Historical Medical Value of Donguibogam

  • Song, Bong-Keun (Department of Internal Medicine, School of Oriental Medicine, Wonkwang University) ;
  • Won, Jin-Hee (Department of Internal Medicine, School of Oriental Medicine, Wonkwang University) ;
  • Kim, Sungchul (Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, School of Oriental Medicine, Wonkwang University)
  • Received : 2015.08.25
  • Accepted : 2016.02.27
  • Published : 2016.03.31


Oriental medicine, since its origin in China, has had a long history extending over 2000 years. Today, it comprises several types of medicine predominately practiced in East Asia, including traditional Chinese, traditional Korean, and Kampo medicine. The distinctive medical system of traditional Korean medicine was established shortly after the publication of Donguibogam by Dr. Heo Jun in 1613. Donguibogam is highly acclaimed across East Asia; in 2009, in light of its historical medical value, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization registered the book on its cultural heritage list. Here, we review the historical medical value of Donguibogam. The findings confirm that Donguibogam developed a unique and independent form of traditional Korean medicine and innovatively reformed the disease classification system. Moreover, Donguibogam emphasized the importance of disease prevention and medical pragmatism. This book also accelerated the development of folk medicine. Owing to its historical medical value, Donguibogam is now considered the 'bible' of Oriental medicine. Its wide acceptance has contributed to the expansion of Korean medicine utilization among the general public. Donguibogam has also played an important role in the establishment of traditional Korean medicine as a universally valid and original form of medicine, independent of traditional Chinese medicine.


Supported by : Wonkwang University


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