Dong Ui Bo Gam (동의보감) Korean Classic “Mirror of Eastern Medicine” Heo Jun (1539-1615 A.D.)

Dong Ui Bo Gam (동의보감) , Korean commentaries on the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor Classic on Internal Medicine) and many other Chinese Medicine Classics. I will cite within this Korean classic on Chinese medicine. The importance of this is Korea’s unhindered history in study of the traditional medicine since Han dynasty without interruption of wars, dynastic changes, and political upheavals. The book has several main topics with many chapters for each main topic. From what my professor said, Heo Jun uses around 189 Chinese Medicine classics and about 11 Korean medicine books when he wrote it.

Selections from the Dong Ui Bo Gam read in class: 1/23/2015, I will add some notes from class on discussion in regards to topic of:
Misc. causes of disease*
Constitution: Parents age, health, and pregnancy affects constitution of baby.
1. Excessive physical work:
Excessive reading injures the blood and heart
Excessive lying down injures the qi of the lungs.
Excessive sitting injures the muscles and spleen.
-Excessive standing injures the bones and kidneys.
-Excessive exercise injures the tendons and liver.

2. Insufficient exercise: Qi stagnation, and dampness: feeling sore and achy. Try Tai Chi or Yoga.

3. Excessive sex: causes fatigue, back pain, weak knees.

4. Insufficient sex: cause qi interal heat issues, loneliness, craving for sex, depression, heart and mind issues.

5. Diet:
Modern changes in food: be aware of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, fortified, preservatives and other chemicals.
-Insufficient eating: malnutrition in 3rd world, elderly, vegetarians, and other strict diets.
-Blood tonic: meat is a blood tonic.
-Cold energy eating: salads and cheese, raw veggies cause a cold damp, cheese causes phlegm, blood and qi stagnation in the spleen. Spleen likes warm and dry, not cold and ice which makes the spleen yang weaken.
-Overeating: spleen and stomach dampness. Sweet/Sugar causes spleen dampness as well.
-Hot/Spicy: heat symptoms of stomach and liver.
-Greasy: phlegm and dampness of stomach and spleen.
-State of body/mind: eating under distress, hurry, and rushed mentally causes Stomach Yin deficiency.

6. Trauma: injury to a body area causes a local Qi stagnation.

7. Parasites and poison: the high sugar diet of children causes a dampness which is attractive to worms.

8. Wrong treatment: a wrong acupuncture treatment is much less harmful to someone, than a wrong herbal formula.

9. Prescription/Medicinal drugs: Beta blockers and tranquilizers alter the pulse, antibiotics and steroids cause changes in patient tongue.

10. Recreational drugs Long term usage:
Marijuana: causes kidney deficiency, affects heart, blood, and spleen (munchies). Long term affect on memory and will.
Cocaine: creates a phlegm-fire in the heart, affects psychological and mental functions.
-LSD: causes a type of Heart-fire, causing “flashbacks” and psychosis.
-Ecstasy: Causes brain damage and suppresses immune system, obstructs the kidney and heart orifices.
*The Foundations of Chinese Medicine by Giovanni Maciocia, Chapter 22 Misc. causes of Disease.

We used the Dong Ui Bo Gam to touch on some of these topics and more:

On the Body:

Prologue last paragraph. p.13
“The shape of a man is better to be short than long, to be small than big, and to be skinny than fat. The color of a man’s skin is better to be black than white, to be dark than pale, to be thick than thin. Furthermore, a fat man is rich in dampness, a thin person is rich in fire, a pale white person is deficient in Lung qi, and a dark person is rich in kidney qi. Everyman is different in his complexion and shapes, and therefore has differences in his viscera and bowels compared to others. This shows that different patients must be treated differently even if they show the same symptoms.”- Zhu Zhenheng.

Chapter 7- The Life span is dependent on the shape and qi

first paragraph p.19
It is said in the Divine Pivot: “A person lives long if shape and qi match each other and dies young if they don’t”.

Professor commentary in class: If a large man has a lot of Qi will live much longer than a large man with little bit of Qi. A thin man with a lot Qi will live long than a thin man with a little bit of Qi”.


