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History of Eugenics Thoughts in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Author: JiangWenYue
Tutor: LuZhaoZuo
School: Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Course: Of Chinese Medicine
Keywords: History of TCM eugenics thoughts Fetus education fetus nurture
CLC: R271
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 465
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Abstract


“Eugenics”refers to the prevention for guaranteeing health offspring prior to birth. In recent years, ever-increasing body of evidence showed that poor development of fetus was the main cause of offspring’s chronic diseases and abnormal constitution. Such evidence makes people re-evaluate the role of eugenics in modern genetics. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM ) has a long history of emphasizing prevention. Efforts started from gestation for keeping fetus health is the earliest prevention of treating“disease root”. China is the earliest country for advocating fetus education, which is an important part of eugenics. Eugenics has a close relationships with various TCM theories such as“Bing fu”(“bing”means“accepting”or“inheritance”,“fu”means“sending”or“transmission”) constitution, fetal origins of diseases, kidney governing congenital constitution,et al. Theories and methods like“Planting seeding”or“increasing reproduction”in TCM gynecology, obstetrics and pediatrics contain rich and unique eugenics thoughts. Though many articles and some books have already explored this area, most of them are general discussion for non-professional readers, or just focused on one specific work or TCM expert. So, thorough examination and systemizing is wanted in this area. This paper centers on eugenics thoughts in TCM, and searched and collected related information and materials, which are analyzed by sorts in order to discover the historical background and thinking basis behind those eugenic measures and viewpoints. In the meantime, the thesis tends to reveal the source of TCM eugenics thoughts and its evolvement in history. In brief, the purposes of this research are to answer two questions: what are the thoughts guiding TCM eugenics measures? How are those thoughts evolved in ancient TCM works during different dynasties?1. Research contents and MethodsMaterials related with eugenics were extracted from existing TCM masterpieces (especially gynecology, obstetrics and pediatrics) before 1911, the foundation of republic of China. The thoughts were then further sorted (see details below ) and each theme is analyzed chronologically for discovering the source of every thought and its development in the following generations. The eugenics thoughts are also discussed in the context of advancement of modern medicine and eugenics.The content includes 3 parts. In other words, the paper’s structure is arranged in three periods around gestation. That is pregestational, conception and gestational period. What actors in these 3 periods can affect the fetal development in TCM theory and what are the beliefs and thoughts behind the measures and viewpoints. The first part discussed the relation between mate selection and eugenics, including mate’s age, consanguinity, constitution. The emphasis is laid on the correlation between parental constitution and offspring’s constitution. The second part is about conception choice and eugenics. It discussed the choices of time, environment factors of mating, the couples’physiological, psychological and emotional state, and their effects on fetus. The third discusses the fetus nurture and eugenics, eugenics effects of health care during gestation. The last part includes theories like“received imagery forms fetus”( outside imagery affected inside ), monthly fetal nurture, gestational food nourishment and prohibition, emotional state and daily life regimen, gestational drug contraindication and drug nurturing effects on fetus, gestational origins of neonate’s deseases.2 Conclusions2.1 TCM eugenics thoughts are a mixture of early ancient practical knowledge about gestation and birth and various ancient philosophical thoughts and thinking model, such as nature permeation, spirit sympathy, imagery attribution. These thoughts need systematic research, de-construction and reconstruction. Because on one side, these early thinking models have reasonable aspects, such as emphasizing the plasticity of fetus, effects of time, environment, meteorological factors on mother and fetus, on the other side, early thinking model intended to simplify the complicated development of fetus by“imagery-number”principles, and the value of guidance is limited.2.2 The origination source of TCM eugenics thoughts are formed on the basis of fetus education and birth thoughts during Spring-Autumn and Warring States period. The representative work then is Tai Chan Shu ( Fetus and Birth Book). The thoughts were greatly influenced by“Xiang Shu”( Imagery-Number) from Han to Tang dynasty. From Song dynasty on, TCM eugenics thoughts began to matured, paternal essence (Jin )and maternal blood is the leading principle. So , in that period, tonifying kidney for enriching paternal essence and nourishing blood for modulating menstruation period are the main therapeutic principles for nurturing fetus and offspring. The theories and methods of Zhong-zi ( Planting seed ) and Guang si ( increasing production ) contained rich important eugenics thoughts and became a special branch of gynecology, obstetrics and pediatrics in TCM.2.3 Future research area of TCM eugenics should pay more attentions on the following subjects:“received imagery forms fetus”( outside imagery affected inside ) and fetus plasticity, monthly fetal nurturing regimen, fetal origins and fetal toxins of postnatal diseases, Bing-Fu and genetics, reproduction pharmacology of the gestational drug contraindication。Modern genetics, the hypothesis of fetal origins of adult disease and epigenetics will provide a good enter-point for TCM eugenics role in improving offspring’s constitution and preventing adult chronic diseases.3 Innovation Points3.1 Systematically comb through thinking basis behind eugenic methods and measures in TCM classics;3.2 thoroughly analyze the source and evolvement of eugenics thoughts in ancient important TCM works.

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CLC: > Medicine, health > Chinese Medicine > Traditional Chinese Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology
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