A Review on Korean Medicine and Personalized Medicine: Syndrome-based Personalized Medicine on the Basis of Syndrome Differentiation and Treatment

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J Korean Med. 2014;35(3):40-48
Publication date (electronic) : 2014 September 30
doi : https://doi.org/10.13048/jkm.14029
Department of Convergence Korean Medical Science, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University
Correspondence to: 양웅모 (Woong Mo Yang), 서울시 동대문구 회기동 1번지 경희대학교 한의과대학, Tel: +82-2-961-2209, Fax: +82-2-961-2209, E-mail: wmyang@khu.ac.kr
Received 2014 May 19; Revised 2014 July 16; Accepted 2014 July 16.



This study aimed to review the characteristics of personalized medicine and Korean medicine, and the correlation between personalized medicine and Korean medicine.


We investigated various studies in PubMed, Scopus and domestic Korean medicine journals. In addition, we discussed the topic based on literature.


Western medicine developed as evidence-based medicine. However, its limitations are being reached, so a new paradigm of medicine is needed. As a result, personalized medicine has appeared. Recently, through the development of human genomics, personalized medicine has been researched on the basis of individual genetic characteristics. Korean medicine has developed with a unique holistic approach and treats not the disease itself but the patient’s body. Its characteristic is well expressed through syndrome differentiation and treatment. Syndrome differentiation represents the nature of person-centered medicine and becomes the root of personalized medicine.


Compared with genome-based personalized medicine of Western medicine, Korean medicine could be classified as syndrome-based personalized medicine. It would be great to apply this characteristic to clinical practices.


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