Tibetan Medicine

Last Update: 2008-6-26; By kitty

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Tibetan Medicine
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TOPCategories and Features of the Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM)

The number of recorded Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM) is 2,294. Approximately 300 are widely used and 200, or 70 % of these are of plants and herbs origin; 40, or 12% of animal origin and another 18% of minerals. One third out of the commonly used TTM utilize the same raw materials as the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) while more than half of the TTM contains herbs native to Tibet.

The TTM is highly practical in its use. The TTM is categorized in accordance to their distinct natures, tastes and functions. There are 8 natures, 6 tastes and 17 functions. The use of multiple medicines in a single prescription constitutes another important characteristic of TTM. In some TTM the number of active medicines exceeds 100. TTM emphasizes the appropriate combination of different medicines and special attention is also drawn to the relevant processing.

TOPDevelopment of TTM

The TTM is one of the five great inventions by the Tibetan people (The Tibetan have 10 inventions; the five majors ones are craftsmanship, medicine, phonology, Tibetan philosophy and Buddhism; five minors rhetoric, lexics, studies of rhythm, drama and astrology.

The Tibetan people developed the form over thousands of years of wrestling with diseases on the Tibetan Plateau. The TTM constitutes a valuable medical system that caters to the specific needs of the unique natural, economic and cultural environments of Tibet.

The origin of the TTM can be found in the Tibetan ancestors' fighting against the natural hardship and various diseases. Around 300 BC when the first Tibetan king Niecizanbu was to ascend the throne, the fifth of the total 6 questions he raised was in regards to "poison". The sage Zila Gmayoude argued that the "poison" that Tibet had was actually medicine. According to Lunbogatang the Tibetan people of that time were already fully aware of the medical functions of plants, animals and minerals.

During the first century AD the advancement of agriculture and animal husbandry facilitated the discovery of many new medical raw materials. An example was the ghee refined from milk which could be used to stop bleeding. The development of TTM has never stood still, thanks to the digestion of exotic medical knowledge from ancient India, Kashmir, TCM and Cong (in today's Xinjiang, China).

TOPCulture of TTM

The unique geographical position of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and its historical transformation means that TTM has integrated parts of ancient Indian, Greek, Persian, Chinese and Arabic medicines, primarily addressing the motion balance of three factors: Long, Ciba and Peigeng.

The nature of TTM is well illustrated by the first picture "The Town of Medicine King" in the  book, Quadruple Medical Classics. The picture illustrates medicines of different sorts and origins arranged in four directions of north (top), south (bottom), east (right) and west (left). These medical raw materials such as Coral and crab shell were obtained beyond the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. At that period of time, the TTM had its roots in Buddhist medicines derived from temples. A Manbacang, or a Medical School existed each of the temples. The lamas studied for at least 10 years before they received their qualification as a medical practitioner. This unique medical education and training system provided an environment in which the medical lamas were not disturbed or distracted by family and other worldly affairs. This blending of multiple medical philosophies and schools created a unique form which constitutes an independent medical school and system.

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