Tibetan medicine is a bright pearl in the treasure house of Chinese medicine. Tibetan people who have lived on the snowy plateau for generations have accumulated experience in treating various diseases and formed a unique system of Tibetan medicine and pharmacy in their struggle against nature and various diseases.
The written records of Tibetan medicine began more than 1300 years ago. Throughout the history of Tibetan medicine, there are more than 200 works of Tibetan medicine pharmacology, among which “The Four Medical Tantra” and “Shel Gong Shel Phreng” are two outstanding masterpieces.
The Four Medical Tantra is the earliest extant monograph of Tibetan medicine incorporating Indian, Chinese and Greco-Arab medical systems. The Four Medical Tantra is believed to have been created in the twelfth century by and still today is considered the basis of Tibetan medical practice. There were 1002 drugs and 400 prescriptions record on these books. The contents of the Four Medical Tantra are very plentiful, including the classification of various diseases, physiology, pathology, diagnosis and treatment, drug formulation and so on. Many countries and regions in the world are studying Tibetan medicine. The former Soviet Union Artist Publishing House published the collection of Tibetan Medicine Atlas. They believe that the Four Medical Tantras and the Tibetan Medicine Atlas are the unparalleled Tibetan medical literature in the world, and their interests of them extend far beyond the scope of medicine.
Shel Gong Shel Phreng, written by Temal Tenzin Phuntsok (1673 ~ 1743), is the largest collection of drugs in the history of Tibetan medicine books, with strong Tibetan ethnic characteristics, known as the " Compendium of Materia Medica " of the Tibetan people. The book contains 2294 kinds of drugs, including 1006 kinds of botanical drugs, 448 kinds of animal drugs and 840 kinds of mineral drugs. 75% of the drugs included in the book are now used, and 30% are for Tibetan medicine. This book is relatively scientific in the classification of drugs, and still has important reference value in the classification of plant taxonomy, zoology and natural pharmacology.
Yue Wang Yao Zhen (generally believed to be in the middle of the 8th century) is an early historical record of Tibetan medicine. It contains drugs including 440 kinds of plants, 260 kinds of animal, 80 kinds of minerals, including more than 300 kinds of drugs for the specialty of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, such as Phlomis younghusbandii, Auricled Hedyotis Herb, Mirabilis himalaica, Myricariaprostrata, Pterocephali Herba, Meconopsis torquata, Gentiana urnula, Anisodus tanguticus, highland barley, Bear Gall, Tsam-pa etc. Most are alpine plants, most of which are still used today.
The Remain of Dunhuang Tibetan Medicine Book (8th century A.D) records 53 prescriptions and 133 kinds of drugs, among which 127 drugs are still available today, including 66 animal drugs (accounting for 52%), 51 plant drugs (accounting for 40%) and 12 mineral drugs (accounting for 18%).
The Illustrated Handbook of Distinguishing Medicine Correctly was written after the eighteenth century. The book is abundant with pictures and accompanying essay and records more than 580 kinds of drugs.
Tibetan medicine is a science with a long history, unique features and remarkable curative effect. It is a national medicine formed by the Tibetan people's long-term struggle against various diseases in the complex natural environment, and an important part of China's medical treasure-house. Today, combining with advanced medical systems, the Tibet medicine has been served and will better serve the health of the Tibetan people and the people of the world.