History of sickness and medical art 30 : China 5

病と医術の歴史 30: 中国 5



 < 1.   Soldiers of Sanguo Shidai of China >

< 1. 中国、三国時代の軍人 >


This time, I introduce medicament, cure, and Chinese alchemy.




“Shennong Ben Cao Jing” is fatherless, the oldest book about materia medica, and was compiled during Later Han and Sanguo Shidai( the 2nd –3rd century).

This book sums up the knowledge and the treatment of the medicament from Zhanguo ( the 4th century B.C.).


薬 剤






< 2. “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” >

< 2. 神農本草経 >




< 3. Ephedra >

< 3. 麻黄 >


In the book, there are 365 kinds of medicament, it is categorized as 252 plants, 67 animals, and 46 minerals, and majority of the efficacy is obvious.

For example, ephedra is antidiarrheal, seaweed is used to treatment of lump, glycyrrhiza is alexipharmic, and rheum is a laxative.  

The medicament is categorized into 3 groups.

It consist of 120 kinds of medicament having harmless but weak effect for recuperation, 120 kinds of medicament having harmless and effect for recuperation and treatment, and the rest is such as medicament for destroying tumors in the stomach but being harmful.

And it mentions the production area of medicament, the collection season, the processing process, the most suitable type (pill, powder, and it saturated in alcohol), the taking time, and the taking method.


Books about materia medica after the 3rd century were based on this “Shennong Ben Cao Jing”.

In plant medicament, it is well known as a certain kinds of hydrangea is suitable for malaria, ginseng is suitable for recovery of energy, and tetradium ruticarpum is suitable for ascariciding.

Some of the medicaments were from Egypt and India, and Southeast Asia.













The regimen was important means of tonicity, the prevention of disease, and prevent aging.

Many thinkers and medical scientists preached the regimen, and there were two points of view: “Let’s cultivate life with motion” or “Let’s cultivate life with stillness”

” Hundred Schools of Thought” insisted that we have to be according to nature, and do the care of health about eating and drinking, and have the harmony of mind.

Tua Tuo created the exercises borrowing from five animal postures in Qigong。

“ Curing before becoming sickness” had been written in certain medical book.


養 生










< 4. Chinese alchemy? >

< 4. 錬丹術? >





< 5. Cinnabar > 

< 5.丹砂 >


Chinese alchemy and immortality

On the other hand, “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” included the knowledge of Taoism (thought of immortal), and showed the early state of Chinese alchemy.

In this book, it was written that mercury already had effect on the treatment of scabies and the insecticide of louse.

Chinese alchemy is to made the medicament for immortality by means of mixing and producing chemically change to metals such as mercury sulfide (cinnabar), gold or leaden.

A certain book of Taoism in the 4th century was the first important book about Chinese alchemy, and the chemical knowledge became abundance.

Chinese associated the elixir of immortality with remarkable changing of mercury from red ore of mercury sulfide (fig. 5) and the non-corrosive attribute of gold.

In ancient China, the people attached importance to living in this mortal world than afterworld.

Therefore, the First Qin Emperor had searched the medicament for immortality, in best days, kings of Tang (the 7-9th century) drank the medicament for immortality made by Chinese alchemy, and the many kings died by poisoning.

Before long, Taoism came to cultivate the immortality not by medicament of immortality but by Qi (spirit) of his body.

On the other hand, the abundant knowledge by Chinese alchemy developed the chemistry and the metallurgy, and then the world’s first gunpowder was made in China in the ninth century.















Categories: book+ film+drama, <english language, <japanese language, science, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “History of sickness and medical art 30 : China 5

  1. こんばんは(*^_^*)

    • 隣国の医学ー漢方を調べていると、その奥深さとおかしさがわかり、楽しいです。

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