History of Korean Traditional Medicine

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History of Korean Traditional Medicine

 


The origin of Korean Medicine goes back to ancient times. Probably therapeutic actions were being done when our ancestors settled in this land. This kind of action was like touching wounded area or vomiting the poisonous food. The result of these experiences is the belief that every illness is caused by intrusion of outer factors. Thereby extrusion of the pathogen was believed as the treatment of the illness. Back then people had simple naturism. Naturism gradually became animism and this animism with the concept of outer factors brought forth the idea of evil spirit. That is, people believed it is evil spirit that brings disease to people and driving out evil spirit is the way to cure diseases.

Commensurate with this Shamanism-driving out evil spirits in incantatory ways became the mainstream of ancient therapeutic actions. In Samguk-yusaKojos n(߲ͯ), where the birthmyth of Kojos n(ͯ) is recorded, there is a story of a tiger and a bear who wanted to reincarnate in human form took wormwood and garlic. In Chewang-un-gi(Ѻ), which is written in around time with Samguk-yusa(߲), wormwood and garlic are described as 'eatable medicine()' and this tells us that even in times when incantatory medicine was the mainstream, medicinal herbs were applied. Moreover the fact that wormwood and garlic are not found in Chinese herb classic Shinnongbonch'ogy ng(?reg;)shows Korean Medicine had its own originality. Commensurate with the adoption of foreign cultures, Korean Medicine went through changes.

In the period of the Three States(߲), Chinese Medicine and Indian Medicine were adopted thereby setting up the foundation of original Korean Medicine. In the period of the Unified Shilla(), medicine from Tang()-China and India were added to traditional medicine. In the period of Kory (), traditional medicine from Shilla() and especially Indian Medicine affected by Buddhism were adopted. By merchants of Arabia and Song(; newly founded nation in China around that time) various herbs from Western and Southern tropics were introduced and new medical knowledge was also adopted. By the time Won() was established, Kory () Medicine of could develope its originality because there was not enough interchange of medicine between the two countries. Therefore more investigation of domestic herbs were required and the result was publication of numerous books on domestic herbs. Kory () Medicine seems very dependent on Song() and Won() Medicine. But it is not true.

The theories were based on medicine of Song() and Won() but prescriptions were based on medicine of Unified Shilla(). Chejung-ip'yobang(۰), ich'waryobang(?copy;۰), Hyang-yakkug ppang(ϭ۰)are the books that can evidence this fact. Medicine was in full flourish in the period of Chos n() and its fruit was Hyang-yakchips ngbang(۰). Chinese medicine, however, was also accepted in many ways. Chinese medicine, established in Han() dynasty, was first accepted by Shilla() and was accepted again by Kory (). In late Kory (), medicine of K m() and Won() dynasty was accepted but it wasn't that influential, rather it affected medicine of Chos n() dynasty. By the time of King Sejong, a book named ibang-yuch'wi(۰׾?copy;) was published and it was the integration of every books on Chinese medicine. After this, many books on specialties were published.

After Japanese invasion of Kore in 1592(կ) Tong- bogam() was written by H Chun() and it was the integration of Korean medicine. By that time Korea medicine was based on Chinese medicine in theory, and on Korean(Chos n) herbal drugs (; herbs produced in Korea) in practice. But Tong- bogam() unified these. H Chun() gathered all the previous theories before him and made his own. It was the unification of Chinese(My ng) Medicine and Korean(Chos n) Medicine. Therefore it has spread widely to China, Japan and Korea and is still effective. In late Chos n() dynasty, positivism was in widespread. Thereby, actual proofs and experiences were taken highly.

Doctors who had turned away from politics devoted themselves to treating diseases and as consequence new school tradition was established. Simple books on medicine for the common people were made. During those days Four Constitutional Medicine() by I che-ma(?copy;) was established. He typified human and matched treatments. After this, Korean medicine went through much difficulties when Western medicine was introduced and Japan ruled Korea. However Korean Medicine kept its progress.

 

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