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Visiting China’s fascinating traditional Chinese medicine museums

China is renowned for its traditional system of medicine which has attracted people from diverse countries of the world since ages. Popularly called “Traditional Chinese Medicine” or TCM, this system of medicine originated in ancient China and has tremendously flourished over thousands of years.

In the present times, the popularity of Traditional Chinese Medicine has grown far and wide, and is even being adopted by people in the United States and many Western countries. The ancient philosophy of Taoism is the primary source of TCM, and this ancient system of healthcare is itself more than 2,500 years old. The practitioners of TCM use many different practices to heal their patients. The prominent among these include herbal medicines, acupuncture, moxibustion, tui na, tai chi and gi gong.

Now that we understand the basics of the Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is important to know the museums associated with this system of medicine in various parts of China. This will add to your knowledge further and help in preparing beforehand for an amazing trip to China, particularly to see numerous Traditional Chinese Medicine museums. Some of the famous museums that are must visit include Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum,  Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum at Shen Nong Cottage, Huqingyutang Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum, and Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum at the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine.

Let us now explore these TCM museums one by one and get a fascinating insight about them.

Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum
The Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum is situated at 1200, Cailun Road, Pudong Xinqu. This museum is devoted to the Traditional Chinese Pharmacology as well as the Traditional Chinese Medicine. This museum offers fascinating insight into a huge range of collections including over 140,000 articles of TCM and pharmaceutical artifacts dating from the New Stone Age. The museum is also home to over 3,000 medical journals or newspapers, and over 6,000 volumes of modern and traditional medical classics. Many medical journals/newspapers here are from 1920s and 1930s, which are rarely found today.

The museum is quite extensive and is divided in other wings, each dedicated to an exclusive theme. These include the Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Education, the Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine Culture, The Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine Prescriptions, the Museum of Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Massage, the Museum of Health Nourishing and Rehabilitation, and the Museum of Miscellaneous Artifacts.

Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine is situated on the Qing Dynasty Hefang Street. It came into existence in 1989 at the original site of popular Hu Qing Yu Tang drugstore, founded by Hu Xueyan in 1874. The museum is spread in an area of 4,000 sq m and comprises of 5 main parts.

As you explore the museum’s main “Exhibition Hall”, get ready to get insight into the history and development of the traditional Chinese medicine and all that the famous old doctors had to say about it. If you are suffering from an ailment and want to try out this amazing alternative system of medicine, then the museum’s “Chinese Heath Care Clinic” is the best place to spend some time and get treated. You can seek the help of experienced doctors who will be eager and ready to provide their skilled traditional Chinese care. As you move ahead exploring other parts of the museum and step into the “Medicine Preparation Hall”, you will get opportunity to see the traditional art of pill making and the way in which the medicines were cut. Here’s a wonderful chance for you as well to try out making the pills and cutting the medicines. You will find your visit to the “Restaurant of Medicinal Diet” quite beneficial. Here you will be offered advice on medicinal diets that would not only taste good but also prove to be fruitful for your health. If you want to purchase medicines prepared in the factory of the museum, then visit the “Sales Department”. Here you will also be offered medicines procured from popular shops around China.

Renowned for its classical architecture, the Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine is great to visit as it not only showcases the history of traditional Chinese medicine, but also prominently displays literature as well as samples of medicines that were discovered since ancient times.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum at Shen Nong Cottage
The Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum at Shen Nong Cottage is situated at No. 389 Sha Tai Road in Guangzhou Baiyun District. The museum, which is spread in 25,000 sq m area, is currently housed on Guangzhou Baiyunshan Hutchison Whampoa Ltd’s premises. The museum is one-of-its-kind and the largest semi-open museum in the country. The museum is often termed as the “Grand View Garden” for its amazing culture of the traditional Chinese medicine. The access to the museum is free. The visitors here are offered on-the-spot diagnosis, and even provided chance to sample special medicated food.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum at Shen Nong Cottage is divided into several stages. The museum’s first stage is a semi-open facility spread in over 3,000 sq m area. Here the history and beautiful culture of traditional Chinese medicine is prominently showcased through multimedia shows, models of medical tools, physical specimens, exhibition walls, art gallery, carved sculptures and relief sculptures.

The Shen Nong Cottage, where the Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum is currently housed, has been exquisitely designed and based on the famous “Diagram of Internal Veins” in TCM. You will find over 1,000 different kinds of traditional Chinese medicine plants being grown here. Even the plants that are being used for providing greenery are also laden with medicinal properties. Some of the plants being grown here include Mangosteen, frangipane, Gelsemium elegans, Antaris, coix seeds abd Chinese rugosa.

The second stage at the Shen Nong Cottage is spread over 22,000 sq m and leads to the Lingnan Palace prominently featuring Lingnan’s geography, climate, soil conditions, topography, common diseases and their cures. This section also traces the history of Lingnan medicine, characteristics of Lignan medicine, and the brands of Lingnan TCM.

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