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Su Kun; T'an pen ts'ao

(Materia Medica of the Tang) (650)


Taken from: Sino-Iranica; Chinese contributions to the history of civilization in ancient Iran, with special reference to the history of cultivated plants and products by Berthold Laufer.

Left Castor Oil beans

This is one of the oldest reference to the Castor oil plant. The plant is originally from tropical Africa from where it spread to India and finally to China. It is not known if it spread over sea from east-Africa or over land out of Egypt or any other way.

The leaves of this plant which is cultivated by man resemble those of the hemp (Cannabis saliva), being very large. The seeds look like cattle-ticks (niu pei). The stems of that kind which at present comes from the Hu are red and over ten feet high. They are of the size of a tsao kia (Gleditschia sinensis). The kernels are the part used, and they are excellent. (used to making oil)