The Ben cao gang mu, compiled in the second half of the sixteenth century by a team led by the physician Li Shizhen (1518–1593) on the basis of previously published books and contemporary knowledge, is the largest encyclopedia of natural history in a long tradition of Chinese materia medica works. Its description of almost 1,900 pharmaceutically used natural and man-made substances marks the apex of the development of premodern Chinese pharmaceutical knowledge. The Ben cao gang mu dictionary offers access to this impressive work of 1,600,000 characters. This third book in a three-volume series offers detailed biographical data on all identifiable authors, patients, witnesses of therapies, transmitters of recipes, and further persons mentioned in the Ben cao gang mu and provides bibliographical data on all textual sources resorted to and quoted by Li Shizhen and his collaborators.
Zheng Jinsheng is Professor and former Director of the China Institute for the History of Medicine and Medical Literature at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.
Nalini Kirk is a sinologist as well as a Chinese medicine practitioner and instructor living in Berlin.
Paul D. Buell is an independent scholar living in Seattle, Washington.
Paul U. Unschuld is Professor and Director of the Horst-Goertz Endowment Institute for the Theory, History, and Ethics of Chinese Life Sciences at Charité-Medical University Berlin. His previous books include Huang Di Nei Jing Ling Shu: The Ancient Classic on Needle Therapy and Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text.