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Encyclopedia > Compendium of Materia Medica

The Compendium of Materia Medica (Chinese: 本草綱目; pinyin: Běncǎo Gāngmù) is a pharmaceutical text written by Li Shizhen (1518-1593 AD) during the Ming Dynasty of China. A compendium is a comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge. ... Materia medica is a Latin term for any material or substance used in the composition of curative agents in medicine. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: 汉语拼音; Traditional Chinese: 漢語拼音; Hanyu Pinyin: , lit. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... Events A plague of tropical fire ants devastates crops on Hispaniola. ... Events May 18 - Playwright Thomas Kyds accusations of heresy lead to an arrest warrant for Christopher Marlowe. ... Dionysius Exiguus invented Anno Domini years to date Easter. ... The Míng Dynasty (Chinese: 明朝; Pinyin: Míng Cháo) was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644. ...

The text is regarded as the most complete and comprehensive medical books ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine. The text lists all the animals, plants and other objects which were believed to contain medicinal properties. TCM shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. ...



Li Shizhen completed the first draft of the text in 1578, after conducting readings of 800 other medical reference books and carrying out 30 years of field study. A famous proverb originated from the field studies of Li: 不耻下问, as he was never ashamed of asking and learning from the less educated people about medicine. For this and many other achievements Li Shizhen is being compared to the Shennong, a mythological God in Chinese myth who taught them about agriculture and herbal medicine. Events January 31 - Battle of Gemblours - Spanish forces under Don John of Austria and Alexander Farnese defeat the Dutch. ... Shennong (Traditional: 神農; Simplified: 神农; Pinyin: Shen2 nong2) is a legendary emperor and culture hero of Chinese mythology who is believed to have lived some 5,000 years ago and who taught the ancient peoples of the practices of agriculture. ... Chinese mythology is the mythology of Chinese civilization. ... A herb (pronounced hurb in Commonwealth English and urb in American English) is a plant grown for culinary, medicinal, or in some cases even spiritual value. ... Medicine is the branch of health science and the sector of public life concerned with maintaining human health or restoring it through the treatment of disease and injury. ...


The Compendium of Materia Medica has 52 volumes in total:

1. At the very beginning is the table of contents, containing a list of entries included and 1,160 hand drawn diagrams to serve as illustration.

2. Volume 1 to 4 — an 'index' (序例) and a comprehensive list of herbs that would treat the most common sickness (百病主治药).

3. Volume 5 to 52 — the main content of the text, containing 1,892 distinct herbs, of which 374 was added by Li himself. There are some 11,096 side prescriptions to treat common illness (8,160 of which is compiled or collected by Li). Prescription has various meanings. ...

The text is written in almost 2 million Chinese characters, classified into 16 divisions and 60 orders. For every herb there are entries on names, detailed description of appearance and odor, nature, medical function, effects and side recipes etc. Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ...


With the publication of the Compendium of Materia Medica, not only did it improve the classification of how traditional medicine was compiled and formatted, but it was also a great medium in improving the credibility and scientific values of biology classification of both plants and animals.

The compendium corrected many mistakes and false understandings of the nature of herbs and illness. Li also included many new herbs, added his own discovery in certain drugs, their effectiveness and function, as well as more detailed description according to experiments. It also has notes and records on general medical data and medical history.

Compendium of Materia Medica is also more than a pharmaceutical text, for it contains information so vast that it covered topics in biology, chemistry, geography, geology, history, and even mining and astronomy, which would seem to have little to do with herbal medicine. It has been translated into more than 20 languages and spread all over the world. Even now it is still in print and used as a reference book. Biology is a branch of science, dealing with the study of life. ... Multicolored chemicals are frequent hallmarks of chemistry. ... Geology (from Greek γη- (ge-, the earth) and λογος (logos, word, reason)) is the science and study of the Earth, its composition, structure, physical properties, history and the processes that shape it. ... For other senses of this word, see history (disambiguation). ... The El Chino Mine located near Silver City, New Mexico is an open-pit copper mine This article is about mineral extraction. ... Astronomy (Greek: αστρονομία = άστρον + νόμος, astronomia = astron + nomos, literally, law of the stars) is the science of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the Earths atmosphere, such as stars, planets, comets, aurora, galaxies, and the cosmic background radiation. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Jiaogulan - Jagulana Herbal Products - Herbal Heart and Cholesterol Defense (1802 words)
The earliest information available on jiaogulan dates back to the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.), when Zhu Xiao first described the plant and presented a sketch of it in the book Materia Medica for Famine in 1406 A.D..
He pointed out that this herb could be used to treat hematuria, edema and pain of the pharynx, heat and edema of the neck, tumors and trauma.
None of these products are licensed as medicines in the UK and they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
  More results at FactBites »



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