptions)
The first medical encyclopedia in China was comprised of 30 volumes and 5,300 prescriptions. These books dealt with acupuncture, moxibustion, dietary therapy as well as disease prevention and health preservation. It was an outstanding reference for treatment of deficiency diseases.

621-714 Meng Xin

Shiliao Bencao (Herbal Diet Therapy)
A pharmacopoeia with both medicinal and dietary references.

713-741 Chen Cangqi

Bencao Shiyi (Supplement to Materia Medica)
This pharmacopoeia becomes a practical guide for clinical diagnosis and drug application. It contributed greatly in the development of prescriptions.

752 Wang Tao

Waitai Miyao (Essential Secrets from the Imperial Library)
A master's compendium of prescriptions available before the Tang dynasty. It covers a lot of ancient references, prescriptions and medical development.

841-846 Master Taoist Lin

Lishang Xuduan Mifang (Secret Methods of Treating Traumas and Fractures)
The earliest treatise on bone and traumatic surgery.

847 - 859 Zan Yin

Jingxiao Chanbao (Tested Treasure in Obstetrics)
The first Chinese work on gynecology and obstetrics.

974 Liu Han & Ma Zhi

Kaibao Chongding Bencao (Revised Materia Medica of the Kaibao Era)
This herbal classic expanded the number of herbs and drugs to 983; its method of classification was advanced.

V. Great Innovation and Achievement in Medicine
Song Dynasty ( 960-1279 AD ):

Time Important People / Authors Texts / Events
982 - 992 Wang Huaiyin

Taiping Shenghuifang (Imperial Benevolence
Formulary of the Taiping Era)
The first official prescription book of China. It lists a total of 16,834 prescriptions and gives prescription details of the actions, combination principles and proper administration in a systematic manner.

1027 Wang Weiyi

Tongren Shuxue Zhenjiu Tujing (Illustrated Manual of Acu-points on the Bronze Statue)
The book illustrates all the meridians and the appropriate acu-points.

  Wang Weiyi

He was in charge of designing and casting two life-size male bronze statues for acupuncture.
These inventions marked an important step for TCM education, by using these models as a concrete demonstration tool.

1057 Song government

The Bureau for the Re-editing of Medical Books was established to collect, collate and verify all medical texts bequeathed by 1,000 years of history. As a result, several of the established classics were published and many books were rewritten or revised under new titles.

1060 Zhang Yuxi

Jiayou Buzhu Shennong Bencao(Complete and Annotated Materia Medica of the Jiayou Era)
The number of medicines recorded was increased to 1,083.

1061 Su Song

Bencao Tujing (Illustrated Materia Medica)
The first time woodblock printing illustrations were included in a pharmacopoeia.

1075 Su Shi & Shen Gua

Sushen Liangfang (Efficacious Prescriptions of Su
and Shen)
An individually published text.

1076 Song government

The Imperial Bureau of Medicine established "dispensaries" for public welfare.

1082 Tang Shenwei

Zhenglei Bencao (Classified Materia Medica)
A pharmacopoeia that listed 1,558 drugs with illustrations; it remained the model for the next 500 years.

1086 Han Zhihe

Shanghan Weizhi (Hidden Meanings of Shanghan Illnesses)
One of the earliest studies on Shanghanlun (Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases).

1093 Dong Ji

Xiaoer Banzhen Beiji Fanglun (Emergency Prescriptions for Pediatric Rash Diseases)
The first published work on smallpox in China, including its causes, therapies and prescriptions.

1098 Yang Zijian

Shichanlun (Ten Kinds of Difficult Childbirth)
The earliest text that mentions the version method, a manual procedure to turn the position of fetus so as to facilitate delivery.

1100 Pang Anshi

Shanghan Zongbinglun (General Treatise on
Shanghan Illnesses)
An early study on Shanghan and Wenbing.

1102 - 06 Yang Jie

Cunzhentu (Anatomical Atlas of Truth)
The earliest work of anatomy that was based on autopsies.

