An Approach to the Nature of Qi in TCM - Qi and Bioenergy (11)
By Xing-Tai Li  and Jia Zhao 
We have a long way to go, but at least, we now have a model which is based upon biochemical pharmacology.
Qi, is the most basic, the most important and the most nebulous concept, and can be called the biggest enigma in TCM. Research on the nature of Qi in TCM has important theoretical and clinical significance. By analyzing and concluding generation process and function of Qi and bio-energy (ATP), and the effects of Qi-invigorating herbal medicines (QIHM) and Qi-regulating herbal medicines (QRHM) on energy metabolism, the following conclusions can be drawn: Qi and bioenergy have common source and identical functions. Regulation on energy metabolism by QIHM and QRHM showed significant differences due to the different chemical compositions and flavors, QIHM and QRHM are able to improve and decrease the energy state of the body respectively. QIHM invigorate "Qi" through increased intracellular ATP level; and QRHM regulate "Qi" by reducing intracellular ATP levels. Thus, there are many common natures between Qi and bio-energy. Studies on the nature of Qi in TCM should be carried out in other areas of life science due to the wide implications for Qi. With the rapid development of modern life science, we believe that mankind will reveal the truth of the enigma in the near future, it would be better for clinical services.
Without having a scientific model, we cannot advance the research. A future step in Qi research would be to set up effective model to assess Qi effect and identify the effect of Qi on energy metabolism which plays the central role in life activities. If such a model is found, then, the next task might be to find the mechanism of how Qi act. We have a long way to go, but at least, we now have a model which is based upon biochemical pharmacology. With this, we can advance our search to understand the mechanisms of Qi-related phenomena and Qi-healing processes, which have been known for 4000 years.
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This and the other entries herein appeared in: Xing-Tai Li and Jia Zhao (2012). An Approach to the Nature of Qi in TCM–Qi and Bioenergy, Recent Advances in Theories and Practice of Chinese Medicine, Prof. Haixue Kuang (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-903-5, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/28416. Available from: http://www.intechopen.com
 ^ College of Life Science, Dalian Nationalities University, Dalian, China, is given as the professional location of Xing-Tai Lii.
 ^ Norman Bethune College of Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun China, is given as the professional location of Jia Zhao.
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