The Medicinal Uses Of Food In China Health Essay

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There are three chief lines of concluding for reasoning that nutrient was medicative. First, nutrient was required to keep wellness. Second, nutrient was used to protract and heighten life, such in yangsheng ( self-education ) civilization. Third, nutrient was straight able to bring around disease.
The ingestion of a balanced diet, with appropriate sums of different nutrients, was recognised as of import for wellbeing ( Unschuld, 1986 p.205 ) . Different types of nutrients were therefore ascribed different maps. Cereals, for illustration, nourished and sustained life ( Sabban, 2000 p.1166 ) . Undoubtedly, the assignment of a cardinal function to cereals such as rice was influenced by the fact that it was already the most normally eaten nutrient among Chinese people ( Sabban, 2000 p.1166 ) .
As thoughts about chi and systems of correspondence coalesced, they were extended to nutrient to formalize and rationalize its healthfulness within the model and nomenclature of Chinese philosophical and medical thoughts. A combination of empiricist philosophy and correlate thought allowed nutrient to be consistently classified. From the seventh century, nutrient points had distinguishable effects on the organic structure based on their their Wei ( sapor ) and qi ( Lo & A ; Barrett, 2005 p.397 ) . By the eighteenth century, each Wei ( rancid, acrimonious, sweet, pungent or salty ) ( Anderson, 1988 p.189 ) was associated with one of the wuxing and correspondingly to an organ ( lungs, lien, kidneys, liver or bosom ) ; while chis indicated the foodi??s thermostatic qualities of hot, warm, impersonal, cool or cold ( Lo, 2005 p.164 ) . It is utile to observe at this point that Chinese medical historiographers translate Wei as i??sapori?? instead than i??flavouri?? to underscore its medical instead than culinary and aesthetic intensions ( Lo, 2005 p.164 ) . Indeed, Wei transcended mere flavour in finding the nutritionary value of nutrient. Flavourless nutrients, for illustration, could hold the most qi and nourish the most distant ascendants ( Lo, 2005 p.163 ) . Yuan Mei ( 1716-1797 ) warned in his cookery book Sui kwai shi dan ( Recipes from the garden of contentment ) against destructing the spirit of nutrient with luxuriant flavorer ( Lo, 2005 p.163 ) although it is unsure whether he was more interested in the medical or aesthetic disadvantages of over-seasoning. A warning that strongly-flavoured nutrient was uneffective in nurturing the organic structure was besides found in the more medical context of Yinshan zhengyao ( Proper and indispensable things for the Emperori??s nutrient and drink ) , presented to the Mongol Emperor by Hu Sihui in 1330 ( Buell & A ; Anderson, 2000 p.261 ) . This was a cooking text that blended Mongol nutrient and Muslim spice in formulas grounded in the latest Chinese medical theories of the clip ( Buell & A ; Anderson, 2000 p.130 ) .
Careful reconciliation of the wuwei ( five sapors ) brought the five zang variety meats in harmoniousness and maintained chis and shen ( Unschuld, 1986 p.213 ) . This was in conformity with theories underlining the building of the systems of correspondence that worlds should endeavor toward the resonance of their microcosmic organic structure with natural, macrocosmic procedures ( Sivin, 1995 p.26 ) . Zhouli ( Rites of the Zhou ) presented the first written illustration of a seasonal regimen for eating. It advocated, for illustration, the ingestion of hot nutrient during the hot season ( Unschuld, 1986 p.206 ) . While homeopathic concluding may non be as well-recognised in Chinese systems of correspondence as allopathic logic, it does represent yinyang theory, which specifies that when an extreme is reached, it transforms into its antonym ( Lo, 2011b p.16 ) . This may reflect an application of correlate thought to empirical observations that hot nutrient promotes perspiration, which in bend cools the organic structure. Furthermore, that dietary doctors tasked with equilibrating nutrients harmonizing to the season in Zhouli were seen as the highest category of medical forces ( Anderson, 1988 p.187 ) serves to underscore the importance of nutrient within Chinese medical civilization. Huangdi neijing ( Yellow Emperori??s canon of internal medical specialty ) , the sacred medical text underpinning elect Chinese medical specialty, was besides concerned with diet and promoted a seasonal regimen for eating based on allopathic rules to keep wellness ( Unschuld, 2003 p.299 ) . Chinese writers argued that eating should non be about hearty cravings for nutrient and imbibe but about nurturing chi to keep wellness ( Unschuld, 1986 p.213 ) . Today, thoughts about the healthfulness of nutrient are besides validated by Western medical thoughts. Green tea, for illustration, was long believed to be good and, among other things, promote watchfulness and contribute to length of service ; many of these claims have been validated by Western medical research ( Simoons, 1991 p.447 ) .
