Chinese pharmacology’s unique features are: Firstly, the pharmacological theory is based on the diseases and medicines’ nature. Medicines’ elements were categorised in a way that is against the weakness of the disease. Secondly, the ways to process treatments and the preparation of medicines are unique. Thirdly, the feature of compound prescription; sometimes one kind of herb may be effective to cure many diseases. Lastly, the field of alchemy also made contribution to pharmacology in the modern era if not in ancient China.
First of all, when ancient Chinese were looking into pharmacology, their research based on three aspects: the disease itself, the natural properties of medicines and their therapeutic effects. Ancient Chinese categorised medicines according to these aspects. Firstly, their temperature (hot, warm, cool and cold. ) Secondly, their tastes (hot, bitter, salty, sour and sweet. ) And thirdly, their natures (ascending and descending. ) The prescription for Chinese physicians is like a game of rock, paper, scissors.
For example, when a patient is suffering from fever, then the physician would prescribe cool or cold medicines for him/her. On the other hand, if the patient is suffering from a disease because of a weak physical condition or a disease of a cold nature, then the physician would prescribe warm or hot medicines.
When it comes to ascending and descending medicines, the medicines that could induce sweating after consumption are regarded as ascending as they help warming up the patients, such as herbs like lily magnolia and perilla; while seeds are very much likely to be descending. In other words, each medicine is prescribed to aim at the nature of the diseases. Secondly, the process of preparing the medicine is also a very unique part of Chinese pharmacology.
Generally there are three way in processing the treatments: fluid, heat and both fluid and heat. Fluid treatment includes soaking in wine or vinegar or wash with water. Heat treatment.