Apricot Trees / Venerable Doctors with Good Skills
This term refers to venerable doctors with good skills and by extension the entire profession of Chinese medicine. According to Biographies of Deities and Immortals by Ge Hong (281?–341), the famous doctor Dong Feng of the Three Kingdoms period lived on Mount Lu where he treated patients free of charge. All he asked from those who recovered from a serious illness was to plant five apricot trees and those who recovered from a minor ailment to plant one such tree. After some years, a lush wood of apricot trees appeared. He traded apricots for grain which he saved up to help the poor and needy. Later, people used apricot trees to refer to virtuous doctors with good skills, and in modern times, some medical organizations and journals in China used the designation “apricot trees” as their names. This term has become a synonym for Chinese medicine.
Doctor Dong Feng who lived in a house on a mountain treated patients free of charge. He only asked his patients to plant apricot trees in exchange: five trees for patients of serious illness and one tree for patients of light illness. Several years later, 100,000 apricot trees were planted, forming lush woods… People came to buy apricots and weighed them by themselves, and no one cheated. Doctor Dong used the money to buy grains to give to the poor and travelers passing by. (Ge Hong: Biographies of Deities and Immortals)