From Mengxi Bitan: The Correlation between External Hair Growths and the Internal Organs

Tan Mengxi

PureInsight | March 10, 2003

[] Editor's Note: Many people think that contemporary science is so advanced that it has progressed beyond even the imagination of the people of ancient times. But, in reality, the technological achievements of the ancient Chinese people are quite astounding. There are many such examples in Mengxi Bitan [Notes Written at Mengxi], which contains a total of 30 volumes and was written by Shen Kuo (1029-1093). It records scientific discoveries that the ancient Chinese had made in the fields of archaeology, astronomy, biology, geography, geology, climatology, economics, finance, history, linguistics, literature, mathematics, music, painting, pharmacology, physics, among others. In this series, we would like to share with readers some of the scientific discoveries that the ancient Chinese people had made as revealed in Mengxi Bitan.

The following passage from Mengxi Bitan describes the relationship between one's hair, beard and internal organs.

"A man's hair, beard and eyebrows correspond to different internal organs. When an older man's beard is gray but not his hair and eyebrows, or if his hair is gray but not his beard and eyebrows, this is because the energies of hair, beard and eyebrows are derived from different internal organs. The hair is ascribed to the heart, which carries fire energy. Therefore, hair grows on the uppermost part of the body. The beard is ascribed to the kidneys, which carry water energy. Therefore, the beard grows downward. The eyebrows are ascribed to the liver. Therefore, the eyebrows grow on the sides. A male's kidney energy flow upwards and downwards, and therefore he develops a beard in the upper part of his body and reproductive organs in the lower part of his body. Females and eunuchs have no male reproductive organs; thus, they have no beards. Their hair and eyebrows are not any different from those of males. From this, we can see that one's hair and eyebrows are not ascribed to the kidney.

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