However, as Sun Simiao noted in his Shizhi i?? … even nutrient has positive and negative aspectsi?? ( Unschuld, 1986 p.209 ) . While it could assist to keep wellness, the incorrect nutrient could take to illness. Knowledge of what nutrients to avoid was hence besides of import to keep wellness. This cognition was available in shijin ( nutritionary interdictions ) . These were frequently extrapolated from almanac literature. Correspondingly, many nutrient tabus were concerned with finding auspicious or unfortunate times, based on cosmic regularities such as the lunar rhythm, to match the ingestion of certain nutrients to these times ( Lo, 2005 p.178-9 ) . For illustration, one Qin farmer’s calendar stipulated that i??When on ren and gui yearss there is unwellness… It is gotten through vino and splinters of dried and fresh meat served with vegetable and meat saucei?? ( Lo, 2005 p.179 ) . Avoiding such nutrient on the prescribed yearss would guarantee the care of wellness. Such interdictions besides pervaded other facets of medical literature ; this highlights how nutrient and medical specialty were capable to the same influences. Some nutrient and food-drugs that should be eaten warily were described as du, a step of non merely their high medical efficaciousness but besides their ability to toxicant ( Lo, 2005 p.172 ) . Some du nutrients were straight toxic if eaten, while others, such as uncastrated male domestic fowl, could potentiate toxicants in the organic structure of the consumer ( Anderson, 1988 p.195 ) . Like other nutrients, the categorization of du nutrients was likely based on both sympathetic resonance and empirical observation. For illustration, certain seafood points may hold been prohibited after an allergic reaction such as urtications was observed in response to its ingestion ( Anderson, 1988 p.195 ) .
FOOD WAS USED TO PROLONG AND ENHANCE LIFE. In this manner, nutrient was connected to yangsheng civilization. The readying and ingestion of certain nutrients intertwined with techniques that aimed to widen life beyond its normal lifetime, or to accomplish immortality ( xian ) . For illustration, Ancestor Peng, who reputedly lived for over 900 old ages, and his followings renounced eating grains ( Lo, 2001a p.2 ; Harper, 1998 p.113 ) . Yangsheng Fang ( Recipes for fostering life ) , a text from Mawangdui, described quasi-culinary prescriptions, such as pick beef sliced thinly and thrice-cooked with yam, to buoy up the organic structure and increase chi ( Harper, 1998 p. 345 ) . One of the early enchiridion on nurturing life, Zhang Zhani??s ( Florida. fourth century ) Yangsheng yaoji, recommended suited diets for length of service based on the consequence of different nutrients ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.175 ) . Sun Simiao explained how the sage employed nutrient to continue his nature and widen his life:
The five grains provide nutriment ( yang ) , the five fruits provide support ( zhu ) , the [ meats of the ] five domestic animate beings provide augmentation ( Lolo ) , and the five veggies provide completion ( chong ) , therefore uniting chi and sapors in the diet in order to refill the kernel and to augment the qi [ of the organic structure ] . ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.180 )
