Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ben Cao Gang Mu

Do you know who Li Shi Zhen is? Well, you should. He's pretty awesome. During the Ming Dynasty, he compiled the book known as the Ben Cao Gang Mu 本草纲目, or the "Grand Materia Medica." He spent all of his life studying herbs, 27 years of which was spent writing this one book. It has 1,892 individual herbs listed, 374 of which were not previously listed in any other herbal manual. He also went through all other available texts for comparison and corrected errors he found. He is basically the biggest herb nerd in the history of the world... and my idol.

(Sun Si Miao is still the love of my life though... sorry, Li Shi Zhen)

The Ben Cao Gang Mu has an expansive variety of herbs listed, far more than any other herbal book in English or Chinese. Lucky for us, as of 2004, you can get the very first complete English translation of the Ben Cao Gang Mu in a six-volume set. I want it.

By the way, the video is of Jay Chou, that guy from that movie Curse of the Golden Flower. He's a big-time pop star in Taiwan and China, and he's singing his song called Ben Cao Gang Mu. Read the lyrics! I got a good chuckle out of it.


Karen said...

I hear you...I have been coveting that set for a while now.
OK, that video is great, especially since he opens with a Stingray (my favorite car EVER).
I like your blog! :-)

Jonah Ewell said...

We should get the library to buy a set, eh?