Neurogenic dysphagia is the difficulty in swallowing caused by neurological diseases, which is a very common symptom in neurological disorders. In this paper, we try to summarize the opinions in the pathophysiology and therapy of dysphagia in ancient China (before AD 1840) through the records in the literatures from all the dynasties.
We searched the databases including Chinese Medical Classics, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wanfang Data, MEDLINE, and ISI Proceedings until July 2020, with the search terms “dysphagia” and “difficulty in swallowing” in English and their Chinese equivalents.
The concept of neurogenic dysphagia was first described as Hou Bi in the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic, which is the first Chinese medical classic and the origin of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory. In the different eras, the pathogenesis of neurogenic dysphagia was explained mainly by three theories in TCM, that is, the wind-phlegm blocking collaterals, the deficiency of liver and kidney-essence, and the Qi-stagnation with static blood. In addition to the TCM prescriptions, acupuncture is characteristic treatment and seems to be effective. However, the evidences of efficacy and safety from clinical trials are still required.

© 2020 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.