Nicolaas Herman Oving – practitioner, translator, and educator in the field of Chinese Medicine
Prone to an adventurous life, Nicolaas Herman Oving’s passions shift with locations and seasons. Traveling in Europe, China, and the United States he learned about different peoples and their life ways, all the while gaining a respect for their Eastern and Western knowledge traditions. Between these travels he earned a degree in sinology and studied the theory and practice of Chinese medicine.
After formally studying Chinese languages and cultures in the Netherlands and China, Nicolaas studied Chinese medicine at a private school in the Netherlands. He has practiced herbal medicine in different clinics, including one he established with a colleague. More recently, he has taken a hiatus from the clinic to devote himself to the translation of Chinese medical texts, and to grow vegetables, fruit, and medicinal plants.
Having gained notable success, Nicolaas has published translations of several key works. In 2007, he published an annotated translation of Wang Qingren’s foundational text, the Yilin gaicuo (Correcting the Errors in the Forest of Medicine). More of Nicolaas’s translations are available on the Chinese Medicine Database website. Some Dutch and English versions appeared in journals such as the European Journal of Integrated Eastern & Western Medicine and Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Acupunctuur. He is currently working on translations of two texts by Tang Zonghai (a.k.a. Tang Rongchuan; second half of 19th century): the Bencao wenda (本草問答 – Questions and answers on materia medica – see his introduction to this text here), a text discussing the way medicinal plants grow and look in relation to what they do therapeutically, and the Xuezhenglun, an influential text on blood and bleeding patterns. Another project on his desk is a translation of Wu Youke’s (a.k.a. Wu Youxing) Wenyilun (瘟疫論 On Warm Epidemic; mid 17th century). He hopes to publish these translations in the near future. Having done editorial work for Nigel Wiseman and Paradigm Publications, he now provides private advice regarding Chinese medical terminology to several teachers and students.
Nicolaas has taught Chinese medical language and terminology since the year 2000 when he wrote a course for Dutch acupuncturists. He taught that course for seven years to groups of physician-acupuncturists and practitioners of various accreditations. In 2007 he set up an online course in Chinese medical Chinese (in English), which has become one of his great pleasures.