Arabic Medicine in China

Tradition, Innovation, and Change


The Huihui Yaofang was an encyclopedia of Near Eastern medicine compiled under the Mongol Yuan Dynasty for the benefit of themselves and the then Chinese medical establishments. Some 15% of the work survives, from a Ming Dynasty edition, and is here translated for the first time into English. We extensively introduce the translation with introductions situating it within the history of western and Chinese medicine, and provide critical apparatus for understanding. We provide accounts of the medicines and foods, with comparisons to other works of the time and to modern folk uses of these medicines in the Middle East. We show that the work is solidly western Asian, specifically derived from Persian-speaking Central Asia, and is adapted to Chinese use in several ways but without losing its western character.

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Paul D. Buell, MA (Chinese 1968), Ph.D. (1977), is part-time instructor, Dept. of History, Anthropology and Philosophy at the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega. Mongolist, Turkologist, Sinologist. Author or co-author of books on medicine, food history and history.
Eugene N. Anderson, Ph.D. (1967), is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. He has written several books about Chinese environmental and food history and about ethnobiology.
This is a work for specialists in the history of Asian medicine. It will have wide appeal to those interested in Near Eastern or Chinese medicine and in Mongol history.
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