Chinese alchemy

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Chinese alchemy, a part of the larger tradition of Taoism, centers on the tradition of body-spirit cultivation that developed through the Chinese understandings of medicine and the body. These Chinese traditions were developed into a system of energy practices. Chinese alchemy focuses mainly on the purification of one's spirit and body in the hopes of gaining immortality through the practice of Qigong and/or consumption and use of various concoctions known as alchemical medicines or elixirs, each of which having different purposes.

Alchemical medicines were valued for two main reasons. First they granted transcendence and immortality and secondly they made it possible to summon benevolent spirits and expel demons. The alchemical practices outlined in Waidan or 'external alchemy' and Neidan or 'internal alchemy' are intended to increase life span or produce immortality amongst the people using these methods.

Pao zhi (Pao chi) refers to the alchemy of processing Traditional Chinese medicine, such as honey or wine frying and roasting with toxic metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic.

According to J.C. Cooper's "Chinese Alchemy: The Taoist Quest for Immortality," Taoism had two distinct parts, the classical Tao Chia, which was mystical and stemmed primarily from Laozi and Zhuangzi, and the...
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