Geopharmaceuticals of Himalayan Sowa Rigpa medicine: ethnopharmacological uses, mineral diversity, chemical identification and current utilization in Bhutan

Yeshi, Karma, Wangdi, Tendrel, Qusar, Namgyal, Nettles, James, Craig, Sienna R., Schrempf, Mona, and Wangchuk, Phurpa (2018) Geopharmaceuticals of Himalayan Sowa Rigpa medicine: ethnopharmacological uses, mineral diversity, chemical identification and current utilization in Bhutan. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 223. pp. 99-112.

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Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Geological materials, such as minerals, have a long history of usage as ingredients in multicompound formulations of Himalayan Sowa Rigpa medicine as well as in its localized form of Bhutanese traditional medicine (BTM) for treating various disorders for over thousand years. Yet, hardly any scientific research has been done on their ethnopharmacological efficacy and chemistry.

Aim of the study: This study documents and correlates the rarely explored ethnopharmacological and chemical identification of various minerals and their ethnomedicinal uses in BTM formulations for the first time.

Material and methods: A five stage cross-disciplinary process was conducted as follows: (1) a review of classical literature of Sowa Rigpa texts (Tibetan medical texts, pharmacopoeias and formularies) that are still in use today; (2) listing of mineral ingredients according to Sowa Rigpa names, followed by identification with common English and chemical names, as well as re-translating their ethnomedical uses; (3) cross-checking the chemical names and chemical composition of identified Sowa Rigpa minerals with various geological mineral databases and mineral handbooks; (4) authentication and standardization of Sowa Rigpa names through open forum discussion with diverse BTM practitioners; (5) further confirmation of the chemical names of identified minerals by consulting different experts and pharmacognosists.

Results: Our current study lists 120 minerals as described in Sowa Rigpa medical textbooks most of which we were able to chemically identify, and of which 28 are currently used in BTM herbo-mineral formulations. Out of these 28 mineral ingredients, 5 originate from precious metal and stone, 10 stem from earth, mud and rocks, 8 are salts, and 5 concern 'essences' and exudates.

Conclusions: Our study identified 120 mineral ingredients described in Sowa Rigpa medical textbooks, out of which 28 are currently used. They are crucial in formulating 108 multicompound prescription medicines in BTM presently in use for treating more than 135 biomedically defined ailments.

Item ID: 54739
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Himalayan Sowa Rigpa, Bhutanese traditional medicine, geopharmaceuticals, minerals, chemical identification
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1872-7573
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC ECR Fellowship APP1091011
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2018 07:41
FoR Codes: 03 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 0304 Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry > 030401 Biologically Active Molecules @ 60%
03 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 0305 Organic Chemistry > 030502 Natural Products Chemistry @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 10%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences @ 20%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970103 Expanding Knowledge in the Chemical Sciences @ 30%
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