Compendium on Treatments for Infants


Quan ying yao lan (Compendium on treatments for infants), in two juan and two volumes, was written by Min Daoyang and reprinted in the sixth year of the Longqing reign (1572) in the Ming dynasty, with a preface by Zheng Maokan, a postscript by Gong Bangheng, and an inscription by Deng Huaxi. This is the only extant copy of this edition. According to the preface in a later Qing edition, the book was originally in the collection of a feudal prince. It has impressions of the seals of two pharmacies, called Mingshan Tang and Anle Tang. The work is actually a compilation of various sources of different schools, combining both medical views and quackery. According to the preface by Zheng Maokan, Min Daoyang was influenced by Confucian teachings, wrote poetry, and was skilled in Chinese medicine. Besides writing a number of books, he concentrated on collecting prescriptions for infants. One day in 1572 he was invited to attend to a patient named Guo, a censor, and on that occasion acquired a prescription book from Guo’s sickroom. After revising the manuscript and making additions and new classifications, in the winter of the same year Min Daoyang took the manuscript to Nanjing, where, with the generous financial support of another censor, he had it printed. Ever since the Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese physicians generally held that diagnosis for infants was difficult. Writing against this background, Min Daoyang emphasized that the key to diagnosing an infant was to examine the patient by his or her appearance, especially the countenance. To make the book more readable, Min included several directions written in rhyme and added illustrations to aid learning and memorization. One of his focuses was the causes, diagnoses, and treatment of smallpox, often a dangerous disease among infants. He followed the principles of Ming physician Wei Zhi in treatment, indicated preferences among various theories, and provided many different drug formulas.

Last updated: April 26, 2017