Immortal Sun’s Essential Prescriptions for Emergency Use Worth 1,000 Gold Pieces, in 93 Juan


Sun Simiao (581−682), a native of Huayuan, Jingzhao (Shaanxi Province), was a renowned Daoist and physician during the Sui and Tang dynasties. He was called “King of Medicine.” Both Emperor Wendi of the Sui and Emperor Taizong of the Tang wished to recruit him to the court, but Sun firmly declined the offer. When he was a child, Sun’s colds required many visits to physicians. His high medical expenses exhausted his family’s resources. So Sun studied medicine and practiced from a young age. He selected material from numerous classical works and compiled Bei ji qian jin yao fang (Essential prescriptions for emergency use worth 1,000 gold pieces). That Sun considered human life as important and precious as gold is evident in the title. The goal of his work was to enable every family to learn and to pass on its knowledge. The book was completed in the third year (652) of the Yonghui reign of the Tang. It begins with discussions on the medical profession and the absolute dedication it required. It then covers managing illnesses, diagnoses, prescriptions, use of medicinal herbs, and methods of mixing and taking medicines. Sun also expressed his views on medical education and ethics in a way that had a profound influence on physicians of later generations. He placed women first in priority in his discussions of treatments, which differed from the arrangement of earlier medical encyclopedias. Sun stated that “the reason there are separate prescriptions for women is that they get pregnant, give birth, and suffer from uterine damage. This is why women's disorders are ten times more difficult to cure than those of males.” He thus established the basis for traditional medicine for women. After the formulas for women, he discussed, in order, children and infants; the face, mouth, tongue, teeth, and throat; wind-toxin attacks; cold-induced diseases; the five viscera and six internal organs; diabetes; and uvular swelling. Also included are pulse, acupuncture, and cavities. In addition, Sun provided instructions on compounding medicines, diet, and inner-nature cultivation. His formulas were not only for emergency use, but for everyday health maintenance.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Qiao Shining, Xiaoqiu Shanfang, Yaozhou


Title in Original Language

孫真人備急千金要方 : 九十三卷

Type of Item

Physical Description

93 juan, 20 volumes

Last updated: June 25, 2015