1103 Song government

The Imperial Bureau of Medicine established the department of drug manufacturing.

1107 Chen Shiwen

Taiping Huimin Heji Jufang (Formulary of the Taiping Welfare Dispensary Bureau)
It represents the first government-published prescription book in the world.

  Zhu Gong

Leizheng Huorenshu (Classified Treatise on Life Saving)
The author revises the text of Shanghanlun and adds supplements to its therapies.

1111 - 17 Medical officers of the Song Dynasty

Shengji Zonglu (General Collection of Imperial Remedies)
This formulary gathers a wide variety of resources such as ancient texts and folk prescriptions.

1116 Kou Zongshi

Bencao Yanyi (Development of Herbal Medicine)
Based on the established theories, the writer innovated teachings of herb properties, and dispelled certain long-held beliefs.

1119 Yan Xiaozhong

Xiaoer Yaozheng Zhijue (Key to Differentiation and Treatment of Children's Diseases)
The working experiences of the well-known pediatrician Qian Yi (1035-1117), who was the author's master, were detailed in this book. The book made a significant contribution to the development of TCM pediatrics.

1132 Xu Shuwei

Puji Benshifang (Formulary with Basic Facts)
A prescription text written and edited by an individual.

1144 Cheng Wuji

Zhujie Shanghanlun (Annotations on Shanghanlun)
The first comprehensive treatise on commentary notes of Shanghanlun.

1150 Liu Fang

Youyou Xinshu (A New Book of Pediatrics)
A treatise on pediatrics, which collates and collects the achievements prior to the Song Dynasty. The writer also created a diagnostic method of inspection of finger veins in children.

1174 Chen Yan

Sanyin Jiyi Bingzheng Fanglun (Treatise on Three Causes of Diseases with Syndromes and Remedies)
The book promulgated the "theory of three causes", which were closely followed by later writings.

1182 Liu Yuansu

Yuanbingshi (The Pattern and Mechanism of Disease Causes from the Plain Questions)
A text that studies Suwen (The Book of Plain Questions); it outlines pathogenic concepts.


Liu Yuansu

Baomingji (Plain Questions: Discourse on Mechanism for Preserving Life)
A study of Suwen (The Book of Plain Questions), which centers on the theory of the "five movements and six influences."

  Zhang Yuansu

Zhenzhunang (The Pearl Bag)
A pharmacopoeia which makes significant advances on the theory of drug actions especially related to meridian tropism.

1189 Cui Jiayan

Cuishi Maijue (Principles of the Pulse by Master Cui)
Using previous classics as reference, the writer further refined and elaborated on pulse studies.

1208-24 Imperial Bureau of Medicine

Xiao'er Weisheng Zongwei Lunfang (A General
Detailed Discussion on Formulary for Pediatrics Hygiene)
One of the most important texts on pediatrics during that time, it included breakthrough ideas about pediatric tetanus.

1217 - 21 Zhang Congzheng

Rumen Shiqin (Confucians' Duties to Serve Their Parents)
He promulgated the theory of the "six doors and three methods."

1220 Wang Zhizhong

Zhenjiu Zishengjing (Nourishing Life with Acupuncture and Moxibustion)
This publication exerted considerable influence on acupuncture and moxibustion; it describes how to choose acu-points according to syndrome differentiation.

1224 Zhang Gao

Yishuo (About Medicine)
An early study on Chinese medicine history; it records achievements of well known physicians and related anecdotes.

1226 Wenren Qinian

Beiji Jiufa (Moxibustion Treatise for Emergency)
A special book discussing moxibustion methods for emergency cases.

1237 Chen Ziming

Furen Daquan Liangfang (The Complete Book of Efficacious Prescriptions for Women)
A voluminous treatise on gynecology and obstetrics. It became an important reference work for later periods.

1247 Li Gao

Neiwai Shangbian Huolun (Treatise on Differentiation
of Endogenous and Exogenous Injuries)
This book further elaborated on syndrome differentiation principles according to the organs. It identifies differences between exogenous and endogenous diseases.

