Shén Nóng Běncǎo Jīng: The Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica

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9780991342945: Shén Nóng Běncǎo Jīng: The Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica

This long-awaited English translation and critical edition of The Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica by well-known medical historian and translator Dr. Sabine Wilms is a product of her triple engagement with the worlds of applied Chinese medicine, academic sinology, and sustainable agriculture. The 365 substances covered are categorized in three books, associated with Heaven, Humanity, and Earth respectively. Coming from the perspective of alchemy and the pursuit of health and longevity, treating disease and expelling pathogens by ingesting substances that have a strong directly-discernible effect on the body is viewed as the lowest goal. By contrast, the higher-ranked medicinals often have no discernible effect when ingested, but especially when taken over long periods of time have such ambitious and intangible goals as connecting the human spirit to heaven, lightening the body, or staving off aging. The information contained in this book and the vision of the world and of the effect of natural substances on the human body expressed here are bound to inspire any practitioner of the Chinese art of yǎngshēng 養生 ("nurturing life").

The present edition is aimed primarily at modern students and practitioners of Chinese medicine, but also at academic researchers and students of medical history, Chinese classical literature, and natural science. To make it as useful as possible for these audiences, this book to include the following features:

- 50 pages of prefatory matters, including a foreword by Dr. Eugene Anderson and a preface and introduction by Sabine Wilms.
- 469 pages of text in both classical Chinese and contemporary English.
- A critical edition of the Chinese source text, based on the leading current Chinese editions and incorporating philological, etymological, and archaeological findings.
- A literal yet elegant translation into English, crafted with careful attention to different possibilities inherent in the classical Chinese but also to readability, to reflect the elegance of the original.
- A crisp clear layout, featuring the Chinese text immediately above the English translation in a structure that makes cross-referencing easy even for a beginning student of medical Chinese. Click this link for a sample of two minerals from Book Two.
- 15 gorgeous illustrations (3 linoleum prints and 12 sketches) of medicinal substances by Maria Hicks 
- Endnotes that discuss such diverse topics as medicinal identification, grammar questions, and character variations, based on extensive research in historical and contemporary commentaries.
- Explanations of ancient disease names on the basis of classical medical texts, most notably Sūn Sīmiǎo's 孫思邈 Bèi Jí Qiān Jīn Yào Fāng 備急千金要方 and Cháo Yuánfāng's 巢元方 Zhū Bìng Yuán Hòu Lùn 諸病源候論.
- References to modern clinical TCM, for example in regards to the usage of medicinals and disease names.
- A glossary with explanations for diseases, an index of both historical and contemporary references, and a general index.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

From the Author:

It is not just because I am a farmer with dirt under my nails that the "Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica" has always been one of my favorite books. As a critical historian and teacher of classical Chinese medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine and elsewhere, I firmly believe this little book to be one of the most important, foundational texts of this medicine that I love so dearly and have dedicated my life to. For this reason, Happy Goats Productions has decided to produce a literal and clean translation, with the earliest currently available Chinese source text side-by-side with my English rendition.  My intention is two-fold: On the one hand, I want those of you with no access to a solid edition of the Chinese source text or no ability to read classical Chinese on your own to enjoy this gem with as little outside interpretation or alteration as possible. For this reason I have chosen a faithful and very literal translation of the text over an elegant and perhaps more easily digestible interpretation. On the other hand, I hope that the bilingual layout encourages those of you who possess some background in classical Chinese to look at the Chinese text while reading my translation, so that you can gain a deeper understanding of the text than any translation could ever offer. After decades of struggling with translating philosophical, cosmological, and medical literature from classical Chinese to English, I have come to the conclusion that no translation could ever do justice to the depth of the original source. The gap between early Chinese and modern English culture is simply too large to find direct equivalents for too many terms and phrases, from qì to shén ("spirit/s," if you must give it an English word). Moreover, any translation will always by necessity be limited by the translator's own level of cultivation and understanding of the material, and when it comes to the pursuit of immortality or harmony between Heaven and Earth, we modern people are not even scratching the surface of what the ancient texts have to offer us. For this reason, I encourage all my readers to make friends with the Chinese part of the text as well, to engage with it in whatever way you can, to write it out in calligraphy, have a native speaker read it out loud for you, run it through a Chinese translation software, memorize it, sleep on it, or read it to your dog. For many entries, the grammar patterns are not that difficult and quite repetitive. For this reason, this book is actually an ideal text to study classical Chinese with, especially if you are a practitioner of Chinese medicine. May this book encourage you to dip your toes in the "bubbling spring" (as in 湧泉, yǒngquán, a.k.a. KI-1) of the medical classics so that they become a frequently-visited source of rejuvenation and joy for yourself and of inspiration and clarity for your clinical practice.Whether you are a practicing physician or pharmacist, a fellow "herb head" and plant lover, a historian of early Chinese culture and natural science, or just curious about one of the most ancient texts from early Chinese literature, I sincerely hope that you will enjoy this text as much as I do!

From the Back Cover:

On these pages, Sabine Wilms has provided us with an elegant translation of one of the cornerstone classics of the medical traditions of China. This in itself would be a true gift to all of us but she has provided so much more: an informative foreword by Dr. E.N. Anderson; a helpful preface and introduction by Dr. Wilms herself; a critical edition of the original Chinese alongside the annotated translation; a glossary of disease names with clarifications from a wide range of medical texts; indexes of medicinals in English, Latin, and Pinyin; and gorgeous artwork by Maria Hicks.  This book deserves the attention of every health practitioner and medical scholar--or of anyone with an interest in herbal lore and in living a life rooted in the natural world, in all of its richness and fullness.

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