Medical Encyclopaedia Uibangryuchwi
Uibangryuchwi is one of Korea’s three typical classic books on Koryo medicine along with Tonguibogam and Hyangyakjipsongbang. It was compiled on the basis of all the achievements and experience in development of Koryo medicine until the early 15th century. It was made up of 365 volumes by some scientists working at Jiphyonjon, a scientific research institute of that time, between 1443 and 1445. It went through three times of revision and amendment before it was published in 266 volumes in 1477. Three volumes are dedicated to general introductions and the other 263 to particulars.
The part of general introductions comprehensively describes methods of medical examination, prescription, dosages, traits which medical staffs must keep and general principles in treatment as well as ingredients, efficacy and prescription of individual Koryo medicines. The part of particulars is divided into 95 sections which deal with all the diseases—the internal medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, dermatology, gynaecology and paediatrics and other problems—and describe their causes, symptoms and treatments.
Uibangryuchwi is the crystallization of rich clinical experience achieved in the eastern countries at that time, describing as many as 5 400 kinds of prescriptions for the gynaecological problems alone. The bulky document of more than 60 000 pages was published over 300 years ahead of the book Medical and Surgical Encyclopaedia (7 volumes) published in 1807 in Spain—which is recognized as the first medical encyclopaedia in Europe. It is also incomparably voluminous than the European one in scale.
Thanks to the Workers’ Party of Korea’s policy of preserving the national heritage, the book was translated and published in 20 volumes from 1974 to 1980, and it is contributing to improvement of the people’s health.