Merely if nutrient was unsuccessful did he fall back to drugs to prolong life ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.181 ) . Sun Simiaoi??s audience was unequivocally medical, farther illustrating that nutrient was placed within a medical context to function a medical intent. For illustration, Sun Simiao borrowed from Tao Hongjingi??s ( 452-536AD ) pharmacological categorization of drugs in the latteri??s Bencao jing jizhu ( Annotated aggregation of the pharmaceutical canon ) and correspondingly organised nutrient points into three classs ( Lo & A ; Barrett, 2005 p.406-7 ) . The highest category of nutrients, i??rulersi?? , were utile in beef uping the organic structure or advancing length of service ( Unschuld, 2003 p.32 ) . Meng Shan ( 621-713 ) , the writer of Buyang Fang ( Prescriptions to make full and nurture ) and his follower Zhang Ding, who expanded Buyang fang into Shiliao bencao ( Materia medica for successful remedies through nutrition ) in the early eighth century, were associated with Daoist circles that were concerned with length of service ( Unschuld, 1986 p.208 ) . In subsequent old ages, the most of import transitions of their plants were adopted into the chief bencao ( pharmacological ) tradition while the remainder were lost ( Unschuld, 1986 p.210 ) ; nutrient was hence progressively integrated into the medical tradition. Yinshan zhengyao had long piece of lands on length of service and shijin based on constructs of charming correspondence interspersed with its formulas ( Buell & A ; Anderson, 2000 p.14 ; Unschuld, 1986 p.216 ) . For illustration, a formula for Golden Marrow Concentrate utilizing Chinese marriage vine fruits i??extends life and amplifies length of service… . If taken for a long clip, white hair becomes black once more. It counteracts old age and restores youthi?? ( Buell & A ; Anderson, 2000 p.397 ) . Food was besides seen to be utile in heightening life outside traditional yangsheng texts. Increasing chi was perceived to be of import, particularly since unwellness could be caused by its depletion ( Unschuld, 2010 p.74 ) . Huangdi neijing held that when nutrient of appropriate combinations of Wei and chi were consumed, i??they serve to supplement the kernel, and to enrich the qii?? ( Unschuld, 2003 p.300 ) .
FOOD WAS THERAPEUTIC. The usage of nutrient to remedy diseases was sometimes based on empirical observations and sympathetic resonance instead than established within theoretical models. Although Huangdi neijing prescribed nutrients for certain diseases, these were non fitted into the systems of correspondence or theoretically associated with the bodyi??s conduits or physiology ( Unschuld, 2003 p.294 ; p.296 ) . The usage of some nutrients as drugs may hold been derived from test and mistake in the kitchen ( Lo, 2005 p.170 ) . Some prescriptions in Yinshan zhengyao were based on sympathetic thaumaturgy and common people believes. For illustration, a soup that included cervid pess was believed to bring around pes aching and inability to walk ( Buell & A ; Anderson, 2000 p.417 ) . Many bu ( beef uping ) nutrients in Chinese medical specialty were likewise based on sympathetic thaumaturgy ; walnut meats have a repute for beef uping the encephalon because they resemble the encephalon ( Anderson, 1988 p.192 ) . Theories were hence non required to make up one’s mind which drugs were effectual ( Harper, 1998 p.103 ) . Indeed, even if sympathetic resonance prompted a foodi??s usage for healing, the nutrient point may hold continued to be prescribed when it was proven effectual. Sheepi??s blood, for illustration, would likely hold helped to alleviate symptoms that would be today recognised as associated with anemia ( Buell & A ; Anderson, 2000 p.532 ) .
