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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 254-256

Wang Shixiong's medicine career

Shanghai Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xuhui, Shanghai, China

Date of Submission08-Sep-2020
Date of Decision20-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance03-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Lin Yu
Shanghai Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xuhui, Shanghai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CMAC.CMAC_46_20

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How to cite this article:
Yu L. Wang Shixiong's medicine career. Chin Med Cult 2020;3:254-6

How to cite this URL:
Yu L. Wang Shixiong's medicine career. Chin Med Cult [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 15];3:254-6. Available from: https://www.cmaconweb.org/text.asp?2020/3/4/254/305183

  A Brief Profile of Wang Shixiong Top

Wang Shixiong (王士雄1808–1868), courtesy name Mengying (孟英) and art name Banchi Shanren (半痴山人), Suixi Jushi (随息居士), and Shuixiang Sanren (睡乡散人), was a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the Qing dynasty. Wang Shixiong, Ye Tianshi (叶天士), Xue Shengbai (薛生白), and Wu Jutong (吴鞠通) are called the Four Masters of Warm Diseases.[1]

Wang's family was originally from what is now known as northwestern Anhua (安化) of ancient China (present-day Qingyang, Gansu province). The 14th generation of his family moved to Haiyan (海盐) County of ancient China (present-day, Haining, east China's Zhejiang province). Afterward, his great grandfather Wang Xuequan (王学权) moved to Qiantang (钱塘), modern-day Hangzhou, Zhejiang. Wang Shixiong and his three brothers are the 24th generation of his family. His courtesy name is Mengying in order to memorialize his three dead brothers. Wang's great grandfather, Wang Xuequan, well known in the circle of TCM, wrote Yi Xue Sui Bim (《医学随笔》 Jottings of Medicine), also named Chongqing Tang Sui Bi (《重庆堂随笔》 Jottings from Repeated Celebration House) which was annotated and edited by Wang's grandfather Wang Guoxiang (王国祥) and his father Wang Sheng (王升). This book was later published by Wang Shixiong. This is an achievement born of four generations of Wang's and represents their massive ambition to carry on and pass down TCM to future generations. Wang was 14 year old when he lost his father, so he had to work in the salt industry to make a living. At the same time, he began to learn medicine with the help of his uncle Yu Guiting (俞桂庭). Influenced by his ancestors, Wang diligently studied medicine in his spare time. At the age of 17, he was already known for curing the owner of the salt business Zhou Guangyuan(周光远). Deeply impressed by his uncle's principle that “related manuscripts must be saved if the disease is to be cured of,” Wang managed to save >800 prescriptions.[2] Living in the middle of the late Qing dynasty ravaged with plagues and wars in the turbulent southern area, Wang absorbed the knowledge from numerous medical masters and was finally able to sort out their principle-method-recipe-medicinal to create Wen Re Jing Wei (《温热经纬》 Warp and Weft of Warm-Heat Disease which was published in 1852. In 1855, Wang's family rented a place to live in at Tingxi (渟溪) to avoid the havoc caused by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. During that period, Tingxi is the place where he wrote Gui Yan Lu (《归砚录》 Gui Yan Recording of Medicine).[3] Wang died in Xiushui (秀水), Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang Province, in 1868, at the age of 60. He was subjected to many relocations due to financial hardships and wars all his life.

  Major Medical Achievement of Wang Shixiong Top

Born into a long line of medicinal practitioners, and by accumulating over 800 medical records from all over the world, Wang wrote, classified, and edited >30 kinds of medical textbooks, including Sui Xi Ju Chong Ding Huo Luan Lun (《随息居重订霍乱论》 Revision of the Discussion of Sudden Turmoil), Warp and Weft of Warm-Heat Disease, and Gui Yan Recording of Medicine.[4]

In the Daoguang period of the Qing dynasty (around 1837–1838), choleras with muscular spasm was spreading in the south of China. Moreover, there is no related monograph to consult about it. Therefore, Wang wrote Huo Luan Lun (《霍乱论》 Discussion of Sudden Turmoilcoil), a text on the pathogenesis of cholera. In 1862, there was a pandemic of cholera. As Discussion of Sudden Turmoilcoil was lost during the wars, Wang supplemented and revised the original version and renamed it as Revision of the Discussion of Sudden Turmoil.[5] The book has four parts that depict symptoms and signs of the disease, its treatments, medical records, and prescriptions which greatly contributed to the prevention and control of cholera. Wang differentiated cholera into two types, true cholera (heat cholera) and cholera with vomiting and diarrhea (cold cholera), with detailed descriptions of cholera's progression, as well as its characterizations and prescriptions in his book. Furthermore, Wang listed both the food and medicine that led to a cholera cure, such as the seed of Job's tears, mung bean, as well as garlic.[6] It was pointed out that a sanitary environment was crucial to check cholera's infection rate and spread. Wang also pointed out that the environment should remain sterile, but sterility should also be extended to one's personal life by eating fewer fats and sugars. He also believed that taking measures like keeping the room more ventilated and sanitary as well as burning Chinese rhubarb and capillary Artemisia would dramatically reduce outdoor contamination. Finally, Wang advocated purifying the water to avoid cholera transmission through using alum and realgar.[7]

