David Kelsey Acupuncture
Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture and Herbs
An Integrated Approach
  Chinese Medicinal Herbs Cambridge  

KAMPO (Japanese Herbal Medicine)

  Chinese Herbs Cambridge
Kampo Herbs Cambridge
Kampo Japanese Herbs Specialist




Around 200 AD the Japanese emperor sent a number of diplomats and Doctors over t o China to study their medical systems. They returned with a number of formula’s put together by Chang Chung-Ching, famously know as the Shang Han Lun (six divisions). Physicians were then trained in diagnosis and treatment. From this period to the seventh century the Japanese people followed the way of the Han (Chinese People).


From this period there followed centuries of self imposed isolation in which Japanese Doctors developed their own medical systems. From this two major schools of medicine emerged. The GOSH School which followed the spiritual aspects of the body and its organs and the KAHOHHE School which believed in only what the physician see and touch. Evidence and Symptom based.


Japan emerged from its isolation in 1600 (Edo Period). A period of unrest followed which saw the breakdown of its stratified and ordered society. Not until 1860 (Meijie Period) did Japanese society become more settled. In the West this was the time of the Industrial Revolution and Japanese society saw the West as superior, especially medicine and the use of vaccines.


From 1860 to 1930 the practice of Kampo almost died out as the government ordered that all doctors had to train in Western Medicine first and only then could they study Kampo as a specialization.


In 1940 Dr Atsuko studied the classics (Shang Han Lun and others) and that of the Kahohho School (evidence based herbal medicine) and gave Kampo prominance in the treatment of patients.


Gretchen De Soriano studied with Dr Atsuko in Japan and runs the Kampo apprenticeship in London and where I was a student.

Kampo in Modern Japanese Society


Throughout the centuries Kampo has been effective in its clinical use. Even with the ready availablility of pharmacutical agents, more than 70% of Japanese doctors routinely prescribe Kampo Medicines.


The center of Kampo Medicine at Keio University School of Medicine carries out research with the main aim of clarifying the mechanism of action in Kampo Medicine. Their understanding at present is that there is no one active ingredient, but rather as Kampo medicinal formulas are made up of several herbs where a synergy is formed between its component parts to form its actions. Another words the action is greater than the sum (all the single herbs in the formula) put together.


Kampo is an individual therapy. One Kampo formula is not prescribed for all persons with the same western disease diagnosis. The University’s research uses both qualitative and quantitive methods to better understand the interactions between the kampo formulas and the uniqueness of the patients physical system.


Presently there are some150 formulas that have been researched proved to have efficacy and therefor available for physicians to use within the Japanese Health Service.

The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine is the professional body that regulates this area of TCM. Here are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about Chinese herb, courtesy of RCHM:

Questions about Chinese Medicinal Herbs>>

Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine