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Mafeisan: First Anesthetic in the World

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-04-28 10:17:16 | Author: BI Weizi

Dr. Hua Tuo.(PHOTO:VCG)

By BI Weizi

It is recorded that Mafeisan, the first anesthetic drug in the world, was created by Dr. Hua Tuo for surgical operations. As one of the three outstanding medical scholars in the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), Hua Tuo is known for many medical breakthroughs in the clinical treatment of internal, external, gynecological and pediatric diseases, and is especially well-renowned for the creation of Mafeisan.

In the Book of the Later Han Dynasty - Biography of Hua Tuo, it is written: "If lesions were inside the body and could not be treated with acupuncture and medicine, Hua Tuo would let patients take Mafeisan. A moment later, the patients looked like drunk and unconscious. Then Hua Tuo could start to perform an operation and remove lesions."

Though any record of the original Mafeisan formula by Hua is missing, it is generally believed that it's composed of cannabis, the rhizome root of Chinese wolfsbane, and flos daturae, according to Shennong Bencaojing (also Shen-nong's Herbal Classics), an ancient Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants.

The essential aim of medical science is to alleviate human pain and suffering. In no field of medical endeavor has this aim been achieved more so than in the invention of anesthesia. So the creation of Mafeisan in ancient China is of great meaning, boosting the development of surgical operations for all of humanity.

Editor: 畢煒梓

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