SCM launches first local Chinese Medicinal Material Images Database

15 May 2013


The School of Chinese Medicine (SCM) recently launched the Chinese Medicinal Material Images Database (CMMID), the first of its kind in Hong Kong. The CMMID documents photographs of and detailed information about over 420 crude drugs commonly used in Chinese medicine and is linked to the Medicinal Plant Images Database (MPID) which was also set up by the School. The CMMID serves as an important teaching and learning platform for the subjects of Chinese materia medica and authentification of Chinese materia medica. The links between the two databases help students to systematically associate the knowledge acquired in the course of their studies. As an open-access database, it also serves as a good e-learning tool for any Chinese medicine learner around the world, and plays an important role in promoting the popularistion and internationalisation of Chinese medicine. A collaborative effort of the SCM and the University Library, the CMMID was funded by an HKBU teaching development grant. A simple search function facilitates quick access to records containing annotated, high quality photographs and detailed drug information, including source, origins, description, quality, taste and clinical indications. There are also illustrations of selected microstructures of the drugs. The photographs and the contents of CMMID are the result of hard work done by Dr. Chen Hubiao, Associate Professor of the School of Chinese Medicine, for nearly 30 years in the field. Dr. Chen said: “I am very pleased that my work over the years has become a database to help the students, researchers, professionals in the field as well as people from all walks of life and from all over the world to get to know more about Chinese medicine, thereby further promoting the traditional culture of Chinese medicine overseas.” CMMID, MPID and the Chinese Medicine Specimen Database are the major items under the Chinese Medicine Digital Project of HKBU. The Project received the Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library award by the American Library Association in 2012. Accessible free worldwide, the CMMID has received more than 12,000 visits since its launch on 1 April 2013. For details on the database, please visit website:


(From left) Mr. Li Yiu-on, Senior Assistant Librarian of the Library’s System Section; Dr. Chen Hubiao, Associate Professor, School of Chinese Medicine; and Ms. Lisa Song, Senior Assistant Librarian of Chinese Medicine Library, introduce the first local Chinese Medicinal Material Images Database