photo credits: Li Shizhen ( 李時珍 ) - CC-PD-Mark
Compendium of Materia Medica
The Compendium of Materia Medica (also known by the romanizations Bencao Gangmu or Pen-tsao Kang-mu) is a Chinese herbology volume written by Li Shizhen during the Ming dynasty; its first draft was completed in 1578. It is a work epitomizing the materia medica known at the time. The Compendium of Materia Medica is regarded as the most complete and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine. It lists all the plants, animals, minerals, and other items that were believed to have medicinal properties.
The text consists of 1,892 entries, each entry with its own name called a gang. The mu in the title refers to the synonyms of each name.The British historian of Chinese science Joseph Needham calls Li Shizhen "the 'uncrowned king' of Chinese naturalists", and his Bencao gangmu "undoubtedly the greatest scientific achievement of the Ming".
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