A collection of books, works, medicinal recipes and techniques written by the great physician of that era, Hua Tuo 华佗. This set of works is so legendary that it borders on the mythical. Though Chinese literature mentions the Green Salve Anthology, nobody has seen these works in the flesh for over 1700 years. Why is this so? Read on to find out.
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Though the fictionalized ROTK did not mention the Green Salve Anthology, the historical account "Records of the Three Kingdoms 三国志" carries a biography of Hua Tuo, where the Green Salve Anthology is recorded.
When Cao Cao 曹操 ordered the execution of Hua Tuo (see Hua Tuo write-up), Hua Tuo knew he had some time before the execution is carried out. In his last days, Hua Tuo decided to record down all his medical know-how into a collection, the Green Salve Anthology.
As he was about to be led for his execution, Hua Tuo handed the collection to the soldier who was guarding his cell. Hua Tuo told the soldier that what he had written can save people's lives. However the soldier feared violating the law and refused to accept it. Hua Tuo then asked for a fire, in which he burned the entire collection. The loss of the anthology has been described by the historians as "irreplaceable".
Today, the term 青囊书 in Chinese speak broadly refers to any written form of medical text. Though the visual image of the Green Salve Anthology is a thick collection of books (like the illustration on the card), it is very likely that it was no more than a scroll. Nevertheless, the reverence for Hua Tuo as a "Miracle Doctor" or even "God of all Physicians" compels the common folk to romanticize his abilities, warping the historical accuracy.