Ancient Metria Medica: Sowa - Rigpa (Tibetan Science of Healing)

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Item Code: IDL141
Author: Dr. Smanla T. Phuntsog
Publisher: Paljor Publications Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 9788186230534
Pages: 246 (290 Color Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 9.0" X 6.0"
Weight 400 gm
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Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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23 years in business
Book Description

“So-wa-rigpa” or “Chikitsavidya” or “Ancient Science of Healing” is one of most advanced form of healing science, having its root in Indian Ayurveda system and Buddha’s teaching. During the 8th 9th Century A.D., the great Indian Pandits and Tibetan translators have introduced this invaluable science in Tibetan plateau and since then, a number of new developments with addition of some original ideas and genuine works have evolved into the system which we today known as So-wa-rigpa or Ancient Science of Healing, in both sides of Himalayan bordering regions as result of its popularity and flourishing in those areas as well.

For the people living in this part of world, the faith and dependency in medical need is far greater on traditional medicine than on its allopathic counterpart. This system of healing being a holistic healthcare can treat cause of disease associated with different lifestyle.

In the growing restless world of population explosion in third world countries, economic inflation everywhere coupled with challenges of poverty, health degrading hectic lifestyle of majority of population, that which all throws up plethora of diseases unheard of, and mental disturbances, I feel the traditional or alternative medicine system of healthy mind and body, holds the key in maintaining balance and harmony of individual sanity.

This book is highly valuable source to the students and practitioner of Ancient Science of Healing and provides for handy reference to those interested in this system of healing. I believe this contribution by Dr. Smanla T. Phuntsog la is big leap for So-wa-rigpa.

About the Book

The book is a treasure-house of the traditional system of Tibetan medicine. Dr. Smanla T. Phuntsog’s keen observations and understanding of the system makes it a valuable source of information for students and research scholars alike.

The book deals with the fundamental knowledge of human physiology and medication by traditional as well as modern methods. The chapter on dharmic physiology explains and illustrates the teachings of the Buddha and its response to various curative applications and its true nature of physiology.

Of great importance is the listing o rare 493 herbs formulations and their therapeutic value. This surely will come handy as a “ready-made” presentation of medicinal formulations and curative applications.

The chapter on the names of Tibetan medicines with their Romanised versions and their translation into Latin/English shows that the author has taken great pains to make the book appealing both for the domestic as well as international readers. One surely can claim that the book offers a synthesis of the Eastern and the Western values of medicinal systems. The pictorial illustrations of herbal medicines add to the visual value and hence to the significance of the book as a valuable reference source.

In short, the book shows the mastery of the author on Tibetan medicine and functional system of health. The correlation of many aspects of Tibetan and modern medicinal applications gives us a clearer concept of the human physiology and its functional and curative systems.


Extremely nostalgic of the day in 1965, when fortunately I had the opportunity of having the holy Darshan of His Holiness The Dalai Lama at Gangchen Kyishong, Daramshala, I cannot resist the temptation of giving here a brief account of the most precious event concerning me. Having the high spirit of youth and further having been detailed on duty at the Jammu Secretariat, I was to be found well dressed invariably those days. Finding a man with Mongolian features in proper western dress, among a group of Darshan – seekers, His Holiness apparently became curious at my sight and enquired about my place of origin and profession. I hesitatingly answered in broken Tibetan that I belonged to Ladakh and was a doctor by profession. His usual hypnotizing smile, inspired reverence and awe. He embraced me with grace and affection.

His Holiness second query was, “O, ya (well, well) do you know Tibetan medicine?” Yes, your holiness. Belonging, as I do, to a family of Amchi lineage, I have made the preliminary studies and undergone the customary examination (Rgyugs) of an Amchi,” was my reply. When the other devotees dispersed after receiving His blessing, His Holiness, holding my right hand with his life, led me to His study room, which was moderately decorated in Tibetan style. Then he ordered for tea and to my greatest amazement, His Holiness started preparing and serving it to me. Gathering sufficient mental strength, I beseeched His Holiness not to take the trouble as I was feeling greatly uneasy, but all in vain. Eventually, we had soothing Darjeeling tea. Its preparation and serving by His Holiness kept me, through its entire course, in awe. His simplicity, humbleness and humility overwhelmed me.

Later, in a relaxed mood, His Holiness asked questions on the relation between the three nadis, Tsa Dbuma, Roma and Rkyangma and its releation with human physiology. Being a fresh medical graduate (1962) and well conversant with human physiology, I was able to give satisfactory explanations on the subject of physiology, but my scanty knowledge of Tantricism did not put me in a position to offer much concrete answer on the subject. Thereafter, we took up other topics like the relationship of the brain with the mind, the nervous system, the five organs of consciousness, etc. Our discussions on these topics went on for hours together.

When we called it a day, His Holiness asked me to stay put for a few days, but regretfully I had to express my inability to accept the kind and precious offer, for I had to rush back to Ladakh to attend to an epidemic of whooping cough among children, then prevailing in Ladakh. I was the only doctor there. In one way, I felt bad for not being able to fulfil the invaluable desire of His Holiness. Yet in another, I felt happy that, with my scanty knowledge, I could have a satisfying discussion with His Holiness. I paid my utmost reverence and supplication to His Holiness and took his leave. I felt ashamed and yet elated to receive the nectar of teachings. Lastly, while parting, His Holiness impressed upon me thus, “amchi La, you have a great responsibility to contribute towards, the development of so-wa-rigpa.” Since then the holistic words of His Holiness have constantly been vibrating in my mind and soul. And I have kept doing whatever little I could to develop so-wa-rigpa whenever I got the opportunity.

