With the discovery and development of Chinese medicines, the varieties of Chinese medicines have constantly been increasing.
With the discovery and development of Chinese medicines, the varieties of Chinese medicines have grown. The Book of Songs is an extant Chinese classic containing the earliest written records of medicines. It recorded over 100 types of animal- and plant-based medicines. The first book on Chinese herbal medicine, Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic , was written during the Han Dynasty and recorded 365 types of Chinese medicines.
China’s first illustrated colour book of medicines, The Newly-Revised Materia Medica (also known as Tang Ben Cao ), was written during the Sui and Tang Dynasties. It consisted of 54 volumes and recorded 844 Chinese medicines. Tang Shenwei of the Song Dynasty arranged and wrote the Classic Classified Materia Medica for Emergencies (simply known as Classification of Chinese Materia Medica ) which recorded up to 1,558 Chinese medicines.
The Ming Dynasty’s great physician and naturalist Li Shizhen took 27 years to complete the 52-volume Compendium of Materia Medica which listed 1,892 Chinese medicines.
Between 1985 and 1989, a survey of Chinese medicinal resources was carried out. It revealed that China had 12,772 varieties of medicinal resources, of which 87% were medicinal plants, 12% were animal medicines and 1% mineral medicines.