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K-Herald

A Natural Cure to Illness

by 조선편집국 posted Jul 16, 2013
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Korean herbal medicine provides remedies for patients in the Atlanta Metro Area
Gabby Lee
Herbal medicine, an ancient practice developed over 3,000 years ago in civilizations such as China and Egypt, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center- has not only been used in the past. It still exists today as an effective remedy to fight illness.  
Currently, herbal medicine is a common alternative to western medicine. In an article written by the same source in 2011, "Nearly one-third of Americans use herbs." 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the practice is a billion dollar industry. "Herbal treatments are the most popular form of traditional medicine, and are highly lucrative in the international marketplace." According to WHO, annual revenues from the medicine reached $5 billion in Western Europe, $14 billion in China, and $160 million in Brazil, all within the decade. 
Hanyak, or traditional Korean medicine--a branch of herbal medicine originating from China--has been used to treat patients in the Atlanta Metro area.
Traditional Korean medicine begins with a rich cultural heritage. The practice has been passed down through generations by an encyclopedia of traditional Korean medicine called Dongui Bogam by Heo Jun, a royal physician in the Chosun dynasty. The book is still used today for modern-day practitioners of Korean medicine. 
Hanyak has been a popular alternative medicine because of its unique treatment qualities. According to Dr. Kong Hee Lee of Woori Acupuncture Medical, western medicine and hanyak differ starting from production. "Western medicine is made from chemical compositions, but hanyak is made by brewing natural ingredients," said Dr. Kong Hee Lee. "It's more personal because hanyak is brewed by the same doctor that looks after you."
Natural ingredients, such as the bark, roots, stems of a tree, or berries, flowers and more are such ingredients of hanyak. Over 300 different ingredients exist, each ingredient having different effects to the body. 
To brew a batch of hanyak, the doctor takes a combination of dried ingredients and brews them in water for about five hours. However, even for the same recipe, each brew is unique to the person it is made for. "One type of medicine may have the same ingredients, but their effect varies depending on the amount of ingredients added. The amount varies to fit to the patient's unique conditions," said Dr. Dae Chan Lee of Haedam Oriental Medicine.
In traditional Korean medicine, the belief is that there are different elements to the body such as heat, water and earth. When these elements find balance, a person feels healthy. "Hanyak works to provide the body with anything it needs to restore balance. It also cleanses the body of impure substances," said Dr. Ji Young Eun of Woori Acupuncture.
Hanyak is not about eradicating the body of illness, but strengthening it. "Hanyak strengthens the immune system. It lets the body heal itself of illness," said Dr. Dae Chan. Lee.  
According to Dr. Dae Chan Lee, patients seek herbal medicine after years of unsuccessful treatment with western medicine. "Most patients decide to give herbal medicine a try after years of being treated with western medicine without much progress," said Dr. Dae Chan Lee. 
Although hanyak serves a different function to western medicine, it is effective in keeping our bodies prepared for illness. "It reduces the chances on an illness regenerating by strengthening the immune system," said Dr. Dae Chan Lee.

Captions 
1: Cabinets holding hundreds of different natural ingredients for making Hanyak at Haedam Oriental Medicine at Suwanee
2: Dr. Kong Hee Lee posing with the Donghui Bogam, the traditional Korean medicine encyclopedia at Woori Acupuncture Medical at Suwanee
3: A variety of dried ingredients used to brew hanyak ranging from ginseng, berries, roots and stems of trees, and flowers. 
4: A finished brew of hanyak 



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