Ancient Herbalists Legend:Ancient Time,The Spring and Autumn Period (722 BC - 481 BC),The Warring States Period(475-221 B.C.),or Pre-Qin Period.


 Ancient Time,The Spring and Autumn Period (722 BC - 481 BC),The Warring States Period(475-221 B.C.),or Pre-Qin Period. Warring States Period Icon
 Many Herbal Classicis before Qin Chao(221 to 207 BC) lost,some of them are still available,such like Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing,Huang Di Nei Jing,Nan Jing etc.Han Shu Yi Wen Zhi noted ever existed Seven Herb Classics before Qin Dynasty,those are HuangDi Nei Jing,HuangDi Wai Jing,BianQue NeiJing,BianQue WaiJing,BaiShi NeiJing,BaiShi WaiJing,Pang Pian.Unfortunately only HuangDi Nei Jing survived,other 6 classics seems lost in ancient times.Famous herbalist of this period:Qi Bo(major works:Huangdi Nei Jing),Lei Gong,Yi He,Bian Que(major works:Bian Que Nei Jing,Bian Que Wai Jing).

 The biography recorded here only for some of the most widely known herbalists and witch doctor,not a complete name list of herbalists at this epoch.

 Shen Nong 神农Shen Nong
 神农,炎帝,whose name literally means "Divine Farmer" and who is also known as the Emperor of the Five Grains (五穀先帝,五谷先帝,Wǔgǔxiāndì), was a legendary ruler of China and culture hero. Shen Nong is the inventor of ancient agriculture and medicine in the legend,lived at end of new stone age,ancient classics gave some records of his deeds,like《淮南子·修务训》:“神农乃始教民,尝百草之滋味,识水泉之甘苦,……当此之时.一日而遇七十毒,由是医方兴焉”。(Huai Nan Zi:"Shen Nong taught folks first,takested hundreds of herbs,identified and knew the bitter or sweet of spring water, that time,met 70 toxic herbs,thus recipes rised.")《帝王世纪》(1) recorded:“炎帝神农氏,……,尝味草木,宣药疗疾,救夭伤人命,百姓日用而不知,著本草四卷”。(Di Wang Shi Ji,or The age of Kings recorded:"Yan Emperor Shen Nong,.....,tasted grass and vegetations,made herbs known publicly and treat disease,cured injury and saved lives,folks used them but did not know those things,he ever written herbal classic 4 volumes.")

 Shennong is considered to have been one of the Three Sovereigns (also known as "Three Emperors") who lived some 5,000 years ago. Shennong has been thought to have taught the ancient Chinese not only their practices of agriculture, but also the use of herbal drugs.Historian Sima Qian mentions that the rulers directly preceding the Yellow Emperor were of the house (or societal group) of Shennong.Sima Zhen, who added a prologue for the Shiji, said his surname was Jiang (姜), and proceeded to list his successors. An older and more famous reference is in the Huainanzi; it tells how, prior to Shennong, people were sickly, wanting, starved and diseased; but he then taught them agriculture, which he himself had researched, eating hundreds of plants,and even consuming seventy poisons in one day.

 In the ancient time,tens of thousands years ago,life was very hard for ancient man, thunder and lighting storms,scourge and beasts,plague and injuries threatening human life.But people survive with virtue of survival instinct,with endless wisdom,overcomed sorts of natural disasters.In this struggle,herbs got found to save lives and treat injuries and diseases played a crucial role. The completion of this hard work in ancient China, is a legendary figure in the traditional Chinese medicine history,his name was Shen Nong,or the "Divine Farmer".

神农尝百草图Shen Nong Taste Herbs Shen Nong is a brave,clever and kind man,he saw people afflicted by the disease and pains,his heart very upset, he decided to find life-saving drugs which can cure. With hot sun over head,bear the intense heat of summer,he collected a variety of vegetation in the mountains,the flowers,fruits, roots, leaves, carefully observed the shape, taste them carefully and tried to understand the feelings after taken them. These drugs,some sour,some sweet,some bitter,some spicy;After taken them,some make man cold, and some very hot, some cool and refreshing, and some warm and nourishing; some can relieve pain, some can be swelling, some prompt vomiting, diarrhea, and some brought double energy,some very toxic and brought unbearable pains.Although may encountered terrible toxic herbs, even life-threatening, Shen Nong still hold the belief to help folks from suffering,kept on picking,ingest, taste and gave records without moment's delay. Finally, he mastered taste and function of hundreds herbs,brought them to those folks who were suffering with pains. Since then,more and more people's life got more secure protection.

