Tibetan herbal medicine
Tibetan herbal medicine is an extremely important part of the Tibetan medicine system. As well as the health benefits it provides an important source of income for the Tibetan communities.
Particular popular products include musk deer pods, fritillaria bulbs and caterpillar fungus; these are not only wanted by Tibetan practitioners but also by practitioners of Chinese medicine and ayurvedic medicine as well as phyto-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies.
Tibetan herbs are put into the following categories.
- Woody medicines
- Medicine of the plains
- Herbaceous medicines
Medicine of the plains and herbaceous are sorted out in their categories according to several criteria. These are biological, environmental and morphological. Woody medicine category is sorted according to the existence of woody organs.
Tibetan medicine uses powders and decoctions. Tibetan doctors make use of pills which are typically made from a big amount of herbs (usually eight to twenty five ingredients). The advantages of pills are the following
- Simplicty of use
- The pills can be made beforehand at a medical center or facility where all of the ingredients are all gathered together.
In the past the availability of a wide range of ingredients for doctors was a problem. This was due to
- Rough terrain
- Tibet's limited development
- Vast distances
If practioners wanted to make formulas for decoction, then they would prepare a small amount of various pills at more central facilities and carry it to their patients. A lot of doctors had to be satisfied with a collection of two dozen formulas.
Tibetan pills were usually big and hard and took a lot of time to prepare. Each herb was first processed meticulously then mixed and preserved.Some herbs are difficult or costly to get. Some medicinal plants are very rare and grow beyond fifteen thousand feet.
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