Assorted plant and animal parts used in traditional Chinese medicines: dried Lingzhi, ginseng, Luo Han Guo, turtle shell underbelly, and dried curled snakes.
China also developed a large body of traditional medicine. Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from empirical observations of disease and illness. and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. These causative principles, whether material, essential, or mystical, correlate as the expression of the natural order of the universe.
The foundational text of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi neijing , written 5th century to 3rd century BCE. Near the end of the 2nd century AD, during the Han dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing, wrote a Treatise on cold damage, which contains the earliest known reference to the Neijing Suwen. The Jin Dynasty practitioner and advocate of acupuncture and moxibustion, Huangfu Mi (215-282), also quotes the Yellow Emperor in his Jiayi jing, c. 265. During the Tang dynasty, the Suwen was expanded and revised, and is now the best extant representation of the foundational roots of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine that is based on the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and other forms of therapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years.
In the 18th century, during the Qing dynasty, there was a proliferation of popular books on traditional medicine. Jesuit missionaries introduced Western science and medicine to the royal court, the Chinese physicians ignored them.
Finally in the 19th century, Western medicine was introduced at the local level by Christian medical missionaries from the London Missionary Society (Britain), the Methodist Church (Britain)
Because of the social custom that men and women should not be near to one another, the women of China were reluctant to be treated by male doctors. The missionaries sent women doctors such as Dr. Mary Hannah Fulton (1854–1927). Supported by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church (USA) she in 1902 founded the first medical college for women in China, the Hackett Medical College for Women, in Guangzhou.