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Title [Asia] Korea Korean Traditional Medicine

2014-12-30 14:12:40
Our ancestors attempted not only to develop a system of medication, but also to establish a medical theory through continuous research.
Oriental medicine originated from Chinese medicine based on the theory of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements. Korean traditional medicine was initiated by adopting Chinese medicine and then developing and establishing a domestic medical system from the Three Kingdoms Period to the Unified Silla Period. Medical systems at that time are exemplified by Si-ui (侍醫) in Goguryeo, the medical department (藥部) of the Nae-gwan in Baekje, and medical education institutes such as the Yak-jeon (藥典; 保命司) and the Ui-hak (醫學) in Unified Silla. In Goryeo, specific medical education was conducted in the Ui-gwa (醫科) and medical officials were selected under the Gwageo Jedo, which was the highest level of state examination for the recruitment of state officials. Korean medicine has continued on its own path of development ever since, posting numerous achievements along the way, beginning with 『Jejung iphyo-bang(濟衆立效方)』(1147~1170) by Yeong-seok Kim, and continuing with 『Sinjip eoui chwaryo-bang(新集御醫撮要方)』 (1226) and 『Hyangyak gugeup bang(鄕藥救急方)』 (1236) by Jong-jun Choi, ultimately resulting in 『Hyangyak jipseong bang(鄕藥輯成方)』, which comprehensively established the foundations for Korea's own medical theory.

'Hyangyak' refers to domestic herbal medicine. Hyangyak jipseong bang contains comprehensive references to Hyangyak, a commonly used folk remedy, and explains how to evaluate the efficacy of herbal medicines and manage diseases. This book is significant as a complete medical reference that covers most human diseases. It also suggested prescriptions by using native medicinal materials, while compiling domestic medical experience. Our ancestors attempted not only to develop a domestic system of medication, but also to establish a domestic medical theory on the basis of continuous research. Therefore, the integration of various medical books throughout the country was initiated during the reign of King Sejong, and was completed in that of King Seongjong, resulting in 『Uibang yuchi(醫方類聚)』 which was a compilation of medical references integrating most of the medical books from Korea and China.

The completion of Donguibogam laid the foundations of Korean medicine, which was spread to China and Japan, raising its prestige. Korean medicine was referred to as Hanuihak(漢醫學) meaning 'Oriental medicine' until 1986, but its name was changed into Hanuihak(韓醫學) meaning 'Korean traditional medicine' according to the eighth supplementation of the National Medical Service Act in 1986. The change of name was intended to express its uniqueness which could be achieved by maturation of our native medicine. Most of the foundation was consolidated by 『Donguibogam(東醫寶鑑)』 and 『Dongui suse bowon(東醫壽世保元)』. 『Donguibogam』 organized the initial theoretical system for Korean traditional medicine by integrating Chinese medicine, and 『Dongui suse bowon』 established the basis of Korean medicine, which could be distinguished from that of China, based on 『Donguibogam』.
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