Synopses & Reviews
Traditional Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years by a large population. It is currently still serving many of the health needs of the Chinese people; and still enjoying their confi- dence it is practised in China in parallel with modern Western medical treatment. In addition to scientific organisations dedi- cated to modern Western medicine, e. g. the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and various medical schools, a series of parallel institutions have been established in China to promote traditional Chinese medicine, such as the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine and training institutions. Almost all hospitals in China have a department of traditional medicine. Furthermore, a large number of scientific journals are dedicated to traditional Chinese medicine, covering both experimental and clinical investigations. Medicinal materials constitute a key topic in the treatment of disease according to traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese Pharmacopoeia (1985 edition) is therefore divided into two sepa- rate volumes, Volume I containing traditional Chinese medicinal materials and preparations and Volume II containing pharmaceu- tics of Western medicine. The oldest Chinese review of medicinal materials, Shennong Bencao Jing (100-200 A. D. ), covered 365 herbal drugs. The clas- sic compilation in this field, Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica), was published in 1578 by Li Shi-zhen and recorded as many as 1898 crude drugs of plant, animal and min- eral origin.