Exploring The Usage Of Minerals In Traditional Bhutanese Medicine

Email

One of the challenges in the usage of minerals as ingredients in traditional medicine is the rarity of minerals.

Representative mineral ingredients in the Sowa Rigpa medicine (photo courtesy: PW). (A) dorji-phalam (diamond); (B) d.ngul (silver); (C) nal (morganite); (D) g.yu (turquoise); (E) byi-ru (red coral); (F) g.zi (Tibetan agate); (G) mu-men (lazurite); (H) spang-ma (malachite); (I) smug-po-sbal-rgyab (hematite); (J) ain-dra-ni-la (sapphire); (K) sin-dhu-ra (limonite); (L) ldong-ros (realgar). (Source: Research Gate/ Karma Yeshi)

 

By Rinchen Zangmo | Kuensel

For the effective usage of minerals in traditional medicine, research and database development of minerals should be enhanced and herbo-mineral preparations standardised.

These were some of the recommendations that were made in the fourth annual health conference in Thimphu in early November.

Speaking about exploring the usage of rare minerals in traditional medicine, a teacher of Wangbama Central School, Karma Yeshi, said that there were 120 minerals that were identified in the Sowa Rigpa medical textbook.

 

Sowa Rigpa (Tib. གསོ་བ་རིག་པ་) the ‘Science of Healing’

Source: Skypressbooks/sowa-rigpa

 

“However, it was found that only 28 of these minerals are currently used in the country.”

Karma Yeshi said that most of the minerals are not found in the country. “Of the 28 minerals used in the country, one had to be imported from the neighbouring countries such as India and Nepal.”

These 28 ingredients have to date been used to create about 108 herbo-medical formulations to treat about 135 bio-medically defined illnesses.

Challenges faced in the usage of minerals in Bhutanese traditional medicine

One of the challenges in the usage of minerals as ingredients in traditional medicine is the rarity of minerals.

Karma Yeshi revealed that almost 75 percent of these minerals were imported.

“Of the 28 mineral ingredients, five are from precious metal and stone, 10 from earth, mud and rocks, while eight are extracted from salts, and five from essences and exudates.”

 

 

Source: Sciencedirect

 

He added that another challenge is that minerals were expensive.

“An agate, for example, cost about USD 39,000, which would make the medicine expensive. Controlling the quality of medicine was also difficult.”

Karma Yeshi explained that minerals can be geo-hazards due to the harmful radiation they emit.

“While minerals in correct doses are beneficial, the consumption of high dosage of minerals needs to be monitored. Its use needs to be careful.”

Suggestions made during the fourth annual health conference in Thimphu

Some of the recommendations made during the conference were: to focus on research, to document and to develop a database of minerals used in traditional Bhutanese medicine.

Karma Yeshi said, “We also need to standardise the herbo-mineral preparations to ensure productivity and scientific validity.”

He added that the existing quality control laboratories require both expertise and advanced quality testing technologies and the import of low quality or contaminated minerals also needed to be monitored closely.

“Studies on medical mineral ingredients in the country needs to be conducted and more comprehensive quality control parameters need to be established.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 


Related Posts

Bangladesh To Donate Essential Medicine Worth Nu 168 Million To...

According to the press released by the Bhutan Embassy in Dhaka, Bhutan requested for the supply of essential medicines...

Aug 17, 2018 11:35

Traditional Medicine Marks 50 Years Of Services In Bhutan

Bhutan's traditional medicine system was formally established on May 28, 1968.

Jun 08, 2018 15:08

Efficacy of Traditional Bhutanese Medicine

Research carried out by a postgraduate student at the faculty of traditional medicine under Khesar Gyalpo University of...

Nov 07, 2017 07:39

63 Year Old Traditional Healer In Bhutan Has Fixed More Than A...

For more than three decades, Tashi Wangdi has been fixing fractures and sprained joints in Trashigang.

Jun 23, 2018 08:43

Laya Sees a Bumper Cordyceps Harvest

Namgay, the Park Manager of Jigme Dorji National Park, said that cordyceps collection is the main source of income for...

Nov 10, 2017 17:49

Bumthang cordyceps fetch the highest price ever

With a kg of cordyceps fetching Nu 2.71 million (M) in Bumthang last month, it has broken the record for the second time...

Sep 08, 2017 15:47

Latest

News

Catch Exciting Film Screenings, Cultural And Sports Events At ‘Japan Week 2018’ In Bhutan

The ambassador of Japan to Bhutan, Kenji Hiramatsu is hopeful that ‘Japan Week’ will prove beneficial in promoting people to people...

Dec 04, 2018 20:15

Yonphula Airport In Bhutan Sees More Passengers With Increased Flights Per Week

Operations manager with Koufuku International Limited, Sanjok Biswakarma, said that the changes in the flight timing were well-timed.

Dec 03, 2018 22:29

Features

Recognising And Addressing The Needs Of The Differently-Abled In Bhutan

The theme ‘Empowering persons with disability and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,’ was also observed in other dzongkhags.

Dec 07, 2018 14:13

Sightings Of White Bellied Herons Declining In Bhutan

The White Bellied Herons are secretive birds, often intolerant of close proximity to humans.

Dec 05, 2018 22:03

Sports

Japanese Volunteers Taught Football Skills To Some Young Monks And Hope to Reach Out To All Other Monastic Institutions In Bhutan

Held on World Children’s Day on 20 November, the programme was spearheaded by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV).

Nov 24, 2018 06:06

Female Archer Dorji Dema Hopes To Inspire More Women To Take Up Archery In Bhutan

Dorji Dema, a mother of three is among the first women in Bhutan to play in an archery tournament.

Nov 05, 2018 08:11

Business

Bhutan Expects Record Low Inflation In 2018

The nine-month average inflation rate this year was recorded at 2.61 percent, the lowest figure since 2004.

Dec 09, 2018 11:47

Austrian Delegation Seek Investment Opportunities In Bhutan And To Foster Stronger Ties

According to the Austrian delegates, eight companies from diverse sectors such as energy, engineering, tourism and health visited Bhutan to...

Dec 06, 2018 12:42

Travel

Lhop Widows From Samtse, Bhutan Keep Their Culture Of ‘Duk Tsho Hang’ Alive

There is a thriving custom among the Lhops – women are not allowed to wear ornaments after their partners die.

Dec 08, 2018 22:08

Bhutan Received 71,417 International Visitors In 2017; Singapore, USA And Japan In Top 10 List

In 2017, Bhutan received 71,417 international visitors and the revenue earned was USD 79m, the highest arrival and revenue since 2012.

Dec 03, 2018 11:25

Lifestyle

Aku Tongmi: A Song For Bhutan Launched To Revive Traditional Bhutanese Music

The book consists of 10 Bhutanese songs including the National Anthem.

Dec 05, 2018 07:04

Research Done By Bhutanese Artists To Revive Ancient Culture Of Using Colours Sourced From Nature

Artists Penjor Dorji and Norbu Tshering are about to complete a research on using natural pigments to create artworks in Bhutan.

Nov 29, 2018 07:51

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!