Among the Koryo medical therapies created by the Korean people is Koryo medicinal dietary therapy. This therapy is the one whereby one can keep one’s health and prevent diseases by regularly eating Koryo medicinal foodstuffs.

How long the history of the therapy is can be known through a story of yakbap (glutinous rice mixed with sugar, dates, chestnuts, pine nuts, sesame oil, etc.) from the history book Samgukyusa (History of the Three Kingdoms), the oldest of its kind in Korea, and the data on hundreds of dietary therapies described in the Koryo medical classics Hyangyakjipsongbang published in 1433, Uibangryuchwi (Manual of Traditional Medicine of Korea) published in 1477, and Tonguibogam (Encyclopaedia of Traditional Medicine of Korea) published in 1613.

Many kinds of edible materials were used for the therapy including insam, lance asiabell, pine nut, ginger, sea tangle, terrapin, carp, honey and chicken. And other Koryo medicinal materials were also added.

Those Koryo medicinal foodstuffs were mainly taken in such forms as cooked rice, gruel, soup, broth, tea, wine or roast. Typical examples are yakbap, medicinal porridge made with pine nut, mussel, adzuki beans, fish or apricot stone, tangogi soup, broth made of insam and chicken, loach or carp, thick broth made of insam and chicken, rabbit or snakehead, jonggwa (a kind of confectionery made of broad bellflower roots or insam), yakgwa (cake made with wheat flour, oil and honey), tasik (patterned savoury cake) and yakju (medicinal wine).

Today it is commonplace for any of families in the country to use such Koryo medicinal foodstuffs to prevent and treat diseases. For example, when they have got cold, they usually eat spring onion root porridge. Here is how to make it: Put rice in the pot and boil it. When it is almost done, add sliced spring onion root and a little of sugar. Take the hot porridge once a day and sweat. This is more efficacious than taking aspirin.

Such Koryo medicinal foodstuffs are easy to make and good to eat. The Korean ancestors, through their long experience, knew well about the ingredients and functions of the materials, and used them in accordance with the treatment principle of Koryo medicine. The Koryo medicinal dietary therapy was inscribed on the list of national intangible cultural heritage.