Traditional Chinese medicine [TCM] has been practiced for thousands of years. It involves the use of herbal medicines in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion (application of heat), tai chi, qi gong, and tui na (ancient Chinese therapeutic massage.)
According to history, the legendary Emperor of the Five Grains, Shennong, had been known to taste the herbs. “The first archaeological evidence comes from the time of Shang during the Bronze Age, 16th– 11th century BC. In Shang era ruins, scholars found particles of seeds still used extensively in Chinese medicine and stone-crafted instruments resembling surgical tools.” (McGill Journal of Medicine) Later on, they established the mix of herbs to be able to cure ailments through experimentation.
The ancient belief of traditional Chinese medicine is that disease or ailments is produced when there is disharmony between the forces Yin and Yang. The imbalance of these forces creates a disruption of the flow of Qi (chi) which is a vital energy that ables the body to perform and maintain its health. Therefore with the use of herbs and stimulation of specific body points, one restores the positive flow of energy.
The forces Yin and Yang correspond to certain organs. Yin organs include the:
- liver and kidneys.
It is said that Yin organs produce and store Qi through blood and bodily fluids. The Yang organs separate impurities from food and water, and is excreted out of the body. The Yang are the:
- small intestine,
- large intestine,
- urinary bladder,
- gallbladder and the
- triple burner.
Each Yin organ is paired with a Yang organ and its main focus is the relationship of one organ to another i.e. balance. Organs are connected to each other through meridians and vessels functioning as a group facilitating the ebb and flow of the balance.
Oral health reflects the health of the body. “According to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lips are related to the spleen, are the “hole” from Spleen.
The teeth are considered “an extension of the bones” and are under the influence of the Kidney. The Stomach Meridian distributes energy and blood through the gums, which is how the gums are related to the stomach.
The Tongue is considered as the “outbreak” of the Heart.” The heart indicates the appearance of the tongue: “the color indicates the status of the blood; the energy comes from nutrition and Yin organs. The form indicates the state of the blood and energy that comes from nutrition; the fur indicates the status of the Yang organs. The humidity of the tongue indicates the status of fluids.” (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Bluish or purple lips may indicate poor circulation or cold. Development of cold sores may be caused by the increase of latent heat in the spleen or stomach. These are some examples of Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis. This is how any abnormality in the mouth may reflect an imbalance of the organs.
Modern Western Medicine differs in many ways when compared to Ancient Chinese Medicine. The benefits of TCM system are based on prevention and TCM aims for effective long-term healing.