Ben Cao Gang Mu

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Course Overview

Paul Unschul has translated the Pharmacoipiea from the 1500s and made it accessible to modern practitioners. Beggars, convicts, monks, priests, physicians, scholars, dukes and emperors were equally acknowledged as contributors to the Ben Cao Gang Mu. One of the most impressive features of the Ben cao gang mu is the detailed style of the discussion presented by author Li Shizhen. Nowhere else in pre-modern Chinese literature can you find citations of numerous different views and voices in a way that illustrates the development of knowledge about specific substances. In this way, the texts guide readers to definite judgment about the item's therapeutic potential and possible dangers. The English translation of the Ben cao gang mu will open a new era in the Western reception of Chinese Medicine. As valuable and indispensable as the many books on Chinese materia medica written in Western languages are, their content has been sifted through the sieves of modern knowledge, worldviews, and expectations. This Ben cao gang mu translation offers direct access to a vast accumulation of Chinese knowledge, a unique and valuable window into the past and culture of China.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the long history of the Chinese pharmaceutical wisdom of natural products for therapeutic effect.

  • Learn the volumes on herbal medicine that were published prior to the Ben Cao Gang Mu. Describing the best-known titles of the centuries. Get to know the author Li Shizhen 1518-1593 & his lineage.

  • Understand the difficulties found in prior English translations.

  • Meet the team of Chinese experts in history of materia medica, history of dieases and geographical history of China presented. Understand why they were needed to put the translation into context.

  • Understand what can be found in Chapters 1-4 that is profoundly clinically useful.

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