Li Shih-chen


Li Shih-chen

▪ Chinese scholar

flourished 16th century, , China

      Chinese scholar of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) who compiled a giant materia medica, the Pen-ts'ao kang-mu (“Great Pharmacopoeia”), which described more than 2,000 drugs and presented directions for preparing more than 8,000 prescriptions. Completed in 1578, the book was in part a compilation of other smaller works of the same kind. It contained 142 illustrations and descriptions of 1,074 vegetable, 443 animal, and 217 mineral substances. Li described such seemingly modern processes as distillation and the uses of mercury, ephedrine, chaulmoogra oil, iodine, and even smallpox inoculation.

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Universalium. 2010.

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