There was a gradual development of a theoretical footing for the usage of nutrient. Sun Simiaoi??s Shizhi, by citing from classical medical theories in the Lingshu and Suwen of the Huangdi neijing, sought to rationalize dietetics within the traditional model of medical specialty ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.179 ) . Sun Simiao besides linked the belongingss of nutrient, such as Wei and chi, to their consequence in the oral cavity and organic structure severally ( Unschuld, 1986 p.210 ) . Foods with i??heatingi?? chi, for illustration, were non needfully hot but had a heating consequence on the organic structure. They could hold a combustion consequence on the tegument, like ginger, or raise organic structure heat, likely since they were high in Calories ( Anderson, 1988 p.19 ) . The systemisation of dietetics allowed medical professionals to logically adjust diets for specific unwellnesss. For illustration, fever, a i??heatingi?? unwellness, was treated with chilling nutrients that did lower the organic structure temperature while diarrhea, a i??coolingi?? unwellness, was treated by retreating chilling nutrients such as H2O and veggies ( Anderson, 1988 p.191 ) . Yinyang theory besides pervaded Lu Hei??s Shiwu bencao ( Materia medica of nutrition ) ( mid-16th century ) . He recommended eating yin nutrients during unwellnesss since many diseases were due to the depletion of yin and correspondingly made mentions to whether nutrients were yin or yang in their description ( Unschuld, 1986 pp.222-3 ) .Yinshan zhengyao, for illustration, observed that nutrients with acrid Weis such as ginger and Allium sativum had effects on the organic structure such as uncluttering mucous secretion ; correspondingly acrid nutrients must bring on scattering and ejection motions in the bodyi??s lung and big bowel jingmai ( channels ) ( Lo & A ; Barrett, 2005 p.398 ) . As in any Chinese medical tradition, balance and restraint was of import. Huangdi neijing warned that in partaking each Wei, i??Do non allow [ the patient ] eat big quantitiesi?? since an surplus could take to illness ( Unschuld, 2003 p.301 ) . Overindulgence in sweet nutrient, for illustration, damaged the flesh ( Buell & A ; Anderson, 2000 p.410 ) .
Sun Simiao believed that dietary drugs were superior to non-food drugs since they were effectual against all afflictions, while the latter were excessively powerful to be used safely in certain unwellnesss ( Unschuld, 1986 p.206 ) . The best medical professional, i?? … holding found out the cause of the disease, he tries to bring around it foremost by nutrient. When nutrient fails, so he prescribes medicinei?? ( Unschuld, 1986 p.205 ) . Shizhi tongshou ( Treatise on dietary methods of intervention ) ( twelfth century ) likewise emphasised that i??when nutrient is in order, the organic structure is besides in order. This constitutes the art of the best practicians to handle unwellnesss… [ my accent ] i?? ( Unschuld 1986, p.213 ) . The differentiation between i??foodi?? and i??drugi?? may be hard to spot. The assortment of sub-cultures within China exacerbates this job. Yinshen zhengyao, for illustration, emphasised northern dishes and included among its day-to-day repasts some nutrient points that were merely used in South China for medicines ( Unschuld, 1986 p.219 ) . Class differences may besides befog the difference. For illustration, ginseng is called Yue ( medical specialty ) but it is normally eaten by those who can afford it ( Anderson, 1988 p.193 ) . At the same clip, other texts warned i??Potent quinine waters as they are, ginseng… should be taken merely in little doses and over long periods of clip. In other words, they should be treated as medical specialty non as foodi?? ( Lo, 2005 p.178 ) . However, alternatively of perplexing the treatment this ambiguity merely serves to foster exemplify how thoughts about nutrient and medical specialty are entwined.
Such web persists since nutrient continues to be used therapeutically. In one survey, Kleinman ( 1980 p.186 ) found that in 93 % of unwellnesss, Chinese people altered their diets ; this was normally the first self-medicating measure taken. Curative teashops in Chengdu and Hangzhou, which started selling basic curative soups with Chinese medical specialty, became popular tourer hangouts selling alien nutrient points with purported medicative effects. Today, they are normally non medically-oriented despite holding staff to rede clients what to eat, but they do function to foreground the popular association of nutrient with medical specialty ( Lo, 2011b p.15 ) .
Yet dietetics and medical specialty were non ever entwined. First, there was a separate dietetics tradition that was appreciated for non-medical grounds. Second, medical therapy besides encompassed other interventions such as stylostixis, moxibustion and pharmacological medicine ; merely the the latter will be briefly outlined in the involvements of brevity. Since the differentiation between i??foodi?? and i??drugi?? has been shown to be equivocal, this essay will see non-food drugs to be those readyings that are more overtly non-aesthetic and non-culinary. Finally, it may be argued that nutrient was merely seen as medicative within the elite.
