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Kampo/Crude Drug Wiki    (漢方・生薬Wiki)


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Kampo Medicine

Kampo is not Chinese Medicine

Kampo is not TCM
"Kampo", or ancient Chinese (漢) art (方) if literally translated, is the Japan's assimilated version of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It was already organized as a system in the 16th century and has been refined in a Japanese tradition since. Its notable difference from TCM is the formulation in the unitary medical system with European Medicine. It is neither complementary nor alternate medicine in Japan.
In the WHO document, Kampo is defined as "the medicine traditionally practiced in Japan, based on ancient Chinese medicine". We might call it "the traditional Japanese medicine" but this expression should include acupuncture and moxibustion treatment and is a larger concept than Kampo.

Portable Medicine Cabinet (Edo era; 1862) Reproduced with permission from Naito Museum of Pharmaceutical Science and Industry

Why do we care Chinese or Japanese medicine?

Are we sensitive as to whether Kampo is Japanese or Chinese? Western medicine is based on chemical structures, and each structure is (or was) patented. In this sense, their origin is clear. On the other hand, traditional (especially herbal) medicine is one major intellectual-property issue related to biological diversity. It is therefore important to clarify origins and install an appropriate international standard.

Summary (more detail)

  • Kampo Medicine
    Mixed recipes of crude drugs in Japanese distinct style, originally based on classic literature such as "Shokanron" and "Kinkiyoryaku" from ancient China.
  • TCM: Traditional Chinese Medicine
    Mixed recipes of crude drugs in China. It is more flexible depending on patients' conditions and uses hundreds of raw materials from plants as well as animal origins.
  • Folk Medicine
    Usually single crude drugs used by tradition or hunch.

Some of his recipes are still officially approved and used: Shiunko, Chuoko, and Jumihaidokuto. Picture is from Wikipedia.
Recipe for "Kakkonto", or pueralia root decoction (More)

Kampo Standards

The New Standards for Kampo Formulas

In early 1970, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (now Health, Labor and Welfare) summarized the byelaw published as "Guideline for General Kampo Formulas" (Edited by MHW and the committee in FPMAJ, Published by Jiho), which has been known as 'The 210 formulas' for 30 years. In 2008, it underwent a significant revision and 213 formulas are listed as "Standards of Approval for the Kampo Formulation". The difference is introduced here (in Japanese).

Japanese Pharmacopoeia

(Japanese) Pharmacopoeia is a book with legal force containing directions to identify and qualify medicinal compounds that may be used in Japan. Its revision process therefore requires utmost attention. Since it is a legal document, there are some side effects such as for the scientific name of Cinnamon.

Details (only in Japanese)

about this site

Crude Drug Information

In the Japanese Pharmacopoeia, around 160 crude drugs are listed. This site introduces their details with links to available Kampo formulas.

Literature Information

This site contains 7677 article information on Kampo formulas. They are listed at the bottom of each page for Kampo prescription.

Availability, Production Methods, Examinations

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Society Information

Pages in category "CD"

The following 8 pages are in this category, out of 8 total.

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