A study of the application of Hwangchil Tree (黃漆樹 Dendropanax morbiferus H.Lév.) in East Asia

동아시아에서 황칠수(黃漆樹)의 활용에 대한 연구(硏究)

  • Ahn, Young-su (School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University)
  • 안영수 (부산대학교 한의학전문대학원)
  • Received : 2020.04.30
  • Accepted : 2020.05.25
  • Published : 2020.05.31


Essence of the Hwangchil tree (黃漆樹 Dendropanax morbiferus H.Lév.) has been used for various purposes, like waxing emperor's armors, covering an astrology board, or, during the Silla Dynasty, burying it to block something bad in the soil symbolically. Essence of the Hwangchil tree was known to have remarkable preservation effects such as waterproofing, damp-proofing, rust-proofing, and moth-proofing as well as not being easily peeled off from even soft surfaces like paper. There is a record in Prescriptions for Epidemic diseases of Cows, Horses, Sheep, and Pigs (牛馬羊猪染疫病治療方), published in 1541, of Hwangchil that is local to Jeju Island being used instead of benzoin (安息香), of burning Hwangchil, and of making cows inhale its smoke to prevent plague among them. Along the same lines, there are records in the Local Chronicle of Tamra (耽羅志) and the Book of Earth Geography (輿地圖書) that identify Hwangchil with benzoin. In Seonghosaseol (星湖僿說), a book written by Lee Yik in around 1760, it is acknowledged that Hwangchil could be medicinal herb. In 2000, Ahn Duk-Kyun registered the roots and branches of Hwangchil tree as 'Boncho' (本草 herbal medicine) in the Pictorial Book of Korean Medicinals (韓國本草圖鑑) and presented the method of taking it for medical purpose. Researchers have suggested that Hwangchil essence as well as diverse parts of the plant such as its roots, branches, leaves, flowers, fruits, and gum have various meaningful medicinal properties. Regarding the history and recent researches of using Hwangchil tree, it has various medicinal probabilities such as, 'dispersing miasma' (辟邪), 'opening holes' (開竅), 'waking the heart' (醒心), 'smoothing spirits' (安神), 'piercing the block' (疎泄), 'removing the old and welcoming the new' (去故生新). This paper contributes ideas about how to expand the uses of Hwangchil Tree.