  Song Ci

Xiyuanlu (Collected Records of Medical Jurisprudence)
A treatise on forensic medicine, which became the established basis for legal judgments.

1249 Li Gao

Piweilun (Treatise on the Spleen and Stomach)
A treatise on spleen and stomach diseases, which is still an important reference in modern-day TCM practice.

1253 Yan Yonghe

Jishengfang (Formulary for Succoring the Sick)
An individual publication that gathers 400 prescriptions.

1254 Chen Wenzhong

Xiao'er Douzhen Fanglun (Treatise on Smallpox in Children)
A treatise on smallpox, with prescriptions attached.

1263 Chen Ziming

Waike Jingyao (Essence of External Surgery)
This book marks the establishment of external medicine and trauma surgery as independent branches of medicine.

The Jin-Yuan Period (1115 - 1368 AD):                                                                     

Time Important People / Authors Texts / Events
1294 Zhen Shirong

Huoyou Xinshu (Treatise for Children Life Saving)
Treatise of Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368AD) records some practical and proved prescriptions for pediatric diseases.

1306 Wang Haogu

Tangye Bencao (Materia Medica for Decoctions)
This book provides information about the major ingredients, actions, administration and preparation of drugs for various diseases.

1330 Hu Sihui

Yinshan Zhengyao (Principles of Correct Diet)
A proponent of a balanced diet, Hu Sihui, especially focused on eating in moderation.

1335 Qi Dezhi

Waike Jingyi (Essentials of External Medicine)
This book brings out new viewpoints on the causes, pathogenesis and diagnosis of external diseases.

1343 Wei Yilin

Shiyi Dexiaofang (Effective Formulae Tested by Physicians for Generations)
This book is a testimony to Wei's skills in setting fractures and bone disorders. He invented the suspension method for reduction of spinal fractures, which contributed greatly to the development of TCM bone-setting and traumatology.

1347 Zhu Zhenheng

Gezhi Yulun (Supplementary Treatise on Knowledge from Practice)
The book discusses the theory of internal fire or heat during physiological and pathological changes in the body.


Zhu Zhenheng

Jufang Fahui (Elaboration of the Bureau Formulary)
The author advocates treatment based on syndrome differentiation. He criticizes the abuse of set prescriptions and improper usage of dry and pungent herbs.

VI. Further Development in the Medical Theory & Practice
Ming Dynasty ( 1368 - 1644 AD ):

Time Important People / Authors Texts / Events
1368 Wang Lu

Yijing Suhuiji (A Discourse on Tracing Back to the Medical Classic)

This book differentiates Shanghan from Wenbing syndromes and recommends different therapeutic approaches for the syndromes.

1406 Zhu Su & colleagues

Jiuhuang Bencao (Herbal for Relief of Famines)
A botany book that is a medicinal and dietary guide for famine periods.


Zhu Su & colleagues

Puji Fang (Universal Aid Formulary)
The largest prescription text in ancient China, which collates the achievements prior to 15th century.

1408 Ming government

Yongle Dadian (The Great Encyclopaedia of the
Yongle Reign)
A general encyclopedia covering topics such as medicine, history and astronomy. It was held at the time to be the largest in the world as well as in ancient China.

1442 Leng Qian

Xiuling Yaozhi (Essentials for Longlife Preservation)
A treatise on health maintenance with plentiful chapters discussing qi-gong and life preservation.

1443 Imperial Bureau of Medicine

Appointed special personnel to be in charge of re-casting life-size male bronze statues for acupuncture, modeled after the one produced in the Song dynasty.

1492 Wang Lun

Bencao Jiyao (Collection of the Essential Herbals)
He further developed the herbal classification method used by Tao Hongjing (456-536AD).


Xue Ji

Kouchi Leiyao (Essentials of Diseases of the Mouth and Teeth)
An early written reference for mouth and teeth diseases.