THERE WAS A DISTINCT NON-MEDICAL DIETETICS TRADITION. Cookbooks dating to Han ( 206BC-220AD ) , such as the 300 fragmented bamboo strips from the grave of Wu Yang ( d. 162BC ) at Huxishan, were more concerned with polishing the gustatory sensation and presentation of the nutrient than with its medical belongingss ( Lo, 2005 p.171 ) . The extant formulas reveal that the elite valued a varied diet with different ingredients and methods of readying ( Lo & A ; Barrett, 2005 p.402 ) . From the Sui period ( 581-618AD ) , cookbook collection was a common activity for the literati ( Lo, 2005 p.171 ) . Dietary texts were of import adequate to be listed in imperial bibliographical treatises. For illustration, the Hanshu ( History of the former Han dynasty ) listed merely Shennong Huangdi shijin ( Shennongi??s and Huangdii??s nutritionary interdictions ) . The figure of rubrics about nutrient increased to at least 20 by the Suishui ( History of the Sui dynasty ) ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.174 ) . Despite being classified under the medical tradition, some of the shijin, shijing ( culinary classics ) and shifang ( culinary redresss ) books were culinary-oriented cookery books ( Lo & A ; Barrett, 2005 p.402 ) . One illustration was Cui Haoi??s ( d. 450 ) Cui Hao shijing, a presentation of his motheri??s remembrances of assorted nutrients and their readying ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.174-5 ) . The Chinese elect therefore valued nutrient for more than its medical or alimentary value. Alternatively, nutrient and culinary delicacy was celebrated as it was believed to show onei??s virtuousness in every sense of the word ( Lo, 2005 p.168 ) .
PHARMACOLOGY WAS NOT ALWAYS BASED ON FOOD. Wushii??er bingfang ( 52 Remedies ) from Mawangdui combined non merely nutrient but besides common herbs, body waste, land insects and other substances in simple readyings to mend specific unwellnesss ( Harper, 1998 p.99 ) . Harmonizing to Huang ( 1990 ) , these prescriptions could be passed off as dishes eaten at a everyday repast ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.173 ) . However, I believe that since some of the readyings contained irregular stuff such as body waste, they were likely based on magico-religious theories and non culinary experience and therefore improbable to be widely enjoyed as nutrient. Furthermore, they were communicated to interested readers utilizing advanced and proficient nomenclature ( Unschuld, 2003 p.286 ) .
One of import extant pharmacological text is Su Jingi??s Xiuxiu bencao ( Newly revised bencao ) ( 659AD ) , which supplemented Bencao jing jizhu at the terminal of the Tang dynasty ( 618-907AD ) . This text included merely a few more drugs from Indian and Arabian states, but it became the official footing for pharmacological intervention as portion of rigorous functionary Tang ordinances regulating the usage of medicative drugs due to heightened consciousness of their dangers ( Engelhardt, 2001 p.178 ) . I believe that this ordinance implies that Chinese medical professionals who followed authorities ordinances more normally prescribed drugs from this official text alternatively of trusting on materia dietetica and seting their patientsi?? diets. If this premise was true, it would intend that nutrient was sometimes marginalised from the medical tradition.
However, I believe that even these seemingly distinguishable pharmacological texts mostly drew from and contributed to materia dietetica. As mentioned, Bencao jing jizhu inspired Sun Simiaoi??s influential categorization of nutrient by supplying the model for the medically-oriented administration of nutrient points. Another text that highlights this rich mutuality is Li Shizhen ( 1518-1593 ) i??s Bencao gangmu, which consistently classified 1892 substances, including workss, animate beings and parts of the human organic structure, based on 932 historical beginnings. In this text, nutrient played an of import function in an explicitly medical context. As in many other pharmacological texts, the medicative belongingss of nutrient points and the indicants and prohibitions of their combinations harmonizing to the wuwei and medical authorities were discussed ( Unschuld, 1986 p.152 ) . Bencao gangmu was besides important in being a pharmacological text that emphasised culinary aesthetics. There was concern for the spirit ( non needfully wei ) and texture of the medical readyings. Gerbil meat, for illustration, was i??extremely lush and delightful, and chips like suckling pigi?? ( Lo, 2005 p.175 ) . Indeed, Bengcao gangmu merely continued a tradition of pulling from the culinary humanistic disciplines in pharmacological techniques ( Lo, 2005 p.176 ) . Many of the formulas in Wushii??er bingfang did utilize culinary methods of readying and ingredients. This, nevertheless, does non intend that they were tantamount to nutrient ; they were clearly distinguished as medicative redresss and non repasts: i??Drink before feeding or after eating as you wish… i?? ( Harper, 1998 p.254 ) .
