Comparative Study of Medical Holism of Zhang and Hahnemann

Steve A. Xue, Ph.D., M.C.M. The University of Hong Kong
Deyou Jiang, Ph.D., Harbin, Helongjiang University of Chinese Medicine
Manjerry Zhong Xue, M.C.M. Xian Institute of Natural and Drugless Medicine


This study attempts to make a comparative study of the medical holism from two epoch- making figures of natural medicine from East and West: Zhang Zhongjing (150-219AD) and S. Hahnemann (1755-1843AD), and to outline their theoretical commonalities with and implications for clinical practices. It aimed at delineating some basic complementary features of medical cognition and clinical intervention from these two distinguished natural medicine lineages of East and West.


Zhang Zhongjing’s Classics of Febrile Disease and Hahnemann’s Organon of the Medical Art differ in time for a span of 1600 years, and in space for two different cultures of East and West. The disease spectrums of their times and locations are also quite different.

However, they share strikingly similar philosophies of medical holism in term of human relations with Nature, vital force, disease etiologies and progressions, diagnostic principles and therapeutic approaches. They offer each other vast potentials of mutual supplementation for future evolvement. The rapid prevalence of psycho-somatic disorders of the recent centuries, particularly in the Western countries, has been effectively addressed by the homeopathic repertory, prioritizing the rubrics of the mind (or mental/emotional aspects) of the patients of modern societies.

This will clearly provide a good guidance for the continuous growth of CCM theories, as well as of clinical modalities, in the new millennium. Similarly, the profound knowledge of human organ-network, energy transmission, healing progression, diagnostic modalities and prescriptions of medical formulas, based on the ancient Chinese holism of “Reunion of Heaven and Man”, well exemplified by Zhang’s works, would certainly enrich the practicing scope of homeopathic medicine, if the two systems, representative of natural medical traditions of East and West, could be integrated.

This integration will not be easy, but it surely can be very intriguing and enlightening. Interesting topics that can be investigated include: comparative studies of the symbolisms of CCM and homeopathic medicine for remedy and herbal prescribing; and how time, as an important modality in disease progression, is represented and assessed in CCM and homeopathic diagnosis and prognosis, to name just a few. The epoch crises of the new century, particularly in the eco- and health care domains of the world, mandate that we have an ethical obligation to seek and secure effective, non-toxic and sustainable measures of combating diseases and safeguarding human well-beings. With this mission in mind, we have to learn to transcend the historical and cultural boundaries, and to advocate the medical holism to all members of the global community.

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