There were once believed to be more than three hundred species of medicinal plants growing in Tibet, and their supply was plentiful. However, when a survey was conducted in 1990 many were found to be extinct, including white sedum, fritillaria, Codonopsis nervosa, angelica, and ginseng root. The remaining medicinal plaints were also found to be greatly reduced, especially in the Kongpo region of Tibet (east of Lhasa and before Khamdo), and around Lhamo Lhatso, the sacred lake where the birthplace of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was foreseen.
In this painting are shown the following herbal medications and their medicinal uses.
Wild rose pacifies rlung and eliminates jaundice. Lagotis grass helps to alleviate fevers of the full organs, turbid fever, and rigidity of the thighs caused by rlung disorders. Swertia alleviates fevers of the hollow organs, and jaundice. White gentian alleviates sore throat and fevers caused by poisons. Fritillaria heals fractures of the skull and alleviates fevers caused by poisoning. "Blue-thorned" poppy (Meconopsis horridula/paniculata) can heals fractured bones, alleviate fevers of the bones, and strengthen cancellate bone. Angelica alleviates fever in the heart, and poisoning. The flower and fruit of barberries (Berberis asiatica) cure diarrhea. Carex alleviates eye diseases and strengthens the eyes; it is also a remedy for wounds to the trunk. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) removes albugo from the cornea. Policeman's helmet (Impatiens) regulates heavy periods. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) stops hemorrhages, reduces water retension in the limbs, alleviates serum disorders and edema. Withlow grass (Dontostemon) cures meat poisons. Caltrops alleviates water retension, arthritis, and kidney disease. Columbine removes foreign bodies such as an arrowhead, or a dead embryo. Strawberry extracts blood, pus, and serum. Cumin treats eye disease, poison, and fever caused by rlung disorder. Larkspur (Delphinium kamaonense huth) treats diarrhea.
This thangka painting was created by the monk-artist Ram Bdr. Lama, at the Lama Thanka Painting School in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu.