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The Story of Cinnamon (Gui Zhi), A Folktale from the Qing Dynasty

Chinese symbols for cinnamonChinese symbols for cinnamonGovernor tan Zhi Jun suffered from a common cold that lasted several weeks.  His condition was odd because it was early in the summer season and the weather was quite warm.  One day a friend came to visit the governor and recommended a  local doctor, Chen Bo Tan. As the two friends conversed, Governer Tan sprinkled cinnamon (Gui Zhi) in his tea. Unfortunately, even a small dosage of 3g caused his nose to bleed.  His friend advised the governor to refrain from taking any more cinnamon.

The next day, Dr Chen was called to the governor's house. The doctor noted that Governor Tan wore a light cotton padded jacket and was sweating profusely. After taking his pulse, Dr Chen prescribed 'Decoction of Cinnamon (Gui Zhi Tang)', which included a 16g dosease of cinnamon Gui Zhi.

Governor Tan's friend was shocked when he read Dr Chen's prescription. He ased the governor if he had a death wish, reminding him of his sensitivity to cinnamon due to his earlier nosebleed.

Governor Tan felt conflicted and finaly called Dr. Chen over atain to explain his diagnosis. He carefully listened to the doctor's reasoning, and settled with Dr. Chen that his diagnosis had strong evidence to back his argument. Governor Tan then ordered a servant to get a decoction ready. After taking it, the governor made a full recovery.cinnamon

Dr Chen Bo Tan was a highly respected practitioner. At the age of 21, he not only passed the Imperial examination for medicine at the provincial level, but also ws ranked seventh out of hundreds of scholars. One of his favorite manuscripts was Shang Han Lun, written by the father of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zhang Zhong Jing. He based many of his prescriptions from Zhang Zhong Jing's formulas , but he often used high dosages and thus earned the nickname "High Dosage Chen."


Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us to live in harmony with the seasons changing our dietary habits, sleep habits and exercise habit as the seasons change. The ancient Chinese had lives that had a flow that changed with the seasons keeping them in harmony with nature.  These seasonal changes kept their bodies strong and able to ward off disease. We can do the same things for ourselves and our pets by changing how we live with each season.

Read more: Living in the Winter Season




How the Pear Became an Herb


There lived a very poor farmer with many children.  The farmer was not only stingy, but also greedy and harsh.  One day, one of the children caught an affliction of the lungs, which was deemed very serious by every doctor in town.  The farmer was more concerned with his monetary issues tan his child's wellbeing and even berated his son when the boy became too weak to work.

Read more: Pear (Li)

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