Paragraph 2 p.19
There is a saying in the “Classified Compilation on Nurturing Life” : “If the Qi from food gets stronger than the original qi, the person gets fat and cannot live long; if the original qi gets stronger than the qi from food, the person gets thin and can live long.”

Paragraph 3 p.19
Yutuan once said, “The pulse is fast in those who have impetuous personality; the pulse is slow in those who are relaxed. Generally, those who have a slow pulse live long, and those who have a fast pulse usually die young.”

Professor commentary- there was a study done on mice, and that via observation, the mice that moved fastest, ate fast, and were more busy, dies younger. Autopsy on these mice revealed they had a heart condition.

Chapter 6- Differences in Lifespan
Paragraph 1 p.17
In the Basic Questions: “Huangdi asked, “The people of ancient times are said not to get old even at the age of 100. The people nowadays, however get old in their movement even at the age of 50. Is this because time has changed or because the people have lost the way of Tao?” Qibo answered, “The people at that time knew the way of the Tao. They practiced the way of yin-yang, adapted to changes well, had discipline to moderate diet, had rules in their daily lives, and did not use up their energy thoughtlessly. Therefore they could preserve their shape and spirit in whole and live one’s allotted life, and eventually died at the age of 100.”

Second paragraph p. 18
“This is why the wise man in the ancient times tasted all kinds of herbs, made all kinds of medicines, and took care of people to let them live the allotted life fully.”


“It is the role of the doctor to understand such order of the universe and work with this knowledge as the base to lead people who should die young to die old, and who should die old to be an immortal.”

Chapter 15- Damage due to Fatigue

Paragraph 3 p.2036
“When a person becomes to happy or too angry or does not have any moderation in life or becomes too tired, it damages qi. When qi is damaged, the fire gets to active, and when the fire gets too active it suppresses Earth of the spleen.”

Chapter 17 Treatment methods for damage due to fatigue

p. 2040 paragraph 1

It is said in the Inner Classic, “When one is tired, one must be raised (warmed), when one’s body is lacking, it must be added”. Fatigue is the spirit at an uneasy state due to too much work. therefore, it must be raised. The meaning of warming in treatment is raising. Raising means controlling what one eats, living an orderly life, clearing one’s mind and not worrying, and silently waiting for qi to restore to its normal state.

Professor commentary- herbal warming formula for this is “Bu zhong yi qi tang.”

On Deficiency Vexation:

Chapter 1- Causes of Consumptive Diseases

p. 2093 2nd and 3rd paragraphs

“When the heart and the lungs undergo deficient detriments, one’s complexion loses color. When the liver and the kidneys undergo deficient detriments, one figure becomes thin, and the inability to digest food well indicates that the spleen has undergone deficient detriments.”

“Many diseases or aggregations result from deficiencies. Deficiency leads to all kinds of diseases.”

Professor commentary: Spleen deficiency mentioned results in anorexia in extreme cases.

Chapter 2- Consumptive Diseases

p.2094 paragraph 1-
That one is deficient means that one’s skin, hair, flesh, muscles, pulses, bones, marrow, qi, blood, and fluid are deficient.

Paragraph 2-
Decreased intake of food, unclear mind, seminal emissions, dream emissions, tightness and pain in the muscles and bones of the waist, back, chest, and flank, a tidal fever, spontaneous sweating, phlegm, and coughs are all general symptoms of consumptive diseases.

13- Idleness causes Qi stagnation

p. 97 paragraph 1

“Idle people do not use their strength by moving their bodies, but they only sit or lie down after eating heartily. This blocks the meridians and blood vessels, triggering damage caused by overexertion and fatigue. Thus, even though a noble person (upper class) seems to be happy outwardly, his or her mind suffers; and even though a peasant is complacent in his or her mind, he or she appears to suffer outwardly. A noble person tries to satisfy one’s desires at all times, does not know abstinence, and lies down straight after eating heartily. Therefore, one should always use one’s strength, but not to the point of where one feels to tired. Working to the point where nutrient Qi and defense qi flow well and blood vessels spread out evenly is the adequate level. It is the same as the following: running water does not get stale, and hinges do not get eaten by moths.

