Tibet and Tibetan medicine are more than just novel attractions and mysterious concepts. Tibet, an area of land officially owned by China but given its own autonomous leadership, is located at the summit of the Tibetan plateau, the highest region in the world. Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on earth, resides in Tibet along the border with Nepal. Tibet is extremely remote though its cultural legends and mystique have led most people to have had some familiarity with it.
Tibetan medicine, a practice centuries old, has its roots in various kinds of herbs and principles of treatments, a concept that draws many people to get closer to her charm and mystery especially in the modern age. It is characterized with distinctive national features in medical principles and prescriptions.
A large majority of Tibetan people live a nomadic life, and most of them live on tough foods such as mutton, beef, and butter. Because of this, many Tibetans suffer from gastric diseases, and liverish and enteric illnesses. Tibetan doctors therefore produce incredibly effective prescriptions according to non-Western medical principles.
Medicine is one of the 5 branches of Tibetan science and is known to Tibetans as “gSoba Rig-pa,” that is, the science of healing. In the treatment of disease, Tibetan medical practices utilize many different natural elements such as trees, rocks, resins, soil, precious metals, sap, and so on. However, just like Chinese medicine, it mainly relies on herbs for treatment.
Records show that the earliest popular healing art in Tibet was called "local medicine." At that time, without any systematic theory yet established, doctors treated patients in 3 main ways, namely bloodletting, fire treatment, and spreading-kneading (massage). In addition, some primitive and simple therapies such as ghee (butter) for stanching (stopping blood flow) and highland barley wine for trauma treatment were also used.
Tibetan medicine’s unique ways are incredibly effective and powerful. Doctors pay great attention to the process of preparing traditional medicines. Additionally, the toxicity of processed Tibetan medicine is reduced or eliminated, and sometimes its function and effectiveness can be changed and raised respectively. There are 3 main ways of processing medicine: fire processing, water processing, and fire-and-water processing. Doctors strictly adhere to the standards of producing Tibetan medicine.
And perhaps because of the influences of Tibet’s natural environment and the traditional customs, many kinds of minerals such as gold, silver, copper, iron, coral, and agate are widely used in prescriptions. This special feature is perhaps what most sets Tibetan medicine apart from other traditional Chinese and Western medicines.
Moreover, Tibetan medicine has been proven to be extraordinarily effective and curative for many different kinds of illnesses. Whether it is due to the medicines’ careful makeup, their natural composition, or secrets handed Down for generations, Tibetan medicine certain stands out on its own among others.