Li Shizhen

Chinese doctor and naturalist (1518-1593). Li Shizhen wrote numerous medical textbooks, three of which are preserved:

  • Běn Cǎo Gāng Mù本草綱目 (“Compendium of Materia Medica”)
  • Bīn Hú Mài Xué瀕湖脈學 (“Teachings on Pulse Diagnosis”)
  • Qí Jīng Bā Mài Kǎo奇經八脈考 (“An Exposition on the  Eight Extraordinary Vessels“)

To the present day Li Shizhen’s teachings on pulse diagnosis serve as a basic textbook. In addition, a fundamental paradigm shift in the tradition of Chinese medicine is attributed to him, as he changed the old concept that the heart houses shen 神 and for the first time and officially made the brain the residence of mind and thinking. In doing so, he integrated alchemical experiences into medical thinking and approached the ideas of Western medicine.

Read more:

Li, the Fire

Modern Interpretation: Clear discernment, purification, separation

Li (the fire) stands for our ability to differentiate facts, influences, emotions – in short: the world’s fullness. Without this ability to separate the “clear from the unclear”, we would be lost in a chaos of diversities. Only by differentiation, thus distinguishing what is important and what is not, we can concentrate on the essentials and are able to act.

Phase Element: Fire
Functional Circuit: Small Intestine (SI)

Read more: I Ching Study Guide: Li, the Fire