2018 GGHS Team 8

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The history of medicine in Korea

A General Outline

In the 10th century, Balhae was destroyed by Khitan, and Silla, which had been extremely corrupt, was unified into Goryeo after over 30 years of war with Hubaekje and Hugoguryeo. Goryeo, which had to wage many invasion wars after unification, had great social demands on health care businesses in order to protect the lives and health of soldiers and people. Especially, the world's first metal type printing business developed in the 12th century, and the publication and dissemination of science literature books increased greatly, and medical books due to the development of navigation technology, as well. In addition, the diseases treatment awareness has improved greatly, and preventive measures for infectious diseases and more detailed classification have been taken.[1]

The Beginning of Goryeo Dynasty

From the very establishment Goryeo put forward the buddhist meter and confucian-signing politics. In addition, the medical institution was reorganized and strengthened to physicians place in every military unit. It also showed a lot of interest in population growth to strengthen national power and expressed a keen interest in health care projects to improve the health of the ruling class. And they established Hyeminguk (혜민국,惠民局), East and West Infirmaries (동서대비원,東西大悲院) and Jewibo (제위보, 濟危寶) for the poor people and engaged in charitable medical activities.[2]

The Middle Period of Goryeo Dynasty

In this period, due to the revival of Goryeo Dynasty, the interaction with Song, new Dynasty of China became active. So medical exchanges were encouraged, the exchange of medical books, drugs and medical workers took place in various forms. Moreover, thanks to the development of printing technology, Indian medical books started to be disseminated. After Goryeo defeated the Kitan, the national power became known worldwide, and foreign exchange became more active. It is estimated that in 1010 India's medical books were recorded when creating the first edition of Tripitaka Koreana (초조대장경, 初雕大藏經), but actually they were washed away so it is difficult to identify. The term "herbal medicine" (Korean authentic medicine) appears in the late 12th century. Just like Silla, the rulers of Goryeo Dynasty valued only the Dangjae (medication imported from China) and disdained medicines which were produced in Korea. So when the king became ill, royal court bought expensive Dangjae and invited medical workers from China. However, the poor people started to collect and use herbs directly from the mountains, through the actual use of medicines and exchange from abroad, many people found that the medicines which grew in Korean mountains and stream were effective and due to that, herbal medicine started developing. Accordingly, as entered the 12th century, the good books about herbal medicine began to be written. Especially, Hangyakkugeupbang (향약구급방, 鄕藥救急方)'s prescriptions were detailed and usable to everyone. As its name suggests, it was used when one was in an emergency situation but he or she could not call the doctor.

The Late Period of Goryeo Dynasty

It further strengthened the independent basis of Goryeo medicine by developing the technical books about the herbal remedy, which had been studied since the latter half of the middle period. Goryeo had a smooth cultural exchange with the Great Yuan, as for medical exchanges, especially when the Queen was ill, she invited the Great Yuan doctor to visit her. Also, the Great Yuan king invited the Goryeo Doctor. Over the past 100 years, the Great Yuan and Goryeo exchanged medicines 20 times, and important medical supplies were exchanged too. In 1389, Jeong do-jeon compiled a book called Jinmaek Dogyeol (진맥도결, 診脈圖結) which was an easy explanation of the pulse method. The pulse method is a method of checking the pulse to determine the condition of a disease. It can determine disease symptoms by counting and analizing the patient's pulse and predict its progress and outcome.

The Epidemic and the Cure of Goryeo Dynasty

Infectious Disease Of Goryeo

(1)Infectious disease

Unlike the Three Kingdoms Period, during the Goryeo Dynasty, Medical science has advanced even more.In addition to the expression "disease " in the name of " three kingdoms of Goryeo, " the names are written as "Treatise on Warm" or " miasmal diseases and epidemics. "The official record of the history of Goryeo which lasted for 475 years. The incidence of disease was only 20 times. In addition, one can check out the literary collection only 37 times.

