Thursday, December 25, 2008

travel to Tibet: Tibetan Medicine

Can you believe that there are some medicines made from mineral? This is what we are going to talk about today.

When exploring Tibet, there is one thing couldn’t be missed. That’s Tibetan Medicine, one of the oldest medical traditions in the world. Through a long history, Tibetan Medicine has constituted a peerless medical system that caters in particular to the specific needs of the unique natural, economic and cultural environments of Tibet. Now, Tibetan medichine is famous throughout the world, such as glossy ganoderma, Tibetan red flower, awetoes, Procapra horns, snow lotus.

Deemed to be one of the five great inventions by the Tibetan people, it does not originate from India or regions of other ethnics; instead it was the intelligent crystallization of the Tibetan people that took its form in their thousands of years of wrestle with diseases on the Plateau. They get medical raw materials from plants, herbs, animals, minerals, coral and crab shell from the ocean. Currently the number of recorded Tibetan Medicine has already hit 2,294, while over 300 are widely used. Tibetan Medicine features the appropriate combination of different medicines and the complex relevant processing. Thus some of them are very expensive. As mysterious and valuable as Tibetan Buddhism, its practical utilization is getting more and more recognition and many scientists make researches on the Medicine both at home and abroad.

After combining the medical knowledge of Tibet with that of traditional China, India, Nepal and other countries, even embracing some traditional Buddhist belief, Tibetans have come up with their own approach to medical science. According to the Tibetan medical system. good health depends on the proper balance of diet, behavior, environment, and psychological and social factors. It’s believed that ignorance of the five basic elements, namely earth, air, fire, water, and space, which interact with each other, is deemed as the cause of disease and disorders in Tibetan medical tradition. The cure lies in the capability of balancing these elements.

Tibetan medicine system has complex approach to diagnosis, incorporating techniques such as interviewing of the patient, urinalysis, and pulse reading. A Tibetan doctor first speaks to the patient and finds out his medical record. Urinalysis helps the doctor to confirm the nature of illness by the color and odor of the urine specimen and the size, color, amount and persistence of bubbles after vigorous stirring of the specimen. Reading the pulse is a crucial factor for diagnosis as the doctor checks it to further define the illness. Physical therapies such as acupuncture, moxabustion, phlebotomy (Phlebotomy - the act or practice of opening a vein by incision or puncture to remove blood as a therapeutic treatment. Also called venesection.) are also used to treat illness.

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