Professor commentary: In the olden times, moths used to build nest in the hollows of a door hinge and this could interrupt its free movement.

On Essence:
Chapter 1 Essence is the Basis of the Human body

p. 62
In the Divine Pivot, it is said that: “The spirit of two people join to form a new shape. What is always made before the body is formed is called essence. “Essence is a fundamental substance of the body. It is also said that: “The fluid and humor from the five grains are combined to make oil which seeps into the holes of the bones, fills up the the bone marrow and the brain, and flows to the groins. When the imbalance of yin and yang is broken, semen leaks out of the genitals. Too much leaking out causes a deficiency, which leads to pain in the thoracic and lumbar regions, and a sore feeling in the shins. “Also, it is said; “Bone marrow is what fills the insides of the bones and the brain is the sea of marrow. when the sea of marrow is deficient, there is dizziness, ringing in the ears, soreness of the shins, and blurred vision.”

p. 63 chapter 2- Essence is the ultimate treasure
paragraph 2

It is said in the Immortal Writings, “Essence is considered a treasure in the Tao of yin-yang. When protected carefully, one will age slowly.”

Song of the classics it says: “Essence is treasured in the Tao, and one should be covert when protecting his treasure”
further paragraph p. 63 of the Song of the Classics:
“It is destiny that it should be kept a treasure, the body that must be saved, the essence must be kept important. One’s eyes get dizzy and lose sparkle when liver essence is not enough. The flesh gets thinner when lung essence is not enough. Kidney Qi decreases when kidney essence is not enough. One’s teeth become bare and hair falls out when spleen essence is not enough. Diseases occur and eventually death follows if the true essence is all used up.”

Paragraph 3 p.63
Scripture of the Yellow court:
“One is able to live long only when the essence is not let out for leakage. One must treasure and value it.”

Chapter 5- Essence should be secured thoroughly.
p. 65 paragraph 1
Inner classic: The keypoint of yin-yang is that yin is strong only when yang is well protected. This is why yin qi is said to have collapsed when yang is active. When yin is harmonized and yang is secured, essence-spirit is in control; when yin and yang are separated the essence-qi collapse.”

Chapter 6- Control desire to store essence.
p.76 3rd paragraph
Immortal writings: “The essence is wasted if desire overflows; one must truly save essence to live long.
Kidney water increases itself if one sits calmly; desire disappears of itself if one lives by oneself.”

Chapter 38- Diseases of Buddhist nuns and widows are different from those of a woman with a husband.
p. 3058 paragraph 1-
Zhu cheng of the Song dynasty used different prescriptions for the treatment of widows and Buddhist nuns. There is a reason for this. These people lived alone. Therefore, there is only yin and no yang. There is desire that cannot be met. Therefore, yin and yang always fight each other, resulting in cold and heat like warm intestinal convulsion. It becomes a consumptive disease when overlooked for a long time.

p. 3058 continued-
Essence is main for man, blood is main for women. When essence is exuberant in a man, a man thinks about a woman. when blood is exuberant in a woman, she tries to have a baby.

paragraph 2-
Diseases of a widow or Buddhist nun form due to loneliness. The symptoms of loathing wind, tiredness, cold and heat, redness in the face, stuffiness in chest, spontaneous sweating, and a string-like and long pulse on the liver pulse that is shown in the wrist pulses.

Professor- explains the location of pulses. see diagram.

On Internal Damage:

Chapter 1 Treating the diseases with food and medicine.
paragraph 1, p.2008
The key point of a comfortable physical state lies in food, and the key point of treating the disease lies solely with medicine. If one does not know how to eat properly, one can’t live long. If one does not know the qualities of medicine, one can’t treat the disease. Food gets rid of pathogens and comforts the viscera and bowels.

paragraph 3 p. 2011
Wangandao once said, “One must not confuse fatigue and food sickness and see them as one. The origin of fatigue lies in a real deficiency. food sickness is also a kind of deficiency, but it is divided into two kinds: excess and deficiency. Because although both eating nothing and eating too much are a loss of moderation, they are two different diseases.”

