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Zheng He Introducing Traditional Chinese Medicine Abroad
In early Ming Dynasty (1368~1644), Zheng He led seven voyages into the so-called Western Ocean (now known as the Indian Ocean), and thus brought about a climax in the dissemination of traditional Chinese medicine abroad. One hundred and eighty physicians of traditional Chinese medicine went with him. When they had a brief stopover, they purchased local medications and gave medical treatment and medicines to local people. Once Zheng He was sent as an envoy to Java where he found abundant resources of medicinal substances, which were later brought into China by envoys or through trade. According to Da Ming Hui Dian(The Code of the Ming Dynasty)over 30 types of medicinal substances were introduced into Java, including Cornu Rhinoceri, ivory, hawksbill and Fructus Amom Rotundus. In addition, China’s frequent medical exchanges with Southeast Asian countries like India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines also promoted the development of traditional Chinese medicine.

Map of Zheng He’s seven voyages into the Western Ocean
Portraits of Zheng He

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