A concise classification of bencao (materia medica)

Zhongzhen Zhao*, Ping Guo, Eric Brand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Books that record the sources and applications of medicinal materials are commonly known as bencao (materia medica) in China. Bencao (materia medica) literature review is the very first step in the standard authentication procedure of Chinese medicinals. As an important part of China's cultural heritage, these various bencao (materia medica) texts represent centuries of accumulated wisdom in combating disease and preserving health. In this short review, bencao (materia medica) classics of China are broadly divided into three major categories in our routine practice: mainstream bencao (materia medica), thematic bencao (materia medica) and regional bencao (materia medica). The overall significance and current situation of exploration of bencao (materia medica) literature are summarized as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalChinese Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bencao (materia medica)
  • Chinese medicinal authentication
  • Traditional Chinese medicine


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