FOOD WAS USUALLY USED AS MEDICINE ONLY BY THE ELITE. Before Song ( 960-1279AD ) , the contrasting wonts of the rich and hapless were seldom commented upon ( Sabban, 2000 p.1167 ) and there is small apprehension of the day-to-day diet of the hapless. However, it is non unreasonable to believe that they simply structured their diet around simple and inexpensive cereals and were seldom concerned with expensive and punctilious regimens based on seasons or systems of correspondence. This would be consistent with Chinese tradition of frugalness in feeding ( Simoons, 1991 p.18 ) .One contemplation that medicative dietetics was aimed at the elite may be discerned from Yinshu ( Pulling book ) ( second century BC ) , a manual of curative exercising within the yangsheng tradition favoured by largely the elite ( Harper, 1998 p.111 ) . This already implies that the book, and accordingly the seasonal dietetic regimen that it specified, was written for elect society. Yinshu advocated eating more veggies in the summer, but in the fall, indulgence was allowed: i??In feeding and imbibing your fill indulge the bodyi??s desires.i?? Whenever the organic structure is nourished and derives comfort from it i?? this is the manner of nourishmenti?? ( Lo, 2005 p.168 ) . Indulgence, normally considered a wickedness so serious it could convey down a dynasty ( Simoons, 1991 p.18 ) , was tolerated as portion of the enlightened gentlemani??s micro-management of his wellness regimen ( Lo, 2005 p.168 ) . Similarly, Yinshan zhengyao stated that model work forces did non trim disbursal in structuring their diet ( Unschuld, 1986 p.213 ) , but the hapless likely could non afford to shower money on nutrient. That Yinshan zhengyao was meant for the usage of the Mongol Emperor himself farther underscores how medicative dietetics was likely the horizon of the elite. Some drugs, such as outstanding bu nutrients like birdi??s nest and sharki??s five, were unusual and expensive and hence likely to be merely afforded by the elite ( Simoons, 1991 p.25 ) .
However, it is possible that while the poorer population did non stiffly construction their diet harmonizing to medico-philosophical theories, they still drew upon dietetics. For illustration, it has been mentioned that altering a diet is normally the first measure taken in self-medication during unwellness. Indeed, this would hold likely been a inexpensive manner to seek to handle disease. Furthermore, Wu Ruii??s ( ca. 1330 ) Riyong bencao ( Materia medica for day-to-day usage ) was written for the larger population. It non merely described mundane nutrients peculiarly suited to forestalling and bring arounding disease, but besides set this within the elect theoretical medical model by depicting belongingss such as chi and Wei ( Unschuld, 1986 p.220 ) .
In decision, nutrient and medical specialty in China have shared a rich relationship. It may be easy to presume, in the survey of traditional Chinese medical specialty, that nutrient played a subservient function compared to more celebrated techniques such as stylostixis or alien pharmaceuticals. However, while Chinese medical specialty is non entirely based on nutrient, dietetics has played an of import function and has contributed to and drawn from medical theories. Indeed, nutrient has enjoyed a high place in Chinese society, while the elect medical tradition has been more frequently viewed with contempt. To simply see nutrient through the prism of medical specialty would be to disregard its wider cultural and societal importance within non merely Chinese medical specialty but besides Chinese society.

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