1529 Gao Wu

Zhenjiu Juying Fahui (Gatherings of Eminent Exponential Acupuncturists)
This book gathers the important theories and experiences from previous acupuncture and moxibustion texts and also attaches notes from the writer.

  Xue Ji

Neike Zhaiyao (A Synopsis of Internal Medicine)
The first medical book that was entitled as "internal medicine" in TCM history.


Xue Ji

Zhengti Leiyao (A Repertory of Traumatology)
The book records 19 methods of bone setting with some of the external remedies, which are very concise and practical.

1549 Jiang Guan

Mingyi Leian (Classified Case Records of Famous Physicians)
A study on medical cases, this book is the earliest large-sized treatise compiled according to disease types.

1550 Shen Zhiwen

Jiewei Yuansou (Remedy for Leprosy)
The earliest medical book that focuses on leprosy.

1554 Xue Ji

Liyang Jiyao (The Essential Mechanism of Sores and Ulcers)
An early treatise on leprosy, which introduces diagnostic methods, remedies and successful case studies.

1556 Xu Chunfu

Gujin Yitong Daquan (Complete Compendium of Medical Tradition, Ancient and Contemporary)
This book gathers medical knowledge from over 230 published classics and other literature that contained TCM knowledge.

1564 Li Shizhen

Binhu Maixue (Binhu's Study on the Pulse)
The book enriches current knowledge on pulse studies.



This period saw advances in immunology. Variolation, which provided protection against smallpox, was recorded. It became popular in China and later was widespread to European countries.

1575 Li Chan

Yixue Rumen (Introduction to Medicine)
A monograph for beginners to learn medicine, with a special section on medical ethics.

1578 Li Shizhen

Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica)
This book summarizes most of the herbal information available in the sixteenth century.

1584 Wu Kun

Yifangkao (Study on Prescriptions)
This was a brief commentary on herbal prescriptions, including their nomenclature, properties of each component, efficacy, indication, ways of modification and contraindications.

1586 Ma Shi

Annotated Elucidation of Subtleties from Suwen and Lingshu
The book revises and deciphers the content of the Suwen and Lingshu, which is also regarded as the earliest and completed annotation for the Lingshu.

1589 Fang Youzhi

Shanghanlun Tiaobian (Detailed Analysis of Shanghanlun)
A commentary on the Shanghanlun (Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases) which collated and verified the original context.

1591 Gao Lian

Zunsheng Bajian (Eight Essays on Life Nurishment)
This book talks about life nourishment and health maintenance.

1601 Yang Jizhou

Zhenjiu Dacheng (Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion)
This book introduces the integrated healing experiences in acupuncture and moxibustion by combining it with herb therapies. It was an important text in the Ming Dynasty.

1602-08 Wang Kentang

Zhengzhi Zhunsheng (Standards for Diagnosis and Treatment)
An annotation focused on diagnosis and treatment, this whole series is divided into six branches of medicine including gynecology, pediatrics, shanghan, dermatology, prescriptions and miscellaneous.

1604 Gong Yunlin

Xiaoer Tuina Mizhi (Hidden Significance of Infant Massage)
This book gathers the therapies and achievements of infant massage prior to the 16th century; including the author's own experiences.

1615 Gong Yanxian

Shoushi Baoyuan (Prolonging Life & Preserving Vitality)
A comprehensive treatise on medicine, including the diagnosis and treatment for different specialties like surgery, gynecology and pediatrics.

1617 Chen Sigong

Waike Zhengzong (Orthodox External Medicine)
In this text, the writer precisely outlines various surgical procedures and cancer therapies. He advocated fortifying the spleen and stomach in managing surgical cases.

1620 Wu Zhiwang

Jiyin Gangmu (A Synopsis of Female Diseases)
A treatise on women diseases, in which the author provides detailed information on menstruation, vaginal discharge, pregnancy and childbirth.

1622 Miao Xiyong

Paojiu Dafa (A Complete Handbook on Medicinal Preparation)
This is an important reference for learning and studying the applications and preparation of Chinese medicine.