  Shen Nong is the inventor of primitive agriculture of China, he taught people to reclaim the land, planting the five cereals (rice, two kinds of millet, wheat and beans), and prompted the economic and development of late primitive society,shifted life means on animal husbandry and fishing hunting to agriculture,he is famous for his great virtue,as known as one of the Three Kings,the Yan Emperor."Shen Nong tasted hundred herbs,met 70 toxic cases one day",which was a perfect portray of ShenNong's great virtue.To memorial for him,in the old pharmacy shop,a portrait often hung on the wall,it pictured is a man with thick eyebrows and smiling, waisted leaves, holding herbs in hand, he is the Divine Farmer.

 僦贷季Jiu Daiji
 僦贷季Jiu Daiji(jiù dài jì),or 圣工(the Sanctified Craftsman),an ancient doctor in the legend period.The ancient classics 《黄帝内经素问·移精变气论》(Nei Jing Su Wen·Yi Jing Bian Qi Lun) recorded that,when answering the questions raised by Huang Di,Qi Bo proposed that “色脉者,上帝之所贵也,先师之所传也。上古使僦贷季,理色脉而通神明,合之金木水土,四时八风六合,不离其常,变比相移,以观其妙,以知其要,欲知其要,则色脉是矣”,which sent a clear message that 僦贷季Jiu Daiji was his teacher of older generations.

 巫彭Wu Peng Wu or Wizards
 巫彭Wu Peng,or Wizard Peng,also known as 彭祖(Ancestor Peng),is a witch doctor in ancient legend,ever lived in the Shang Dynasty (c.1600-1100 B.C.).Who got recorded in ancient classis 《山海经》(Shanhai Jing).According to records,Wu Peng was a minister of Huang Di,mastered witchcraft to treat folks,and grasped many medicinal knowledge to treat diseas,historical classics gave records that he made immortal medicine and treat disease.Ancient classic named 《姓氏考略》(Family Name Identification) noted that Wu Peng is the ancestor of all later generation whose family name is Wu,as it noted:“黄帝时巫彭作医,此为巫氏之始。”,"Era of Huang Di,Wu Peng started to practice medicine and treatment,who is the beginning of the Wu family name.",Wu Peng may possibly the same person as 彭祖(Peng Zu,or Ancestor Peng),a famous ancient doctor who good at medicine and regimen.《山海经·大荒西经》Shanhai Jing·Dahuang Xijing noted:“有灵山:巫咸、巫即、巫盼、巫彭、巫姑、巫真、巫礼、巫抵、巫谢、巫罗十巫从此升降,百药爰在。”,"there was an fairy mountain:Wu Xian,Wu Ji,Wu Pan,Wu Peng,Wu Gu,Wu Zhen,Wu Li,Wu Di,Wu Xie,Wu Luo,these 10 sorcerers and witches lived here,hundreds of medicine growing here.".《山海经·海内西经》Shanhai Jing·HaiNei Xijing noted:“开明东有巫彭、巫抵、巫阳、巫履、巫凡、巫相,夹窫窳之尸,皆操不死之药以距之。”"At the east of Kaiming area,there are Wu Peng,Wu Di,Wu Yang,Wu Lv,Wu Fan,Wu Xiang,they all carried the corpse of the holy beast 窫窳Ya Yu,all hold immortal elixir."

 Wu or Wizards another formThe ancient pictogram of 巫 formed from mime the two hands hold a container shape like medicine bow.The legend records clearly sent a message that the ancient medicine was invented by those ancient wizards and witches,a wizard or a witch normally is also a doctor in those ancient period.

 Qi Bo 岐伯Qi Bo
 岐伯,famous physician in the reign of Huangdi(2698~2589B.C.).he was asked by the emperor to taste various kinds of herbs and to study medicine and pharmacy.The first and greatest medical work produced in China,the Huangdi Nei Jing,or Huangdi's Internal Classic,or Canon of Medicine-mainly consists of questions and answers between Huangdi and Qi Bo on medical issues.

