paper, 508 p., $21.95
This Materia Medica was originally published in 1578 and was a compendium developed for 26 years. It includes descriptions of 1,892 species of drugs in addition to 8,160 prescriptions for various ailments. Drs. Porter Smith and Stuart used Li Shizhen’s work as a base from which they developed a translation of the herbal.
The text of Chinese Medicinal Herbs: A Modern Edition of a Classic Sixteenth-Century Manual is organized in alphabetical order according to the Latin species name of each plant. Each entry has the common name listed in the margin to assist the reader with easier identification of each species. A detailed description accompanies each entry and includes the maladies that seem to ease from use of the medicinal herb. A glossary of medical terms is included for those unfamiliar with some of the medical problems cited.
The authors offer examples of how these medicinal herbs were included in the traditional Chinese diet. Recipes for decoctions and their intended medical purposes are also provided for those interested in learning more about the application of certain herbs in the treatment of diseases.
This text of Chinese Medicinal Herbs is challenging to read, but the book may be very useful for students of alternative medical practice.
— Amy M. Lewitz, volunteer and master gardener, Chicago Botanic Garden