1624 Zhang Jiebin

LeiJing (Systemic Compilation of the Internal Classic)
The writer revised and annotated the text of the Yellow Emperor's Medicine Classic in a more systematic way."

1632 Chen Sicheng

Meichuang Milu (Secret Writings on Putrid Ulcers)
An relatively early treatise on syphilis, which recommends the use of arsenic and mercury to treat syphilitic ulcers.

1640 Zhang Jingyue

Jingyue Quanshu (The Complete Work of Zhang Jingyue)
A comprehensive medical collection on internal diseases, which covers theories, diagnoses, treatment principles, annotations from different schools, clinical experiences and prescriptions.

  Shi Pei

Zuji (Prescriptions handed down from Physicians through the Ages)
This is an important reference for studying ancient prescriptions and records the most well known prescriptions of the Ming Dynasty and those prior to this dynasty.

1642 Wu Youxing

Wenyilun (Treatise On Pestilence)
This book puts forth a new etiological concept theory of liqi (excessive influences), which was a great discovery prior to understanding the concept of bacteria causing illness.

  Li Zhongzi

Neijing Zhiyao (Essentials of the Internal Classic)
A concise commentary on the Neijing.

Qing Dynasty ( 1644 - 1911 AD ):   

Time Important People / Authors Texts / Events
1644 Fu Renyu

Shenshi Yaohan (A Precious Book of Ophthalmology)
This book records different eye diseases, including 108 syndromes, 308 prescriptions and illustrations. It is also named as Yanke Daquan (Great Compendium of Ophthalmology).

1665 Qi Kun

Waike Dacheng (Great Compendium of External Medicine)
The book discusses the essentials of surgical diagnosis and treatment as well as lists commonly used prescriptions.

1669 Ke Qin

Shanghan Laisuji (Renewal Variorum of Exogenous Febrile diseases)
The book contains various notes and commentaries on Shanghan.

1670 Zhang Zhicong

Collected Notes on the Yellow Emperor's Medicine Classic
This book clarifies a lot of difficulties and queries about the Neijing.

1682 Wang Ang

Yifang Jijie (Variorum of Prescriptions)
This was a widely applied prescription book.

1687 Zhao Xianke

Yiguan (Key Link of Medicine)
The book advocates fortification of the body by warming methods, and also stresses the importance of fire in the vital gate.

  Li Yongcui

Zhengzhi Huibu (Supplemental Compilation for Therapy)
This book summarizes different experiences and teachings of TCM schools. It outlines over 80 kinds of syndromes, which are mainly miscellaneous types of diseases.

1694 Wang Ang

Bencao Beiyao (Essentials of Materia Medica)
A monograph on the herb properties, this book also pointed out the hazards of smoking.


Wang Ang

Tangtou Gejue (Prescriptions in Rhyme)
An important guidebook for TCM prescriptions.

  Zhang Lu

Zhangshi Yitong (Chang's General Medicine)
A comprehensive medical collection covering almost all branches of medicine from the ancient period to contemporary times. It introduced inoculation methods against smallpox.

1695 Xia Ding

Youke Tiejing (Iron Mirror of Paediatrics)
A treatise on children's diseases, it expounds the writer's experience and views and recommends massage therapy treatment

1697 Wang Honghan

Gujin Yishi (Ancient and Contemporary Medicine History)
A commentary on the history of TCM.

1723 Jiang Tingxi

Gujin Tushu Jicheng (A Collection of Ancient and Modern Books)
A large size reference book that was compiled under the commission of the Qing government, this encyclopedia focused on medicine in approxiamtely 520 chapters.

1729 You Yi

Jinkui Yaolue Xindian (Essentials on Summary from the Golden Chest)
A detailed collected commentary, collated and verified for the Jinkui Yaolue (Summary from the Golden Chest).


You Yi

Shanghan Guanzhuji (Strings-of-Pearls Variorum of Cold-Induced Diseases)
A commentary and re-edited version of Shanghanlun (Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases).

