The Shénnóng Běn Cǎo Jīng (simplified Chinese: 神农本草经; traditional Chinese: 神農本草經; Wade–Giles: Shennung Ben Ts'ao King) is a Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants. Its origin has been attributed to the mythical Chinese sovereign Shennong, who was said to have lived around 2800 BC. Researchers hypothesize this is a compilation of oral traditions written between about 300 BC and 200 AD. The original text no longer exists but is said to have been composed of three volumes containing 365 entries on medicaments and their description.
The first treatise included 120 drugs harmless to humans, the "stimulating properties": reishi, ginseng, jujube, the orange, cinnamon from China, cirse fields or the liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) .
The second volume was devoted to 120 therapeutic substances intended to treat the sick, but more or less toxic. In this category, we find the ginger, peonies and cucumber. The substances of this group are described as "human."
In the last volume there are 125 entries corresponding to substances which have a violent action on physiological functions and are usually poisonous. Rhubarb, different pitted fruits and peaches are among those featured.
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