Left myrrh resin and right aloes wood


Back to Table of Contents
To next page
Li Sun  : Hai Yao pen ts’ao (second half 8th century)
-------------------------------------------------------------

Taken from: Laufer, Bertold, Sino-Iranica: Chinese Contributions. to the History of Civilization in Ancient Iran.
This book preserves extracts from the Nan cou ki of Su Piao written before the fifth century AD which has the earliest mentions of myrrh; The aromatic plant from Somalia and South Arabia.

In this book Su Piao is made to say: The myrrh grows in the country of Po-se, and is the pine tree resin of that locality. In appearance it is like sen hian (divine incense) and red-black in color. As to its taste, it is bitter and warm.

(Po-su is used to designate Persia here. It will not be till 1226 with Chao Ju-Kua that the Chinese will find out that myrrh is grown in Somalia.)

About Aloes Li Sun also states: Lu-wei (aloes) grows in the country of Po-su, it has the appearance of black confectionery, and is the sap of a tree.
(note aloes is originally from Africa and was cultivated for export from Socotra)