History of Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back more than 5000 years ago. As it comprises of herbs and plants, these vegetations has been on this planet for more than 130 million years. The usage of herbal plants to treat illness came about from the observation of animals that treats itself after consuming plants. Chinese history records shows the use of plants with medicinal properties dating back more than 5,000 years ago. Chinese were known to practice extensively on the usage of herbs and many illness were known to have cured in a short time. Herbal grass seeds were also used in the making of dried noodles as food as it has medicinal value and also it can be kept for years was one form of overcoming famine due to drought or flooding. The most popular Chinese legendary figures to fully uses Traditional Chinese Medicines was one divine farmer known as Shen Nong 神农 or Yandi while the other respective figure was Huang Di 黄帝 (was born as Gongsun Xuanyuan popularly known as the Yellow Emperor) a legendary Chinese ruler and cultural hero, reigned from 2598 to 2696 BC. Back in olden days, the health and spirit of an emperor depends greatly on the advice and service of his court's physician, Qi Bao. Together with Qi Bao, Huang Di studied the art of healing and later wrote and compiled a journal known as "The Yellow Emperor's Medicine".
During ancient time, medicinal records were written on scrolls of bamboo blinds and stacked up for reference. Not all students are accepted immediately. They have to go through many years of apprenticeship before accepted as a disciple. During the years as an apprentice he has to do chores such as collecting herbs, sorting herbs and also cutting up bamboo plants (as below) into smaller sticks and binding closely together into scrolls. These scrolls are used similar to writing pad except in this case, a bamboo ink pen is used.
During these years the master would observe his students and only when the students has shown maturity will he be accepted.
The only known 'doctors' back then were those who practice the extensive usage of herbal plants. These 'doctors' were known as 'Sinseh' 中醫師 and they were very much in demand and were well rewarded for their profession. It was also the most highly respected profession back then as well as in modern time.
As treatment involves life only learned physicians are allowed to treat patients and if anyone caught imposing as a physician, they would be punish in court. Back in the olden days people were honest as the consequences for cheating or involvement in criminal activities, the punishment can sometimes lead to death sentence. Moreover, it is not easy to be a fake sinseh as most Chinese in the olden days have basic knowledge on herbalism. Even in modern day, it is not easy to fool someone if one is not trained to be a sinseh as the relationship between patients and sinseh are close and new patients are normally referred by other patients that had been cured by the sinseh.
This is how a court looks like in the olden days. Punishment are severe and any crime that is deemed to cause harm to the Emperor will be met with death penalty.
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