What ancient Chinese docs knew about DNA

So, we all know that ancient Chinese doctors didn’t have lab tests, microscopes or x-rays, but yet, there is a concept in Chinese Medicine that I think is awfully close to how we would describe what DNA is or does. And this concept is ESSENCE.

There are three types of Essence, each with it’s own unique functions and roles: 

  • Pre-natal Essence: This is the result of the fusing of the sperm and egg at conception and is what guides the development of the fetus in the womb. It determines a person’s vitality, constitution and strength throughout life.
  • Post-natal Essence: This is formed after birth from the food and air that we take in. It is not as specific as Pre-natal Essence but rather is a broad term for the essences produced by the digestive system to nourish and energize our bodies.
  • Kidney Essence: Pre-natal Essence matures into Kidney Essence during puberty and is derived from both Pre- and Post-natal Essence. It determines growth, reproduction, development, sexual maturation, conception, pregnancy and menopause (in women), and aging. Further, Kidney Essence produces “Marrow”, a concept that is a little different in TCM compared to our western understanding…it fills the spinal cord and brain, and weak Marrow can result in a lack of nourishment for the brain leading to poor concentration and memory or dizziness.

Wouldn’t you agree that all this sounds a lot like some of the functions of DNA? How fascinating!