Warp and Weft of Warm-Heat Disease is the representative work of Wang Mengying, it being completed in 1852, in 5 volumes. Therefore, Wang is honored as the master of tackling warm diseases as he was the one who systematically combed through the texts and summarized the study of warm diseases. As for Warp (经) and Weft (纬), the texts of Huangdi, Qibo, and Zhang Zhongjing are Warp (经), while the comments made by Ye Tianshi and Xue Xue are Weft (纬). This medical masterpiece includes articles of Huang Di Nei Jing (《黄帝内经》 Huangdi's Internal Classic), Shang Han Lun (《伤寒论》 Treatise on Exogenous Febrile Diseases), and Jin Gui Yao Lue (《金匮要略》 Synopsis of the Golden Chamber), as well as 113 recipes, and some related discussion of Zhang Zhongjing (张仲景), Ye Tianshi, and Xue Shengbai and others. Wang distinguished between the new contraction and latent-qi of warm diseases, bringing forward two different disease etiologies stemming from the exterior to the interior and from the interior to the exterior. Pungent-cool exterior-releasing medicine is used to treat new disease contraction, while clearing and nutrient-yin medicine functions well in mild cholera cases. The clearing qi phase can be used as a therapeutic option, while critically ill patients should follow the clear yin phase.[8]

  Appreciation of Wang Shixiong's Letter Top

A letter written to Jiang Guang (蒋光焴) by Wang is kept in Shanghai Museum of TCM [Figure 1], containing 2 pages, 10 lines per page, and 328 characters in total, and all of them is written in cursive handwriting. One page is light pink, and the other is beige, with light red square seals stating “Collection of Medical History Museum of Shanghai College of TCM,” at the lower right and left corners.
Figure 1: Shanghai museum of traditional Chinese medicine

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The Chinese text of the letter [Figure 2] is as follows:
Figure 2: Letters of Wang Shixiong (王士雄)

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寅昉先生大人执事, 仆仆道途, 久未趋谒, 缅怀芝范, 时切驰思。昨在禾中, 为沈君雪江善后, 而省垣许康侯茂才, 专人招视其母夫人之证。匆匆返棹, 至舍一转, 正欲解缆, 忽奉到, 手书藉谂, 侍福安康, 近祺佳鬯为慰。《洄溪医案》得阁下梓以行世, 真造福无涯也。又承辛翁、葆兄校閲, 更属可感。此因浼友缮录之时, 雄适他游, 未曾过目耳。顷于镫下将原稿对过。暑门优人母案, 已补其脱简。血痢葛案, 系脱血数石, 其余悉依许、吴二君校正可也。惟紫雪二字原是方名, 古书并无丹字, 俗呼紫雪丹乃后人所加之字。恶痘门此一条, 丹字可勿加也。是否, 候酌之。雄处尚有拙选俞东扶先生《古今医案按》二本, 世无刻本, 如阁下济世心殷, 寿之梨枣, 亦医林一盛举也。候示下, 即于省中检寄。辛翁所要拙辑, 印出即寄上。玆将《洄溪医案》先行邮缴, 以便付梓, 乞詧收。余俟返里, 再图踵晤。肃复顺颂潭祉, 希鉴不宣。愚弟士雄顿首。二十八日檠侧。[8]

This letter begins with a greeting to Jang, praising him for engraving and publishing Hui Xi Case Records representing his benevolence, as well as expressing his gratitude to Xu Mei, and Wu Baoshan who revised it. Moreover, Wang raised his suggestions in the revision of Jang's edition as compared with the original edition.

  1. Wang completed the damaged parts of the Shu Men You Ren Mu An
  2. Second, he corrected the inaccurate amount of blood loss in Xue Li Ge An
  3. Most importantly, he argued that the name of a prescription should be “ Zi Xue (紫雪)”rather than “Zi Xue Pill (紫雪丹)” in Malign Pox, which demonstrates his conscientious scholarship and familiarity with classic medical works.

The letter reflects in a smooth expression and humble tone Wang's phenomenal literary accomplishments and superior morality of unselfishness as a doctor.

  Conclusion Top

Although living in turmoil, Wang stuck to his aspiration to be a TCM master. He inherited wisdom left by his predecessors, having an innovative spirit and focusing on clinical experience. Wang's masterpiece, Warp and Weft of Warm-Heat Disease, made him a remarkable master of warm diseases. With productive works of originality, medical argument, and annotation, he made progressive contributions to the development of medical literature, clinical medicine, and treatment. Today, we are still using his prescriptions.

Translator: Yanqing Li (李颜青)

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Wang MY. Gui Yan Recording of Medicine. Revision of Fang CY, Lou YG. Beijing: China Classics Publishing House; 1987.  Back to cited text no. 1
Wang SX. Wang Meng Ying's Medical Book: Revision of Good Prescription for Medicine. Beijing: China Press of Traditional Chinese Medicine; 1999.  Back to cited text no. 2
Li XP. Wang mengying from the respective of modern social history. J Tradit Chin Med Literat 2017; 35(4):53-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Zhang L. An analysis of wang mengying's research methods. Jiangsu J Tradit Chin Med 2019;51:76-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Wang MY. Revision of the Discussion of Sudden Turmoil. Shanghai: Science and Technology Press; 1958.  Back to cited text no. 5
Sheng ZX. Wang Meng Ying's Medical Book. Beijing: Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Literature; 1999. p. 211-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
Shen ZY, Lu WB. Discussion on the academic achievement of wang mengying. J Zhejiang Coll Tradit Chin Med 1980; (2):23-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
Yu YL. Wang mengying and engraving edition of Hui XI case records. Chin Med Culture 2019;14:82-90.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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