Cover image for An Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels: Acupuncture, Alchemy, and Herbal Medicine
502 pages, 7" x 10"
Smyth-sewn softcover
ISBN: 0-939616-69-6
978-0-939616-69-5

An Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels: Acupuncture, Alchemy, and Herbal Medicine

Book
Price: $45.00

Description

Li Shi-Zhen’s Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels (Qi jing ba mai kao) is among the most remarkable texts in the Chinese medical literature. Bringing together writings on acupuncture, herbal medicine, and internal cultivation (nei dan), it argues that aspiring adepts and physicians alike must understand the full scope of the extraordinary vessels if they hope to achieve their respective goals. 

Although the Exposition is a cornerstone of the extraordinary vessel literature, it is rarely, if ever, considered on its own terms. Li’s approach to extraordinary vessel acupuncture and herbal medicine reflects a perspective that differs considerably from the strategies familiar to most modern readers. His work on the extraordinary vessels is every bit as innovative in its own milieu as his other seminal writings, Pulse Studies of the Lakeside [Recluse] (Bin-Hu mai xue) and Comprehensive Outline of the Materia Medica (Ben cao gang mu), are in theirs.

This volume is the first translation of and commentary on the Exposition published in English, and it is among the most comprehensive discussions of the text available in any language. It is divided into five parts. Part I provides an introductory overview of the main themes running throughout the text: theory, acupuncture, herbal medicine, internal alchemy, and pulse diagnosis. Part II contains the Chinese text and translation of the Exposition itself. Part III presents extensive commentaries on the text, and Part IV discusses the influence of Li Shi-Zhen’s extraordinary vessel writings on subsequent pre-modern and modern physicians. Part V consists of appendices containing tables of herbs, prescriptions, acupuncture holes, and the people and books mentioned in the Exposition. There is also an extensive bibliography, point/hole and herb/formula index, and general index.

Read an excerpt (PDF)

Contents

Part I Preliminaries

  • Introduction Biographical Sketch of Li Shi-Zhen 
  • Theoretical Considerations 
  • Li Shi-Zhen’s Extraordinary Vessel Acupuncture 
  • Herbal Considerations 
  • Keeping to the One: Internal Alchemy in Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels 
  • An Overview of Extraordinary Vessel Pulse Diagnosis


Part II Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels

  • Prefaces 
  • An Overview of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels 
  • The Eight Vessels 
  • The Yin Wei Vessel 
  • The Yang Wei Vessel 
  • Diseases of the Two Wei 
  • The Yin Qiao Vessel 
  • The Yang Qiao Vessel 
  • Diseases of the Two Qiao 
  • The Chong Vessel 
  • Diseases of the Chong Vessel 
  • The Ren Vessel 
  • Diseases of the Ren Vessel 
  • The Du Vessel 
  • Diseases of the Du Vessel 
  • The Dai Vessel 
  • Diseases of the Dai Vessel 
  • The Pulses of the Nine Pathways of the Qi Opening 
  • An Explanation of Pronunciation


Part III Commentary on Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels

  • On the Overview of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels 
  • On the Eight Vessels 
  • On the Wei Vessels 
  • On Diseases of the Two Wei 
  • On the Qiao Vessels 
  • On Diseases of the Two Qiao 
  • On the Chong Vessel
  • On Diseases of the Chong Vessel 
  • On Diseases of the Ren Vessel 
  • On the Du Vessel 
  • On Diseases of the Du Vessel 
  • On the Dai Vessel 
  • On Diseases of the Dai Vessel 
  • On the Pulses of the Extraordinary Vessels


Part IV Legacy of Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels

  • Along the Grand Thoroughfare: Luo Dong-Yi’s Vision of Extraordinary Vessel Function 
  • Ye Tian-Shi’s Contributions to Extraordinary Vessel Therapeutics 
  • Shen Jin-Ao’s Contributions to Extraordinary Vessel Therapeutics 
  • Modern Extraordinary Vessel Case Records 
  • Vessels Wide Shut: Li Shi-Zhen’s Qiao Vessel Pathodynamics 
  • Master Hu’s Process: The Seeds of Internal Cultivation through the Extraordinary Vessels


Part V Appendices

  • Acupuncture Holes of the Extraordinary Vessels 
  • Extraordinary Vessel Herbal Formulas 
  • Single Medicinals Entering the Extraordinary Vessels 
  • Li Shi-Zhen’s Synopsis of Extraordinary Vessel Pulses from Pulse Studies of the Lakeside Master 
  • Editions of Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels 
  • People and Texts Appearing in Exposition on the Eight Extraordinary Vessels

 

  • Notes 
  • Bibiliography 
  • Herb and formula index 
  • Hole/point index 
  • General index

Reviews

"Chace and Shima suggest that Li [Shi-Zhen] reflected the mindset of his times, one of 'inquiry, of testing and questioning the suppositions of previous ages'. Whilst this may have been the case it was clearly expedited with the greatest of respect to his sources. These same respectful qualities pervade this book, gently and dutifully turning the stones but yet still asking open and penetrating questions of what is found beneath. . This [book] constitutes both a major milestone and signpost, and can be heartily recommended as both."
—Merlin Young, The Journal of Chinese Medicine