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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2018, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (3): 141-146.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2018.04.001

• Review •     Next Articles

A historical evaluation of Chinese tongue diagnosis in the treatment of septicemic plague in the pre-antibiotic era, and as a new direction for revolutionary clinical research applications

Ioannis Solos a, Yuan Liang b   

  1. a Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Guangzhou Zhongxing Sports Trauma Hospital, Guangzhou 510405, China
    b Institute of Basic Theory in Chinese Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
  • Received:2017-11-09 Accepted:2018-03-26 Online:2018-05-10 Published:2018-04-12
  • Contact: Yuan Liang; E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (No. 81603516).

Chinese tongue diagnosis was initially developed to quickly and efficiently diagnose and prescribe medicine, while at the same time allowing the doctor to have minimal contact with the patient. At the time of its compiling, the spread of Yersinia pestis, often causing septicaemia and gangrene of the extremities, may have discouraged doctors to come in direct contact with their patients and take the pulse. However, in recent decades, modern developments in the field of traditional Chinese medicine, as well as the spread of antibiotics in conjunction with the advancements of microbiology, have overshadowed the original purpose of this methodology. Nevertheless, the fast approaching post-antibiotic era and the development of artificial intelligence may hold new applications for tongue diagnosis. This article focuses on the historical development of what is the world’s earliest tongue diagnosis monograph, and discusses the directions that such knowledge may be used in future clinical research.

Key words: Tongue diagnosis, Chinese medicine, Yersinia pestis, Literature research

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