Eric Brand is translating a classic of traditional Chinese medicine into English in hope of promoting wider use of TCM around the world.
Brand has a passion for herbs. He served as chair of the US delegation to the International Organization for Standardization technical committee for international TCM standards. He earned a PhD at the School of Chinese Medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University focusing on Chinese herbal pharmacy, and serves as a TCM adviser to the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible use of herbal medicines.
On top of all that, he speaks fluent Chinese.
He has been fascinated lately with Su Song's book Bencao Tujing ("Illustrated Pharmacopoeia", hailing it as "a timeless teacher" that he sees great value in translating.
The book, complied and edited by Su Song, a renowned polymath of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), comes from hands-on investigations with a combination of pictures and texts. The book is regarded as a groundbreaking treatise on pharmaceutical botany, zoology, and mineralogy.
Joseph Needham, a well-known biochemist and the founder of chemical embryology, described Su as one of the greatest naturalists and scientists of ancient China.
"The book is a milestone in the history of Chinese medicine," said Zhao Zhongzhen, a professor specializing in ancient TCM classics at Hong Kong Baptist University's School of Chinese Medicine.
This year marks the 1,000-year anniversary of the birth of Su. Brand and Zhao have traveled to 17 countries across the world to promote his work.
"I will work with Professor Zhao to translate more TCM works," said Brand. "My objective is to become a bridge between China and the rest of the world, allowing more people to learn the rich wisdom of Chinese medicine."
Chen Mo contributed to this story.
Video by Wu Yang/chinadaily.com.cn