Is Traditional Chinese Medicine Scientific?
 “Is Traditional Chinese MedicineScientific”, that century-old question, has puzzled more Chinese than westerners – I know this from my first-hand experience when initially I studied Natural Therapies in the West.
 In the West, as part of natural therapies, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is categorized as an “alternative medicine”, which is accredited for practice and teaching in many countries and regions. People consult practitioners mainly for its curative effect and are rarely bothered with the issue of its scientific nature. In China, however, to compete with Western Medicine (WM), a certain kind of authenticity or legitimacy has to be proved.
 Originally, the term “science” (or “scientific”) stemmed from the West, and was then retranslated into Chinese from the Japanese language, defined of rules for gathering evidence and testing claims against fact and logic”. According to The Book of Changes, things in the universe are classified into two categories, namely the metaphysical which belongs to the Dao, and the physical which are deemed to be the Qi. In traditional Chinese culture, the Dao is “noble scholarship” searching for something rational and fundamental ruling the universe. The Qi, on the other hand, pertains to practical things in general and in TCM in particular to concrete treatments and remedies for certain diseases and illnesses, which perhaps fall under “science” in WM.
 In this sense, the scope of TCM is far broader than WM, making it a kind of “human medicine”, which focuses on the person rather than the sickness. Treating diseases from the perspective of a specific human body surely requires something more macroscopic and philosophical.
〔5〕中医典籍《黄帝内经·素问》里有这样一段著名论述：“从阴阳则生，逆之则死；从之则治，逆之则乱。反顺为逆，是谓内格。是故圣人不治已病，治未病，不治已乱，治未乱，此之谓也。夫病已成而后药之，乱已成治之，譬如渴而穿井，斗而铸锥，不亦晚乎？” 若脱离语境，此段可以是哲学、政治学、文学或管理学。类似的中医表述还有很多，如“釜底抽薪”“逆流挽舟”“如丧神守”“阴阳交感”“阴阳互根6” “孤阳不生7”“孤阴不长”“重阴必阳8”“重阳必阴”等。
 In “Plain Questions” of The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, a well-known classic of TCM, it notably states: “Obedience to the principle of Yin-yang cultivates life and resistance to it speeds up death. Patients acting in compliance with the principle can be cured while those who prefer the other way might end up in a worsening case. Resistance, instead of obedience, to the principle of Yin-yang means killing oneself from within. That shows the reason why wise people give priority to the prevention rather than cure of diseases. They take precautions to nip in the bud the first signs of illness rather than sit on them until illness has become a reality. Medication after the contraction of illness, comparable to drilling a well after feeling thirsty and forging weapons after a war breaks out, is therefore too late.” If it is out of context, this passage could be read in a work of philosophy, politics, literature or management science. There are many similar sayings in TCM, such as “taking away firewood from under the cauldron”, “saving a boat in an adverse current”, “loss of mind, unconsciousness, restlessness, delirium and so on caused by excess of internal heat”, “interaction of yin and yang”, “mutual rooting of yin and yang”, “solitary yang failing to grow, solitary yin failing to increase”, “extreme yin turning into yang”, “extreme yang turning into yin” and so on.
 According to TCM, while man was born into the world, his fate is registered in the heavens; in a way, man and nature are interrelated in an organic system where any natural changes may affect the human body biologically or pathologically in one way or another. The human body is composed of the viscera, meridians, five sensory organs, nine orifices, four limbs and all the skeletal parts, affecting one another horizontally and vertically, internally and externally. In WM, diagnosis and treatment, primarily based on anatomy and pathology, have been strictly classified into different and unrelated sections.
 Correspondingly, different therapeutic principles and methods have been developed. Typically, in TCM bianzheng lunzhi or the scheme of “syndrome differentiation and treatment” has been institutionalized, by which the clinical data of symptoms and signs collected by the four diagnostic methods (inspection, listening and smelling, inquiry, taking the pulse and palpation) are analyzed, induced, synthesized, adjudged and summarized into certain syndromes, and consequently the therapeutic methods are decided according to the results of syndrome differentiation. WM, meanwhile, relies heavily on technical means – laboratory tests, X-ray examinations if necessary, as well as the patient’s signs, symptoms and medical background, to determine the nature of a disorder and the therapeutic methods, so treatment has often been labeled as “merely curing the symptoms instead of the causes”. By contrast, viewing the human body as an integrated system, TCM treats a patient more holistically: a headache may be cured from the foot, or an eye complaint from the liver. TCM practitioners believe that the human body needs to be dealt with comprehensively, and that under a microscope one can find bacteria but not mentalities and emotions that may have caused the malady.
