Shang Han Lun Explained

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By Dr Greta Young Jie De

Shang Han Lun is one of the four major classic texts of Chinese Medicine. It encompasses the medical achievements of the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD) and the period prior to that. It is the first text in Chinese medical history to adopt the Six Channels as a basis for diagnosis and to explain the aetiology and pathological development of externally contracted febrile disease. Shang Han Lun has survived the passage of time and this ancient theory and its application to the treatment of disease is still regarded as having great relevance in today’s environment.

Objective of Shang Han Lun Explained
This book has two objectives. The first is to explain the theory of Shang Han Lun and the systematic theory of the Six Channels: the patterns and manifestations and the related treatment strategies. The second is to explain how the principles of Shang Han Lun may be applied to disease in our own time. The vast amount of knowledge presented in Shang Han Lun is made more easily accessible by the use of headings and summaries which assist the reader to analyse and grasp the concepts: Key points are noted in accordance with the spirit of the original clause, summaries and tables are given to help the reader focus on the essentials, the discussion of each formula and its pattern is followed by case studies illustrating the clinical application of the original Shang Han Lun formulas, and each chapter concludes with a summary of disease patterns, formulae and treatment principles.

The 398 original clauses of Shang Han Lun have been used as a basis for this text, and it follows the conventional channel-by-channel order found in the Ming dynasty’s Zhao Kai Mei edition, however, the sequence of the clauses has been further re-arranged for improved clinical relevance. The numbering of the clauses is identical to the Zhao edition and the original sequence of the Zhao edition is included as Appendix 2, which is complete with clauses written in traditional Chinese characters. Each clause is cited in the original Chinese, followed by a faithful English translation, and is accompanied by an explanation of the aetiology and pathogenesis of the pattern and discussion of the formula and its ancient clinical application as well as new concepts and applications. Much reliance has also been placed on Yi Zong Jin Jian (Golden Mirrror of Medical Tradition which was commissioned by Emperor Qian Long and compiled in the years 1739~1742. That text comprises ninety fascicles, incorporating both Shang Han Lun and Jin Gui Yao Lue.

In the process of writing this book, many ancient texts on Shang Han Lun were consulted, together with books on modern research. It incorporates the authors’ own case studies as well as case studies from scholars specialising in Shang Han Lun based at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, which is regarded as the key centre for studies in the classics of Chinese medicine. We trust that this text serves to shine a light on what can be a bewildering and daunting yet essential and rewarding foundation classic of Chinese medicine.

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About Dr Greta Young Jie De

Greta Young Jie De is a registered Chinese Medicine practitioner with the Chinese Medicine Registration Board Australia, with a focus on the treatment of emotional disorders using Chinese medicine. She is an expert in the classic literature of Chinese…Read more

8 comments on “Shang Han Lun Explained

    • Dr Greta Young Jie De on

      Hi Helen
      Currently the original version of “Shang Han Lun Explained” is out of stock. However, I am working on the revised edition of “Shang Han Lun Explained” and hopefully, this will be available for sale soon.
      Greta Young

      • Suwarjono on

        I hope the new version has han yu pin yin for herbs. Because we are learning chinese medicine, not latine medicine.

        Hope the book can release soon. Its almost a year since you said that you are working on revised version…

  1. Ruben Darcy on

    Dear Dr Greta. How can the Shang han lun be considered one of the Classics. It does after all present a completely different and oppositional framework than the NeiJing.
    If the Shang is correct, then the NeiJing cannot be, and of course if the NeiJing is correct the Shang Han Lun cannot be.
    The neiJing sets out the framework for the correspondences of the seasons, and establishes a cyclical order, for everything. The concept of “levels” flies in the face of that premise. When mapped on to the order set out in the NeiJing, that of the Chinese Clock, it introduces, with no explanation, a set of 3 distinct parameters. LI-St are correlated to be located adjacent to each other, while Lu-Sp lie on either side, to form a distinct pattern, which is then repeated for, H-K with UB-SI, and then on to SJ-GB with Liv-P.
    Which being cyclical then move on, again, to repeat the pattern. Making the concepts of “levels” impossible.
    As we do not see those patterns of levels anyway, given that most invasions, of any sort or relative to the Lungs capacity of Wei Qi prtoective qualitites, and so most manifestations begin with Lung related signs, how did such a wild concept, that has no basis of any theoretical substance and which blatanltly contradicts the NeiJing, ever become to be considerd to be a Classic.
    While some may focus on the theories of the Shang Han Lun, they obviously do so at the detriment of the understanding of the NeiJing. And only if one ignores the principles and merely “chooses” the theory that can be applied to that situation, and therefore demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the fundamental principles of how the body actually works , could one even use the Shang and the NeiJing in the same clinic.
    That would be the worse case of “cherry-picking”, and certainly not demonstrating any understanding or what would be considered best for our clients.

  2. Fu on

    Where can I get the pdf version of this book? Have the second edition published yet?
    This book is currently being edited by the publisher and expect the publishing date will be very soon. Instead of the intial version of “Shang Han Lun Explained” in one version now the newly revised version is in two volumes. The publisher is Purple Cloud.
    Apology for the delay. Will inform you on this issue.
    Greta Young

  3. Nicki on

    Hi Dr. Young,

    Do you have an expected date for publication? Will it ship internationally? Also, will there be an e-version at any point? I look forward to reading the updated version. I am currently reading the original version from the library and enjoying it very much. Thank you so much for your work!


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