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『Bonchojeonghwa(本草精華)』, Medical Historical Approach to Bibliographic Notes  

Kim, Hong-Kyoon (Institute of Korean Traditional Medical History)
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The Journal of Korean Medical History / v.24, no.2, 2011 , pp. 25-55 More about this Journal
The currently existing "Bonchojeonghwa (本草精華)" is a manuscript without the preface and the epilogue, composed of 2 books in 2 volumes. This book is a quintessence of knowledge on science of medicinal ingredients (medicinal phytology I herbal science) as well as an trial of new development in Chosun medical science. I.e. this book includes surprising change representing medical science in Chosun dynasty as a single publication on science of medicinal ingredients. It holds a value essential to clinician as a specialized book in medicinal ingredients, and Includes richer content on medicinal ingredients than any other books published before. In addition, it is away from boring list-up of superfluous knowledge as seen in "Bonchokangmok(本草綱目)" published in China, and well summarizes essential knowledge which can be used within a range of medicines available in Korea. This book has an outstanding structure that can be even used in today's textbook on science of medicinal ingredients, as it has clear theory, system and classification. Because it handles essential learning points prior to prescription to disease, it is possible to configure new prescription and adjustment of medicinal materials. Moreover, this book can play a good role for linguistic study at the time of publication, because it describes many drugs in Hangul in many parts of the book. "Bonchojeonghwa" includes a variety of animals, plants and mineral resources in Korea, like "Bonchokangmok" which was recently listed in UNESCO. As such, it has a significance in natural history as well as pharmacy in Korean Medicine. It has various academic relationships all in biologic & abiologic aspects. It has importance in sharing future biological resources, building up international potential, setting up the standard for biologic species under IMF system, and becoming a base for resource diplomacy. We should not only see it as a book on medicinal ingredients in terms of Oriental Medicine, but also make an prudent approach to it in terms of study strengthening Korea's national competitiveness. After bibliographical reviewing on the features & characteristics of the only existing copy of "Bonchojeonghwa" housed in Kyujanggak(奎章閣) of Seoul National University, the followings are noted. First, "Bonchojeonghwa" is a specialized book on medicinal ingredients voluntarily made by private hands to distribute knowledge on drugs in the desolate situation after Imjinoeran (Japanese Invasion in 1592), without waiting for governmental help. Second, it raised accessibility and practicality by new editing. Third, it classified 990 different kinds of drugs into plant, animal, and mineral at large, and dassified more in detail into 15 'Bu' and 48 'Ryu' at 258 pages. Fourth, the publication of this book is estimated to be around 1625~1633, at the time of Injo's reign in 17th century. Fifth, it contains the existing & up-to-date knowledge at the time of publication, and it is possible to see the supply-demand situation by Hangul descriptions in 149 places in the book. By the fact that there are many linguistic evidences of 17th century, explains well when the book was published.
Bochojeonghwa(本草精華); Bonchokangmok(本草綱目); biological resources; environment; IMF; private medicine; animal; plant; mineral; old Hangul; Kyujanggak(奎章閣); early 17th century;
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