Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The view of tobacco in Chinese medicine

- Tobacco was introduced in China in 1575.

- The Zhen Nan Ben Cao (Ming) concludes that tobacco is pungent in taste, hot and toxic without any medicinal effect.

- The Ben Cao Cong Xin says “People nowadays inhale smoke down to the throat: this damages Blood and the voice.”

- Emperor Chong Zhen (Ming) enacts laws against smoking.

- Qu Ci Shan (Qing) says: “Tobacco is pungent and drying, it burns Jing (Kidneys) and the Fluids, damages the throat, the Stomach and the Lungs…it enters the Heart orifice causing mental confusion as if one were drunk. It makes the tongue coating dark-yellow or black, food and drink have no taste, the medical texts have no treatment for this.”

- Zhao Xue Min (Qing) thought that smoking damages the Lungs, exhausts Blood, injures Shen and shortens life.

The above statements are interesting as they show that, according to Chinese medicine, tobacco is drying, it dries up Fluids and the Jing (Essence). So, Western medicine focusses on the effects of tobacco on the lungs while Chinese medicine considers it to deplete Kidney-Jing as well. This would explain the toxicity of tobacco in pregnancy.


  1. Do you think we should treat both lung and kidney in case of tabacco addicted patients? I guess we should not forget treat also the Mind (heart and liver for such case?), right?

    Which are, according to your experience, the best "common acupoints" to treat the tabacco addiction?

    Thank you for your attention

  2. There are two separate issues and I am not sure which one you refer to. The first is treatment of addiction to stop smoking. In that case, I usually use ear points for lungs and Shenmen and other points such as LU-7, LI-4, HE-7, LIV-3, ST-40, SP-6, Du-24, GB-15.

    To treat the bad effects of smoking, yes you do treat LU and KI.

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  4. Thank you very much. I was referring to both questions you have already answered.

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  5. There is an upside to tobacco, which can be analyzed within the broader context of TCM - to understand this you can download my talk:
    Tobacco - The Spiritual and healing uses of this plant - at: http://www.adamatman.com/audio/discussion%20of%20tobacco.mp3

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