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Renshenpu 人參譜

Mar 9, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Renshenpu 人參譜 is a book on the ginseng root written during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Lu Xuan 陸烜 (b. 1761), courtesy name Zizhang 子章 or Qiuyang 秋陽, style Meigu 梅谷, from Pinghu 平湖, Zhejiang. Lu was known as a poet, but was also interested in medicine. He wrote a commentary on the Classics, Qunjing guzi 群經詁字, and compiled the series Qijinzhai congshu 奇晉齋叢書.

The book is based on drafts by Wang Shizhen 王士禎 (1634-1711) that are found in biji-style collection Chibei outan 池北偶談, and was the result of a long period of sickness during which the doctor explained to Lu Xuan that ginseng was the only medicine the could help him. Yet because the root was very expensive, Lu began to search for more information about the root, and gathered all traditional statements.

The 4-juan-long Renshenpu first provides information on the name and habitats of the plant, then describes ist medical functions, and finally quotes from ancient texts, both prose and poetry.

The book, finished in 1795, is included in Lu's own collection Meigu shi zhong shu 梅谷十種書 and in the series Zhaodai congshu 昭代叢書.

Sources:
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 12.
Zhuang Shufan 莊樹藩, ed. (1990). Zhonguo gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Yiyao 醫藥卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe),, 3.