Ben Cao Gang Mu

  • Liao Yuqun
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8472

The application of herbal, mineral, animal, and man‐made substances in medical therapy has been recorded in China since antiquity. These pharmaceutical compilations are called Ben Cao.

In the Ming dynasty, a masterpiece, Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica), was published in AD 1590. In China, as well as in other parts of the world, this work is the best known and most respected description of traditional pharmaceutics. The value of this enormous achievement, written by one person, goes far beyond the scope of a pharmaceutical‐medical drug work. In fact, it constitutes an extensive encyclopedia of knowledge concerning nature and the technology required for the medicinal use of nature.

The compilation of Ben Cao Gang Mu was based on the Zheng Lei Ben Cao(Classified Materia Medica, compiled at the end of the eleventh century AD). Li Shizhen, the author, took from it 1,479 drugs. He supplemented these with 39 drugs that had been included in the drug compendia of the Jin Yuan...

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References

  1. Collected Works of Study on Li Shizhen. Hubei: Science and Technology Press, 1985. Google Scholar
  2. Li, Shizhen. Ben Cao Gang Mu. Beijing: Jen min wei sheng chu pan she, 1975.Google Scholar
  3. Métailié, Georges. Des manuscrits en quête d'auteur du “Plinius Indicus” de Johann Schreck au “Bencao gangmu” de Li Shizhen et au “Bencao pinhui jingyao” de Liu Wentai. Journal Asiatique 286 (1998): 211–33.Google Scholar
  4. Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China. Vol. V. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liao Yuqun

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