〔8〕由此也形成了中西医两套性质不同的术语系统。就“五脏”而言， 中医里虽然也有“心”“肝”“脾”“肺”“肾”，但在许多情况下不能对应西医的heart、liver、 spleen、lung、kidney，因为它们不单是解剖学上的“概念”， 而且还有“象13”的意义（脏象），是一种理解人体生理和病理在整体系统中运作状况的“理念”。例如“心”，在中医里不仅是一个“位于两肺之间、尖端向左前下方的空心圆锥形肌性器官”，而且还“主血脉”“藏神”，又是“君主之官”。
 The two sets of terminologies developed in TCM and WM are differentiated by their nature. Take the five internal organs as an example: in TCM, xin (heart), gan (liver), pi (spleen), fei (lung) and shen (kidney) are not only anatomical “concepts” but also meanings of xiang (manifestations), namely the “state of the viscera”, which are “ideas” to understand the functions and conditions of human biology and pathology in this holistic system. They are therefore not equivalent to their counterparts in WM, despite their nominal identities. Xin (heart) in TCM, for instance, is not only “a hollow muscular cone-shaped organ, lying between the lungs, with the pointed end (apex) directed downwards, forwards, and to the left”, but also both a functional “blood pump” and a “spiritual house” which is paramount to the “monarch of a state”, with definite determining power to control all matters and entities within a body.
 In that sense, many philosophical ideas of TCM override the scientific concepts of WM. “Toxicity” in the human body, for example, in WM refers to any heavy metal element, but in TCM to materials that may deteriorate the patient’s condition. A cup of cold boiled water may be benign in the eyes of a WM doctor, but a hard drug to a TCM practitioner whose patient has “cold syndrome of the stomach”, since it will aggregate the “yin deficiency” and make his or her condition worse. And the efficacy of traditional Chinese pharmacology often lies in “combating poison with poison”.
 As a TCM practitioner and lecturer, I have witnessed what TCM has gone through in terms of recognition by more and more countries and cultures, including these along the Belt and Road Initiative. Again, foreigners’ interest in TCM has everything to do with its curative effect, cultural connotations and profound philosophy concerning life, pathology and state of an illness, but little to do with the question of whether it is scientific or not.
3. 又译为Complementary and Alternative Medicine，简称CAM。如1998年美国成立了National Center for Complementary and Alterative Medicine (NCCAM)，即“国家辅助及另类医学中心”。
4. 即是一种“转译”，亦为indirect translation。
5. 亦可译为Human Medical。
6. 亦可译为interdependence between Yin and Yang 等。
7. 亦可译为solitary Yang fails to exist without Yin 等。
8. 亦可译为Yin in extreme must convert to opposite Yang 等。
9. 中医里的“表里” 是个相对概念：以内外来分，人体的皮毛、经络为表，脏腑为里；以深浅而论，外感病者，病邪入里一层，病深一层；出表一层，则病浅一层（The idea of “exterior and interior” are a comparative term: concerning internal and external relations, the skin and hair channels and collaterals are regarded as the exterior, and the zang-fu organs as the exterior. In terms of diseases caused by exopathogen, the further the exapathogen invades, the deeper the disease; while the further the exopathogen is expelled to the surface, the more exterior the disease）。
10. 这里没有按字面意思译出，如divide and rule，而是将其融汇在整句的医疗表述之中
11. 亦可译为planning treatment according to diagnosis 等。
12. 字面意思为treat the head when the head aches, treat the foot when the foot hurts 但一般情况下都将其引申为no overall plan for a fundamental transformation；the partial methods, which can not solve the fundamental problem; not to find the root cause of the problem but to take stop-gap measures。这里还原其医疗术语的本意。
13. 主要指反映脏腑机能的象征、脏腑的实质形象（the external signs and substantial figure reflected by the functions of the Zang-fu）。
14.中医特殊用语，主要指寒邪侵犯胃腑，胃阳虚阴，阴寒内的里寒征候（an interior cold syndrome manifested by invasion of the stomach by patheogenic cold or deficiency of stomach-yang, resulting in cold accumulation in the interior）。
16. 现还有多种译法，如 the Chinese Marshall Plan（主要见于西方媒体）、Land and Maritime Silk Road programs、the Belt and Road Initiative 等。