For the representative infectious diseases of Goryeo, There is miasmal diseases and epidemics, a popular fever generated by bottling in hot, humid areas. Some people are confused and tired with fever, while others have a stuffy chest and can not speak because of a sore throat. Miasmal diseases and epidemics, which spread from Gaegyeong in 1018, can be thought of as being caused by the war with the Great Liao in 1018. Some people believe that the disease, which was prevalent in Song Dynasty, was introduced to the Great Liao, where it was introduced to Goryeo.

Second, Caused by the uneven weather of the seasons, There is Treatise on Warm , an acute infection that becomes speechless at times, has a small boil on the cheek, a sore mouth and a cough. In 1,100 years, Treatise on Warm an acute epidemic fever, was also a disease from Song Dynasty.

Third, Malari (俺疾) , also called malaria, is an infectious disease carried by malaria mosquitoes. It is a dangerous disease that affects 200 to 300 million people and kills millions each year. Many genetic diseases, including Sickle Cell Anemia, remain because it is strong against malaria. It is also called " malaria " or " day distance " and is a disease mainly developed in tropical areas. It is a disease which mainly develops in the tropics. The first official record on malaria in Korea is during the Goryeo Dynasty. According to the history of Goryeo, people died due to malaria in December of the 17th year of King Yejong(毅宗). The history of Goryeo shows that people died due to malaria in December of the 1122 year.

Fourth, there are a young child's smallpox, and rabies. As you can see below in the Hangyakkugeupbang 항약구급방 (鄕樂救急方), it was then clearly recognized that rabies was a major disease that was transmitted from a mad dog. It is also noted that smallpox is an infectious disease, which needs an urgent treatment. The emphasis here is a quick handle. If it is too late, rabies can not be recovered and one can be killed in a day.


1) Hangyakkugeupbang (향약구급방,鄕樂救急方)

The " 향약구급방 (鄕樂救急方) " of the Goryeo Dynasty, also known as Korea's best existing medical book, includes dysentery, malaria, tumors and itch, childhood measles, rabies, and acute tonsitis, diphtheria. As much as so, a variety of infectious diseases besides 질진(疾疹), 온역(溫疫), and 장역(瘴疫) have plagued the people of Goryeo.

The 향약구급방 (鄕藥救急方) provides a glimpse of the various infectious diseases that were prevalent during the Goryeo Dynasty. 향약(鄕藥) means originally meant medicinal stuff produced in Korea, was word used in response to medicines imported from China. And the 구급방(救急方) is a form of medical book designed to help by correct first aid treatment for an emergency disease.

First, the disease chosen by the medical service provider is ① a common disease, ② a disease that needs to be dealt with quickly. ③ as a disease with clear symptoms or visible symptoms, ④ According to the gender and age of the patient, the patient is divided into men and women, adults and children's diseases.

Second,'Emergency Remedies of Folk Medicine' was compiled for the ruling class, which was established in Ganghwa despite the existing understanding that the medical service office was compiled for the general public.

① There are no countermeasures against famine in Guiana, which is being handled by other utilities, while drinking hangovers and alcoholism are being treated as first aid, ② The fact that the people present gold as medicine, which is difficult to find, ③ Even when they fled the war with Mongolia, they recognized skin diseases related to their appearance such as spots and acne as a disease. We could see that the character of this book was strictly for the ruling class.

Third, it is mostly based on the Six Excesses[(六淫)풍한서습조화 (風寒暑濕燥火) caused by the the concept of disease, There are mainly descriptions of individual diseases encountered in everyday life rather than social illnesses such as acute infection.

Fourth, there was a perception of infectious diseases, but not many in the Emergency Prescriptions. Rabies and measles were considered infectious diseases. <향약구급방 (鄕樂救急方)> was a medical handbook for the ruling class, which had to be used as a medicine for medicine during the Mongol war when it was unable to import medicines from China.

<향약구급방 (鄕樂救急方)> is a collection of emergency medicine prescriptions, so it doesn’t have a medical theory. Therefore, it is difficult to extract endemic disease views .However, as 향약구급방 (鄕樂救急方) is a reference to the traditional medical literature, it is quite likely that it follows the Oriental Medical Journal.

