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2,000-Year-Old Chinese Medical Texts Analyzed

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

China medical textsCHANGSHA, CHINA—Xinhua reports that medical texts written more than 2,000 years ago, found on 48 of the more than 35,000 wooden slips discovered in a well in central China in 2002, have been analyzed by scholars. The texts on some of the slips recorded the command of Qin Shihuang, the country’s first emperor, to launch a nationwide search for an elixir of life, and replies from local governments and remote villages. For example, the village of Duxiang had not yet found a miraculous potion, but it reported that it would continue to search for one, while the people of Langya, located near the sea, handed over herbs collected from a local mountain. “It required a highly efficient administration and strong executive force to pass down a government decree in ancient times when transportation and communication facilities were undeveloped,” explained Zhang Chunlong of Hunan’s Provincial Institute of Archaeology. Medical texts on other slips recorded treatments such as acupuncture, oral medicines, and topical therapies administered in most cases to members of the upper class, under the direction of the government. For more on early Chinese history, go to “China’s Legendary Flood.”

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