Professor commentary Herb- ‘Yi-zhi-ren’ hot/warm/heating sensation herb used for spleen and kidney, warms kidney to preserve jing and leakages of jing.

Chapter 10- Damage due to alcohol
Paragraph 3 p.2027
When one drinks too much, qi flows upward. It is said in Annotations, “When a person drinks too much, the lung sac is flipped and the qi flows upward and fast. Liquor is the fluid of the five grains and the essence of yeast. Although it might help people, it can also harm people since it has a lot of heat and is very toxic.”

When a person is damaged due to alcohol, the treatment must only be dispersion; when the person sweats, it is a sign of healing. Next treatment is to induce urination.

Chapter 11- Contraindications of drinking
paragraphs 1,2, 10.
Sweet foods must be banned. One must not eat noodles with course liquor as it blocks the pores. Also one must not drink water or tea when one is thirsty before becoming sober. This is because liquid entering the body at this state enters the kidneys following the alcohol, becomes toxic, and makes the person’s waist and legs painful and makes the bladder cold and painful.

On Blood:
Chapter 10- Blood Amassment syndrome
p. 195 paragraph 1
Blood amassment is accumulated blood stasis. If the patient has a heat disease caused by cold damage, yellowing body, black feces, madness and poor memory, one has blood amassment.

commentary on Triple burner issues:
If blood is accumulated in the upper burner, it causes poor memory.
If blood is accumulated in the middle burner, the patient has chest fullness, yellow body, and a preference for gargling water without swallowing it, use a Plum pit disorder decoction.
If blood is accumulated in the lower burner, the patient becomes mad, with black feces, and a solid and painful abdomen.

On How to use Medicinals:
Chapter 3 doctrines for using medicinals
p. 1584 last paragraph
When the disease becomes exuberant in the upper body and is not cured, use emetic medicine to get rid of pathogenic qi. When the disease becomes exuberant in the lower body and is not cured, induce diarrhea to remove pathogenic qi.

Chapter 11 paragraph 1, p.1589
The fundamental principles for using medicine are inducing vomiting in the spring, promoting sweat in the summer, inducing diarrhea in autumn, and warming or applying moxibustion in the winter.

Chapter 25- Simple prescriptions are better.
paragraph 1, p.1599
In ancient times doctors had used only one medicine to treat one disease. It was not until Han dynasty’s Zhang Zhongjing when used various medicines to treat one disease.

Professor commentary: Zhang Zhongjing used 3 to 5 herbs in his medicine successfully.

Chapter 28 There is no pain when it is freed

p.1601 paragraph 1
When there is pain it means something is stagnant. It is also said that, “All pain is reduced when stagnancy is removed.”

chapter 33- How to use prescriptions depending on the weight of a patient
p.1603 paragraph 1
Fat people have lots of phlegm due to deficient Qi. Therefore remove phlegm and tonify qi. Lean people have fire due to deficient blood. Purge fire and nourish yin.

About Administrator

Coach Matt Stampe is a Database Administrator and I.T. professional. In the world of Bodywork, he has been a Certified Massage Therapist (CNT) licensed with the Virginia Board of Nursing, and has a “Master of Science in Acupuncture” (MSA) at Virginia University of Integrative Medicine ( He is a candidate with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He has taught hundreds of people Authentic Yang Tai Chi Kung Fu for over 25 years. He was President of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Martial arts club, Secretary and Treasurer of USA chapter of Yongnian Association under Sifu He Weiqi. Experience includes: Kung fu schools: Omei Shaolin (Sifu Lu Xiaoling) 3rd degree Black Sash, Chinese Martial Arts Institute (Sifu Clarence Burris), United States Wushu Academy (Coach Christopher Pei), and Qi Elements (Sifu Nancy Bloomfield), Former Head Coach: Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation centers(Adults Tai Chi), Hope Chinese school (kids classes), NOVA MMA gym in Arlington (kids classes), and VUOM Martial Arts Tai Chi club (Fairfax). He has positively impacted peoples lives whether for health, sport, strength, combat, and spirit. As a true combat athlete, he teaches methods so people can be confident to defend themselves.
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