 Qi Bo is the most prominent herbalist with high prestige at the ancient legendary time of China.As his living time is very far ancient period,there is not much deeds recorded in written classics. The ancient classic 《汉书·艺文志·方技》(Han Shu·Yi Wen Zhi·Fang Ji) noted when listed the ancient famous herbalists that:“太古有岐伯、俞拊,中世有扁鹊、秦和。”,whch means "in the ancient legendary time,there was Qi Bo, Yu Fu,in the middle age,there was Bian Que, Qin He."Ancient classic named 《帝王世紀》(Di Wang Shi Ji)(1) recorded about him:"「(黃帝)又使岐伯嚐味百草。典醫療疾,今經方、本草、之書咸出焉」。",which means "(Huang Di,or the Yellow Emperor) let Qi Bo taste hundreds of herbs.(Qi Bo) written medicine book and treat dieases,till today classics,herbal materia medica all appeared.".Official herbalists and emendator 林億(Lin Yi) gave some records in ancient classic name 《重廣補注黃帝內經素問·表》(Supplementary volume of Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen·Biao)(2):"「求民之瘼。恤民之隱者,上主之深仁,在昔黃帝之御極也。…乃與岐伯上窮天紀,下極地理、遠取諸物,近取諸身,更相問難,垂法以福萬世,於是雷公之倫,授業傳之,而《內經》作矣」",which means "ask folks' illness.Take pity on sickness of folks,the deep kindness of ancient kings,could be traced back to Huang Di' succession.....discuss with Qi Bo those topics like Celestial Discipline,geography,things in nature,corporeity of man,questioning and answer each other in dialog form,to benefit later generations,thus Lei Gong generations gave records and taught to spread the classics,thus Nei Jing got written."Today's version of the ancient classic Su Wen comes as dialog between Huang Di and Qi Bo in question and answer pairs,to explain and expatiate the medicine theory,from which the profession of Qi Bo on medicine field could be seen.Ancient classics named 《云笈七签•轩辕本纪》(Yun Ji Qi Jian·Xuan Yuan Ben Ji)recorded that “时有仙伯,出于岐山下,号岐伯,善说草木之药性味,为大医,帝请主方药……作内外经。”,which means "There was an Xian Bo immortal,comes from Qi Shan Mount,alias Qi Bo,good at medicinal character and property of grass and trees,a respected doctor,Huang Di invited him to minister prescriptions and medicines....written Nei Wai Jing."This record proved that Qi Bo was a herbalist lived at mount Qi Shan area,where is the origin of the Western Zhou Dynasty,also one of the important origins of traditional chinese medicine culture.

 鬼臾区Wěi Yuqu Kuí
 鬼臾区Wěi Yuqu,or Kuí Yuqu,also called 鬼容区(Kui Rongqu).Ancient doctor ever existed in the legend,ancient classic《史记·五帝本纪》Shi Ji·Wu Di Ben Ji recorded that Kuí Yuqu was a minister of Huang Di,assisted Huang Di with 风后(Feng Hou),力牧(Li Mu),常先(Chang Xian),and invented the Five Elements System,gave detailed interpretation of meridians and theories,鬼臾区(Kuí Yuqu) alias 大鸿(Swan Goose),buried at 雍,his tomb was called Swan Goose Grave.

 Ancient classics 《素问·天元纪大论篇》Su Wen·Tian Yuan Ji Da Lun Pian gave some classic records of the dialogue between Wěi Yuqu and Huang Di about some important question of the Moving Qi practice.Wěi Yuqu has been considered as the ancestor of Qi Direction and Qi Practice,his academic position in ancient only next to Qi Bo.Another dialogue ever recorded in lost classics 《黄帝外经·阴阳颠倒篇》Huang Di Wai Jing·Yin Yang Dian Dao Pian,a sophisticated dialogue between Huang Di and 3 immortals,they are known as 广成子(Guang Chengzi),岐伯(Qi Bo) and 鬼臾区(Wěi Yuqu).

