One Thousand Ounces of Gold Classic is a Chinese medical text written 652 years after the birth of Christ by the wandering daoist priest and physician Sun Simiao (581-682). The book, which is thirty chapters long, gets its name from Sun's proclamation that one's health is worth more than one thousand ounces of gold. While there are more famous and ancient texts in the canon of Chinese medicine, this one stands out because of its focus on dietary remedies.

Sun discusses various diseases and treatments, but his most apt observations are made about beriberi, goiter and night blindness. For goiter Sun prescribes a diet high in pork thyroid glands, seaweed, kelp and lamb. Today, Western medicine has correlated goiters with iodine deficiencies and this diet is extremely high in iodine. His recommendation for night blindness was to eat the livers of animals, specifically cows, pigs and lambs. Livers are high in vitamin A, which will help eyesight. We now know that beriberi is caused by a thiamine (B1) deficiency and Sun's prescription of apricot seeds, cow milk, and rice bran are all high in thiamine.

It is important to note that the concept of vitamins was not known at the time Sun practiced medicine and that vitamins alone do not cure or necessarily control goiter and night blindness. Some of Sun's recommendations, which have proven highly effective, do not contain these vitamins or anything normally recommended by Western doctors. Indeed, there are many aspects of classical and traditional Chinese medicine that are still ignored by Western medicine despite well over a thousand years of successful and documented use.

* The pinyin for the title is Beiji Qian Jin Yao Fang, sorry for the lack of tone markers. The title is translated at wikipedia as Essential Formulas for Emergencies Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold.


Chinese System of Food Cures by Henry C. Lu.

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