Korean Medicine


"Korean Medicine" refers to medical practices based on medicine,
traditionally descended from our ancestors, and medical practices and herbal medicines
that have been scientifically applied and developed based on them.

Korean Medicine is a person-centered medicine, and the disease is caused
by the body and mind of the person, and it has the characteristics of personalized medicine
that differs in prescription and treatment depending on the person.

History of Korean Medicine

Development based on independent medical knowledge

Origin of Korean Medicine

Korean medicine started with herbal treatment

  • Originated from ancestry legend of Dangun, the founder of the first state on the Korean Peninsula, Gojoseon, in 2333 BC
  • In the legend, Hwanung (Dangun's father) recommended a bear and a tiger who prayed to become human
    to eat mugwort and garlic instead of granting their wish by his magical power. It shows that Koreans began to
    utilize medicinal herbs from the old ancient times.

History of Korean Medicine

  • BC 18~AD 660 Three Kingdoms period

    Laid the theoretical foundation under the influence of Korean Traditional Medicine
    (韓土醫學) and Buddhism Medicine

    • Medical field and the pharmaceutical field was differentiated for the first time,
      and the first medical science book, Baekjesinjipbang (百濟新集方), was compiled.
  • AD 676~935 United Silla period

    Achieved remarkable progress in the medicine field, which is distinctive
    from other states.

    • Medical education course and its subdivision system were established for the first time.
  • AD 918~1392 Goryeo period

    Developed a unique medical system based on medical knowledge from various
    countries and providing official medical services.

    • Various public hospitals such as jewibo (濟危寶), Dongsodaebiwon (東西大悲院),
      and Hyeminkuk (惠民局) were installed for those without easy access to medical services.
    • As a result of advanced research on native herbal drugs (Hyangyak) under the national
      medical system, the oldest medical book in Korea, Hyangyak-gugeupbang (鄕藥救急方,
      First Aid Prescriptions Using Native Ingredients) was published.
  • AD 1392~AD 1910 Joseon period

    The advancement of medical science based on empirical and scientific
    perspectives helped establish a practical medical school and proposed Sasang
    Constitutional Medicine (SCM), or Sasang typology for the first time breaking 
    new ground in the Korean Pharmaceutical sector.

    • The uinyeo (female physician in the national institute) system was introduced.
    • Hyangyak-Jipseongbang (鄕藥集成方, Compendium of Native Herbal Prescriptions)
      and Uibangnyuchwi (醫方類聚, Classified Collection of Medical Prescriptions) was
      published first, and Heo Jun compiled Donguibogam (東醫寶鑑, Treasured Mirror of
      Eastern Medicine), which is treated as a great accomplishment in Eastern Medicine field.
    • Heo Jun developed novel methods of acupuncture and moxibustion and
      priest-physician Saam developed tonification and sedation methods of acupuncture
      and moxibustion.
    • Lee Je-ma established a new field called Sasang typology (四象醫學) in his book,
      Dongyisusebowon (東醫壽世保元, Longevity and Life Preservation in Eastern Medicine).

Beginning of the modern Korean Medicine

During the enlightenment period, the Korean Empire intends to implement
a medical education and doctor system that harmoniously combines traditional
medicine from the ancestors and modern medicine from the West.

The license system for Korean Medicine practitioners introduced in 1951
and the first college for Korean Medicine was established in 1955.

As of 2020, there are 11 Traditional Korean Medicine colleges (6-year course) and
one Professional Graduate School of Korean Medicine in Korea.

  • The Medical School Control Decree was issued andthe Government Medical School was established In 1899.
  • The Medical Doctor's Rule was promulgated by Ministryof the Interior, in 1900.
  • May 1904 - Establishment of Dong Jae Medical School

The Act on the Promotion of Korean Medicine and Pharmaceuticals promulgated
in 2003 has encouraged advances in Korean Medicine.