Ever since the publication of my first book, Amchi pharmacotherapeutic, in Tibetan in 1991, there has been a consistent prodding from my colleagues and friends, particularly from those living abroad, to write a book on so-wa-rigpa. This system of science has remained in a water-tight compartment, not much known to the outside world, though it is widely practiced in Tibet and the trans-Himalayan regions of India including Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Its practice is also seen in a few countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia and China and in some pockets of Russia. Owing to my training and experience in both the disciplines of medicine, allopathic and so-wa-rigpa, (the latter being my ancestral lineage) and, much more, to carry out the holy words of his holiness, I consider it obligatory on my part to contribute towards the development and propagation of so-wa-rigpa medicine (Amchi). Further, I feel lucky in having taken birth in a family of Amchi lineage where, for generations, at least one of its family members remained involved in the practice of this system, rendering free service to the society. Destiny and Karma made me an Eye Surgeon, and I practiced for forty years in that capacity. I luckily find that my initial interest in the study of Amchi medicine has not dissipated. Today, when medical science has made tremendous advance, a complementary medicine like the so-wa-rigpa medicine (Tibetan Medicine) too has started gaining more and more recognition. I think this is due to the openness of the present generation towards exploring the ancient medicine and also due to the popularity gained by Tibetan healthcare system globally beyond the ethnic existence. This is a significant trend and needs further encouragement.

The preparation of this book, which is titled (Ancient Matria Medica of Tibet), required an extensive study and a lot of literary research. I had to take great pains while translating the so-wa-rigpa medicine terminologies, including the names of the herbal ingredients, into English and Latin due to lack of proper references and also because of other constraints.

Tibetan medicine has a history of mystery, mythology, tantricism and philosophical connotation and it is difficult for me here to identify them separately and explain. However, to serve the interest of the readers, an attempt has been made to explain some aspects of the physiology through the Amchi textual sources. The idea behind bringing out this book was to collect the scattered formulation in the various Amchi classics and to put them in a concise form on the pattern of Allopatic pharmacopoeia. I hope that this publication will go a long way in the propagation of the Tibetan Medicine for the treatment of various diseases and also serve as a source of reference for Amchi physicians.

About the Author

Dr. Smanla T. Phuntsog, popularly known as Dr. Smanla was born in a Amchi lineage family in a remote village of Tingmosgang, Ladakh. He received his early education in a small school of his village, Tingmospam and studied upto matric standard in High school, Leh. He did his pre-university course from the university of Jammu and Kashmir and obtained his medical graduation (M.B.B.S degree) from the university of Assam. He received a gold medal during his academic career and enjoys the distinction of being the first medical graduate in the history of Ladakh region.

While in service, he did his postgraduate course in Ophthalmology (M.S.) from the university of Punjab. Thereafter, he served in the state medical department as a senior ophthalmic consultant and administrator. The government of Jammu and Kashmir conferred upon him a prestigious award of Gold Medal in recognition of his sincere, honest, efficient and dedicated service.

Dr. Smanla is also a qualified Physician in traditional system of medicine (Tibetan Medicine) and contributed a lot to its development. He is the author of several books. His book on Amchi Pharmaco-Therapeutic is popular amongst the Amchi practitioners.

He is a multifaceted personality and has visited the whole of Europe, the Scandinavian countries, U.S.S.R., Southeast Asian countries and Mongolia in connection with goodwill missions, seminars, conferences, and lecture series in different disciplines.

He is an ardent social worker, and a Buddhist scholar who is now the Director of Mahabodhi Karuna Charitable Hospital, Devachan, Leh – Ladakh (J & K State).


The Book consists of nine chapters
Chapter I Evolution of so-rigpa (The historical perspective)
Chapter IITheories and practice of so-wa-rigpa. A brief study of human physiology is given in the chapter as per Amchi texts. An attempt has also been made to compare with modern physiology for which the functional aspects and certain logical conclusion has been assessed. However, much more study, literary and clinical research, is needed. 29
Chapter IIIDharmic Physiology 34
Chapter IV Properties and characteristic of single herbal drug37
Chapter VFormularies of compound preparation for treatment of various diseases
(Section I to Section XVII)

Chapter VIShilajit (brag-zaun) (Trogoptrus Xanthipes) a wonder Amchi Medicine 152
Chapter VIIIntroduction to Tantric Psychiatry 158
Chapter VIIIList of Tibetan medicine in alphabetical order and their botanical equivalent with reference Index 160
Chapter IXAmchi Medicine with Database. List of number of drugs in Botanical names and their equivalent in Tibetan. The transcription scheme is generally followed on the basis of the chart given in the beginning of the book. However, for expediency some deviation has been made for the sake of Ladakhi reader. So for example as per norms of so-wa-rigpa, this has been rendered as so-wa-rigpa. 181
Chapter X Properties of precious stones, minerals and animal origin with pictorial Index.199
Chapter XI Colour photos of medicinal materials of so-wa-rigpa209
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