Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目)
“Compendium of Materia Medica” is based on actual research and inspection by Li Shih-chen, the great expert of Chinese medicine, who spent nearly 30 years studying large amount of books of medicine. The book has done an overall review and compilation, and revision of knowledge about medicinal herbs, with many creative opinions and thoughts.
“Compendium of Materia Medica” summarizes all achievements of medicines before Ming Dynasty in a systematic manner. It remains a work of utmost importance on the study of medicine in Taiwan or overseas. In addition to medicine, its contents also cover astronomy, geology, chemistry, and botany. It is actually an encyclopedia of ancient Chinese era.
The book is divided into 52 volumes. The first and two volumes are general introduction on medicinal herbs. The third and fourth volumes are main prescriptions for all diseases. Starting from the fifth volume to the twelfth volume, a total of 1,892 medicines are described in detail by dividing into 60 subcategories under 16 categories. The book contains over 10,000 attached prescriptions and over 1,000 drawings. For each medicine there are subjects in the following order: name, collected description, citations of right comments against wrongful thoughts, nourishing and treatment of diseases, smell of medicine, main treatment of diseases, creative thoughts, and attached prescriptions. It is with a clear order and its contents are comprehensive.