SCIENCE CHINA Earth Sciences, Volume 60, Issue 11: 2051-2058(2017) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-016-9060-5

From solar terms to medical terms (Part II): Some implications for traditional Chinese Medicine

Jie SHI1, Ge CHEN2,3,*
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  • ReceivedMar 1, 2017
  • AcceptedMay 22, 2017
  • PublishedJul 19, 2017


In the traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the timing of performing the treatment during the year is always an important factor for maximizing its effectiveness. Based on over half a century of observational and reanalysis data, a modified calendric system, named the Twenty-four Medical Terms (24-MTs), has been established for mainland China following a systematic calibration and geographical adjustment of the classic Twenty-four Solar Terms (24-STs). In view of “adapting the human body to the changing universe”, a core philosophy of the TCM, this improved medical calendar is expected to make a significant contribution to the development of precise Chinese Medicine in the big data era. Specifically, two maps of localized timings for the so-called Triple-Fu (TF) and Triple-Jiu (TF) defined using a joint heat index of air temperature and relative humidity are created as an alternative to the two nationwide unified timings representing the warmest and coldest periods of the year. These location-specific medical calendars, with a maximum regional time shift of one week for TJ and a systematic advancing of 3.6–28.2 days for TF in mainland China, are thought to be clinically useful for carrying out precise TCM such as “treating winter deceases in summer”. In addition, similar maps of localized timings for peak spring and peak autumn defined as the days of fastest warming and cooling around the years are generated for mainland China, so as to provide a helpful guidance for practicing season (ST/MT) related and geographically dependent precise health care in the context of “born in spring, grow in summer, harvest in autumn, and preserve in winter”, which is a key ideology in the TCM.

Funded by

Natural Science Foundation of China(61361136001)


The authors would like to thank WANG Xuan, REN Yibin and LIU Yingjie for their assistances in figure plotting and literature survey. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61361136001).


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