1732 Cheng Zhongling

Yixue Xinwu (Medicine Comprehended)
A medical collection that becomes an important guidebook for clinical application, which also outlines concrete requirements for medical ethics.

1740 Wang Weide

Waike Zhengzhi Quanshengji (Life-for-all Manual of External Medicine: Diagnosis and Treatment)
The author's family had been practicing medicine for four generations. He compiled this surgical book according to the family's working experiences.

1742 Wu Qian

Yizong Jinjian (Golden Mirror of Medicine)
This medical series was compiled under the commission of the Qing government. It introduces vaccinations against smallpox and illustrations of various instruments for various traumatic bone surgeries.

1746 Ye Tianshi

Wenrelun (Treatise on Febrile Diseases)
A summary on the theory and experiences of wenbing (acute febrile disease).


Ye Tianshi

Linzheng Zhinan Yian (Clinical Guide with Case Histories)
A collection of medical case studies.

1750 Chen Fuzheng

Youyou Jicheng (A Complete Work on Pediatrics)
The writer used the previous pediatric texts as references. He summarized those experiences and then added his own appreciation and experiences.

1757 Wu Yiluo

Bencao Congxin (New Compilation of Materia Medica)
The book introduces properties, preparation methods and how to differentiate commonly used drugs.

  Zhang zongliang

Houke Zhizhang(A Guide to Throat Diseases)
A treatise on throat diseases.

1759 Xu Dachun

Shanghan Leifang (Classified Remedies of the Shanghanlun)
This book notes and revises the classification of the 113-prescriptions contained in Shanghanlun (Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases).

  Zhao Xuemin

Chuanya (Treatise on Folk Medicine)
This medical series collects and verifies many efficacious teachings from traveling physicians, demonstrating the value and flourishment of Chinese folk remedies.

1761 Wu Yiluo

Chengfang Qieyong (Accurate Use of Set Recipes)
A valuable reference for prescription study and clinical application, which details a large number of prescriptions.

1765 Zhao Xuemin

Bencao Gangmu Shiyi (Supplement to Compendium of Materia Medica)
A supplement text to Compendium of Materia Medica, in which 921drugs were listed.

1792 Tang Dalie

Wuyi Huijiang (Collections of Some Physician's Discussions)
The earliest TCM magazine.

1798 Wu Jutong

Wenbing Tiaobian (Analysis of Wenbing)
This book defines the area of wenbing teachings and its concrete location in the body, thus making the school of wenbing more integrated and systematic.

1805 Gao Bingdiao

Yangyi Xindeji (Collections of Surgery Studies)
This is an influential and representative work of surgery in the Qing Dynasty. It was compiled according to the writer's own surgical experience. He frequently discussed and treated external diseases with internal medicine approaches.

1808 Qian Xiuchang

Shangke Buyao (Essential Supplements on Traumatic Surgery)
A treatise on bone setting and trauma.

1820 Chen Xiuyuan

Yishu Quanji (Sixteen Volumes on Medicine)
A medical series.

1822 Qing government

The Imperial Bureau of Medicine was ordered to close down the Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion permanently.
The Qing emperor believed that the acupuncture and moxibustion methods were not appropriate to treat the royal families, therefore he ordered the Imperial Bureau of Medicine to close down this department permanently.

1827 Fu Shan

Fuqingzhu Nuke (Obstetrics and Gynecology of Fu Qingzhu)
The book outlines the teachings and experiences of the well-known gynecologist Fu Qingzhu (1607-1684). Comments from other physicians were also recorded.

1829 Zhang Nan

Yimen Banghe (Medical Alarms)
This book discusses a wide variety of TCM information including theories, diagnostic methods and therapies with case studies attached.

1830 Wang Qingren

Yilin Gaicuo (Correction of Errors in the Medical Circles)
A documentation of anatomy compiled by observations from corpses. It discovered organs and structures previously unmentioned, which revived TCM anatomy.

