1st Edition

The History and Compilation of Zhang Zhongjing’s Wu Zang Lun Five Viscera Theory

By Qiang Cao, Yun Xiao Copyright 2025
    224 Pages
    by CRC Press

    224 Pages
    by CRC Press

    Students of acupuncture and Chinese medicine recognize Zhang Zhongjing as the author of two seminal texts, that are among the most influential in Chinese medical history: the Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders (Shāng Hán Lùn, 伤寒论) and Essential Prescriptions from the Golden Cabinet (Jīn Guì Yào Lüè, 金匮要略). However, what is less well-known is that Zhang Zhongjing authored several other texts, all of which were lost over time, with the sole exception of the Treatise on the Five Zang Organs (Wǔ Záng Lùn, 五藏论). This was discovered in 1900 in a hidden library of China’s Mogao Caves of Dunhuang by a Taoist priest named Wang Yuanlu.


    The History and Compilation of Zhang Zhongjing’s Wu Zang Lun stands as the first comprehensive work in English detailing the history and compilation of Zhongjing's Treatise on the Five Zang Organs (Wǔ Záng Lùn, 五藏论). It uses storytelling to illuminate the historical context of the five versions found in Dunhuang. By exploring the origin and development of these versions this book not only delves into traditional Chinese medicine but also intertwines fascinating elements of humanities, history, and geography. The reader is offered insight into the Dunhuang manuscripts' background and the significance of Zhongjing's contributions to medical literature.

    Chapter 1. Wang Tao-shih, the Discoverer of the Hidden Library of Dunhuang

    Chapter 2. Aurel Stein, A Love Story from Budapest

    Chapter 3. Paul Pelliot, A Dear Friend of Dunhuang

    Chapter 4. Tang-ho River, Where the Water Brought Out Zhang Zhongjing “Wu Zang Lun”

    Chapter 5. The Truncated Verses on Medicinal Properties – P.2755V Collected in France

    Chapter 6. The Thought-provoking Anonymous “Wu Zang Lun” - P. 2378 Collected in France

    Chapter 7. Under the Name of Zhang Zhongjing - S.5614 Collected in England

    Chapter 8. Survived through The Wars – The “Categorized Collection of Medical Formulas” Edition

    Chapter 9. This Cross-century Zhang Zhongjing “Wu Zang Lun” - P.2115v Housed in France

    Chapter 10. Feared to Be Deemed A Forgery - Zhejiang Edition

    Chapter 11. The Fragment Sealed in Leningrad - The Russian Collection Дx.01325v

    Chapter 12. Forgotten by history - The Gakkundō Wooden-Movable Type Edition from Japan


    Qiang Cao, ND, L.Ac


    Professor Cao has an impressive career spanning over 45 years, primarily teaching Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). He started his career at Shanghai University of TCM in China, where he taught from 1977 to 1987, before moving to the United States to study Naturopathic medicine. He co-founded the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program at Bastyr University, where he has been teaching Chinese medicine for 35 years.


    In addition to his teaching, Prof. Cao's research has been published in peer-reviewed journals in China, focusing on clinical research on Qingpi extract injection to treat various conditions such as septic shock, cardiogenic shock, anaphylactic shock, neurogenic shock, and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Prof. Cao has also played a significant role in conducting research on the effectiveness of Qingpi injection for the treatment of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, which was published in the Journal of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine.


    While Prof. Cao's primary focus has been on academic teaching and clinical acupuncture practice in the United States, he has also been a core faculty member teaching fundamental courses in Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. He has extensive expertise in Zhang Zhongjing's theories and has been teaching TCM medical classics since the 1990s. He taught Zhang Zhongjing's "Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders" for the Doctoral program in the first decade of the 21st century.


    In 2011, Prof. Cao's interest in Dunhuang medicine was piqued when he encountered Zhang Zhongjing's "Wu Zang Lun" at an academic conference at Gansu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. He has been studying this theory for over a decade and has conducted extensive research on this book. In 2012, he presented his paper on "Hypothesis on the Authorship and Collection of the Dunhuang Manuscript Fragments of Zhang Zhongjing's 'Wu Zang Lun'" at the 20th Academic Symposium on Zhang Zhongjing's Theory, which was published in the symposium proceedings.


    Yun Xiao, DAc, L.Ac.


    Dr. Yun Xiao, as an adjunct faculty at Bastyr University and an experienced acupuncturist and herbalist at Wedgwood Acupuncture & Botanical Medicine, she holds an impressive educational background with a Doctorate in Acupuncture and a Master's in Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine from Bastyr University, alongside a Bachelor's in Herbal Medicine from Shanghai University of TCM. Her deep passion for medical literature has driven her to explore ancient medical classics, firmly believing in their value to enhance our understanding of medicine's evolution and its application in innovative health solutions.


    Her notable collaboration with Professor Cao on Zhang Zhongjing's "Wu Zang Lun" underscores her dedication to enriching medical theory and practice by reconnecting with historical insights. A recognized voice in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr. Xiao’s lectures deliver critical insights into TCM, embodying her commitment to integrating ancient wisdom with contemporary medical strategies.