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Endocrinology is the branch of biology and medicine that focuses on the endocrine system, and although the terms "endocrine" and "endocrinology" didn't come into common usage until the 1800s, the study of endocrinology can be traced back to China over 2,000 years ago, according to American author Robert K. G. Temple in his book, "The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention" (Prion, 1998). As far back as 200 ., Chinese healers extracted sex and pituitary hormones from human urine using the sulfate mineral gypsum and the chemical compound saponin (derived from the seeds of a flowering plant). They used these extracts for medicinal purposes.