Shen Nong 神农, also known as Yandi 炎帝, was a well-known farmer whose interest was to find medicinal herbs to cure the sick. During his time, China was constantly plague by famine and food was scarce due to drought. As many villagers died of hunger and diseases, farmers had difficulty growing crops and domesticated farm animals were soon gone. Shen Nong had to look for herbs that can be eaten as food as well as a medication to improve health. The villagers soon overcome their hunger by his discovery but many were still ill. As there were no form of medical treatment back in those days, Shen Nong took the courage to find cure for their illness by testing all types of herbs that is available to find out its healing properties and throughout his research, he was known to have been poisoned more than a hundred times. During his lifetime, he taught villagers how to use plants not only as food but also as medicine and how to convert plants into food that can be stored in the winter and also uses it during the drought season. One of his ingenious idea was to use wheat mixed with earth to be used as plaster for the home. In times of drought, these plaster called Yee Liang Sert 餘糧石 are then removed, soak in water to separate the wheat from the earth and use as food and also how to make dry noodles out of plant seeds which can also be stored for long. This idea of using wheat as plaster for home was adopted by Sun Tze to overcome hunger during war time where soldiers constantly run out of food ration.
The people were also taught about cultivation and the improvement of
farming by using the right tools and was credited for the further
development of the Fuxi's Eight Trigrams
into the 64 hexagrams
Chinese Divination which is popularly use by modern
His interest in string musical instrument leads him to modified Fuxi's 35 stringed instrument into simplified 5 string instrument. His
never ending conquest in search for new herbs finally came to an end
when he tasted a herb known as 'Tuan Chung Chow' due to his curiosity as
to why cows avoided that particular grass and thus died at an age of
120. 'Tuan Chung Chow'
was so named because its properties leads to the severed
of the intestine in the stomach after consuming within a short period.
After his death he was worship as a God and even up till this day, his
tomb lies in the county of Lin in Hunan
China where villagers and
visitors still pray to him.