The two medical books have something in common in that there is not much technology about disease which has caused numerous deaths in pre-modern society. The epidemic in those days was mainly called Onyeok (瘟疫) and Jangyeok (瘴疫) 32). In particular, <향약구급방 (鄕樂救急方)> does not address this at all. However, it is worth noting that as a contagious disease, rabies and measles are prescribed. [[3]]

2) Way of Curing Diseases


In the ninth year of King Sukjong of Goryeo, he set up Goojedogam(救濟都監). At that time, King Sukjong lets it treat people and bury the dead body.

Even during the Goryeo Dynasty, which emerged after the fall of Unified Silla, famine and war were the main causes of the outbreak. In particular, the war with ethnic groups such as the the Kitan , aftershocks, Mongolia, and the Red Army resulted in the spread of the disease. During the Goryeo Dynasty, a new plague called Jangyeok(瘴疫) and Onyeok(瘟疫) was appeared, and when an epidemic broke out, all civilian countermeasures such as Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism were used for the purpose to ward off disease. When infectious diseases are prevalent, the Jewiboo(濟危寶), which was the relief agency, and 동서대비원(東西大悲院) played a role. However, responses by the state were extremely limited.-여인석(연세의대 의사학과) 참고 중심으로 한 고려 전염병 탐구(dbpia) bj가 알려주는 고려 전염병

3) Methods of Treating Infectious Diseases

Miasmal disease(瘴疫), Jangyeok miasmal diseases and epidemics(瘴疫) means an epidemic in the southern part of China that is hot and humid, and is caused by the strong fog of spring and autumn in the south. In 1018, when miasmal diseases and epidemics spreaded in Goryeo, the government imported the latest medical book to Song, which had an experience of plague. Seonghaebang offered various remedies to treat. However, the problem with Seonghaebang was that most medicines were not found in Goryeo. miasmal diseases and epidemics was treated with foreign medicine, which led to the popularity of Byeogon辟溫)* custom.

Plague(瘟疫), Onyeok There is no treatment of plague(瘟疫) because the basic prescription is covered in fever treatment. As an example, Lee Gyu-bo set up a peach tree on the front gate, set off firecrackers in the garden, and took “byeogondan(辟瘟團)” .

Smallpox(疫疾) Smallpox(疫疾) didn’t treating them, it was common for them to leave a person with a history of reverse treatment, to cover up a person who died of a reverse disease on a mountain, or to hang them on a tree.

Jiljin(疾疢) Jiljin(疾疢) didn’t solve the problem scientifically but to treat diseases in the same way as Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism and enforced Repentance Ceremony.[[4]]

Malaria The first method used most often is to frighten the patient. Makes the patient sit on a high cliff, and suddenly hits his back to surprise him or something or in the early morning, the strap soaked in water and wrapped around the patient's neck and they fall with fright. Then, lay a straw mat in the middle of the yard, make the patient lie down, and drag the straw mat to the front of the cow. Let the cow jump over the straw mat with a cry of " Don't follow the invoice. “ If you jump three times or as often as you've had malaria, you'll get better. He is said to have lost his malaria out of fear that a cow might step on him. [5]

Rabies Rabies must be left 1moxa on the bite every day for 100 days and must not eat pork. A great disaster will come soon and may die in a day, and it is very dangerous, so be sure to take care of him with the above medicine, even if he is given moxa treatment.

Children Smallpox(小兒痘瘡) Children's smallpox(小兒痘瘡) which was caught in a bottle, evaporates in a place where the wind is good, and feeds it with the same amount of mung bean powder as the half grain, so it burns hot liquor.


  1. https://m.blog.naver.com/PostView.nhn?blogId=yags4y37n&logNo=80094588442&proxyReferer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.kr%2F
  2. https://terms.naver.com/entry.nhn?docId=88631&cid=41826&categoryId=41826
  3. https://blog.naver.com/sbfkvcbfywsy/220778031550
  4. http://www.dbpia.co.kr/Journal/PDFViewNew?id=NODE00986668&prevPathCode
  5. http://folkency.nfm.go.kr/kr/topic/%ED%95%99%EC%A7%88%EB%96%BC%EA%B8%B0/3007