The Jinkui yaolüe 金匱要略 "Concise manual from the Golden Chamber" is a fundamental book on ancient Chinese clinical medicine. The 3 juan "scrolls" long book is also called Jinkui yaolüe fanglun 金匱要略方論 and is part of Zhang Zhongjing's 張仲景 book Shanghan zabing lun 傷寒雜病論 (Shanghanlun 傷寒論) from the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE). The original book had a length of 16 juan and was revised during the Jin period 晉 (265-420) by Wang Shuhe 王叔和 (Wang Zhu 王洙) who shortened it to a length of 3 juan and gave it the title Jinkui yaolüe fanglun. Surviving fragments of this version were revised in 1065 during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126). During this process the part on febrile diseases (shanghan 傷寒) was left out, and the book obtained the transmitted shape. There is a Ming period 明 (1368-1644) edition that bore the title Jinkui yuhan yaolüe fang 金匱玉函要略方|
The Jinkui yaolüe is 25 chapters long and describes several dozen phenomena of diseases of internal medicine (neike 內科). The arrangement allows it that the curement of the diseases is immediately written side by side with the described phenomena, so that it is very convenient for a physician to use this book as a manual. There are 262 methods of curement (fangji 方劑) described, to be used for more than 40 diseases of the discipline of internal medicine. The book says that in examining the patient it is of great importance to establish a diagnosis about the intestines. This is made by the creation of valid rules for examining the pulse (maizheng guifan 脈證規范).
Except diseases of internal medicine the Jinkui yaolüe also explains many other diseases of clinical medicine and gynaecological (nüke 女科) diseases like menstrual disorders (yuejingbing 月經病), morbid leucorrhoea (daixia 帶下), or problems during pregnancy and after childbirth. In the field of external medicine (waike 外科) the book speaks about appendicitis (changyong 腸癰) or acute eczema (jinyinchuang 浸淫瘡). It describes cases of sudden death (jijiu cusi 急救猝死), diseases of the main and collaterals arteria of the lung, diet in eating and drinking, and intoxication. The book says that for an ideal treatment it was necessary to search for the reasons of the disease and to analyse its mechanism in the body, in order to fit with a correct application of methods and medicine.
The Jinkui yaolüe is a resumme of medical knowledge of the Han period and was therefore an important basic text on which all later medical writings could rely. It quotes extensively from ancient medical writings. The methods of treatment describe in the book have a very high value for the science of clinical medicine.
In the treatment of diseases, the Jinkui yaolüe represents a holistic view and thus perpetuates methods described in the Huangdi neijing, like "treating before diseases brake out" (zhi wei bing 治未病) and "treating a disease is to look for its origin (and not the phenomena)". During the examination of the patient, the so-called eight principles (bagang 八綱) are asked for (yin 陰, yang 陽, "outside" biao 表, "inside" li 裡, "deficiency" xu 虛, "excess" xu 實, "cold" han 寒, "hot" re 熱) and the "eight methods" (bafa 八法) are applied (sweating hanfa 汗法, vomiting tufa 吐法, the stomach xiafa 下法, the harmony of the organs hefa 和法, warming wenfa 溫法, clearing qingfa 清法, resolution xiaofa 消法 and use of tonics bufa 補法). Although the recipes for medication mainly prescribe orally taken medicine (neifu 內服), there are also many outer treatments described, especially for first aid purposes.
The Jinkui yaolüe is an important book that it has been published and commented very oftenly. The earliest commentary was written by Zhao Yide 趙以德 (Jinkui yaolüe yanyi 金匱要略衍義) during the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368). Other famous commentaries were written by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholars You Zaijing 尤在涇 (Jinkui yaolüe xindian 金匱要略心典), Xu Bin 徐彬 (Jinkui yaolüe lunzhu 金匱要略論注), Cheng Lin 程林 (Jinkui yaolüe zhijie 金匱要略直解), Zhou Yangjun 周揚俊 (Jinkui yuhan jing erzhu 金匱玉函經二柱), Shen Mingzong 沈明宗 (Jinkui yaolüe bianzhu 金匱要略編注), Wei Litong 魏荔彤 (Jinkui yaolüe fanglun benyi 金匱要略方論本義), Huang Yuanyu 黃元御 (Jinkui xuanjie 金匱懸解), Wu Qian 吳謙 (Dingzheng Jinkui yaolüe zhu 訂正金匱要略注), Chen Xiuyuan 陳修園 (Jinkui yaolüe qianzhu 金匱要略淺注), or Tang Rongchuan 唐容川 (Jinkui yaolüe qianzhu buzheng 金匱要略淺注補正). Modern commentaries were written by Lu Yuanlei陸淵雷 (Jinkui yaofang jinshi 金匱要略今釋) and He Ren 何任 (Jinkui yaolüe tiyao biandu 金匱要略提要便讀). There are also some commented translations into modern Chinese, like Jinkui yaolüe yishi 金匱要略譯釋 by the Nanjing zhongyi yueyuan 南京中醫學院 and Jinkui yaolüe yuyi 金匱要略語譯 by the Zhongyi yanjiuyuan 中醫研究院. Japanese scholars were also interested in the Jinkui yaolüe. Tamba Motoyasu 丹波元簡 (1755-1810) has written Kinki gyokkan yōryaku shūgi 金匱玉函要略輯義 and Tamba Mototaka 丹波元堅 (1795-1857) Kinki gyokukan yōryaku jutsugi 金匱玉函要略述義.
The Jinkui yaolüe has been printed very often. The earliest print dates from the Yuan period, yet those of the best quality are Zhao Kaimei's 趙開美 print from 1599 and that of the Wenrui Hall 文瑞堂 from 1683. The most famous of the later prints is included in the reprint series Yitong zhengmai 醫統正脈. In 1956 the Renmin weisheng press 人民衛生出版社 published a modern print called Zhongjing quanshu 仲景全書 "The complete book of (Zhao) Zhongjing", based on Zhao Kaimei's edition.
Li Jingwei 李經緯 et al. (ed. 1995). Zhongyi da cidian 中醫大辭典, Beijing: Renmin weisheng chubanshe, p. 940.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1654.
Zhongguo da baike quanshu zongbianji weiyuanhui "Zhongguo chuantong yixue" bianji weiyuanhui 中國大百科全書總編輯委員會《中國傳統醫學》編輯委員會 (1992). "Jinkui yaolüe 金匱要略", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo chuantong yixue 中國傳統醫學, Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe, p. 215.