1838 Zheng Meijian

Chonglou Yuyao (A Jade Key to Laryngology)
The author compiled this treatise on throat diseases based on his own clinical experiences.

1840 Jiang Kaoqing

Jiangshi Shangke Fangshu (Jiang's Book on Prescriptions for Trauma)
A treatise especially for various bone diseases including incised wounds, fracture setting and trauma.

1842 -

The Sino-British Nanjing Treaty stipulated that the British could set up medical offices in the five Chinese trading ports.


Due to the rise of Western Medicine, TCM was no longer the one and only medical practice in China.

1843 Zhou Songling

Xiaoer Tuna Jiyao (A Summary on Massage for Children)
This book details applications of traditional massage therapies in childhood diseases.



The Sino-US Wangxia Treaty was signed, which stipulated that Americans could set up medical offices and churches in the trading ports.

1846 Bao Xiangao

Yanfang Xinbian (New Compilation of Proved Formulary)
This book compiled various simple, proven and secret recipes of the time.

1848 Wu Qijun

Zhiwu Mingshi Tukao (An Illustrated Textual Study on Plants)
A collection of herbal illustrations which lists 1,714 herbs.


' '

Zhiwu Mingshi Tukao Zhangbian (Collected Compilation of Plants With Illustrations)
This text compiled herbal information from previous classics, a total of 838 herbs were listed.

1852 Wang Mengying

Wenre Jingwei (Compendium of Epidemic Febrile Diseases)
It is an important reference for wenbing management, and also a commentary for wenbing theory.


' '

Wangshi Yian (Wang's Case Studies)
The author describes his successful cases on wenbing and miscellaneous types of disease in detail.

1863 Fei Boxiong

Yicun Shengyi (Supplementary Notions of Medical Experience)
The author wrote about chronic diseases according to his experiences, and created many of his own prescriptions as well.

1864 Wu Shangxian

Liyue Pianwen (Therapeutics With External Administration)
The writer advocated using external therapies for treatment. In this book, he collects a vast variety of remedies and experiences about external treatments.

1865 Fei Boxiong

Yifanglun (Discourses on Prescriptions)
The writer stressed drugs should be prescribed according to proper diagnosis; he is against the abuse of commonly used prescriptions that cover a broad range of illnesses.

1877 Pan Wei

Nuke Yaolue (Summary on Obstetrics and Gynecology)
This book discussed familiar women diseases in a concise and systematic way.



"College for Medical Practice" was set up in Tianjin, indicating that the Chinese formally established it's own education program for western medicine.

1882 Lei Feng

Shibinglun (Treatise on Seasonal Diseases)
A treatise on seasonal diseases including their causes, pathology, symptoms and diagnosis. The author also outlined some self-created therapeutic methods and prescriptions.

1884 Tang Zonghai

Zhongxi Huitong Yishu Wuzhong (Five Medical Works on Linking up Traditional Chinese with Western Medicine)
The author advocated the idea of Sino-Western convergence and communication in medicine. It was as early text on this topic.


Tang Zonghai

Xuezhenglun (Treatise on Blood Syndromes)
A commentary on blood syndromes.

1889 Zhang Zhenjun

Lizheng Anmo Yaoshu (Revised Standards on Massage Manipulations)
This book introduced different massage manipulations and illustrated the acu-point selection and manipulations of child massage.

1892 Ma Peizhi

Weike Chuanxinji (Lineage of Studies on Surgical Diseases)
This book accumulated a wealth of experience in surgical and skin diseases such as pyogenic infections and skin ulcers.

  Zhu Peiwen

Huayang Zangxiang Yuezuan (A Combination of Chinese and Western Anatomy Illustration)
The writer illustrated organs according to both Chinese and Western concepts with added commentary.

1901 Zheng Xiaoyan

Shuyi Yuebian (A Concise Book in Plagues)
A treatise on the treatment and prevention of plagues, enclosed with successful case studies and proven prescriptions.


Zheng Xiaoyan

Weiyao Tiaobian (Analysis of Fake Drugs)
The book revises and classifies formulary according to different dosage forms. It also testifies to various erroneously reported medicines.

1912 The Kuomingtang government Wang Daxie, the Minister of Health, was one of the first officials to call for the abolition of Chinese medicine.

VII. Revolutions in The Recent Hundred-year
Modern China ( 1912 AD ~ ):

Time Important People / Authors Texts / Events
1914 The Northern Warlord government

Abolishment of traditional Chinese medicine was proposed, but was strongly opposed by people working in TCM and pharmacy all over the country.

1921 Xie Guan

Dictionary of Chinese Medicine
This book collects 70,000 entries on TCM phrases, terms, prominent physicians and Chinese medicine texts.

1922 Yun Tieqiao

Qunjing Jianzhilu (Intelligent Notions on Medical Classics)
A commentary on medical classics.

1909-24 Zhang Xichun

Yixue Zhongzhong Canxilu (Records of Traditional Chinese in Combination with Western Medicine)
The writer advocates for integration of Eastern and Western medicines; some of his comments are quite distinctive.

1924 Yun Tieqiao

Shanghanlun Yanjiu (Study on Shanghanlun)
Based on the viewpoints of Sino-Western convergence, the writer notes, revises and elucidates the original content of the Shanghanlun (Treatise on Cold-induced Diseases).

1925 The Kuomingtang government

Chinese medicine courses were prohibited from being included in medical schools.

1929 The Kuomingtang government

A proposal written by Yu Ai and Wang Qizang, entitled "A Case for the Abolishment of the Old Medicine to Thoroughly Eliminate Public Health Obstacles," was passed in the first congress of the Central Ministry of Health. This pushed the TCM abolition movement to its peak.


Meanwhile, TCM workers and pharmacies throughout the country went on strike, which resulted in the resolution being forced to be abandoned.

1931 -

"Central College of Chinese Medicine" was founded, which aimed to modernize TCM.

1933 Wu Bingyao

Zhenjiu Zuanyao (An Edited Essence on Acupuncture and Moxibustion)
This book introduces acu-point selection for moxibustion and acupuncture and attaches anatomy and color illustrations of meridians and acu-points.

1935 Chen Cunren

Chinese Pharmaceutical Encyclopaedia

1936 The Kuomingtang government

"The Chinese Medicine Ordinance" was issued, which was very discriminatory against TCM.

  Cao Pingzhang

Zhongguo Yixue Dacheng (A Great Collection of Chinese Medicine Book)
This medical series collects most of the important classics from the second to the 20th century.

1950 The People's Republic of China government

The First National Conference on Health was held and determined that future medical policy would combine Chinese and Western medicine.

1955 -

The Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine was founded.

1956 -

TCM Colleges were established again in the big cities like Chengdu, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.


Full-time training courses for Western doctors to study TCM were launched.

1962 -

A first edition textbook for TCM education, approved by the government and TCM experts, was published for TCM colleges.

1964 -

A second edition textbook for TCM colleges was published.

1980 The Ministry of Public Health

The Ministry established a national guideline for the development of Chinese and Western medicine, and for their long-term co-existence, and integreation into China's healthcare system.


The Traditional Chinese Medicine Publishing House was founded.

1985 -

The National Bureau of Chinese Medicine Administration was founded.

1986 -

Chinese Qigong Science Research Association was founded.

1987 -

The Joint Society of World Acupuncture and Moxibustion Science was founded in Beijing.


  1. Dominique Hoizey & Marie-Joseph Hoizey, translated by Paul Bailey. A History of Chinese Medicine. Edinburgh University Press Ltd 1993.
  2. State Administration of TCM. Advanced Textbook on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology. New World Press 1995.
  3. 甄志亞 主編《中國醫學史》上海科學技術出版社1997.


Compiled and Edited by:

Angela Collingwood, MSN, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.
Lawrence Lau, Ph.D., Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.
Rose Tse, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.