 伊尹Yī Yīn 伊尹Yī Yīn
 伊尹Yī Yīn(about 1650 B.C.~1549 B.C.),name 挚(Zhì),native to 有莘国空桑涧(You Xin Guo Kong Sang Jian,ancient toponym,may near to today's Xin Le Gou,Song county,Luoyang city,Henan province,今河南省洛阳市嵩县莘乐沟),for his mother belong to the Shēn clan(侁民),lived at riverside of 伊水(Yī Shui),伊(Yī) was family name.伊尹Yī Yīn was a famous minister at beginning of the Shang Dynasty,Statesman,the Chinese Kitchen Progenitor,尹( Yīn) means the Right Minister(右丞相).

 伊尹(Yī Yīn) was praised as “商元圣”(Primordial Sage of Shang),those inscriptions on bones tortoise shells from the Shang Dynasty ever recorded 大乙(Da Yi,means 商汤,Shang Tang) and 伊尹(Yī Yīn) offer sacrifices to the gods togethor.Ancient classics recorded that 伊尹(Yī Yīn) was the master of 商汤(Shang Tang) and taught him “以尧舜之道要汤”,“而说之以伐夏救民”,which means 伊尹(Yī Yīn) "require Tang with Yao and Shun's rules",and "persuade Tang attack Xia Jie to save people.",which means he taught Tang learn Yao and Shun's virtue,and attack Xia to save people.Year 1601 B.C.,伊尹(Yī Yīn) decided to stop rendered tribute to King Jie of Xia,and assist Tang attack Xia,the Xia Dynasty defeated.There are many records about 伊尹(Yī Yīn) sacrifices activity on those oracle inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty,also recorded that later generations worship and sacrifice 伊尹(Yī Yīn),those markings appear in the oracle inscriptions like “伊尹”、“伊”、“伊奭”、“黄尹”,all means 伊尹(Yī Yīn).

 伊尹(Yī Yīn) created very famous 五味调和说(the Five Flavours in Harmonious Proportion Theory) and 火候论(Cooking Duration and Degree Theory),and it has had been used as the classical rule of Chinese Cuisine till today.He created the cooking method and has big influence in the Cooking culture,伊尹(Yī Yīn) has had been respected as "Ancestor of Cooking烹饪始祖" and "Kitchen Sage厨圣".

 Ancient classics 《水经·伊水注》Shui Jing·Yi Shui Zhu noted:“有莘氏女采桑伊川,得婴儿于空桑。”,his birth is legendary and relations with immortals.According to archeologists,the identify of 伊尹(Yī Yīn) during the Shang Dynasty not only a minister,more important is that he was a wizard.The Shang Dynasty is a period folks worship and trust ghosts and gods,everything of the nation whatever big or small all need divination practise,as classics noted “国之大事,在祀与戎”,"The big things of the nation,are sacrifice and war",thus the wizard has very high position.伊尹(Yī Yīn) was the first big wizard of the Shang Dynasty,in ancient times wizard,historian,herbalist are normally three-in-one,wizards normally are herbalists too,like those famous wizard herbalists 巫彭(Wu Peng),巫咸(Wu Xian),they all famous of medicine too.Language experts 康殷(Kang Yin) ever pointed out that 尹:“象手执针之状,示以针刺疗人疾病”,which means "the marking '尹',is a symbol metaphor of a scene that a man hold a needle in hand,and treat people with acupuncture",and his name 伊尹(Yī Yīn) could also be understood as that he was a wizard native to the Yi river(伊水,the river origined from 栾川县Luanchuan county which south to 熊耳山the Bear Ear Mountain,flow through 嵩县SongXian, 伊川YiChuan,伊阙YiJue,洛阳LuoYang,and mingle in the Luo River洛水 at 偃师YanShi,overall length 368km).

 Ancient classics 《汉书·艺文志》Han Shu·Yi Wen Zhi collected ancient classics《汤液经法》Tang Ye Jing Fa,ancient herbalists had concensus that it was written by 伊尹(Yī Yīn).Herbalist 皇甫谧(Huangfu Mi) of Xi Jin Dynasty recorded in his classic 《甲乙经·序》Jia Yi Jing·Xu that:“伊尹以亚圣之才,撰用《神农本草》以为汤液。……仲景论广伊尹汤液为数十卷,用之多验。”,which means "With his talents as inferior Sage,伊尹(Yī Yīn) edited 《神农本草》Sheng Nong Ben Cao as Tang Ye (Jing).....Zhong Jing supplemented the classic Tang Ye (Jing) to dozens of volumes,used and effective."

