Trade paperback book
562 pages, 5.50 x 8.00"
Divine Farmer's Materia Medica - Shen Nong Ben Cao
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This text is a literal translation of one of the earliest and most important classics of Chinese medicine and natural science: the Shén Nóng Běncǎo Jīng 神農本草經 or "Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica." Compiled in the third century CE but undoubtedly much older in content, it contains information on 365 substances that were considered to have beneficial effects on the human body.Aimed primarily at modern students and practitioners of Chinese medicine, this work is also for academic researchers and hobby students of medical history, Chinese classical literature, and natural science.
The translator's work reflects a triple engagement with the worlds of applied Chinese medicine, academic sinology, and sustainable agriculture. The 365 substances covered are categorized in three books, associated with Heaven, Humanity, and Earth respectively. Coming from the perspective of alchemy and the pursuit of health and longevity, treating disease and expelling pathogens by ingesting substances that have a strong directly-discernible effect on the body is viewed as the lowest goal. By contrast, the higher-ranked medicinals often have no discernible effect when ingested, but especially when taken over long periods of time have such ambitious and intangible goals as connecting the human spirit to heaven, lightening the body, or staving off aging. The information contained in this book and the vision of the world and of the effect of natural substances on the human body expressed here are bound to inspire any practitioner of the Chinese art of yǎngshēng 養生 ("nurturing life").