Oriental Medicine and Health Services

Herbology

History of Herbology

Tradition and Chinese Herbs

  • Shen Nong
    • Divine farmer / peasant / agriculturist / husbandman
    • 2nd of 3 legendary heroes in Chinese culture
    • Credited with tasting the "one-hundred" herbs
    • Determined the herbs' properties
  • Shennong Bencao Jing
    • 1st Chinese materia medica
    • Began during the Stone Age
    • Completed in the later part of the 5th century BCE
    • Original work was lost
    • Rewritten around 200 CE

Wushier Bing Fang

  • Prescriptions for 52 Ailments
  • Unearthed from the Mawangdui tomb of 168 BCE in 1973
  • Over 250 medicinal substances are named in discussions of prescriptions and their uses
  • A mixture of both pragmatic and "magical" ideas from the 3rd century BCE
  • Not part of mainstream herbal history / theory

Other notable texts?

  • Xin Xiu Ben Cao Jing (695 AD)
    • Newly Revised Materia Medica / Tang Materia Medica
    • 844 entries
    • China's first illustrated materia medica
  • Ben Cao Gang Mu (1596 CE)
    • Grand Materia Medica by Li Shizhen
    • 1,892 substances
      • 1,173 from plants
      • 444 from animals
      • 275 minerals
  • Zhong yao da Ci Dian (1977)
    • Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicinal Substances
    • 5,767 entries

Shang Han Za Bing Lun (200 CE)

  • Discussion of Cold-induced Disorders and Miscellaneous Diseases by Zhang Zhongjing
  • Thought to be the ancestor text of all formularies
  • Every formula was named, along with ingredients, dosages, and methods of preparation
  • Divided into 2 parts about 50 years after Zhang's death
  • Shang Han Lun - Discussion of Cold-induced disorders
    • 397 sections, 112 herbal prescriptions, utilizes 6 divisions theory
  • Jin Gui Yao Lue - Essentials from the Golden Cabinet
    • 25 chapters, 262 herbal prescriptions, utilizes zang fu theory