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Sacred Lotus Reviews: Books

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 03/04/2013

A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman

After almost 15 years, I still regularly pick up this book to reread Peter Deadman's commentaries on the points. The experience almost always expands my understanding of Chinese Medicine. If you are serious about Acupuncture... this is the one book that you want to own. It is truly a treasure for the western Acupuncturist, and there is nothing else like it. It is also the primary Acupuncture textbook at many TCM/Acupuncture schools. 

A Manual of Acupuncture is comprehensive, concise, and very well researched.  It's also extremely well organized and the layout is consistent and simple throughout the book. The majority of the book consists of the 14 channels and individual Acupuncture point profiles, which is reason enough to own the book. In addition to this (including the extra points), students will find the area illustrations towards the back of the book invaluable for studying point/channel locations. There are major point illustrations of the eye, face, head, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, back, legs, and feet. 

The points begins with a name translation, Chinese characters, and any special attributes of the point (i.e. Luo-Connecting Point).

In addition, the point profiles include:

  • Location
  • Location Note
  • Needling
  • Actions
  • Indications
  • Commentary
  • Combinations

The commentary is a combination of modern applications, gems of wisdom from the ancient texts, and often point combinations describing relationships with other points, channels, organs, etc.

The point locations are superbly illustrated... detailing the bones, muscles, tendons, skin, and distances for each point. Most of the illustrations include relevant proximal points that aid in locating the point in question, as well as learning the local points. 

On top of all this, the book is really a joy to read....

Go check out "A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman "...

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 03/04/2013

Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines: The Clinical Desk Reference

There are thousands of Chinese herbal patent medicines from different manufacturers available in the United States. While Fratkin's clinical desk reference is an older book (2001), it is still my personal favorite for referencing any of the bottled/packaged Chinese medicines. There has only been a handful of times that I have not been able to reference an off-the-shelf Chinese patent medicine (i.e. - an obscure Chinese patent bottle brought in by a patient). 

The book covers over 1,300 products, with 109 chapters, and has color photos for most of the patent medicines in the book. The table of contents is broken down nicely into 12 categories of TCM disorders. There is author's commentary on each section, where he introduces the TCM theory behind the patterns and medicines. There is also an extensive appendix of symptoms and diseases, enabling you to quickly reference off-the-shelf medicine for a particular TCM pattern within each disorder category.

The Chinese patent formulas can be looked up by either English or Pinyin indices. If you still can't find the medicine, you can browse through almost 1,000 photos of the product bottles/packages. The book also has appendices to look up the herbs by Chinese characters, pharmaceutical, botanical, and common names.

Each medicine includes:

  • Actions/Indications
  • Origin of the Formula
  • Author's Comments/Notes
  • Cautions (if any)
  • Research (if any)
  • Laboratory Analysis and Purity (if any)
  • Legality/Endangered Species (if any)
  • Ingredients (if known)
  • Packaging and Dosage

One of my favorite aspects of the 'Clinical Desk Reference' is that includes relevant clinical research on the medicines. For instance, 'Xiao Yao Wan' (Free and Relaxed Pills) contains the results of a study on 253 acute hepatitis patients taking the patent, with a general effective rate of 69%. 

Another important aspect of the book is that California FDB (Food and Drug Branch) analysis was performed on over 500 products in the book. And, if available, each patent medicine contains information on whether the sample contained heavy metals and/or pharmaceuticals. Certain patents for example had toxic levels of arsenic, mercury, lead, etc. Other medicines contained western drugs, chemical preservatives, dyes, etc. 

Other important information on each patent medicine is whether it contains endangered animal products (and illegal); such as tiger bone, rhinoceros horn, bear gallbladder, wild musk deer gland, antelope horn, crocodile gallbladder, sea horse, leopard bone, pangolin anteater scales, wild seal penis, monkey gallstones, etc. 

In closing, I would like to note that there are plenty of very safe and effective Chinese herbal patent formulas available today. This book (and others) undoubtedly inspired stricter manufacturing processes, tighter control, better regulation, and awareness and advocacy about the contents of imported Chinese medicines.

Go check out "Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines: The Clinical Desk Reference "...

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 03/04/2013

The Foundations of Chinese Medicine

It is an incredible accomplishment to read and translate ancient Chinese medical texts and then present your work to the world. There is bound to be intense scrutiny, and even some misdirected blame when the philosophy is so foreign from our western thinking.

Giovanni's The Foundations of Chinese Medicine was one of the first real Chinese medicine texts I studied, besides perhaps The Web That Has No Weaver, and some books by Daniel Reid. While there has been complaints over Maciocia's translations and wordiness... I still feel it is one of the the best English texts on TCM, and should be required reading for anyone serious about learning the landscape of Chinese medicine.

Yes, there are other good books on the foundations of Chinese medicine, but Giovanni does an amazing job of systematically walking us through concepts that are inherently difficult for the western mind to grasp. The book covers Yin Yang, 5 elements, vital substances, Qi, the internal organs, causes of disease, diagnosis, TCM patterns, Acupuncture, and treatment. The material is very well organized, the diagrams are excellent, and most of the book is a joy to read.

I have seen more than one Chinese practitioner scoff after reading a passage in the book, but I've also seen many students gain incredible knowledge from ancient wisdom that would not otherwise be available. While I do believe there are translations or interpretations where Maciocia over extends his creative license, I also feel it brings about good debate, and ultimately a better understanding of the material.

While Giovanni can be verbose and repetitive at times, when I go back and reread sections of the book... I feel it is clear, well written, and the right amount of content. And, as far as personal preference, I find I like the translated terms and writing style in The Foundations of Chinese Medicine better than other author's.

As a last note, the index of the book that so many people complained about has been fixed. It will no longer lead you to pages unrelated to your search.

Go check out "The Foundations of Chinese Medicine "...