There are complicated interactions between ingredients in Chinese Medicine formulae so some ingredients are often used together. Formulae treating diseases with similar disease-inducing mechanisms include the same herb combinations. To observe the interactions between the herb combinations and other herbs in different formulae, we wish to build a search tool for Chinese Medicine students which could facilitate their study in formulae customisation.

Traditional Chinese Medicine students can search and investigate more on this topic by themselves. As a tool, the visualization of the data analytics only acts as an inspiration to initiate and assist Chinese Medicine students’ analysis. Besides, this could facilitate students’ study in formulae customisation.

Shang-Han-Lun 《傷寒論》

Shang-Han-Lun in English can be translated to  “About Being Harmed by the Cold”  More than 1800 years ago, Zhang Zhong Jing (張仲景) wrote the book Shang-Han-Lun. He said in his author’s preface “I have a big family of 200 members. In less than 10 years, ⅔ of them die, more than 70% of the deaths are caused by the cold”. We could see that he wrote this book because he wanted to save patients suffering from the epidemic he called the cold.

There are multiple editions of Shang-Han-Lun in the CUHK Digital Repository, including Zhu jie Shang-Han-Lun (註解傷寒論), Shang-Han-Lun lei fang (傷寒論類方), Ji zhu Shang-Han-Lun (集註傷寒論) in Zhongjing quan shu (仲景全書) etc. We have chosen Zhongjing quan shu because it is the least annotated. Moreover, the content is presented in better typesetting, which favours optical character recognition (OCR).

Zhongjing quan shu is a collection of 4 Chinese medicine classics. One of them is Ji zhu Shang-Han-Lun, which is included in Volumes 1 to 3. In Volume 1, there is a list of the formulae names on pp. 43 – 52 while the first formula – Gui-Zhi-Tang-Fang (桂枝湯方) is on p.206.

In conclusion, we will employ the following pages from Zhongjing quan shu:

  • Volume 1: pp.43 – 52, 206 until the end
  • Volume 2 and 3: all pages

In this edition of Shang-Han-Lun, there are 112 incredible formulae and 89 herb species.

What is a Formula?

Chinese Medicine practitioners do not always use herbs individually. To produce the desired treatment effects, it is more likely for them to put different herbs together as a group, which is called a formula (藥方).

Workflow Diagram

Group Information

Chen Wai Yip, Jacky (CSCI/3)

Pong Tsz Wai, Pong Pong (BCME/3)


We sincerely appreciate the support from the following parties.

  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library 香港中文大學圖書館
  • The Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures (ASCDC) 中央研究院數位文化中心
  • 古籍酷
  • Team of Text Analysis on Collected Exegesis of Recipes 《醫方集解》文字資料探勘 in Data Analytics Practice Opportunity 2021/22
  • Chinese Text Project 中國哲學書電子化計劃