The Jiuhuang bencao 救荒本草 "Roots and Herbs for Disaster Relief" is a medical encyclopedia written by the early Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Zhu Su 朱橚 (died 1425), Prince of Wu 吳, from 1378 of Zhou 周, who was the fifth son of Emperor Taizu 明太祖 (r. 1368-1398). In 1389 he was deprived of his title and only given back his fief during the Yongle reign 永樂 (1403-1424). His posthumous title is Prince Ding 定王.
Zhu Su was not only a famous poet who published the collection Yuan gongci 元宮詞 but was also very interested in pharmacology and medicine. His book is 4 juan "scrolls" long (originally 2, but there were also versions of 8 juan length) and was printed in 1406. In 5 parts, it describes 414 kinds of pharmaceutical plants, of which 80 are trees, 20 grains, 23 fruits, 46 edible plants, and the 245 remaining other various herbs. It includes text and illustrations and describes the places where all drugs grow, their colour and shape, taste, effects, and preparation methods. It was written for the purpose to provide quick medical help in case of natural disasters for a large number of afflicted persons.
In two cases authorship is attributed to Zhu Youdun 朱有燉, Prince Xian of Zhou 周憲王, first in Li Shizhen's 李時珍 pharmaceutical encyclopaedia Bencao gangmu 本草綱目, and in the 1555 edition of the Jiuhuang bencao.
The book in total has been included in Xu Guangqi's 徐光啟 encyclopedia Nongzheng quanshu 農政全書, in the section Huangzheng 荒政 "Disaster relief". In 1959 the Zhonghua shuju 中華書局 published it separately in a modern edition.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1647. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, pp. 195-196. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.