Emetic remedies in Japanese Koiho 古方 medicine at UCL
12 October 2014
A talk by Professor Tateno Masami, Nihon University, Monday 27 October 2014, 6.30pm, UCL Astor College LG18.
Kan, To and Ge (perspiration, emesis, purgation) were the three main therapeutic techniques of the Koiho (Old Medicine) School of the Edo Era. In this talk, Professor Tateno will discuss Toho (emetic remedies), and explore how this technique embodied a distinctive medical philosophy.
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Emetic Remedies in the Koiho (Old Medicine) School in Edo Era Japan
The Koiho (Old Medicine) School of the Edo Era is one of Japan’s foundational medical schools, the origin and still the mainstream of Kampo Igaku, ‘Japanese Medicine’. In this school, Kan, To, and Ge (perspiration, emesis, purgation) are the main therapeutic techniques. We can name YOSHIMASU Todo, EMI Sanpaku, NAKAGAMI Kinkei among a few others as the most representative practitioners. In this talk, Professor Tateno will focus on Toho (emetic remedies) and clarify not only the medical technique but also how the remedy itself embodies a medical philosophy.
The Koiho School drew on ancient Chinese medical sources, however their methods, in their Edo form, have particular characteristics that are emblematic of Japanese Kampo Igaku. One of these unique characteristics was the intensive consumption of medicine. Sometimes a patient would be prescribed mild medicines, but according to an individual’s aetiology, intensive medicine could then be prescribed. This process was called Shinshi-jikken, ‘Experience and Verification’. Put in another way, while advocating intensive medicine using vomiting/purgative remedies when necessary, these scholars in fact varied their prescriptions through an empirical process of trial and error. These were men of ‘discerning eye’ who used a process that cannot be understood appropriately without a knowledge of the local reception of ancient medical philosophy.