The area Medicine


Tibetan medicine (TM) is an alternative medicine having developed, in the 7th century, from shamanistic traits of the Bön culture and through the influence of India, Greece and China.

The main medical text "The Four Tantras” (Tib.: rGyud-bzhi; pronounced: Gyü-shi) with first commentaries was apparently put together in the 8th century. Till today it has been the standard text for medical studies. It consists of 156 chapters with 5,900 verses. The first part is the root tantra giving an overview about medical teachings. The second is the explication tantra dealing with embryology, anatomy, the systems of energy, and bodily functions. The third one contains the Tantra of oral teachings, and the fourth one teaches the methods of diagnosis and how to prepare medicaments.

For TM the body and the mind form a unity. The primary cause of every disease are the so-called mental defilements, namely ignorance, lust, and hate, i.e. superficially it represents a psychosomatic view. Ignorance means false perceptions of the nature of human beings. Lust and attachments lead to an increase of rLung, "Wind”. Aggression and pride unbalance the "bile” energy (Tib.: Tripa). Mental states of obscurations lead to diseases of "phlegm” (Tib.: Päken). Secondary causes of diseases can be bad food, seasonal influences, and harmful views. Mental states are regarded as the main causes of diseases, therefore the main emphasis of TM is on influencing the spirit and mind.

The most important method of diagnosis is - besides getting to know the pattern of disease and its history - the pulse diagnosis differentiating between 30 different kinds of pulse. This is complemented by an examination of the body, diagnosis of the urine, and an inspection of the tongue.

All TM treatments first consider food, behavior, and way of life. Then the disturbed balances of energy - wind, bile, and phlegm - are treated with drugs. They consist of plants, but also of animals and minerals proving to be especially efficient with chronic diseases.

The section "Alternative Medicine” of the Tibethaus will include the three pillars of traditional Tibetan medicine, i.e. pharmacology (medicaments), clinic (diagnosis and therapy) and teachings (education of students).

"Pharmacology” will deal with the terminology, the composition, production, indication and the dosage of medicaments. "Clinic” is arranged according to the system of Tibetan and scientific diagnoses, documentation and applied research. "Teachings” consider the program of studies and the curriculum of TM and allow the exchange of experiences via different media and the evaluation of teachings.
Furthermore, training possibilities for western medical practitioners will become available through contacts with Tibetan doctors. The scientific cooperation between Tibetan and scientifically trained doctors will explain the specialities of the respective medical systems and find out if TM can be useful for clinical diagnoses.

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