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About Sinseon-Taeul-Chakeumdan - A Panacea of the Choseon Period -

KIM, SEONG SU 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the Choseon era, a diverse range of medical books, in terms of content and form, were compiled. They contained their specific purposes and show the reality of medicine required by society at the time. There were reasons why Hyangyack-gugupbang 鄕藥救急方 or other kinds of books on infectious diseases, in addition to representative medical books such as Euibang-yoochui 醫方類聚 and Hyangyak-jibsungbang 鄕藥集成方, were necessary. They provide us with a clue on the shortage of herbal doctors and drugs and on the large number of incurable diseases. Sinseon-Taeul-Chakeumdanbang 神仙太乙紫金丹方 also shows the tasks required by the medicine of the Choseon era in the 15th century. The background for Sinseon-Taeul-Chakeumdanbang’s emergence as a cure-all is that people in local areas had difficulty in receiving treatment,although the government promoted medicine with policies. Furthermore,even though the government controled medicine prices, poor people could not obtain them easily. Lee Jong-jun, who wrote Sinseon-Taeul-Chakeumdanbang at the end of 15th century, well understood the medical conditions of the time and encouraged local communities provided with insufficient medical services to utilize the book as if it were a cure-all. The medical tasks of Choseon that Lee Jong-jun would have recognized at the end of 15th century did not change until the late Choseon period. Certainly, the expansion of commercial medicine increased the number of people who gained access to appropriate treatment but medicine was unevenly distributed among different classes and regions. Bureaucrats or rich people residing in cities where commercial medicine developed were able to gain easy access to medicine, but still cure-alls were needed. It is the reason why Sinseon-Taeul-Chakeumdanbang was published widely as books or manuscripts and remains to the present day.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.