 伊尹祠Yī Yīn Ancestral Temple伊尹(Yī Yīn) assumed the office of minister over 50 years,did great devotions for the development of culture and society.At the 8th year of WoDing(沃丁八年,or 1549 B.C.),伊尹(Yī Yīn) passed away,and died at the age of 100.The tomb of 伊尹(Yī Yīn) located 3 km away from the GuShu town,YuCheng county,Shangqiu city,Henan province(河南省商丘市虞城县谷熟镇南三公里处),and the Yī Yīn Ancestral Temple(伊尹祠) located before the cemetary,the burial mound height 3 meters,circumference 50 meters,encircled by very old cypress over 1400 years tree-age,and the biggest diameter over 3 meters,these old cypress tree thick verdant all the seasons,cover all the sky,a splendid sight.

 Lei Gong 雷公Lei Gong
 雷公1.a famous physician in the reign of Huangdi,Discussions between Huangdi and Lei Gong on medicine and pharmacy,acupuncture and moxibustion are recorded in the Canon of Medicine;2.the style name of Lei Xiao,a pharmacist in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties who wrote the Lei Gong Pao Zhi Lun,or Lei's Method of Preparing Drugs(c5th century).

 Lei Gong is an ancient herbalist,according to legend,Lei Gong was one of the minister of the Huang Di,who master acupuncture.Those articles in the ancient classics Nei Jing or Huang Di Nei Jing,like those articles under title“著至教论”,“示从容论”,“疏五过论”,“征四失论” and others,all written in the form of dialogue about medicine between Huang Di and Lei Gong.The famous historical Pseudo medicine classic under Lei Gong's name is known as 《雷公药对》(Lei Gong Yao Dui) .Lei Gong discussed about Essence of Acupuncture Science with Huang Di,and disease diagnosis method by observing face colour.The discuss relationship between Lei Gong and Huang Di could be known from the content of ancient classic 《素问》Su Wen and 《灵枢》Ling Shu .

 Yi He 医和Yi He
 医和,famous physician in the Spring and Autumn Period(c600B.C.),who put forward the theory that abnormality in the six climatic conditions,namely,cloudy,sunny,windy,rainy, gloomy,and bright,would lead to various illnesses.

 Bian Que 扁鹊Bian Que
 扁鹊,another name of 秦越人Qin Yueren(about 407~310 B.C.),native to Lu of Qi State,ever lived at the middle age of the Warring State Period(3),the earliest Chinese physician versed in diagnosis and treatment,especially in pulse taking and acupuncture.To him was ascribed the authorship of such medical works as Bian Que Nei Jing,or The Internal Classic of Bian Que, and Bian Que Wai Jing,or The External Classic of Bian Que,both of which have been lost.

 1: 《帝王世纪》Di Wang Shi Ji,or The age of Kings,an ancient history classic written by 皇甫谧(Huangfu Mi),which gave many records about history facts and events no detailed records in other history classics like Shi Ji and Han Shu,this history book has high historical value.
 2: 《重廣補注黃帝內經素問·表》(Supplementary volume of Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen·Biao):《重广补注黄帝内经素问》 ,briefly named 《素问》(Su Wen),also called《黄帝内经素问》(Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen),《次注黄帝内经素问》(Ci Zhu Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen),edited by herbalist 王冰(Wang Bing),Tang Dynasty,at year Baoying 1st year(year 762AD.Bao Ying is the reign title of Tang Emperor 李豫Li Yu,April,762 AD~June,763 AD,lunar calendar.),and later supplemented by herbalist 林亿(Lin Yi) of Song Dynasty.
 3: Ancient and modern TCM sholars got some consensus about the real name,year of birth and death of Bian Que,which recorded by the history classic 《史记·扁鹊传》by 司马迁,《战国策》,《淮南子·齐俗训》,see also《扁鹊事迹知多少-秦越人事迹辩证》by 何爱华.

♥The electronic data information published at our official website and,gives content composed of articles and literature about Ancient Herbalists Legend,Herbalists are those ancients professional in herbs and cure,although their identity as identified as herbalists in history,what other aspects or legend related?Those skilled in the therapeutic use of herbs,those skilled in the dispensing of herbal prescriptions,those traditional chinese herb doctor,those who harvesting and collection of medicinal plants,and those practice Taoism and Alchemy are collected.
♣ last edit date: