Culture Culture

14/12/2018 - 08:16

The quintessence of Oriental medicine in Hue

With the exhibition “The Quintessence of Oriental Medicine in Hue” at the Museum of Hue Culture (23/11/2018-23/1/2019,) the Oriental medicine in Hue is, for the first time, introduced in detail through many valuable pictures, documents and exhibits.

Documents about Thai Y Vien on display

The quintessence

Thai Y Vien (the board taking care of health for the royal family) is the place we have to mention when talking about the Oriental medicine in Hue. Located in a special region in terms of geography and history, Hue is where there was a developed branch of royal medicine, established and managed by the court and represented by Thai Y Vien of the Nguyen Dynasty, which existed for 143 years. The exhibition features Thai Y Vien through valuable pictures and documents such as the picture of physicians taking pulse in the Imperial City, the document about Nguyen Hanh’s promotion in Thai Y Vien in the 10th year of Tu Duc’s reign (1857), the medical diary, and some royal medical literature reviews and letters.

With Thai Y Vien, Hue was the place where many famous physicians from all over the country came to work. They were chosen through exams by the court. In Minh Mang’s Era, 73 out of 85 physicians were from Hue. The exhibition, therefore, introduces well-known physicians in Hue and the villages and families from which many physicians came.

Besides Thai Y Vien, there was another group of physicians who provided health care for the populate. Activities such as taking pulse, prescribing, processing medicinal herbs, etc., are featured in a vivid way at the exhibition.

According to Mrs. Nguyen Hong Hoa Thanh, Director of Hue Culture Museum, the Oriental medicine can be regarded as part of Hue heritage because only in Hue were there Tien Y Temple and Thai Y Vien. The exhibition not only introduces to the public the Oriental medicine in Hue and how treating activities  have been performed so far through documents and exhibits, but also honors the contribution of physicians, families of physicians and clinics to people’s health care.

Medical apparatus in Oriental medicine

Visiting the exhibition, Thich Tue Tam, an Oriental physician, Vice-Director of Thua Thien-Hue Oriental Medicine Association said: “I’m very happy to be here. With abundant documents, medical apparatus, herbal medicine, the exhibition gives an overview with highlights about the development of the Oriental medicine in Hue from the Nguyen Dynasty’s Era now. It also honors the role of Oriental physicians.”

Preserving ancestry’s career

The Oriental medicine in Hue has a long history and has been developing along with the establishment and development of the area of Thuan Hoa-Phu Xuan-Hue. Hue boasts big Oriental medicine pharmacies, well-known physicians and is the place that owns and preserves many precious and effective prescriptions.

According to Le Huu Mach the physician, President of Hue Oriental Medicine Association, a highlight in the history of development of the Oriental medicine in Hue is that it was the feudal dynasty that had a developed branch of Oriental medicine, founded and managed by the court, the best of which was Thai Y Vien in the Nguyen’s times.

Oriental medicine can be regarded as part of Hue heritage. Photo: Dang Tuyen

In addition, there is a branch of medicine for the populate, managed by an individual, a family, or an association with many prestigious physicians. Many traditional medicine pharmacies are located in the areas of Dong Ba, Gia Hoi, Kim Long, etc., forming a big center of Oriental medicine in Hue.

The once-famous career of Oriental medicine is now conserved, continued and developed. It greatly contributes to providing health care to people. Hue boasts many families of generations of well-known physicians with medical ethics and good medical skills. 

For example, Le Huu Mach the physician and his family have been running a traditional medicine pharmacy for generations. “I decided to become an Oriental physician to succeed my father and keep running Dong Cat Traditional Medicine Pharmacy. It is a way not only to preserve our family career but also to conserve and promote the value of a traditional profession for our hometown. I am happy that my three children also follow in their father’s footsteps. We keep learning from our ancestors, especially their medical ethics,” said Mach.

Space for making up prescriptions

According to Thich Tue Tam the physician, there is a high demand in Oriental medicine. Apart from the state system, the private sector is also more and more developing and becoming prestigious to the populate. Many clinics are well equipped and apply technology in examining and treating, meeting the need of modernizing the Oriental medicine.

Thich Tue Tam has participated in translating a few documents and prescriptions of the Nguyen Dynasty, and applied them in his work. Physicians in Hue also research, produce and sell on the market many high-quality products such as Minh Mang wine and Minh Mang prescription, royal wine and tea, etc.

Story and photos: MINH HIEN