History of Research on Pharmacopuncture in Korea

  • Lee, Kwang-Ho (Department of Acupuncture & Moxibustion Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Sangji University) ;
  • Cho, Yoon-Young (Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Sangji University) ;
  • Kim, Sungchul (Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Medicine, Wonkwang University Gwangju Korean Medicine Hospital) ;
  • Sun, Seung-Ho (Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Sangji University)
  • Received : 2016.04.18
  • Accepted : 2016.05.23
  • Published : 2016.06.30


Objectives: This study introduces the history and types of Korean pharmacopuncture and reports trends of research on Korean pharmacopuncture. Methods: Pharmacopuncture studies were searched from the first year of each search engine to 2014 by using seven domestic and foreign search databases. Selected studies were divided into the history of pharmacopuncture, kinds and features of pharmacopuncture, research types, and experimental and clinic studies and were then classified by year of publication, type of pharmacopuncture, disease, and topic. Results: Pharmacopuncture can be classified into four large groups: meridian field pharmacopuncture (MFP), eight-principles pharmacopuncture (EPP), animal-based pharmacopuncture (ABP) and mountain-ginseng pharmacopuncture, which is a single-compound pharmacopuncture (SCP). The largest numbers of studies were reported from 1997 to 2006, after which the numbers decreased until 2014. Of experimental studies, 51.9%, 18.7%. 14.3%, 9% and 3.4% were on SCP, ABP, MFP, formula pharmacopuncture (FP), and EPP, respectively. Of clinical studies, 54.7%, 15.3%. 14.9% 10.0% and 1.5% were on ABP, MFP, EPP, SCP, and FP (1.5%), respectively. Among clinical studies, case reports and case series accounted for 76.5%, followed by randomized controlled trials (RCTs, 16.4%) and non-RCT (13.9%). Musculoskeletal diseases, toxicity and safety tests, anti-cancer effects, and nervous system diseases were mainly treated in experimental studies while musculoskeletal diseases, nervous system diseases, toxicity and safety tests, and autonomic nerve function tests were addressed in clinical studies. Bee venom (BV) was the most frequently-used pharmacopuncture in mechanism studies. Pharmacopuncture was mainly used to treat musculoskeletal diseases. Conclusion: Pharmacopuncture and studies of it have made great progress in Korea. Studies on BV pharmacopuncture and musculoskeletal diseases accounted for most of the studies reported during the review period. Research on the types of pharmacopuncture and diseases has to be expanded. Especially, studies on the use of MFP and EPP for treating patients with various diseases are needed.


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