An interesting Associated Press article on the prevalence of Traditional Korean Medicine (called Koryo Medicine) in North Korea:
“Doctors are more interested in Koryo medicine rather than Western medicine because they can get it more easily,” said Ri Hye Yong, who manages [Pyongyang’s Man Nyon Pharmacy], opened by the government nearly three decades ago. “It’s much cheaper.”
Although the article starts by focusing on the use of Traditional Medicine more as a necessity (Western medicines being in short supply) it gets more interesting when it focuses on the traditional medicine itself:
“I think Koryo medicine has mysterious characteristics,” said Dr. Ryu Hwan Su, deputy chief [of the Pyongyang Medical College], who proudly displayed a jar filled with a fat ginseng root believed to be more than a century old. “It heals illnesses that Western medicines can’t treat.”
The article rightly points out that traditional medicine is also in widespread use in South Korea.