The Administration of Tibetan Precious Pills: Efficacy in Historical and Ritual Contexts
Asian Medicine (Leiden, Netherlands)
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2015
Pages: 36 - 89
Source ID: shanti-sources-93951
Collection: Himalayan and Tibetan Medicine
Abstract: Precious pills represent a special kind of Tibetan drug that once was, and still is, highly sought after by Tibetan, Chinese, and Mongolian patients. Such pills are generally taken as a potent prophylactic remedy, and can be used to cure various diseases. The present study seeks to discuss the dispensation and efficacy of precious pills according to the presentations of historical Tibetan medical scholars. Several treatises dealing with these instructions will be analysed, thereby revealing their underlying concepts, and highlighting their points of both general consensus and disagreement. The analysis of these detailed instructions will reveal the fact that these precious pills were not merely given to a patient but, in order to ensure their full efficacy, involved an elaborate regimen concerning three chronological periods: (1) the time of preparation, (2) the time of dispensation, and (3) the time after dispensation. Thus the present study surveys not only the ritual empowerment of drugs in Tibetan medicine, but also the importance of social relationships between doctors and patients in Tibetan medical history.